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House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was help.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the report on the government's economic recovery plan is full of broken promises. It is a smokescreen. Municipalities are still waiting for these projects to get off the ground. People are losing their jobs and they do not have access to employment insurance.

It is clear that the Prime Minister has lost control of the deficit. And now he is telling us that we are on the right track; that is what he is telling us.

If this is what it means to be on the right track, what does he think it means to be on the wrong one?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this government brought forward a comprehensive economic action plan to ensure that we created jobs, to ensure that we put some hope and some opportunity back into it.

Liberals ask, “Where is that plan?” I should mention that they voted for it for 10 months in a row.

We are hard at work. We are focused on the economy. We are working together with our political opponents, whether they are Liberals, whether they are Conservatives, and maybe we could see a little bit of unity come from the Liberal caucus, particularly in the province of Quebec.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, they work for their own interests, not for Canadians.

I will tell you what is in this report: wishful thinking, made-up numbers, twisted reality and even a lack of respect for Canadians as a whole.

The Prime Minister is full of himself, but Canadians are still losing their jobs. How can he be so incredibly insensitive? The economy is fragile and people want their government to lead, not throw up smokescreens to hide the truth. So here is my question.

Why is the Prime Minister so scared of the truth?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, maybe we have just seen the Liberal Party's new Quebec lieutenant. For a while there, we thought it was going to be the member for Toronto Centre because all of the Liberal Party's decisions about Quebec are made in Toronto.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's stimulus package is inadequate and does not meet Quebec's needs. In fact, the Prime Minister himself has admitted that the forestry industry is still experiencing serious difficulties even though there are signs of economic recovery. However, the Prime Minister did nothing to help this industry, which is so important to Quebec.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his stimulus package does nothing to help the forestry industry while giving a major boost to the auto industry?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the economic action plan is in effect. Over 90% of the funds have been committed. Of the 5,500 projects announced, the shovels are in the ground for 4,000 that have been tendered. On this side of the House, we are taking action. Economic recovery is on the horizon although it is still fragile. We must continue to focus on the economy. Canadians and Quebeckers can count on this government to do so.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that there are not many shovels opening logging roads in Quebec.

Even the Minister of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec has admitted that he has done nothing to help the forestry industry. This federal member even said, and I quote, “Why is it up to me to table solutions?” It must be done.

Will the Prime Minister admit that it is not by setting up phoney committees, as the minister just announced last week, that he will help the forestry industry to get back on track?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, last week, I had the pleasure, together with my colleague, Quebec's minister of economic development, to set up a team to move matters forward, especially the restructuring of the forestry industry. I am going to finish what I started to say last week. I will say it in its entirety. The federal government is not acting alone. The Government of Quebec, the forestry industry, corporate presidents, unions, banks and all partners are involved because we believe that the forestry industry has a future and will be rebuilt with the help of all partners.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, minister Gignac in Quebec has condemned the federal government's passivity in this crisis. Minister Normandeau is calling on the federal government to stop using the softwood lumber agreement as an excuse not to act.

By saying that it is not up to the federal government to come up with solutions to the forestry crisis, is the Minister of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec not confirming that his government is taking a passive approach to this crisis?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, this is a very tough time for the people working in the forestry sector, whether they work in softwood lumber or pulp and paper. I can confirm that the only people who can help the forestry industry, not just by talking, but by taking action, are the members of our government. A few months ago, after a Canada-Quebec committee was set up, we announced $230 million for the forestry industry in Quebec. This is far more than the Bloc has done in 18 years and more than it will ever do. We are going to keep on supporting the forestry industry and forestry workers.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec) is claiming that his government's hands are tied by the softwood lumber agreement, Quebec's natural resources minister is saying that the federal government can come up with creative ways to help the forestry industry while honouring its trade commitments.

What is the government waiting for to help forestry workers in Quebec to the same extent as auto workers in Ontario?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my colleague that in 2008, Export Development Canada supported the forestry industry in Quebec with nearly $9 billion in various financial products. As of August 31, 2009, Export Development Canada has provided the forestry industry in Quebec with more than $7 billion in support, for a total of $16 billion in two years. He should do the math and then we will talk.

Moreover, last week, when the task team was announced, the Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade of Quebec confirmed that we had to comply with the softwood lumber agreement to avoid a repeat of what happened in Gaspé—

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is once again trying to paint a rosy picture of the economy, but the real economy and the impact on families is still devastating.

This past week, back in our ridings across the country, New Democrat members of Parliament heard stories that are truly saddening. Now, we are pleased that the government has finally brought forward $1 billion of extra help for the unemployed, but we have to look for the next step here.

There still are 800,000 people out of work who cannot get help from the EI system. What is the government proposing to do about that, the real economic crisis?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I do agree with the leader of the NDP that far too many Canadians are experiencing some real challenging times.

That is why this government brought forward the economic action plan. That is why we are working to cut taxes, to put more money in the economy, and to allow more credit to be available to Canadians to help them make purchases. That is why we have made some pretty substantial changes to the employment insurance system, so that there will be more hope and opportunity for people in the future.

What we cannot do is simply see some signs of a fragile recovery and move on. We have to stay focused on the economy, stay focused on job creation, and stay focused on passing much needed reforms to the employment insurance program in this House of Commons.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has an opportunity to change direction and to initiate an economic recovery that is truly green. It is just not happening.

The UN report that just came out is showing that Canada is spending much less on the environmentally sustainable jobs, jobs of the future, compared to other G20 countries. Per capita, Canada is investing four times less than the United States, five times less than Australia, and sixteen times less than South Korea. We are not grabbing hold of the opportunities.

Will the government accelerate the pace of green investments as called for by the United Nations?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, many of the infrastructure projects that we have supported and are under construction right across the country are designed and focused to improve our environment.

Let me give two specific examples. Right around the country we are doing a lot of waste water treatment plants. That leads to cleaner water, which is a key priority for Canadians. The Prime Minister made important announcements in Yukon and northwestern British Columbia to get more clean electricity onto the grid. That will get rid of dirty diesel power. It will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and it will make our air cleaner.

That is something that is a priority for this government and that is something we will continue to do in every corner of the country.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

September 28th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, with the Copenhagen summit approaching, this government needs to find a way out of the corner it has backed itself into.

This would be good for the environment, for our future and for our economy.

The UN report shows that the investments that are made now can and must help us combat climate change.

When will we see serious investments in energy efficiency, building renovations, renewable energy and public transportation? When will we see some concrete action from this government?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have projects that have been approved and are under way right now to get dirty diesel powered generation off the generation mix of Canadians, and to get more clean hydroelectricity to Canadian homes.

We have provided significant support in Prince Edward Island for more wind power, thanks to the good work of the Minister of Fisheries. We are undertaking significant initiatives in every corner of the province to make Canada greener and to assist in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, something that we believe is a key priority not just for Canada but indeed the entire world.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Monday, someone removed dozens of photos of the Prime Minister from the website for the economic action plan. Why?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are very focused on infrastructure projects right across the country. We are working hard with our provincial, territorial and municipal governments.

We would not have had the amount of success on infrastructure spending or the type of co-operation we have with the provinces if it were not for the leadership of the Prime Minister, who has put politics aside and is getting the job done.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was actually prepared to respond to at least an attempt at an answer, but that was not even an attempt at one.

I will volunteer that hastily making drastic changes to the website in the middle of the night sure looks like a guilty kid trying to cover his tracks.

Why will the government not admit that it got its hands caught in a taxpayer-paid cookie jar?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, while the Liberal Party is trolling the Internet looking for pictures of the Prime Minister, it is this Conservative government that is working hard to create jobs to inspire more hope, to inspire more opportunities for the Canadian economy. That is our priority, not logging on to the worldwide web in the middle of the night like the member opposite.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today's economic report, in spite of all the blustering across the way, is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

In June the Conservatives could not justify their phoney claim that 80% of stimulus projects were under way. Now their 90% claim is 10% more ridiculous.

Despite ballooning spending out of control, the Conservatives have failed to deliver on 88% of their infrastructure commitments and are presiding over the biggest job losses in history. That is nothing to be proud of because 486,000 full-time jobs are gone.

Why did the Conservatives not get the job done? Why do they not just step back and let us do the job?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has demonstrated the real goal of the Liberal Party. The Liberals want to move Canada into an opportunistic early election because it suits their political interests, not to fight for the interests of Canadians.

That is why this government is working hard on infrastructure projects. One of the biggest projects under way in the country, where money is being spent, is right in her riding. That is the expansion of the Spadina subway, which this government has committed more than $666 million to deliver.

Many will ask why the previous Liberal government would not make that type of investment in Toronto. I cannot explain it, but the Prime Minister is getting the job done.