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House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Harmonized Sales TaxOral Questions

9:55 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as all hon. members in the House know, that was a decision taken by the provincial governments in British Columbia and Ontario. I would encourage the hon. member to go back and speak to her colleagues in the legislature.

I have to once again remind hon. members of my recurring nightmare, and that is what happened on Wednesday evening when I saw all of those in opposition stand and vote to increase EI premiums for those who can least afford it. We are trying to create jobs. They are trying to kill them.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

9:55 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Finance announced a five-cent increase in the employment insurance premium rate. This could have been avoided had the government given back the $57 billion that has pilfered from the fund since 1990.

Why is the minister increasing premiums to be paid into a fund that was plundered for nearly 20 years, money that has yet to be returned? Is he planning to take unemployed workers' money to pay down his deficit again?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

10 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that is funny math, and there is no other way to describe it. The hon. member voted for a 60¢ increase when we decided to reduce it by two-thirds to ensure that we would continue to grow jobs in our country.

Do not take my word for it; listen to the Retail Council of Canada. It said:

Retailers are happy the government has listened to their concerns and reduced the level of EI increases during a time of fragile economic recovery....We appreciate the government's leadership on this issue.

We wish the opposition would.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

10 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the government announced that five pilot projects would end this fall and that it is raising premiums. Contributors will pay more for a system that gives them less.

Rather than increase premiums to finance its deficit, as the Liberals did in their day, will this government promise to improve the system so that every cent of that increase will go back to unemployed workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

10 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, during the recession, our government implemented a number of measures to help unemployed workers, including the five additional weeks and the program for long-tenured workers. What I do not understand is why the Bloc voted against all of these measures to help workers.

Potash IndustryOral Questions

10 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, with respect to any possible takeover of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, what is the government's definition of net benefit to Canada?

Does the government agree that in this case, involving the biggest potash mining company in the world and the richest potash reserves in the world, all in Saskatchewan, it must be what is best of Saskatchewan that is front and centre?

Will the government commit to that and to complete transparency and enforceability in deciding this matter?

Potash IndustryOral Questions

10 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the government is aware of this proposed transaction and will monitor the situation closely to determine how the Investment Canada Act applies.

The hon. member should be aware that the acquisition of control by a foreign investor of a Canadian business with assets of $299 million or more is subject to review, and. where a transaction is subject to review, the investor must obtain approval of the Minister of Industry prior to implementing the investment.

The minister will only approve applications for review where an investment demonstrates that it is likely to be of net benefit to Canada.

Potash IndustryOral Questions

10 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government saying, “Trust us”, just does not work. One just need ask the victims of Nortel across the country or Vale Inco in Sudbury or U.S. Steel in Hamilton.

In 2008, the chairman of Australia's BHP said this:

Canada's policies are a worst-case scenario; Canada has lost more head offices than any other country; Canada has already been reduced to an industry 'branch office' and is largely irrelevant on the global mining stage.

Given that point of view from BHP, again I ask what the government's definition is of net benefit.

Potash IndustryOral Questions

10 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, to correct the hon. member, this year Canadian international acquisitions exceeded the value of foreign acquisitions by a ratio of 20%.

The net benefit review process is rigorous. It involves consultations, as the hon. member knows, with the affected provinces and territories and other government departments as required.

In terms of net benefit to Canada, it is pretty clear that one thing that is of net benefit to Canada is the measures the government has taken in the economic action plan, measures that the Liberal Party has voted against every time.

Steel IndustryOral Questions

10 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, U.S. Steel just announced it is shutting down its last Hamilton blast furnace, allegedly because of market conditions.

The company says that there are no plans for layoffs but what will sustain these decent, family-sustaining jobs when the plant is not producing any iron to make steel?

While the government is hiding behind a court case that has been dragging on for years, steelworkers need answers today about the future of their jobs and pensions.

When will the government ensure that there is a net benefit to Canadians before it approves foreign takeovers and stand up for steelworkers by acting to protect their jobs?

Steel IndustryOral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are disappointed to learn that U.S. Steel will idle its blast furnace in Hamilton, but we are encouraged by the company's statement that it will not lay off staff as a result.

As Canadians would expect our government to do, we will continue to closely monitor the situation.

Steel IndustryOral Questions

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, as you have heard, SteelWorkers 1005 and U.S. Steel were in contract negotiations when the company suddenly announced the closure of its last blast furnace.

We had Xstrata, Vale Inco and now U.S. Steel. Again and again, foreign companies are flaunting agreements signed with the government.

What action can Hamilton workers expect from their government beyond the current lawsuit, or is the minister just planning to sit this one out?

Steel IndustryOral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I just answered that question. I will reiterate the fact that this year Canadian international acquisitions exceeded the value of foreign acquisitions by 20%, a ratio of 1.2 to 1.

In terms of the question as to what Canadians can expect from this government, Canadians can expect the same thing from this government that they have had for five years. It is the measures we have taken that have put Canada in the most enviable position of any country in the developed world.

Those measures, the steps that we have taken to get there, have been voted against by the NDP every time.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot of concern about the Bloc-NDP-Liberal proposal to create a 45-day work year. This plan would cost Canadians $7 billion annually and increase premiums permanently by a whopping 35%. This is irresponsible and downright offensive to hard-working Canadians. Our Conservative government is the only voice in Parliament to oppose this reckless plan.

Would the parliamentary secretary inform the House how the government is helping support jobs and standing up for job creators?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Northumberland—Quinte West for his role in our economic action plan's rollout.

Unlike the opposition, we are worried about creating jobs. That is why we reduced the recommended EI rate by two-thirds. That is the most important announcement Canadians have heard. Canadians heard it loud and clear. I want to remind members about some of those who actually applauded that, none of them in this House: the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Labour Congress--

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Scarborough Centre.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are stunned at the government's addiction to waste. At the G8 and G20 meetings, it spent $85,000 on snacks at just one luxury hotel; $300,000 on bug spray; and $2 million to rent cars, all that just for two days.

That money, for example, could have been used to fund the building of the first Greek Canadian community centre in Toronto or maybe help needy seniors.

Who authorized this mess? Who chose waste over the priorities and needs of Canadians? Why has the Conservative government turned its back on the Greek community?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of the accomplishments of the G8 and G20 summits. Canada is leading the global economic recovery, as well as international efforts to aid developing countries.

As we have said from the beginning, these were legitimate expenses, the majority of which were for security. We have asked the Auditor General to look at these expenses as they come in. We look forward to her review.

As for infrastructure in the member's riding, I am wondering why he did not either ask or, in fact, even vote for them.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have still not granted the main request of our veterans. The changes announced this week do absolutely nothing to change their situation. The lump sum payment does not cut it.

Will the government finally amend the veterans charter and restore the lifetime monthly pension for injured soldiers, as the ombudsman has called for?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, over the past few days we have announced several measures to support our veterans, especially recent veterans. We plan to address lump sum payments next week.

What we have heard about the lump sum payment is that some people, although not everyone, were having difficulty managing the amount of money when they received it in a single payment. We are in the process of looking at that, and we will be making a positive announcement for our veterans in a matter of days.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

October 1st, 2010 / 10:10 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, budget 2010 promised $10 million to address violence against aboriginal women. Six months later, there is still nothing from the government. Over 500 aboriginal women have been murdered or are missing. Women's organizations and aboriginal groups across the country have the solutions to stop violence against aboriginal women. What they need is the funding promised by the government.

The minister keeps telling us that the announcement is coming soon. Soon is not good enough. Will the minister tell us exactly when the $10 million will be released?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to ensuring that all women, including aboriginal women, are safe and secure regardless of the community in which they live. This is a pressing concern that cuts across many different sectors, including the justice system, public safety, police and gender issues, women's rights and aboriginal affairs.

The hon. member is right. The budget does have $10 million over two years to address this disturbing problem. The question I have for her is: Why did she stand in her place and vote against that $10 million if she is now so concerned about it?

JusticeOral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader offers very few solutions when it comes to getting tough on crime. He panders to the drug users rather than joining our government in getting tough on traffickers and producers of drugs. On Monday, he said he would reintroduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana. This just shows that he values scoring political points over getting tough on the serious crimes that threaten the safety of our communities.

Would the Minister of Justice tell us what he thinks of the Liberal leader's recent announcement?

JusticeOral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I do not think very much of it. This is exactly why we instituted the national anti-drug strategy. We did it to specifically discourage people from getting involved with drugs, but the Liberals obviously have a different approach.

This is why I always say that when it comes to standing up against criminals, standing up for victims and fighting crime in this country, there is only one party and one government that people can trust and it is this Conservative government.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, here are some of the legitimate expenses the government talks about: $14,000 for glow sticks and $4 million to drain a quarry. The minister is so embarrassed that he is incapable of offering a decent response. Meanwhile, the government cannot find money to support legitimate needs for seniors, for students and for hospitals in my riding.

How can the Conservatives be so out of touch with reality, so incompetent, or is it that they just do not care how they spend Canadian tax dollars?