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House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was organizations.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is not at all correct. The fact is that employment insurance is adjusted based on regional conditions. That is why, in the Kitchener area, unemployed workers are eligible for employment insurance four weeks earlier than last year and they can receive an extra 13 weeks of benefits compared to last year. It is very important to recognize this. We increase benefits, whereas they want to increase taxes.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister just does not want to understand. A person who is ineligible for employment insurance is very likely to need financial assistance until a new job becomes available. Applications for social assistance are on the rise and the provinces will have to shoulder the growing costs of social programs.

Can the minister accept the idea that new eligibility criteria for employment insurance would also help the provinces face the current crisis?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have systems to support those who are unemployed. Unfortunately, there are some people who have never worked and do not have the skills to work. That is why, in our economic action plan, we will invest $2 billion in training for individuals, who will receive employment insurance benefits even if they do not qualify. We invest in our unemployed workers. The Liberals wish to invest in taxes.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, a candidate for the leadership of the Ontario Conservative Party said:

The federal EI program is unfair to Ontario. Ontarians who pay into EI during good times should get benefits when they need them, just like they were promised. EI reform is vital to help Ontarians make ends meet and get back on their feet....

Does the Prime Minister agree with the provincial member for Whitby—Oshawa's assessment, or does he agree with her husband, the federal member for Whitby—Oshawa, who thinks the system is just fine?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, recognizing that these are difficult times for a great many people, we do have to recognize that we have made changes to the existing Liberal system. We have enlarged it and added five extra weeks of regular benefits.

I wonder whether the member for Markham—Unionville agrees with the following statement. When asked about a macro overhaul or retrofit of the employment insurance system, somebody said, “We don't have time to do that. Let's just make some temporary changes that stand to benefit folks who have lost their jobs, especially in Ontario.”

Mr. Speaker, do you know who said that? The leader of the Liberal Party in Ontario.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. I remind hon. members that it is just Tuesday, not Wednesday. We could have a little more order in the House.

The hon. member for Markham—Unionville has the floor now.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, from the C.D. Howe Institute and TD Bank to the Canadian Labour Congress, everyone agrees that a single national hours worked rule for employment insurance is simply the right thing to do. It is right for fiscal stimulus. It is right for social justice. It is right for a strong Canada.

Can the minister give us one reason she will not do what is right economically and morally? Why will she not fix EI before Parliament adjourns for the summer?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have done a lot to fix the problem with the EI system that was left to us by the Liberals.

We have expanded it. We have hired extra staff to ensure Canadians, who, unfortunately, need EI benefits, can get them in a timely manner. We have expanded work sharing so that 93,000 jobs across this country are now being protected. These are jobs from which people are not getting laid off.

The hon. member says that everyone knows. Well he should look behind him because the member for Beauséjour said, “I don't believe we need to make further improvements in EI”.

Scientific and TechnologyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, a leading AIDS researcher with the Université de Montréal, Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, has decided to go work in the United States, taking with him 25 researchers from his team. According to Mr. Sékaly, the young researchers will have more opportunities to put their skills to work in the United States, where President Obama has earmarked $10 billion for investments in medical research, while here in Canada, the Conservatives are cutting funds for scientific research.

Does the Minister of State (Science and Technology) realize that these cuts in basic research funding are forcing our scientists to leave?

Scientific and TechnologyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, this government supports science and technology. Every budget that this government has tabled has increased funding for science and technology. This time we put $5.1 billion of new money into science and technology and the Bloc voted against all of it.

Scientific and TechnologyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Guimond Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only has the Mont-Mégantic Observatory seen its funding cut, now the Coriolis II, the only university-owned oceanographic vessel in Canada, has had its funding cancelled. These cuts to scientific research are especially appalling given that Canada is already lagging behind the rest of the G7 in terms of the proportion of gross domestic product spent on research and development.

Does the government realize that its ideological attitude towards scientific research is destroying Quebec's industries of the future?

Scientific and TechnologyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, that member is absolutely incorrect. Canada is number one in the G7 in terms of GDP expenses on R & D.

The decision with respect to the observatory is made by an independent peer review scientific panel. The member voted no for the $5.1 billion.The government makes the decision to put the money in but an independent panel makes the decision as to which scientist gets the funding. That panel chose someone else.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that Mr. Abdelrazik's name is on the UN no-fly list, some exceptions do exist to allow citizens to return home. The Minister of Foreign Affairs is aware of those exceptions, although he refuses to use them.

Now that the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development is asking to hear from Mr. Abdelrazik, will the government act accordingly and do whatever it takes to allow him to appear before the committee?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as this matter is currently under litigation and will be before the courts this week. we have no further comment on this situation.

Cross Country CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pascal-Pierre Paillé Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec cross country skier Alex Harvey has been dropped to the Cross Country Canada B development team because he refused to move to western Canada for training. This demotion will have a significant financial impact on this athlete, who is ranked 26th in the world.

Does the Minister of State (Sport) intend to demand an explanation from Cross Country Canada for the clearly abusive treatment imposed on this young athlete?

Cross Country CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of State (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of this matter but I would be happy to look into it for the member if he brings it to my attention.

Infrastructure FundingOral Questions

May 5th, 2009 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, communities across Canada are suffering from this recession and they are desperately waiting for some real action from the government.

It has been 35 days since the government has had infrastructure dollars available and 54 days since the budget received royal assent. The finance minister himself said that we need to make full use of the six month construction season.

Could the minister tell the House today how many jobs have been created with the infrastructure stimulus fund?

Infrastructure FundingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are providing an important shot in the arm to the Canadian economy through the economic stimulus fund. It is $4 billion, which we are working hard to transcend into up to $12 billion so we can get projects going right across the country.

I can report to the member opposite that shovels are beginning to be put into the ground, that jobs will be created and that there is finally some hope at the end of the tunnel in these challenging economic times.

We are getting the job done. We are working in partnership with the provinces and municipalities.

Infrastructure FundingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, we use shovels for the right thing.

The sad reality is that the government's approach is making the recession worse.

Last week in Edmonton, I attended one such announcement made by the government. The Minister of Labour claimed that it was part of the budget. It turns out the funding was not approved, it was not from the budget and it was not creating any jobs for the foreseeable future.

When will the minister and his gang stop misleading Canadians with photo ops and re-announcements and start getting dollars out to communities and create real jobs right now?

Infrastructure FundingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the member opposite is not doing his homework. Right across the country we are seeing investments being made and jobs being created. I would encourage the member opposite to do his homework. Now I understand why the professor sent the member to the back row.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Standing Committee on Governmental Operations and Estimates is examining the stimulus package in the 2009 budget. The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities made a commitment to appear before the committee in order to discuss the stimulus measures. Ever since, however, the minister has done nothing but decline invitations to appear.

Could the minister explain why he has changed his mind?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I was before the committee just last week and I have always made myself available to the committee. I would be very pleased to answer any specific questions that the member has and I look forward to doing just that.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to quote from an email sent by the minister's staff to the clerk of the government operations committee now declining the committees request to appear. It reads, “We think it would be more damaging to have him appear than not appear”.

I know I may have been a little firm with the minister the first time he appeared but he is not usually short of things to say. Could he explain what exactly would be damaging and to whom?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to have the opportunity to go before the committee and read the quote from the leader of the Liberal Party, “We will have to raise your taxes”.

Canadians from coast to coast to coast want to know from the member for Willowdale which taxes she will raise, how much they will be raised by and whether the Liberals will finally come clean with Canadians and be honest about their tax increasing plan.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dona Cadman Conservative Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, as a member from British Columbia, I was curious to learn what the newly anointed Liberal leader had to say with respect to his party's crime fighting agenda, or lack thereof.

Surprisingly, I did not hear one mention of crime during the Liberal leader's speech, despite the fact that the convention was held in my province which has experienced a wave of gang activity, including dozens of homicides over the past few months.

Did the Minister of Justice hear anything encouraging from the Liberals to assist Canadians and victims?