This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was efficiency.

Topics

TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The U.S. Senate is considering the Water Quality Investment Act and there are five more pieces of legislation that are currently in front of Congress, all of which contain buy America provisions, all of which discriminate against Canadian companies.

Canadian manufacturers across the country are affected. It is estimated that as many as $10 billion in exports can be lost because of these provisions. What is the government doing to protect the interests of Canadian companies and Canadian workers?

TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Again, Mr. Speaker, I can only tell the hon. member that the Minister of International Trade has his hands on this file. He continues to advance Canadian interests in the United States. We will continue to protect Canadian interests on the infrastructure projects in the U.S.

We realize the Americans are a tough trading partner. That is why it is a priority file, and the minister treats it as a priority file. We will continue to ensure that the Americans abide by the rules under NAFTA and under WTO.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a recession it is harder to keep a job and it takes longer to get one. In a recession, Woodstock, Ontario is no better off than Bridgewater, Nova Scotia or Red Deer, Alberta. Recession is an equal opportunity unemployer.

When will the minister create a national 360 standard?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am continuously amazed that the Liberals stand up and shoot down the program that they designed. They actually said once that it was not designed for hard times. Well, that is what an EI system needs to do. That is why we improved it. That is why we are providing extra benefit weeks, because we had to improve on their system. But what do we get? While we are increasing benefits and increasing access for the unemployed, all the Liberals want to do is increase rhetoric and taxes.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is not the point. It is not what the government does, it is what the dimensions of the problem require it to do. Over 400,000 more Canadians are unemployed.

The government is stuck with its own bad lines, “We are doing this, doing that”. It is not about what it finds convenient to do, it is what needs to be done.

As distasteful as the Prime Minister finds government action, as distasteful as he finds EI, it is not about him. It is about all Canadians. When will the government create a national 360 standard?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals were in government for 13 years. They designed the last EI system. They had every opportunity to bring in a national 360 system. They actually got rid of a very similar system. That was their choice. Now they are switching it around.

All we get from them is increased rhetoric and increased taxes. We are increasing benefits. We are increasing access.

Seal HuntOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the European Union's decision to ban the sale and import of all seal products in the 27 member countries as of 2010 will have a devastating effect on everyone in the Magdalen Islands. Everyone agrees that we have to exert more pressure and raise awareness to counter all of the false information surrounding this well-managed hunt.

Will the government invest more money in a campaign to promote seal products?

Seal HuntOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, this government condemns the EU ban on Canadian seal products. Securing markets for Canadian seal products is a priority and will continue to be a priority for this government.

I can assure the member that we will stand up and fight for sealers.

Seal HuntOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government wants to take concrete action, it should take advantage of the forum provided by the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver to promote seal products, perhaps by using them in Canadian Olympic athletes' uniforms.

Will the government take that kind of concrete action to save the industry that many families in my riding depend on?

Seal HuntOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I do recognize that this is a big issue for the hon. member, particularly because the Magdalen Islands are big for sealers.

I welcome any suggestions that my colleague might have to help the Canadian sealing industry. Maybe he could share them with the Liberal Party.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, first the Liberals killed employment insurance, and now they are passing themselves off as its saviours and calling for a program review. It is not just a review that is required, however, but a total reform tailored to the crisis we are in at present.

The government is content with a program that no longer meets the needs of the unemployed. Why is it refusing to improve the program as the Bloc proposes, by doing away with the waiting period, reducing the eligibility level to 360 hours for everyone, and raising benefit levels from 55% to 66%?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the hon. member voted against our proposal. When we proposed improvements in our economic action plan this past January, these included a number of things to stimulate the economy and help workers. In particular, we proposed five extra weeks of employment insurance benefits. Yet, if people are entitled to 30 weeks of benefits but they start two weeks earlier, nothing is gained. They still get 30 weeks of benefits, but we are adding on five more.

Why did the Bloc vote against the workers? Why did it vote against this proposal?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, among the Bloc Québécois proposals is one that could be implemented immediately: abolition of the waiting period. Adding the five additional weeks was necessary, but not enough in itself. In the present crisis situation, processing is taking longer, up to 60 days in some cases.

Rather than seeing each unemployed person as a potential cheater, why does the government not adopt a good faith approach, as is used for income tax, which would unclog the system and, along with abolition of the waiting period, give people quicker access to benefits?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member must not be listening, because we are giving her answers.

What have we done to help workers and stimulate the economy? On the one hand, added five more weeks of employment insurance benefits. On the other, added 14 weeks to job-sharing, taking it from 38 weeks to 52 weeks. What is more, people who lose their jobs and want to take training, or retrain in something new, can do so and be paid while they are learning. Those are three things we have done to help workers out.

Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities why he was still refusing to appear once more before the Standing Committee on Governmental Operations and Estimates. Unfortunately, he would not give a serious answer.

He knows that we will ask some difficult questions, but I also know that he is very capable of answering them.

I would like to ask him once again if he will keep his promise to appear before the committee to discuss the stimulus measures.

Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, the minister has actually made himself available to committees for six and a half hours just in this last session of Parliament. He has another hour today, which will make it seven and a half hours. That is a significant amount of time. He has been at the transport committee a couple of times and at the government operations and estimates committee. He makes himself available all the time.

I do not know what my hon. colleague is talking about. The minister is available at request and he has never fudged on an opportunity to deal with committees.

Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will remind the House and the government that the particular minister, after saying yes, then refused. The reason the minister's office gave for his specific refusal was that to appear would be “damaging”.

I asked him yesterday to explain how is appearance could be “damaging” and to whom. He certainly cannot be afraid of me or of the other members of the committee. We are very thorough but we are also very nice. What exactly is he afraid of?

Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you exactly what we are afraid of. We are afraid of them having the opportunity some day, heaven forbid, to raise taxes instead of create jobs. We are running across this country creating jobs and they are wanting to kill jobs by raising taxes, which will destroy the future of Canadians. Canadians are not too impressed with that.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

May 6th, 2009 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister keeps saying that the yet to be seen secured credit facility will help auto industry sales.

We are on the edge of too little too late for this facility. Experts say that the BDC is ill-equipped to implement the leasing and loan facility. The government's stonewalling on the credit facility is hurting Canadians who cannot get a loan or a lease for a car, which is killing the auto industry, the very industry that now owes Canadians billions in loans.

The minister has failed to get the job done. Where is the credit facility that he promised for May 1.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words about the BDC. It has conducted an extensive consultation with the public and the stakeholders to ensure this credit facility is the right credit facility available to the right people at the right time. It has acquired the experts necessary to ensure this is a success and so the project is going forward.

What will hurt Canada more than anything we would ever contemplate is the Liberal plan to raise taxes. The Leader of the Opposition, on April 14, said, “We will have to raise taxes”. That is always the Liberal approach. Whenever there is trouble on the horizon, it immediately clings to raising taxes. That will hurt our economy. It is not in our plans.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, not only do the Conservatives avoid answering questions about the secured credit facility but we now know it is unlikely that Chrysler will ever be able to pay back the billions of dollars in taxpayer loans to the industry.

It is obvious the government has no plan and Canadians and the auto industry are suffering the consequences. Billions of dollars in unprotected loans are at risk of never being paid back.

Without this credit facility, what hope does the industry have of turning itself around and start paying back billions in taxpayer loans?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, there is never any guarantee. However, we have taken a first priority on the loans that we have secured on the Chrysler loan package and, of course, we have equity where we have the right to sell to the eventual buyer, Fiat. We have protected taxpayers and that is what our government was elected to do.

What will not protect taxpayers is the Liberal plan to hike taxes. That is its plan for the economy and its plan for the auto sector. That is why the Liberals are a menace to the auto sector and why we are helping the auto sector by keeping taxes low and ensuring we have the economy that we want.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, the Ontario minister of labour heard about the Liberal member for Brampton—Springdale's household paying live-in caregivers less than the minimum wage, confiscating their passports and forcing them to perform humiliating tasks not in their employment contract.

These are serious accusations. The Ontario minister of labour has admitted that he has been sitting on these allegations for two weeks, essentially protecting his federal Liberal cousins.

Will the Minister of State for Status of Women tell the House what options are available to these female caregivers and others facing abuse?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeMinister of State (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the same labour standards protect all workers in Canada, whether they are foreign-born caregivers or not. If these caregivers were paid less than the Ontario minimum wage and provincial labour laws were violated, I do hope the Ontario labour minister applies provincial labour laws consistently and does not give the federal Liberals any special treatment.

For far too long, women, in particular immigrant women, have been victims. They have been afraid to fight back. Our message to them is simple: They do have rights and it does not matter who they are up against. Even if it is a member of Parliament, the government will protect them.

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the government has never met a job or an industry that it did not want to outsource or privatize, but when it comes to the safety of our dedicated men and women in Afghanistan, one would think it would draw the line. Apparently not.

The government is employing private security companies and hiring cheap labour to protect our bases. Is this the best we can do to protect our soldiers? There is something wrong with this mission if we cannot protect our military bases with our own troops.

Does the Minister of Defence honestly believe that this is the best way to keep our brave man and women safe?