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House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nations.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal proposal is to have Canadians work for 360 hours to collect EI benefits, which works out to 45 days. However, what would go along with that would need be a dramatic increase in payroll taxes, a payroll tax increase that would kill jobs and small businesses.

We are trying to protect jobs and help Canadian workers keep their jobs, which is why we brought in work-sharing and why we froze EI premium rates. The Liberals want to tax and spend people out of their jobs, not us.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, to hear the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, one might conclude that telling the truth is not part of her DNA. She has just misled the House and the Canadian public once again.

First of all, it was not her government that froze taxes and employment insurance contributions; it was the Liberal government. That is my first point.

Second, establishing a national standard of 360 hours does not entitle an individual to a year of benefits. She is misleading the House once again.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, 360 hours at eight hours a day works out to 45 days. This is not our proposal. It is the proposal of the Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP.

Our proposal is to keep people in their jobs, which is why we expanded the work-sharing program. This protects 100,000 people's jobs right now. We froze EI premium rates in our economic action plan so we could preserve even more jobs, keep Canadians working and give them the supports they need.

We are supporting Canadian businesses and workers.

Infrastructure FundsOral Questions

May 14th, 2009 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the numbers on personal bankruptcies and unemployment have soared in the past but the government has barely spent any of the stimulus dollars. Out of $56 million for Surrey, barely $6 million went out the door. Shovels in the ground have remained shovels in the shed.

How many more bankruptcies and job losses will it take before the government gets any of the real infrastructure projects off the ground?

Infrastructure FundsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely not true. We are working closely with our counterparts, the municipalities and the provinces, to get those shovels in the ground.

I can give an example of a province that is really working. The provincial Government of British Columbia has received hundreds of millions of dollars for 140 projects. People are wearing hard hats and the shovels are in the ground today. That is what is going on and it is well on its way to receiving a lot more.

Infrastructure FundsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, at this very moment, members of the Union des municipalités du Québec are meeting in Gatineau. Their message is clear: the Conservatives have to move something other than their lips to get shovels in the ground.

Blaming the Government of Quebec for delays, as the Minister of National Revenue did, creates exactly zero jobs. To build infrastructure, we need money to pay workers. Where is that money?

Infrastructure FundsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I will answer my colleague's question by saying that we announced $12 billion in infrastructure spending in our action plan in January. Since then, we have announced, among other things, a plan to refurbish the Lévis water treatment plant, which is in my colleague's riding.

CubaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I read yesterday that the leader of the Liberal Party has called for the opening of ties with Cuba. He is quoted in the South Asian Focus newspaper saying, “Canada needs to have ties with Cuba - at present Canada plays no role there at all”.

Could the Minister of International Trade tell us what kind of ties Canada has with Cuba?

CubaOral 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 am surprised at the lack of foreign policy knowledge by the leader of the Liberal Party. Last year alone—

CubaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

CubaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The Minister of International Trade has the floor. We need to have some order so the House can hear the response.

The hon. Minister of International Trade.

CubaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, in a recent meeting that I had with my counterpart from Cuba, we reflected on the fact that last year Canadians exported almost three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of goods to Cuba. Two-way trade was $1.6 billion, that is a 36% increase over 2007. Last year, 820,000 Canadians visited Cuba. It is our fifth most popular destination. We have had diplomatic relations with Cuba since 1945. That is 64 years.

Maybe because he lived the majority or a good part of those years in the United States, he has the policies confused.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's neglect of the forestry sector has hurt communities, workers, pensioners and now small companies. Small companies like T&M Logging in Atikokan are owed, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars by large bankrupt corporations like AbitibiBowater and Buchanan Forest Products. The proposed business credit availability program will be inaccessible to these smaller companies because they need overdraft limits of at least $400,000 to even apply.

Where is the small in small business? Bankruptcy laws protect large forestry companies, but what is the government doing to protect small businesses?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the member knows full well that we have reacted to the forestry sector pressures. I can go through a whole list of initiatives that this government has taken, including the access to the $5 billion in new credit that he seems to disparage. We put $170 million to support market diversification, innovation initiatives, which will certainly improve the forestry sector in the future. We have extended the accelerated capital cost allowance. We have eliminated tariffs on machinery. We put $1 billion into a community adjustment fund.

We are working to get the job done for Canadian forestry communities.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, what is left of the Canadian pulp and paper industry is holding on for dear life: the botched softwood lumber deal, the pine beetle infestation, raw log exports and the crash in the U.S. housing market. Now, on June 1, the U.S. will renew its billion dollar black liquor subsidy to its pulp and paper mills, putting Canadian mills at a massive competitive disadvantage.

Canadian pulp and paper companies need a level playing field. Does the government plan to fight this U.S. subsidy, match it, or will it admit it has no plan at all for Canadian forestry products?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, we understand that this subsidy has had an adverse effect on our forestry communities and our forestry pulp industry, and we are moving ahead to deal with that. The minister has talked to Steven Chu in the United States about this issue.

However, everything that we have done, the NDP has opposed. It opposed the EI extensions. It has opposed the community adjustment fund. It has opposed the market development. It has opposed the new technology and transition. Everything that it stands for is opposed to progress in the forestry sector.

Border Service AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, from the very start, the Border Service Agency has shown bad faith as far as the use of French before the IRB is concerned. Last February, it even preferred to postpone a hearing in Montreal for two months rather than get its evidence translated into French. Last weekend, people demonstrated in front of the IRB in protest of the agency's refusal to apply the law.

Does the minister find it normal, in the year 2009 and in Montreal, for people to have to hold a protest to gain respect for French by a federal agency and by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism?

Border Service AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I do find it normal for Canadians to express their views. As for myself, I express my point of view and, like this government, I support the Official Languages Act. It is even a constitutional obligation.

However, the IRB is a quasi-judicial independent board and as such decides on its own processes and procedures as far as language is concerned. The decision is therefore up to the IRB and not the government.

Border Service AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the agency is so determined in its refusal that it prefers not to present evidence, rather than have it translated into French.

If the agency refuses to let francophone employees use the French version of evidence intended for a francophone board member, is this not quite simply because of its disdain for the French language?

Border Service AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, CBSA takes its obligations under the Official Languages Act very seriously. It is committed to ensuring the services are offered in both official languages. Under the rules of the Immigration and Refugee Board, all documents presented as evidence are required to be translated in the official language of the proceedings.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the industry minister finally read the auto subcommittee report, filed a month and a half ago, and has recommended methods to stimulate car sales, including a new auto scrappage program. Unfortunately his delay and dithering on the file is yet again causing harm to the auto industry.

Does the minister not realize that his musings about a scrappage program will stop auto purchases by people who will now wait to see if they can get more money for their old cars? When will the scrappage program be introduced?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the ex-auto critic's question is ridiculous. This is a government that has an auto innovation fund, which is rolling out. This is a government that is back-stopping the warranties, that is ensuring there is accounts receivable insurance in place and that there is access to credit in place.

We have been working with the parts manufacturers and suppliers. We have been working with the industry. That is our record.

The answer of members on the other side of the House is more payroll taxes and more taxes across the board. We will not have anything to do with that.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Forgive me, Mr. Speaker, if I am skeptical, but the government is showing again that it says one thing and does nothing.

Does the minister not realize his scrappage program does the exact opposite of what he intends? Instead of buying cars, people are now holding tight to their old ones, with the possibility that maybe some day they will get more money for them.

This is yet another ill-deployed program of the Conservative government. Car shoppers and car dealers across Canada what to know this. When will Canada have a new scrappage program?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the United States does not have a scrappage program, but we are looking very closely at the situation.

The fact is when it comes to the members on the other side of the House, here is what their leader says. In British Columbia he says that he does not want to help the auto sector, yet in the House the ex-auto critic stands every week and says that they want to be helpful to the auto sector.

That is how that side of the House deals with the important problems of industry in our country. That is not good enough for the people of Canada.

Vale IncoOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry is not doing his job.

On March 3, Vale Inco laid off 350 workers. On March 4, the minister said he would examine the agreement between the government and the Brazilian company. On April 16, Vale Inco announced it was shutting down its Sudbury operations. On April 19, the minister spoke of demanding a reckoning from Vale Inco. Last week, the company announced it was transferring jobs to Brazil.

When will the minister defend the rights of the workers of northern Ontario?