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House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farm.

Topics

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. We are actually getting projects out the door right now. In fact, I can tell the House that in Edmonton, just a very short time ago, we announced a $100 million project. Shovels were in the ground within two weeks. That is what is happening right now. We are employing people. That is just one example of many right across this country and it is actually happening.

We will not miss this construction season. We will get the shovels in the ground and Canadians working and meet the challenges of today.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development must be lost somewhere in the twilight zone.

When asked to improve access to EI benefits in regions like B.C. where access requirements are among the toughest, she continues to mislead by referring to the added five weeks of benefits, which might as well be 500 weeks to those who cannot get access.

Does the minister not understand that, in a recession, her rigid qualification rules just do not work?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the facts. The facts are that accessibility and benefits have gone up in EI in every region in British Columbia in the last few months.

Wherever people are in B.C., it is easier to access EI and they can get it for a longer period. Yes, we added five weeks of additional regular benefits because that is what Canadians asked for. The increase in benefits in some places is as much as 11 weeks. Eleven minus five is six. That is still an increase apart from the extra five weeks we introduced. We are delivering for those who need our help.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is just not acceptable. My province is hemorrhaging jobs, with 25,000 lost in the forestry sector alone. In my province, a gentleman from Campbell River, who lost his job two weeks before the new standards came in, cannot get EI.

Would the minister finally do the right thing and enact the single standard we are asking for, which is a 360 hour EI eligibility? Will she do the right thing and do this for our workers who have lost their jobs in B.C. and across Canada?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are making every effort to help those who have been unfortunate enough to lose their jobs, which is why people in Vancouver can get seven weeks of benefits more than they could a year ago. They can get those weeks easier as well.

We are also going beyond that. We are expanding training opportunities for all who are unfortunate enough to lose their jobs, not just those who are on EI but those who have been out of the workplace for a long time. We want to help them get the skills they need for the jobs of the future so they can continue to look after their families over the long term.

Air IndiaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, government documents of 24 years ago related to the Air India tragedy were recently provided to the Major inquiry while the public hearing phase of the Major inquiry wrapped up over a year ago. The government of the day did not provide all of the available evidence to the Kirpal Commission of India because of the potential for national embarrassment.

Why were these documents not provided to the Major inquiry during the public hearings so that Canadians could see how the government failed Canadians, the Canadian families and the victims?

Air IndiaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there is an ongoing inquiry into the Air India disaster and it would be appropriate, before we get any gratuitous comments on this matter, that we let that commission do its work and wait for its report.

Air IndiaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, what is gratuitous is that nonsensical answer that just came from the minister.

The Conservative government ought to have known what it had. It was withholding information about the single biggest act of terrorism in Canadian history. Instead, it covered up the cover-up.

The government has now provided this information to the Major inquiry behind closed doors. Why did the Conservatives hide this information from Canadians until after the public hearing phase of the inquiry was over?

Air IndiaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I know for sure that we went for 13 years without having an inquiry under the Liberals. Why does he not answer the question? Why did they not do something about it when they had the opportunity?

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's ideological stubbornness about scientific research is threatening a sector that is crucial to this society's development and could cause a brain drain to other countries. Investing in concrete is not everything.

Does the minister realize that the government's new science priorities are having a disastrous impact, that a number of research projects will have to be abandoned, including the projects at the Université du Québec à Rimouski and the Université du Québec en Abitibi—Témiscamingue, and that scientific treasures such as Coriolis II and the Mont-Mégantic observatory are being threatened?

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, these decisions are made by an independent panel. I am pleased to announce that that same independent panel announced six new research projects at the University of Quebec in Rimouski. They include research into marine life and the effects of climate change. Is that not Interesting?

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the decision by Canada Economic Development to support the Mont-Mégantic observatory for just two years will in no way guarantee its survival, its funding or its expansion, according to its executive director, Robert Lamontagne.

Can the minister tell us now what he plans to do to help the observatory survive?

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, let me repeat that this government respects the decisions of an independent panel. What the government does is makes a decision to put $5.1 billion into our science and technology sector and then an independent panel decides which projects receives that.

I am very excited to say that a lot of the research that has been decided upon is based in marine biology, oceans, the effects of climate change on oceans and so on. That member over there voted against that kind of funding.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, after Robert Lepage and Stanley Péan, it is Clémence DesRochers's turn to speak out against the lack of consideration this government shows for artists. This government is so disconnected from reality that it has come to regard it as virtually the norm for recipients to criticize it when they accept their prizes.

Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages realize that his policies are not helping artists, and in fact are hurting them?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, Saturday evening was a wonderful event for Canadian artists, and my colleague was not even there. It was a tremendous celebration for Canadian artists.

I would like to thank my colleague for giving me an opportunity to point out that it is our Conservative government that increased investment in arts and culture by 8% during its first term. In addition, in our 2009-10 anti-crisis budget, we have again increased spending for artists, the arts and culture by $276 million.

We keep our promises.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister says one thing but does the opposite.

The little regard the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages has for culture can also be seen in his attitude toward the CBC. On the one hand, he assures the committee there will be no cuts to the television budget, and on the other, the president of the CBC, Hubert Lacroix, announces in a memo to his employees that he is expecting another $56 million in cuts.

If the Minister told the truth in committee, how can he explain the memo from the president of the CBC to his employees?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, my colleague should read Mr. Lacroix's memo again. The purpose of the strategic review my colleague is referring to is to make sure that taxpayers’ money is being spent effectively, and we are working with the CBC on this issue.

Let us be clear: during the election campaign, we made a specific promise regarding the CBC. In each of our four budgets, year after year, we have increased the CBC’s budget. It is the Bloc Québécois that voted against the proposal.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the value of the Canadian dollar rose by 0.7¢ just before the employment numbers were released. There were rumours of a leak. I am not suggesting that the Minister of Finance had anything to do with it, but we should all make it our business to ensure that Canada and the rest of the world can count on the integrity of federal operations.

Will the government launch an independent inquiry into this matter?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I can only speak to the involvement of the Department of Finance with respect to the release of information by Statistics Canada. It is released to the department the day before. The employment and unemployment numbers are provided to me as the Minister of Finance the night before and all of that is kept confidential.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, Reuters recently lamented the finance minister’s now habitual commentary on the employment report on the eve of its release to the public. Last month, Scotiabank warned that this could affect markets, and that is because markets are not stupid. The minister told us to expect big job losses for three months but said nothing this month. It was a giant signal to traders.

Will he stop commenting on his advance copy and stop moving markets?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not comment on employment numbers before the numbers are announced in the morning on the Friday.

Speaking of stupid things, I note that when the member opposite's leader commented about federal taxes and said that “We will have to raise taxes”, the member for Markham—Unionville offered his view. He said, “Everyone knows it would be idiotic to raise taxes in the middle of recession”. For once I agree with the member for Markham—Unionville.

International TradeOral Questions

May 11th, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters has identified seven American bills with buy American clauses. Canadian companies have to relocate to the United States to gain access to the American market. American protectionism is killing Canadian jobs.

Why is this government doing nothing to stem the flow of jobs to the United States?

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister has taken the lead by asking President Obama to include protection of international treaty obligations in the buy American act. The President did so. We now have a situation in Congress where some people are not going along with the President's wishes. That is why we are concerned about this and working hard to change things.

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government is standing by while more U.S. legislation shuts Canada out.

The fact is that state level and local government contracts are not covered by our Canadian trade agreements. The U.S. has asked Canada to change this but that would actually require the Prime Minister to work with the provinces.

When will the Prime Minister show some leadership and work with the provinces to change our trade agreements? When will the Conservatives actually take action to protect Canadians jobs against American protectionism?

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where my hon. friend has been on this file. We have been active on it for a number of months and now he has finally seen some concern coming out of the United States.

The Prime Minister led the issue in terms of demanding that buy America legislation contain a clause related to making the Americans live up to their international obligations.

Further to that, congress has taken some steps that we are very concerned about, which is why a number of us, myself included, have been to Washington and have set in motion some actions to have this addressed. We are continuing to follow that up.