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House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was auto.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, out-of-work Canadians are struggling and we now are seeing that household debt is at 140% of disposable income. The Bank of Canada calls it the biggest risk to our economy.

Big banks are hoarding cash and gouging Canadians, not helping businesses create job. If the Prime Minister really wants to get our economy moving, why give banks money to hoard instead of helping Canadians who are being left behind? Will he listen to the experts and fix EI now, for this summer, not next?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in this case, we have a lot in our economic action plan to extend credit to small businesses, to make sure that credit is also extended to individuals who want to lease cars, for instance.

Our economic action plan gets to the fact that Canadians need help in various parts of our country and that various parts of our economy need help.

That is why it is a comprehensive plan. It is the best plan in the G7 and has been recognized as such by the International Monetary Fund. I, for one, salute our finance minister, who has done an excellent job in making sure that we are the top in the world.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, one of the world's leading experts in nuclear medicine said, “The patient community is facing one of its greatest threats in modern times”.

Patients are in limbo; some have had their tests cancelled outright. We are now hearing that Canadians will have to undergo exploratory surgeries that would normally be unnecessary.

Every day, 5,000 Canadians need isotopes for tests and treatments. Can the minister tell us how many of those people will have access to isotopes?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I met with the experts on medical isotopes and the nuclear society over the weekend in Toronto. We are continuing to deal with this situation.

In fact, this morning I made an investment of $6 million for more research on Tc99 as we need to start addressing the shortage of that.

In terms of triage, each province and territory delivers health care. They are managing the situation with the alternatives that we have identified. This morning the Ottawa Hospital said that it has switched to thallium to continue to provide testing as needed.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

There is the problem, Mr. Speaker. Patients and their families cannot get straight answers.

The truth is that we are back to only 75% of global isotope supply, with nearly half of that production set to go offline next month. There is no evidence that Canada has access to 75% of its weekly requirement.

Let me try again. Leaving alternatives aside, could the minister tell us what percentage of isotopes required by Canadians is available this week, next week and next month?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as indicated in the House yesterday, Canada has 75% of its supply of medical isotopes for this week on order. We are monitoring the situation very closely.

This morning I spoke with Belgium's minister of energy to discuss with him the reactor schedules. The Belgians have indicated that they are going to help us as best they can. I will continue on that follow-up on Thursday when I meet with the experts in Toronto.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister has predicted a tiny surplus for 2013-14. But that prediction no longer stands.

The extra interest charges for the $50 billion deficit will eat up most of this surplus.

Will the minister do what needs to be done and present a credible plan to Canadians, or will he admit, as most economists already have, that Canada will still be in deficit in 2013-14?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, on page 61 of the report to Canadians, we laid out the breakdown of the deficit this year, and $22.4 billion are temporary measures. In the previous budget in January of this year, which the member opposite supported, we laid out a plan over time to get back into surplus by 2013-14. We remain on track to do that with the predictions with respect to economic growth.

I look forward to reporting in detail as usual in the fall economic statement.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister's $50 billion deficit is the biggest in Canadian history, yet he stands there and tells Canadians that in less than four years this enormous deficit will simply disappear into thin air without any plan or any remedial action by the Conservative government. Canadians, especially Ontarians, cannot possibly take the assertions of the minister at face value.

Where is his plan to bring the budget back into balance?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

The plan, Mr. Speaker, is actually on page 61, but the member does not want to read it.

The majority of the stimulus in this year's deficit is one time spending. It ends after two years. It is use it or lose it. Some of the tax measures, like the home renovation tax credit, will end next February.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

You left Ontario with a big deficit and now you are doing the same thing to all of Canada.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Conservative Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I can hear the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine. She might want to listen so she will understand what is going on in terms of the deficit. She might want to read the document.

The member for Markham—Unionville's former employer, the Royal Bank of Canada, has predicted economic growth at 2.5% in 2010.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources is trying to play down the isotope crisis by saying that 75% of our needs are being met. But representatives from the medical community are criticizing the lack of vision of the Liberals and Conservatives, who have let this situation deteriorate over the years.

How can the minister justify her reassuring statements when everyone is denouncing the fact that thousands of patients have had their tests delayed indefinitely?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, one thing that is clear is that this is a global issue. In fact, we are working with the other producing countries in the world with respect to reactor schedules and we have had a very positive response.

It is under Canada's leadership that Petten increased its amount of medical isotopes produced, as was done in South Africa as well. Those isotopes are coming into the country this week. We will be able to have 75% of our total medical isotopes.

However, we continue to work. The Minister of Health continues to work with the medical establishment. We will continue to work with the reactors to get this done right.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, aside from making a last-minute, cosmetic research announcement, does the government plan on listening to nuclear medicine specialists, who got together and have called on the government to provide adequate funding for the production of isotopes, to build new reactors and to update the existing ones?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as mentioned in our five-point plan in December of last year, one of the issues that the department was looking into was exactly what kinds of proposals were out there for alternative means of producing medical isotopes.

Last week we did announce that there will be an expert review panel to take a look at all of these reports and suggestions that are coming in from institutions as well as universities in terms of an alternate way of producing medical isotopes. They will be reviewing them over the summer. We look forward to receiving the results.

Bisphenol AOral Questions

June 16th, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a study released yesterday, the effects of endocrine disrupting substances are responsible for the shrinking gap in the birth weights of newborn boys and girls between 1981 and 2003. Bisphenol A, which the government has banned in the manufacture of baby bottles, is one of those substances.

Now that the toxic effect of these substances on the fetus has been established, will the government finally ban this product in the manufacture of all food and beverage containers, as called for by the Bloc Québécois for over a year now?

Bisphenol AOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government has a strong record of taking action on bisphenol A.

As part of the chemical management plan, this government carefully evaluated the potential health effects of BPA and concluded that the general population does not need to be concerned. However, to protect newborns and infants, this government wanted to be prudent. That is why we are proceeding to ban the baby bottles made with BPA.

Canadians expect actions by their government when it comes to their safety and we are taking action.

Bisphenol AOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not enough. These substances attack the human reproductive system, with the negative end result of fewer and fewer boys being born. The CBC reported the case of a first nations community near Sarnia, Ontario where the proportion of newborn boys was under 35% in 2003.

Does the government plan to better regulate the use of chemicals, such as bisphenol A, which researchers have identified as the source of the problem?

Bisphenol AOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as part of the government's chemical management plan, we will continue to evaluate these situations. We take them very seriously. I look forward to having a dialogue with my colleague on the very issues he has expressed. We will look into that.

At the same time, I can say that Canadians expect action and we have taken action on this issue.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the incompetence of the government is staggering. Each day it fiddles around while the unemployment situation deteriorates, bankruptcies continue to rise and household debt spins out of control. Each day we hear stories of constituents who have fallen through the cracks of our social infrastructure and are getting little help from the government.

How can the government leave this Friday for the barbecue circuit knowing that its inaction on the economy and EI has left tens of thousands of Canadians without a way out of this Conservative recession?

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 help Canadians in these troubled economic times.

We have expanded EI. We have expanded the work sharing program. We are offering unprecedented assistance to help laid-off workers get the training they need for future jobs.

My question for the hon. member is, how could those members have us leave here this Friday night after voting against these measures that would help Canadians? If we leave Friday night and they have voted against the supplementary estimates (A), we will not get the funding for the strategic training and transition fund. We will not get the money for the Canada summer jobs. We will not get the money for the targeted initiative for older workers.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister is becoming more and more robotic in her answers, showing an astounding lack of understanding of the real pain that Canadians are feeling.

Job losses continue, uncertainty reigns, and the government has no coherent plan to help the unemployed. The Conservatives' only plan is to mislead Canadians when they talk about changes to EI, saying it would create a 45-day work year. What she is saying is that she thinks Canadians are lazy. The Liberals do not think that Canadians are lazy. She should apologize to Canadians.

Why is the minister unwilling to make changes to EI now?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, all three of the opposition parties have put forward a proposal for a 360-hour work requirement to collect employment insurance benefits. That works out to 45 work days. That is nine weeks. Then they said that would give people 39 weeks of benefits. Thirty-nine and nine equals forty-eight, plus the two-week wait period makes fifty weeks. Near as I can reckon, that is close to a year. They are saying if people work 45 days, they will get a year's benefits.

Canadians do not want that. We will not support that because it will not create jobs and it will not help the economy.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, William from my riding had a good job working for a contracting company for almost 20 months. During this period he worked over 630 hours, the minimum requirement in Mississauga. When William applied for his EI, he was denied. He appealed, but he was denied again. He was told he only had 619 hours, because his hours were calculated from the end of his pay period, not from his last day of work, a small but devastating technicality.

Thousands of Canadians are in the same boat. William and others want to know, why will the government not make EI fair for all Canadians?