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House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was colombia.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, as for the renovation tax credit, the government can act quickly by supporting the Bloc Québécois bill, which would increase the use of wood in federal buildings. The minister responsible for economic development said that he wanted to look at this bill first. It has now been three months since the bill was introduced, and a coalition to promote the use of wood will be launched tomorrow in Quebec.

Can the minister tell us today whether his government will support the Bloc Québécois bill?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, speaking of real measures that give results, Public Works and Government Services had a budget of $400 million, including $323 million for building renovations. That is how to stimulate the economy. Additional work is creating an increased demand for wood. It is the same thing with the home renovation tax credit.

But once again, the Bloc voted against these fine economic measures that produce results. It is shameful.

InfrastructureOral Questions

September 14th, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, for the Prime Minister, after analyzing his government's infrastructure promises, we now know why there has been so little real construction. It was his cabinet ministers arguing among themselves that has delayed things for months.

Of the top 10 ridings in Ontario receiving infrastructure funds, four are represented by his cabinet ministers, including the minister responsible, the Minister of Transport, and a fifth by his parliamentary secretary.

How does the Prime Minister explain to the 408,000 Canadian families who became unemployed since last fall that his cabinet is too busy trying to buy votes to create the jobs that are needed?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we of course are not a government that makes decisions unilaterally. We work on these projects with other premiers, such as Premier Williams perhaps, Premier McGuinty, and former premier Doer, and municipal leaders of all political stripes. Indeed, these projects are going across this land, not only in the ridings he mentioned; but of course, last weekend there were more projects for Cape Breton and Halifax, and new projects for Toronto, with half a billion dollars for more than 500 projects throughout the 416 region.

That is what we are doing for Canada. That is what we are doing for these regions and we are proud of it.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the Prime Minister stayed glued to his seat, because the minister who got up gave himself 28 projects, five times as many projects to fix recreation centres as the average.

Across the country, the Minister of Transport's riding and the ridings of his two colleagues in Ottawa have an unemployment rate that is half that of the rest of the province, yet they are giving themselves two to four times as much money for infrastructure stimulus. They are leaving 400,000 people, a workforce the size of New Brunswick, abandoned across the country.

When his cabinet ministers are stimulating the country, why should anybody trust this government to help—

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Industry.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are all proud of our constituencies, and I am proud of the hard work that I do for the people of Parry Sound—Muskoka, but perhaps the hon. member would like to know that the highest per capita spending anywhere in the country on infrastructure is in Windsor, Ontario.

Everybody gets to benefit. That is why this government is a government for all the people.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, time and again, this government fails to stand up for Canadians with names like Abdelrazik, Suaad Mohamud, and Abdihakim Mohammed.

Canadian citizenship means that the Prime Minister must stand up for Canadians, whoever they are, wherever they may be. A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian, but with his record, how can Canadians trust the Prime Minister to provide them equal protection abroad when they are in trouble?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure everyone in this House that, yes, a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian, and that this government will stand for all Canadians anywhere, at any given time. Our record is very clear on that issue, and we want to make it very clear to everyone out there that this government will stand behind any Canadian, wherever he or she may be.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government's record belies the contention just made.

I am a proud Canadian, and I have children and grandchildren who are proud Canadians. Given that he has failed in his duty to protect some Canadians abroad, can my children or their grandchildren trust the Prime Minister to stand up for them if they ever need help abroad?

In the eyes of this government, are some Canadians not really Canadians? For the Liberal Party of Canada, a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. Why does he not get it?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the hon. member that I also am very proud to be Canadian, so are my children, and so is everyone here, not only him.

Let me also assure him that, when he is talking about Mr. Abdelrazik and about Omar Khadr, it happened when his party was in power.

This government will stand for all law-abiding Canadians, and I want to say, yes, a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian, and he is a Canadian.

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, hon. members may be aware that there was a very objectionable piece of literature circulated last week by an opposition member and a former cabinet minister suggesting that Canadians are no longer proud of our flag and stating that this government has turned its back on proud Canadian traditions of diplomacy, peacekeeping, human rights and international development.

Could the minister inform the House about our government's reaction to this insinuation?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, indeed that piece of literature was circulated to my riding of Fredericton, home to Canada's largest military base, CFB Gagetown. For a member of this chamber to suggest that Canadians should not be proud of their flag has no place in this country's political system. The tactic of the party opposite to try to erode the pride that Canadians have in their country and the good work that it does abroad is despicable. It is particularly offensive to make such disparaging remarks to members of the Canadian Forces and their families, the men and women who risk their lives every day for our country, who proudly wear the Canadian flag on their shoulders.

Our government is proud of our country, our men and women in uniform and the good work they do.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, after dithering for months before coming to the assistance of the unemployed, the government has finally decided to take a step in the right direction. However, thousands of workers have been left without a safety net in this unprecedented crisis.

The failure of the closed door negotiations with the Liberals was foreseeable. It was the Liberals who caused most of the employment insurance problems.

We need to make further changes to the system. When will we see comprehensive proposals to solve the unemployment insurance problems created by the Liberals?

Employment InsuranceOral 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 is right to point out what is happening on the Liberal side because, as you know, we were supposed to have a bipartisan committee. They were supposed to work in good faith with us. They abandoned the committee. They abandoned the unemployed.

Today we are showing that we take this matter seriously and that we intend to help long-tenured workers. We will give them an additional 5 to 20 weeks. I would also like to tell the member that we will soon have more to say about our desire to help self-employed workers.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that it is not the end of the recession for the unemployed. According to the TD Bank, job losses for workers aged 25 to 54 have in fact deteriorated faster over the past 10 months than they did during the 1980s and 1990s recessions. Too many have been left behind already.

When is the government going to complete the job and introduce the legislation to help the self-employed just referred to, to protect pensioners, something we all agree upon, and to protect consumers from gouging by banks and credit card companies?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are very sensitive to the needs of the unemployed. That is why in our economic action plan we brought in an additional five weeks of regular benefits. We increased the maximum time people could collect by an extra five weeks. We expanded work sharing and we are helping people get back to work through unprecedented investments in training. I should point out that the NDP voted against every single one of those initiatives to help our unemployed.

Securities IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the National Assembly of Quebec voted unanimously in favour of demanding that the federal government respect Quebec's jurisdiction with regard to securities.

The parties also all unanimously voted to ask for the transfer of ownership of the federal land in front of the National Assembly, as well as financial compensation in connection with the harmonization of the Quebec sales tax and the GST.

Does the Conservative government plan to respond favourably to the National Assembly's unanimous votes, or does it plan to do as the Liberals did and ignore Quebec's legitimate requests?

Securities IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we finally have a government that practises open federalism. As we have said, negotiations on tax harmonization will not be held in the public arena. They will be held in good faith. That is also what the Government of Quebec has said. In addition, on June 24, the Prime Minister reiterated the fact that he was ready to begin discussions regarding the land in front of the National Assembly.

Lastly, regarding the securities commission, I repeat once again for those who have not already heard, it would be a voluntary system; yes, I mean voluntary. Accordingly, there is no interference in jurisdictions—

Securities IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government's recognition of the Quebec nation was meaningless. Conservatives and Liberals alike feel that, sure, Quebec can have a presence on the international scene, as long as it keeps its mouth shut. Quebec is welcome to attend the Copenhagen climate change conference, but Ottawa has warned Quebec that Canada will speak with a single voice, just like at UNESCO.

How is anyone supposed to believe that the government recognizes the Quebec nation when it refuses to allow the nation to speak up at international venues about issues that affect it directly?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. I met with Premier Charest. Our government promotes federal-provincial collaboration, but Canada will speak with one voice. We will fight climate change without compromising our economic recovery. We will target all greenhouse gas emitters. When it comes to dealing with this issue, we will not just sit on the sidelines like the Bloc.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the subject of employment insurance, the Conservatives seem to be on the brink of a death bed conversion. Under the previous Liberal government, the employment insurance premium rate was reduced 12 times consecutively. Just last July, the Prime Minister was calling the idea of increasing EI rates stupid.

So, what does he call the Minister of Finance's decision to raise premiums?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, I would like to point out we indicated clearly this morning that premiums would not be increased in 2009, or 2010. They will remain unchanged for all workers.

The question that is worth asking, though, is this. Why did the Liberals abandon the unemployed when, at the end of June, they were prepared to sit on a committee to suggest measures to help them? They abandoned them, not us. Today we are in fact proposing help to long-tenured workers so that they may extend their employment insurance by 5 to 20 weeks.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government heard none of our proposals. Employment insurance is a total mess. The Minister of Finance tells us that EI premiums will increase. The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, however, would have us believe that the changes she says she wants to make will not raise premiums.

Is it because the Minister of Finance had already undertaken to raise them that she could appear today to be so generous?