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House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was business.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, and so is Christmas coming too, I understand.

I do not like to point out what a former government did, but it is pretty hypocritical to ask a question like that when the Liberals raided the EI fund. There is no polite way to put it; $57 billion was missing. That is money from employees and employers. We would not have had to make any changes to EI if it had not been for their actions.

International TradeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government has a track record as a bad negotiator on softwood lumber, on buy America, and I am afraid it is at it again. With respect to the Canada-EU trade negotiation, European officials are saying that Canada would come out a loser. Canadian trade experts are saying that there is not enough in the deal to make it worthwhile.

Why do the Conservatives continue to negotiate bad trade deals that put Canadian jobs at risk?

International TradeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, our trade negotiation with the European Union is Canada's most important trade initiative since the signing of the historic North American free trade agreement. A trade agreement with the EU will increase Canada's economy by $12 billion and increase two-way trade by 20%. This is an ambitious free trade agreement. It will create jobs and economic growth for Canadians in all regions of the country.

International TradeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, that is a wish list. We have to see the government start to stand up for ordinary Canadians. By caving to European pharmaceutical companies, the Conservatives are driving up health care costs by up to $2.8 billion. Many seniors in Dartmouth--Cole Harbour, and across the country, are already having trouble making ends meet. This trade deal would mean that seniors will have an even harder time paying for the drugs that they need.

My question is, why is this out-of-touch government negotiating deals that put the health care of Canadians at risk?

International TradeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I said earlier that the benefits to Canadians are clear. A trade agreement with the European Union is expected to boost Canada's economy by $12 billion and increase two-way trade by 20%. I would remind the member opposite that this government always protects and advances Canada's interests during international negotiations and will only enter into an agreement that is in the best interests of Canadians.

International TradeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Unbelievable, Mr. Speaker. This government is still helping its buddies and is forgetting Canadians. It is completely irresponsible.

The government is getting ready to sign a trade agreement with the European Union that could have serious consequences for Canadians. According to an expert study, if Canada waives patent protection for generic drugs, as the European Union wants, there could be nearly $3 billion in added costs for our health care system.

Why is this government determined to negotiate an agreement that jeopardizes the health of Canadians?

International TradeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has his facts wrong. Like all of Canada's trade agreements, a free trade agreement with the European Union would exclude public services such as public health, public education, and social services. Canada's trade obligations do not require us to privatize any part of our health care system. The claims to this are simply hogwash.

International TradeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the facts. Canadians are worried that the Conservatives are giving their friends at the major pharmaceutical companies exclusive rights to data. Those are the facts. Manufacturers of generic drugs face long delays and added costs to get their products on the market. Is that not a double standard?

How will families, who are already struggling to pay for medications, be able to afford them under such conditions?

International TradeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member opposite that the government always protects and advances Canada's interests during international negotiations. We will only enter into an agreement that is in Canada's best interests. The benefits to Canada are clear. As I said earlier, a trade agreement with the European Union is expected to boost Canada's economy by $12 billion and increase two-way trade by 20%. Our ambitious pro-trade plan will create jobs and economic growth for Canadians in all regions of the country.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, a new report by TD Bank shows that seniors in Canada are accumulating debt at a rate faster than other Canadians. With the rising cost of food, home heating, and day-to-day expenses, seniors are struggling to make ends meet. Seniors built this country and deserve to retire with dignity. We need pension reform, long-term care, and affordable home care.

When will the government finally take action and ensure a secure retirement for all seniors?

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Richmond B.C.

Conservative

Alice Wong ConservativeMinister of State (Seniors)

Mr. Speaker, Canada's seniors have worked hard to build a better country, and our government believes they deserve a secure and dignified retirement. That is why we are providing the largest GIS increase in a quarter century to the lowest-income seniors who need it the most. Also, since 2006, the government has provided over $2.3 billion in annual tax relief for seniors and pensioners, removed 380,000 seniors from the tax rolls completely, and introduced pension income splitting.

We have also made significant advances in affordable housing--

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I will have to stop the minister there.

The hon. member for Pierrefonds--Dollard.

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly that is not enough. Canadians over the age of 65 are piling up debt three times faster than the average rate. Unfortunately, their savings are dwindling. While the stock market is free-falling and private pension plans are disappearing like snow on a summer's day, our seniors are on the ropes.

When will this government take concrete measures to ensure that our seniors can live in dignity?

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, that is a relevant question. I am glad that the NDP has recognized that there is more we can do to help seniors save for their retirement. That is why we have been working with our partners, the provinces, in developing a new form of a pooled registered pension plan that would provide an opportunity for almost 60% of Canadians, who now do not have a workplace pension plan, to help them save for their retirement.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, the federal government's own report shows that it will breach the legal limit for student loans by 2013. On average, Canadians are graduating with a debt of over $25,000, and tuition fees are still rising at four times the rate of inflation.

If the government is as serious as it says it is about securing Canada's economic future, why will it not commit to a plan to reduce tuition fees and take real action to reduce the debt that is burdening students and their families?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about ensuring students have access to post-secondary education, whether it is colleges or universities. That is why we introduced the apprentice incentive grant and the completion grant. That is why we introduced the Canada student grants program, which is helping 190,000 more students than the previous Liberal plan. That is also why we have made scholarships and bursaries tax free, and made improvements in the registered education savings plan.

Sadly, the NDP has voted against every single one of those efforts to help students.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the minister needs to do her homework. The reality is that tuition fees have never been higher, and by 2013, student debt will be more than $15 billion. The government is pushing an entire generation to the brink of bankruptcy.

Will the government finally take measures to reduce the burden of student debt by developing an education transfer for the provinces?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we are doing right now to help them. We have given universities and colleges billions of dollars for infrastructure so that students have a place to study and acquire the skills they will need in the labour market.

We have made many efforts to help students through bursaries and tax measures. Unfortunately, the NDP has voted against every single one of these initiatives.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, by threatening Air Canada's flight attendants with back-to-work legislation, the government interfered in the legitimate bargaining process between employees and employer. It made the situation even worse by using an unfair practice. Instead of promoting negotiations in good faith, the Minister of Labour intervened personally. That is a dangerous precedent.

Is making threats this Conservative government's new negotiation technique?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, we are very disappointed that the two parties have not been able to attain their own collective agreement. Indeed, two times the parties at the table reached a tentative agreement and twice their membership rejected it in ratification.

I approached the member opposite on the concerns I had leading up to the second ratification vote and I asked that he work with me on this, and work with the union, because it is a serious matter which can be solved if the two parties come together and come to their own collective agreement.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, last week a reprehensible crime took place here in Ottawa, but we will not have to bring in CSI Ottawa to find the guilty party. Organized labour in this country was bludgeoned by the Conservative government and the Minister of Labour's fingerprints are all over the weapon.

However, the real crime here is that, for the past six days, rather than bringing the groups together, she has driven them apart. What really needs an upgrade here is her mediation skills. What is she doing to try to bring these groups back together again?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, since June 3 of this year, our government has been trying to give every facilitation available to the two parties.

I which the member for Cape Breton—Canso would be quiet. Although he is way the heck down at the other end of the House, I can hear him interrupting me and I know that the good people of Cape Breton would not appreciate that either.

That being said, we are doing everything we possibly can to get the two parties together. They have reached an impasse and, as such, we will protect the economy and act in the best interests of Canadians.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

October 17th, 2011 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, an internal memo to DFO employees has laid out the government's plans to wind down large ocean management projects, slash funding for science, services, aquaculture and other crucial departmental responsibilities. It seems that fishing communities are caught in the middle of the Conservative attack on facts and evidence.

Will the government stop its plan to destroy DFO and destroy Canada's fisheries and coastal communities?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, of course nothing could be further from the truth. Science is an important part of fisheries management, and we honour that principle and will continue in the future gaining information from science to better manage our fisheries.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, the minister is about to defend the gutting of $200 million from Veterans Affairs. I can see that he has his PMO script all ready to go. Why did Veterans Affairs spend $3 million on backdrops--