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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

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let me quote Janine Halbesma, the Alberta director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. She is referring to the plan that the Liberals are proposing for a 45-day work year. She said, “Smaller firms are worried about the cost and long-term impact on the economy” of simply making EI benefits richer or shortening the qualifying period for benefits. She said, “Increasing EI entitlements could make long-term labour shortages worse...use the EI system as a hiring and training incentive. Not only will it get Canadians back to work, it will also improve the productivity of the Canadian workforce”.

We are helping Canadians get back to work. I wish those members would join us in that effort.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister is misleading the House once again. It is not enough to pay lip service to change. Change is needed now.

William, Ted and Jodi, and others in my riding and thousands of Canadians need a government that takes action, not photo ops. EI needs to be fair, equitable and equally accessible for all of Ontario and all Canadians.

When will the government make the national changes to EI so that every Canadian can obtain it when he or she needs it the most?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, over 85% of Canadians now have easier access to EI benefits and for a longer period of time, in some cases as much as 14 weeks longer, and they can get those benefits four weeks earlier.

What they need is more than benefits, they need help to get the training they need to get the jobs of the future. Many of the jobs that have been lost are gone permanently.

If the Liberals do not support our bill on Friday night, people will lose out on the strategic training and transition fund. They will lose out on the targeted initiative for older workers. They will lose out on the Canada summer jobs expansion.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, since 2007 our Conservative government's eco-energy retrofit homes program has provided grants to over 100,000 Canadian homeowners. In Canada's economic action plan, our government invested another $300 million into the program. This will stimulate the economy and help 200,000 more homeowners make their homes more energy efficient.

Could the Minister of Natural Resources please tell the House how important this program is to Canadians?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his excellent and important question.

Sadly, if the opposition were to vote to block our stimulus funding on Friday, some 200,000 Canadian family homes would not receive grants for their energy efficiency renovations. That also includes 55,000 homeowners who have already had their pre-audits done.

However, there is still time. The vote is on Friday and the Liberals have a choice. We hope that the Liberal leader considers the interests of Canadians instead of his own interests and drops his threat to block the economic action plan. If the opposition--

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Outremont.

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

June 16th, 2009 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives promised to keep Canadians informed of the money spent to stimulate the economy, to come clean and to be transparent. Instead, they decided to use taxpayers' money, millions of dollars worth, to pay for advertising that is as partisan as it is misleading.

Since it is completely false to claim that 80% of the money has been spent, will they at least have the decency to pay for that advertising out of the Conservative Party budget or share the cost with their Liberal allies, the only ones who believe them?

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the government follows very clear guidelines in respect of what type of advertising it is allowed to do. It does not engage in partisan advertising. If, in fact, the member has any examples of that, I would like to see them, rather than him making those kinds of general allegations that are clearly misleading.

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to those misleading ads, it is not 80%. It is 24%. Why does the minister not read those figures? Less than 24% of the building Canada fund is out the door with no base funding for Quebec or Ontario.

After he has done that, will he send a bill to the Conservative Party of Canada for misleading ads that say it is 80%? Better still, why not send it to the Liberal leader, the only person in Canada who seems to believe the Conservative Party or, as the Liberal leader refers to us, why does he not try to see what the Canadians think about it?

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I will not engage in such a harsh language when it comes to my leader of the opposition. My leader of the opposition is right now working with my Prime Minister to do the right thing for Canadians, to make things happen, to create jobs, so we have just a little more hope and a little more opportunity in this country.

Product LabellingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, every time we ask the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food about the "Product of Canada" label, his minister of state replies with the same nonsense. Since he says he is continuing to listen, let him really do so and withdraw the ridiculous standard of 98%, as requested again yesterday by processors.

Does the real Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food have the courage to tell us why, despite the advice of his officials, he is imposing such an unrealistic standard, when a content of 85% has been agreed on?

Product LabellingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, an important event took place. As we know, the department of agriculture is also the department of agri-food. This is the way it has been for 15 years, and yesterday, for the first time, we met stakeholders from the food processing industry. There were more than thirty of them sitting around a table to talk to us about their difficulties and the things they would like changed in our government. It was an exceedingly constructive meeting.

Product LabellingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is why we are asking the real minister to answer. The Minister of State (Agriculture) meets, listens and does sweet nothing.

Over nearly two months now, the Bloc has asked a dozen questions on the "Product of Canada" label, and the real Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has not deigned to respond.

Since silence means consent, does this mean that he is acknowledging by his silence that the plan is ridiculous and that he thus prefers to leave the dirty work to his minister of state?

Product LabellingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member says I do sweet nothing, but at least I am not here to try to whip up crises and break up the country. I am here to try to build.

In the extremely constructive meeting we had yesterday with some thirty processors, we spoke about the "Product of Canada" label. A number of them spoke of the difficulties it meant for them. There will be follow up to this meeting, since I did not hold it for nothing.

TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, even before the U.S. stimulus package passed, we called on the government to sit down with the provinces and to amend our trade agreements to protect Canadian companies against U.S. protectionism. The Conservative government did nothing, and in the absence of federal leadership, the cities and now the provinces have taken action.

Why is the only leadership to defend Canadian jobs against U.S. protectionism coming from every other layer of Canadian government except one, and that is the federal government?

TradeOral Questions

2:50 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 friend has been on this particular file, but he obviously missed it when the Prime Minister talked with premiers to get agreement from them on how we could work together on a procurement agreement. I have talked and had a conference with the ministers of trade from the provinces and territories. I met with the executive members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. I shared with them the approach that we were taking which they have wholeheartedly supported with a written statement. We are making progress on that. We think that Canadian producers and workers deserve access to the U.S. market and we are going to make sure that happens.

TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year I asked the trade minister what he was doing to defend Canadian firms like Hayward Gordon in Halton Hills against U.S. protectionism. The minister said he would simply monitor the situation to ensure that the Americans were playing by the rules. But he did not seem to know that the rules do not apply to state level or subnational level government procurement. So the problem was not that the Americans were not following the rules. The problem was that the Canadian trade minister did not know the rules.

How can Canadians have confidence in a Conservative government too incompetent to understand our own trade agreements?

TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member can ignore all the actions that we have taken to date. What he will not be able to ignore is the progress that we are making. It is very clear. We identified our position to the Americans in my discussions with Secretary of Commerce Locke, in my discussions with U.S. trade representatives, and in my meetings with the chair of the ways and means committee. We have had cross-border conferences going on between senators, MPs, between premiers and governors, and between trade associations. That is the reason we now have U.S. chambers of commerce and U.S. business associations agreeing with us on these particular points. We are making progress. He can flail away but he should join us in progress.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I visited two first nations in my region that have been hit with H1N1. I saw people who were afraid, anxious, tired and a pandemic plan full of paper, no resources, no action. The pandemic is spreading across first nations in Manitoba and across Canada, and the government's inaction is quite apparent. Chiefs from three of the hardest hit communities are on the Hill today. They need doctors, they need supplies, and they need them now.

Will the minister meet with these chiefs and act to support them in what they need for their first nations?

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I have been meeting with the NDP government of Manitoba and it agrees we have adequate supplies for the communities should they require it for the pandemic. A pandemic plan has been in place since 2006. We have been implementing it since April and we will continue to do that in every community. I will continue to work with the provincial health authorities as we deal with this situation.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, what we need to see is leadership from the federal government. This is a national disgrace. The H1N1 emergency on first nations is not in a vacuum. Decades of indifference from federal governments have proven for living conditions that are an embarrassment in a country as wealthy as Canada. Housing, schools, hospitals, roads, this is what first nations across Canada need. As first nations leaders work tirelessly to make sure to protect lives in their communities, we need the federal government to take action. Will the--

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. President of the Treasury Board.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, as the regional minister for Manitoba, I find it amazing that the member has the audacity to come here and advocate on behalf of her constituents asking for improved infrastructure, health care, educational facilities, and yet on every opportunity she votes against it. Let her explain to her constituents why she continually votes against their interests. Why does she not help them with health care? Why does she not help them with education? Why does she not help them with infrastructure? Instead, she says “no”.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, aboriginal leaders have identified unsafe drinking water systems in their communities as a priority that this government should address. In fact, we have listened and it is why, of the 193 high-risk water systems we inherited from the previous government, this number now stands at 58. Additionally, as a result of the economic action plan, we have announced over 15 new projects, which aboriginal leaders have welcomed.

Would the Minister of Indian Affairs tell us about these projects?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, we are making real progress on cleaning up unsafe water systems since we have come into office. For example, some of the new projects from the economic action plan are improving the water intake for Natuashish, in Labrador; a water treatment plant and reservoir capacity in Caughnawaga, Quebec; water plant upgrades in War Lake, Manitoba; and of course the new lagoon project in Norway House.

All of that is about health and safety and it is about addressing the real needs in first nations and aboriginal communities. It is important that we move forward with these projects. I would urge the opposition parties over there not, again, to put it in jeopardy this Friday when we are voting on the estimates.