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House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was unemployed.

Topics

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague for his speech. I have enjoyed working with him and his great colleague from Chambly—Borduas on issues like this.

We do not agree on everything, but I think we agree on some of the basic issues. One of the things that are particularly annoying and frustrating about the government is its insistence when referring to the 360-hour work year or the nine-week work year is a lack of respect for Canadian workers.

I want to ask the member if he believes, as the government does, that Canadian workers will purposely put themselves in a position to be unemployed so they can get all these great benefits from employment insurance.

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Madam Speaker, my colleague represents a riding in Nova Scotia. Ridings in the maritime provinces are similar to those in maritime Quebec, in Gaspésie, the Magdalen Islands and the Lower St. Lawrence. The reality of seasonal jobs is not unique to Quebec: it exists in other provinces. I am sure that if someone goes to my riding or those of my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois and asks people if they would rather have a year-round job or go through periods of unemployment every year, the great majority would say they do not want charity, they want the dignity of work. They want to work rather than receive employment insurance benefits. Quebeckers are proud people.

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, it is fairly clear that this bill must be amended in committee. I would like to ask the member what type of amendments to this bill he would like to see brought in committee.

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Madam Speaker, I believe I have said that the main problem with this bill on the employment insurance system is eligibility. The number of hours to qualify should be reduced to 360. Another problem is the duration of benefits, to avoid what is called “the spring gap”. The seasonally unemployed are not receiving sufficient employment insurance benefits to support them until the next work period. Third, to provide people with a decent income the benefit level must be increased from 55% to 60%.

In addition, on account of the economic crisis, the Bloc Québécois has written two reports—in November 2008 and April 2009—in which it suggests improvements to the government. We call for the abolition of the waiting period so that those unfortunate enough to find themselves unemployed can start receiving money immediately. When you receive employment insurance benefits, it takes two weeks before you see a cheque; meanwhile, the bills keep coming in. The credit union continues to send out its mortgage bill, Visa Desjardins does the same, and people have no income for two weeks.

To continue supporting the plan, the waiting period must be abolished. This is a concrete proposal made by the Bloc Québécois for the benefit of the unemployed.

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I certainly listened with respect to the great deal of passion that the hon. member brings to representing his constituents.

I think I need to make mention that our economic action plan recognizes that there is not just one solution to the global recession that we are facing, which is why we have the community adjustments fund. That is why we have created retraining opportunities and that is why we have job opportunities. There has to be a very complex approach during this global recession.

While this EI bill, Bill C-50, is going to help some people in the province of British Columbia, it is not the perfect solution, but how can the member look at the people that it will help in his province and say, “No, I am not willing to provide you with an extra 20 weeks. I voted against that”?

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Madam Speaker, my colleague can respond when a member of her party, a minister or a parliamentary secretary, takes the floor on the subject of this bill and gives us, province by province, the breakdown of the 190,000 unemployed persons who will be affected by this measure. She mentioned British Columbia. It is our claim, and in this we are in agreement with the Globe and Mail, that the majority of the unemployed affected by this new measure will be workers in the Ontario auto industry. My colleague asks what I will say to the unemployed in Quebec who are affected by this measure. As there will be next to none, I will have nothing of much interest to say to them.

I will tell them that this program, in spite of all the misinformation by the Conservatives in all the media, does not apply to them. That is why it is not working.

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time today with my colleague, the member for Oshawa.

Today I am very proud to express my support for Bill C-50 which will extend EI benefits for long-tenured workers.

Through Canada's economic action plan, we have been helping Canadians in all walks of life to get through a difficult time in our economy. For those who have lost their jobs, we are now providing longer EI benefits and more efficient service. For those who are at risk of being laid off, we have made it easier for companies to participate in work-sharing agreements. We are helping young people get a start in the job market and we are giving them incentives to get certified in the skilled trades.

We are helping older workers make the transition to new careers. We are ensuring that newcomers to this country can get their credentials recognized. We are working to create more job opportunities for aboriginal people. We are making record investments in skills and training to enable Canadians to prepare for the jobs of the future.

Moreover our actions with respect to the employment insurance program are working for Canadians. The actions we are taking are having a positive impact and we are seeing positive results.

Our government is taking further action to ensure the EI program responds to the needs of those workers hit by this global economic downturn such as long-tenured workers. Many of these workers have spent many years in industries that have been hit hard by this recession. Many of them are forestry workers from many provinces. Many of these workers are in the manufacturing sector and in the auto sector, especially here in my home province of Ontario and in my own area.

These hard-working Canadians have put in many hours over the years. They have paid into the EI system for many years. They are out of work through absolutely no fault of their own and they have seldom if ever collected benefits until now. Now a good number of them need some additional time to get back into the workforce. Bill C-50 will give them that support.

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The member will have approximately seven and a half minutes after question period.

Statements by members, the hon. member for Niagara West—Glanbrook.

Fall FairsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Madam Speaker, as the temperature cools, the days shorten and the opposition parties threaten to force an election, it can mean only one thing: Fall is approaching.

For many rural communities across the country this means gearing up to host a fall fair. These fairs offer smaller communities the opportunity to showcase the very best that the citizens have to offer as well as paying tribute to the rich agricultural heritage that these towns share.

Hundreds of tireless volunteers are to be commended for their efforts in making these events as popular and successful as they are.

I am fortunate to have three fairs in my riding of Niagara West—Glanbrook, and in the past two weeks I have enjoyed the 152nd edition of the Lincoln County Fair in Beamsville and the 132nd Smithville Fall Fair. I now look forward to the 155th Binbrook Fair this weekend and would encourage everybody in the Hamilton area to come out and experience all the fun and excitement that is a fall fair.

International Day of PeaceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, next Monday is the 27th anniversary of the first International Day of Peace. On September 21, 1982, the United Nations passed a resolution to dedicate one day per year to promoting peace, cooperation, understanding and a global armistice.

In 1999 a related initiative was launched by the British film director Jeremy Gilley who put together a documentary that followed him as he travelled the globe, promoting the idea of a day of peace. The film, entitled Peace One Day, enjoyed great success and prompted the United Nations to officially declare September 21 as the United Nations' International Day of Peace.

Over the last 10 years, Peace One Day has emerged from relative obscurity to become recognized and celebrated in over 190 countries.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Miss Margaret Rochefort, a young constituent who wrote to me expressing her active interest in this issue.

I invite all members of the House to mark this day as we commemorate and strengthen our Canadian ideals of peace at home and abroad.

Ovarian CancerStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Madam Speaker, September is ovarian cancer awareness month. In 2009, some 2,500 Canadian women will be diagnosed with this form of cancer, and 1,750 will die because of it.

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest form of gynecological cancer affecting North American women. The five-year survival rate is 35% or less. The few symptoms are difficult to detect, and the survival rate could decrease considerably because of the medical isotope shortage.

Quebec's Coalition Priorité Cancer, which represents close to a million people, believes that the radio-isotope crisis is the result of negligence and lack of respect for people, as well as lack of vision and consideration for what people with cancer go through.

That is why we, like the coalition, are urging the government to do what it takes to improve the odds for people with cancer.

Harmonized Sales TaxStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, many working people in Ontario are losing their jobs and struggling to make ends meet, due to the recession's damaging effects in this province.

The Prime Minister has chosen this moment to borrow $4.3 billion to bribe the McGuinty Liberals, endorsed by the federal Liberals, to impose an obscene tax gouge on ordinary Canadians.

This massive tax grab will cost the average resident more than $300 per year to heat their homes and fill their gas tanks alone.

The 8% increase in the cost of everything from funerals to car repairs, hair cuts, school supplies and even retirement savings is the exact opposite of economic stimulus. It is suffocation and strangulation.

The Prime Minister's harmonized sales tax deal with the Liberals will shift the tax burden from price-gouging oil companies and profiteering banks onto families and consumers. The Conservatives cut corporate taxes and they pass the bill on to Canadian workers and consumers.

It is so outrageous that the finance minister's own wife has copied the NDP opposition in having a petition against the Conservative-Liberal tax gouge, proving once again that there is no difference between Liberals and Conservatives. I invite the finance minister--

Harmonized Sales TaxStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. member for Kitchener—Waterloo.

31 Combat EngineersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Conservative Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, last Saturday I had the honour of joining Lord and Lady Elgin and Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran to celebrate the granting of the Freedom of the City of Waterloo to the 31 Combat Engineers, the Elgins.

The granting of the Freedom of the City is a great honour for a regiment. It means the unit can parade with colours flying and bayonets fixed. It also symbolizes the formal establishment of the regiment in a community.

The 48th Field Squadron of 31 Combat Engineers, the Elgins, now serves our community in Kitchener—Waterloo. They will continue to train brave women and men to the highest standards and provide volunteers for our important missions overseas.

I know all members of the House will join me in congratulating the 31 Combat Engineers and in saluting all of the brave women and men who continue to serve in our Canadian Forces at home and abroad.

Fisheries and OceansStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government, at the end of the last sitting, tabled proposed amendments to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization agreement.

The proposed amendments threaten the sustainability of our country's fish stocks. Further, the changes are a threat to the sovereignty of our nation.

It is of such extreme concern that former senior executives of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans who have extensive NAFO experience have taken the unprecedented step of speaking out, calling the amendments a “sellout of Canadian interests”.

The proposed changes to the agreement give an increased influence to NAFO inside the Canadian 200-mile limit. One clause even allows under certain circumstances for NAFO to apply its own measures in the coastal waters of Canada.

At the same time that the Prime Minister speaks of concerns on Arctic sovereignty, his government brings in amendments to an agreement which compromise the sovereignty of the country. The Conservatives promised custodial management but, instead, they tabled an amendment that could allow foreign intervention. How can we trust the government?

The Prime Minister should stand up for Canada and tear up these amendments.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, in this House, Canadians expect that we respect one another and that we unite efforts on Canada's economic action plan and on nurturing our fragile economic recovery.

This summer we all met with our constituents. Personally, I listened to the message they were sending me.

Actually, it is a high school student who shared with me his understanding and his wisdom about leadership.

The primary characteristic of strong leadership is the ability to inspire others to give their very best.

When employers, teachers or parents want employees, students or children to give their best performance, they first make them feel safe.

When people feel safe, they will take risks. They will risk trying, risk doing their best. They will even risk being honest.

Once they have experienced the joy of excellence, that experience and that joy can truly be habit forming.

This message applies to all of us.

Royal PyrotechnieStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate a company from Saint-Pie, in my riding. Royal Pyrotechnie won the Gold Jupiter prize with its performance “Voilà” at the 2009 international fireworks competition in Montreal, the largest fireworks competition in the world.

Yanick Roy, the president of the company—which has been working in this field since 1966—and his team of pyrotechnicians dazzled the judges with the originality and diversity of their technical design, as they set off over 10,000 fireworks.

Their sound track designer, Serge Péloquin, who is from Sorel, also won the Jupiter for best sound track, for the same performance. Capturing an audience through music and astounding them visually is definitely one of this company's gifts.

I would also like to commend them for the marvellous performance they put on before over 8,000 people during the celebrations to honour the Bloc Québécois member for Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour and his 25 years in politics.

I wish Royal Pyrotechnie all the best for a long, international career.

Right Hon. Brian MulroneyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1984, Canadians set a new course. With its ambitious tax policies and free trade, the Conservative government of the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney opened wide the doors to the economic prosperity of our country.

Through his commitment to fight apartheid and promote rights and freedoms throughout the world, he put his personal mark on essential Canadian values. His successful fight against acid rain and his global approach to the thinning of the ozone layer led to major international agreements on climate change.

A Quebecker at heart and a great Canadian, he recognized the importance of who we are and who we wish to become.

I would like to acknowledge the unwavering dedication of the member for Jonquière—Alma who, yesterday and today, delivers the goods for Quebec with passion. We thank him, Mila and Brian Mulroney, our friends and all those who have crafted this marvellous victory.

Conservative GovernmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, if we think about it, we can measure the extent of the Conservatives' incompetence and irresponsibility. It is never their fault; it is always someone else's fault.

While aboriginal people, whose healthcare system is a direct responsibility of the government, are waiting for flu vaccines, the Conservatives sent them body bags instead.

Instead of acknowledging their incompetence and taking responsibility for this scandal, the Minister of Health put the blame on public servants. Public servants take a lot of flack under this Conservative government.

We need only ask Linda Keen, the head of safety of nuclear facilities who was unjustly fired for doing her job and warning the Conservatives about serious problems with the Chalk River reactor.

Instead of taking her seriously, the Conservatives allowed radioactive heavy water to leak into the Ottawa River, and created the worse medical isotope shortage in history, depriving patients access to the cancer and heart disease screening tests they needed.

The Conservatives say that it is never their fault, but they are the ones in power.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is protecting Canadians abroad. Recently the Minister of Foreign Affairs met with Iran's minister of foreign affairs to demand the immediate release of Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari. Yesterday, he also met with Secretary Clinton, who made clear their full support on this issue. The Minister of Foreign Affairs once again expressed the Government of Canada's previous call for immediate consular access, full legal rights and clarification of charges against Mr. Bahari.

Our government continues to take Iran to task on its continued and blatant disregard for basic human rights, unacceptable treatment, and the unjustified detention of Mr. Bahari.

The Government of Canada recognizes there is no such thing as a second-class Canadian. This government is standing up for Canadians both at home and abroad. And let me say it again: a Canadian is a Canadian, is a Canadian, is a Canadian.

Sockeye SalmonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to call the government's attention to the disastrous sockeye salmon collapse in this year's fishery on the west coast, with 60% lost on the Skeena River and 90% lost on the Fraser River. All the while, the minister was off in Europe with 50 of her fish farm friends, all on the taxpayer's dime, rather than doing her job for Canada's west coast.

This was a disaster economically for a region already hard hit. This was a disaster culturally for the first nations that have depended on this fish for feasts and cultural events since time immemorial. This was a disaster environmentally for the grizzly in the great forests of British Columbia that also rely upon this fish.

New Democrats join with coastal communities in calling for an emergency summit to find out what happened to the sockeye, and most important, to create an emergency plan for next year's fishery and to make sure that the fishermen survive until next season.

We simply ask the government to do its job.

Canadian FlagStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have been informed by my colleagues and constituents that the Liberal Party of Canada continues to circulate its anti-flag message in New Brunswick. In fact, I am aware of at least five Liberal members who have sent out this terrible message. It is unacceptable that any member of this chamber would suggest that Canadians be ashamed of our flag in any way at all.

Despite the public outrage, the Liberal Party continues to propagate this message. However, it is not surprising. May I remind all members and Canadians that it was the Liberal leader who once referred to our flag as “a pale imitation of a beer label”.

The fact is that Canada is recognized as a global leader in peacekeeping, international development and economic stability, among many other things. Regardless of what the Liberals want people to believe, Canadians are proud of this great nation.

NortelStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Desnoyers Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on August 7, members of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology met to assess the economic repercussions on Quebec and Canada of Ericsson acquiring Nortel's wireless division. During the meeting, executives provided assurances that they would respect their investment and employment commitments.

Unfortunately, both the Liberals and the Conservatives refused to meet again, so the committee could not hold additional meetings to hear from Nortel workers and retirees. The Minister of Industry also declined to meet with them.

The Bloc Québécois believes that they have a legitimate right to express their concerns and ask questions about the future of their retirement fund. Our party will ensure that the Nortel sell-off respects the rights of workers and retirees.

HealthStatements By Members

September 17th, 2009 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, sending body bags to first nation communities instead of doing its duty to help save lives is just the latest example of the government's stunning incompetence and inability to be accountable for its actions. We have seen it again and again and again.

Canadians are unable to get cancer tests because of the government's mismanagement of the medical isotopes file. What is the government's response? Scapegoat Linda Keen.

Twenty-two Canadians died from listeriosis because of the government's cutbacks on food safety. The Conservatives responded with a whitewash review and refused to hold a proper inquiry.

Canadians are being tortured and unjustly jailed abroad, and the Conservatives blame the bureaucrats.

Now, after pleading for months for leadership and resources to confront the H1N1 pandemic they face, aboriginal communities were outrageously sent body bags, and the health minister claimed ignorance. Just who is running that department?

Incompetent, unaccountable, insensitive and incapable of governing for the people; Canadians deserve better than the Conservative government.

Child CareStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party continues to reveal its disdain for Canadian parents and families. Yesterday in committee, the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel had this to say regarding giving money to parents to help pay for child care, “The problem that I'm seeing is that the parents don't provide. They may have the money, but they use it for their own purposes”. How belittling. This disdain is also shared by the Liberal leader, who called giving parents money “wasteful and a terrible use of public funds”.

Our government believes in choice for families. We have put money directly back into parents' pockets because we believe they know best when it comes to deciding the most appropriate child care option for their children.

Liberals believe that bureaucrats know best and that parents cannot be entrusted with caring for their families. Remember that they said that parents would buy beer and popcorn instead.

Now, once again, the Liberals show their--