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House of Commons Hansard #45 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

A question has arisen with respect to the employment insurance decision by the government to raise employment insurance premiums by some $600 million next year in defiance of the reality that, in fact, the economy has been losing jobs recently and that the economy is definitely slowing down.

When we asked the Minister of Finance this question over many, many months, he kept saying that he had no authority or power over these increases.

Why did the government not go all the way and stop the increases as of January 1, 2012?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, we have taken a number of steps to address the issues regarding the economy, particularly those with respect to employment insurance.

Our government's top priority remains getting Canadians back to work. That is exactly what we are doing. We are working to promote economic growth.

I do not know whether the hon. member heard or not but we have actually made announcements very much specifically dedicated to that effort. We are committed to providing timely service to all Canadians who do need that service.

That is what our minister has been doing. That is what our government's policy puts forward for the country.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that the Conservative government decided to increase taxes on workers and employers just as the economy is slowing down. It does not make any sense. No economist or theorist in the country would agree with such an approach.

The government has shown that it can cut tax increases by 50%. Why does the government not go all out and say that there will be no tax increases this year?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member has a point. Clearly, Canada is not immune to the global fluctuations that are occurring, especially with what we see happening in Europe. Of course, the European markets and what has happened in the United States definitely impact us.

I will say what the government will not do. It will not do what the member's party did when it had a surplus in the EI fund, which was to expropriate and actually steal that money to use it for another purpose.

I assure the House our government will not follow that example.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

November 14th, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on another subject to the same minister.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Toronto Centre has the floor.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no point in trying to respond to that. This is on another question.

There was a third allegation today with respect to an RCMP officer in Alberta regarding a question of harassment. We have two serious allegations of harassment by two women in British Columbia.

It is clear from the allegations that have been made that this is now a systemic issue. It is not just one officer complaining; it is clearly a number of officers complaining, and others feeling that they are not able to come forward because of a systemic problem.

I ask the minister, what does the government intend to do to deal with an issue that is no longer one by one, but is clearly now a systemic issue in our national police force?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, like the interim leader of the Liberal Party, we in the government are very concerned about these reports. In fact, we expect that the new RCMP commissioner will be seized with this issue immediately.

I am assured by the Minister of Public Safety that this will be on the agenda the very first time he meets with that new commissioner, when that position is filled.

The government's policy, including the RCMP of course, is one of zero tolerance with respect to harassment in the workplace. That is expected of every department, particularly the RCMP.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the United States have chosen the right approach by wanting to ensure that the Keystone XL project respects the environment. However, the Conservatives refuse to adopt an action plan to respect the environment. Rather than sitting down with the Americans to see how to do things better, the government insists on going forward.

Will this government recognize that its inaction is harmful to our environment and to our jobs?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is an important objective of our government to diversify the market for our resources, which is why I visited China and Japan last week where there was an excellent reception.

The NDP has obviously not talked to Joseph Mancinelli of the Labourers' International Union of North America. Joe supports the XL pipeline because it would create jobs for his members.

When will the NDP stop supporting jet-setting Hollywood actors and European--

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Halifax.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Wow, Mr. Speaker.

Make no mistake, the Keystone decision is the result of six years of Conservative inaction. The Americans are outspending us 18 to 1 on renewable investments and 8 to 1 on clean energy. Instead of lobbying the U.S., why do we not look to it for an example? We should be creating jobs by diversifying our energy economy.

The government is refusing to show leadership on climate change and the economy. When will it wake up and work with the Americans to help us build a green energy economy?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, NDP members have never met a job creating private sector policy or project that they do not want to kill, a tax they do not want to raise, a regulation they do not want to impose, a freedom they do not want to curtail, an issue they do not try to use to divide Canadians, and a fictitious problem they do not want the government to solve at great cost.

That is why the NDP is not fit to govern.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, those answers clearly indicate how out of touch the Conservative government is.

Our biggest trading partners are concerned about exports of oil sands bitumen because Conservatives failed to listen to sensible health and climate concerns. The Prime Minister called this a no-brainer. The Americans and the Europeans call it a non-starter.

Will the government listen to the legitimate concerns of our trading partners instead of just threatening the Americans with taking our oil to China?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, we were disappointed with the delay in the Keystone pipeline which obviously results from U.S. domestic political considerations. We have consistently said the pipeline would create thousands of jobs in Canada and billions of dollars in economic activity.

While we remain hopeful the project will eventually be decided on its merits, we will continue to ensure that markets are open outside North America.

On my trip to Asia, the reception was--

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Nickel Belt.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

It must have been a really good reception, Mr. Speaker.

It is clear that Europe and the United States do not want our oil, but the government says that that is no problem and that it will sell our oil elsewhere, and why not to China. This government has no vision for our economy and is putting all its eggs in one basket.

Instead of selling raw bitumen to China, why does this government not find ways to refine Canadian oil here in Canada?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the member does not understand that Canada does not have the oil refining capacity and that it costs billions of dollars. When I visited China and Japan, the reception was very good. Canada has an excellent reputation. That is why they want to continue to invest in Canada. They are very interested in our natural resources.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the past month the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister has been called out by the Canadian judiciary, the Ethics Commissioner, the bar association, but now the senior law clerk of the House of Commons is warning that his behaviour at committee is an interference with the independence of the courts that is both unconstitutional and “unlawful”. Either the government respects the constitutional limits of Parliament or it does not.

I have a simple question. Will the government rein in this rogue member, yes or no?

Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, our government and the member for Peterborough were elected to look out for taxpayers. That is what he has been doing. He deserves the applause of the House on all sides for standing up for taxpayers. That is what he has done.

The CBC receives a lot of money from taxpayers. Our government believes that the CBC, the Wheat Board, and other organizations, have to be accountable for the money they receive from taxpayers. That is what the member for Peterborough has been fighting for. That is what we will continue to pursue with all government departments and agencies, including the CBC.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about interfering in the independence of the courts. The parliamentary law clerk clearly said that the member for Peterborough violated Parliament's constitutional boundaries. He is turning the committee into a circus and his request for documents is unlawful.

Is the attack on the CBC also an attack on the independence of Canadian courts?

Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we are talking here about accountability and the responsibility of the CBC to be in tune with its needs and to be open to the public about the money it receives from taxpayers.

That is what the Parliamentary Secretary is doing and that is what our government promised to Canadians during the last election campaign. We are asking for the CBC's receipts because it must be accountable. It was the same with our Bill C-2, under the former government. The CBC must show taxpayers that it will act responsibly with the money it receives from them.

Campaign FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, last week the Conservative Party of Canada pleaded guilty to exceeding campaign spending limits, failing to report election expenses, and violating the Canada Elections Act. Despite being found guilty, the Conservatives are calling it a victory. Plea bargaining and paying the maximum possible fines so that Conservative Party operatives do not get thrown into prison is not vindication. It is contemptible.

When will the government stand up for election spending rules and get tough on the rule breakers in the Conservative Party?

Campaign FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have a document from Elections Canada which says:

The Contracting Party acknowledged acts that contravene section 405.21 and constitute an offence under paragraph 497...of the Canada Elections Act.

The contracting party in this Elections Canada document is the New Democratic Party of Canada.