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House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was custody.

Topics

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her description. She is too kind.

The Government of Quebec said that it wanted to discuss harmonization. Thus, we started discussions and negotiations with the Government of Quebec on harmonization.

Our government and the Minister of Finance are working with Quebec's finance minister on this issue, and they will certainly not work with the Bloc Québécois.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, things are going so well between Quebec and the federal government that the amounts in dispute, partly inherited from the Liberals, have reached $8.8 billion.

How can the parliamentary secretary be so optimistic when it is clear that Quebec is losing a fortune because there are no agreements on equalization, post-secondary education and settlements for the costs of the ice storm?

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I want to make one thing clear: our Conservative government wants to make this country work. We practice open federalism, and have always said that we would negotiate in good faith on this issue. Quebec's premier said in the Quebec National Assembly that he was not looking to negotiate in public.

If the Bloc leader is sincere, he will abide by the wises of Quebec's premier to represent the Quebec nation.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

June 5th, 2009 / 11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is turning its back on Canadian women. The lack of a national EI standard disproportionately affects women. Women are more likely to work low-wage, part-time jobs, and they are in and out of the workforce as the primary caregiver for their loved ones. For them, the standards are impossible to reach. What is the Conservatives' answer? They tell them to wait until thousands more people lose their jobs and then maybe they might qualify.

When will the government finally introduce a national standard for EI to help these women and their families?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned when anyone loses their job, male or female.

I should point out to the hon. member that this recession has had less impact on women than it has on men. By and large, the majority of the jobs being lost are in the manufacturing sector, heavy equipment manufacturers, where the majority of people who have been laid off are male.

We are working. This is a gender neutral system. We are there to support any workers who get laid off from their job. We are there with extended benefits, work-sharing programs and expanded training so they can have the jobs of the future to look after their families.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister should talk to women in this country.

The list of premiers and mayors in support of a national standard continues to grow. Premiers Campbell, Wall, Stelmach and McGuinty, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, have all called for a national standard.

This is about fairness across the country. Areas that have had high employment, like western Canada and the greater Toronto area, are now being hit the hardest.

When will the Conservatives stop ignoring the calls of millions of Canadians, their premiers and their mayors? They should show some compassion and make EI eligibility the same in every region of this country.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are making it easier for more Canadians who lose their job to get more benefits sooner and for longer. Over 75% of Canadians now have easier access to longer EI benefits than they did just last fall.

What we will not do is bring in a 45 day work year like the Liberal leader has been proposing, an idea he stole from the NDP, because that would not create jobs, that would not put people back to work, that would not help all those manufacturing people who have lost their jobs after paying into EI for years. They are upset by that idea.

JusticeOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Michelle Simson Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Federal Court ordered the Canadian government to send Mr. Abdelrazik home from the Canadian Embassy in Sudan.

My hon. colleague from Toronto Centre asked if the government would comply with this decision. The Minister of Justice's answer was that the decision was too long to read in only a matter of hours.

With presumably enough time having passed to read the decision, could the government now tell us if it will finally do the right thing and bring Mr. Abdelrazik home?

JusticeOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this is a very extensive ruling and of course we will take the proper time to review it and reach a decision in due course.

JusticeOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Michelle Simson Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, the court decision states clearly that the Conservative case against Mr. Abdelrazik was “nonsensical”.

Justice Zinn has ordered that the Conservatives “take immediate action so that Mr. Abdelrazik is returned to Canada”.

What is it about this decision that the Conservatives do not understand? Why do they continue to ignore the courts and the fate of a Canadian citizen who simply wants to come home?

JusticeOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in fact we pay very close attention to what the courts do. This is why we are reviewing this extensive decision very carefully, and we will make a decision in due course.

TaxationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to a report, tax freedom day falls on June 6 this year. Tax freedom day, as the House knows, is the day that Canadians are free of their tax burden and can begin working for themselves and their families.

Unlike the opposition, I have actually read our government's budget, so I do know that we have cut taxes in every form that the government collects them.

I wonder if the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance can comment on the date on which tax freedom day falls this year. I understand that it is nearly 20 days earlier than under the previous Liberal government.

TaxationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, indeed we have cut taxes. We have cut an average Canadian family's taxes by over $3,000 since we came to office. We have cut over 100 taxes since coming to office. We have reduced the overall tax burden to its lowest level in nearly 50 years. We have removed a million Canadians entirely from the tax rolls.

We have helped them get prepared for this economic recession. We have moved tax freedom day forward nearly 20 days since the Liberal government.

JusticeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's refusal to repatriate Mr. Abdelrazik is a violation of the Charter of Rights.

According to the RCMP, CSIS and the Federal Court, he is not linked to terrorism. Even if the government decides to waste public money by appealing the ruling, it should do what it takes to bring Mr. Abdelrazik home immediately.

Have Foreign Affairs officials begun preparing the documents to bring him home right away?

JusticeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you what we are doing. Because this is a very extensive ruling, we are looking at it very carefully. We are reviewing all aspects of the decision and we will make a decision in due course.

JusticeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a very specific provision in this order, and quite an unusual one, but it is a reflection of how badly this file has been bungled by the government. It requires that Mr. Abdelrazik be back before the Federal Court by the first week of July.

That is not a long time to get the arrangements made. Has the government begun to do the work on it, even if it is going to appeal?

JusticeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the House what we are doing. We are very carefully considering this decision. It was just handed down yesterday.

Because of the respect that we have for all decisions of the courts in this country, we will review that decision very carefully and make a decision in due course.

JusticeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the third time this year that the Conservative government has been called to order by the courts, which have ordered it to repatriate Canadian citizens. Yesterday, in an unusually severe ruling, the court pointed out something that should have been obvious. Section 6 of the Charter of Rights provides that every citizen of Canada, Mr. Abdelrazik included, has the right to enter and leave Canada freely.

Once the government has reviewed the Abdelrazik ruling, will it waive its right to appeal and let him come home right away?

JusticeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member says, “once we have reviewed the decision”. He asks what we are going to do. Well, we will make up our mind when we have had an opportunity to review this decision. The decision was handed down yesterday. We will consider it very carefully before we act.

JusticeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is true that when a government is as obtuse and obstinate as this Conservative government, judges have to go on at length to remind it of its constitutional obligations. The number of legal cases is on the rise. Allen Smith was sentenced to death and the government refused to lobby to have his sentence commuted. Then there was Omar Khadr, and now Abousfian Abdelrazik.

Will the government reconsider and fulfill its domestic obligations with respect to its own citizens, as well as its international obligations arising from treaties it has signed?

JusticeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

We will live up to all the commitments, Mr. Speaker, that we are obligated to.

He said he had to ask more than once. I have asked more than once to get some support from the Bloc members in getting tough on crime in this country, and it is not good enough for them to do it just during elections. I need help between elections, and that is something I never get from the Bloc.

Lobster FisheryOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, there is a major problem in the eastern Canadian lobster fishery. The spring lobster season is more than half over, and there is great concern in the industry surrounding the possibility of a publicly funded rationalization plan.

Can the government assure the House today that there will be a plan put in place to remove a number of licences in the area where the catches are low and help remove the pressure on the stocks?

Lobster FisheryOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to working with the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and harvester and processor associations to address this issue and others, in part through the creation of a new lobster council. We are committed to the long-term success of the lobster industry. That is why we invested $10 million last month in a marketing initiative, and we will assist the industry through Canada's economic action plan.

Lobster FisheryOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, in a number of areas in eastern Canada, the men and women involved in the fishery have a major problem, and that is survival. The prices are low, and the minister is well aware that the EI benefits are based on landings.

Will the minister support the proposal provided to her by the PEI Fishermen's Association that will allow the fishers to use their 2008 landings in order to qualify for employment insurance? If not, these people will have nothing.

Lobster FisheryOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the minister has been involved in extensive discussions. We are committed to making the industry viable. All I can say is that we are doing everything we can to make people's lives easy, in total contradiction to the Liberals, who are trying to kill jobs through things like their contradiction on the seal hunt and no sanctions for a Liberal senator who is running around trying to kill the industry.