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House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I was appalled to hear that NDP members are actually going to the U.S. to advocate against Keystone. They are flying to our largest trading partner to denigrate a project that employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians, generates billions of dollars of economic activity, and funds social services like education for our children and health care for our elderly. It is a disgrace.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. State Department has good cause to delay the decision on the Keystone XL project. There are concerns about climate change. It is obvious that the rest of the world gives little credence to this government's public relations efforts concerning the oil sands. Without regulations, our environment is being polluted and our trade relations are suffering.

When will this government realize that it takes more than an ethical oil label to hide its failure to protect our environment?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, since being appointed as Minister of Natural Resources, I have travelled to Europe, Asia and the United States to defend our interests and to support Canada's jobs and economy.

When the NDP travels abroad, its agenda is to campaign against Canadian industry, which employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians. It is probably the most bizarre international relations strategy I have ever seen, and it proves that the NDP is not fit to govern the country.

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of International Trade tabled both the Canada-Jordan economic growth and prosperity act, as well as the Canada-Panama economic growth and prosperity act. These pieces of legislation are a key part of our government's ambitious pro-trade plan that is opening new markets for Canadian products and services.

More importantly, it would create opportunities for Canadian businesses and create jobs for Canadian workers. Quick passage of this legislation means more jobs in London, Ontario and more jobs across Canada.

Would the minister please explain to the House why these pieces of legislation are critical to creating economic growth and prosperity in Canada?

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member. He works very hard for the businesses--

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, free trade agreements with Jordan and Panama are a key part of our job creating, pro-trade plan. I was proud to table this important legislation this morning.

Despite the NDP's ideological opposition to trade, our government will continue to pursue our pro-trade plan because open markets create new opportunities for our farmers and small businesses--

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. I am afraid all that applause ate up quite a bit of the minister's time.

The hon. member for Nanaimo—Cowichan.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government finally found a way to improve service scores: it changed the rules. The government is directing employees to not even mention the Service Canada hotline to clients.

The fact is that Canadians contacting Service Canada are facing unacceptable delays and the government is refusing to address the problem.

When will the Conservatives reverse their plan to cut more employees at Service Canada?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the facts are exactly the opposite to what the hon. member has just said. We are working to improve our services to Canadians at Service Canada.

We are automating both the call systems and the EI processing systems, so that Canadians can access the benefits that they need more efficiently, more effectively and in a more affordable manner. We are automating things so that will happen.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has simply automated her talking points.

The reality is that service automation is already happening and it is clearly not the answer. The minister should face reality and acknowledge that Canadians deserve better service.

A new report by Roy Romanow recommends increasing accessibility and standardizing eligibility for EI programs. For too many, after paying for years, help is not there when they need it. The government is failing on access to employment insurance.

Will it commit today to fix it?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, during the recent global recession we took significant steps to help the unemployed. We brought in an extra five weeks of benefits for all. We made it possible for people to access more training so they could get new jobs. We brought in a whole range of initiatives to help the unemployed get back to work. We also brought in extra people to make sure that their applications were processed quickly and efficiently.

Sadly, despite the protestations to try to help the unemployed, the NDP voted against every single one of those initiatives.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry NDP Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, time is passing but the Minister’s words never change. Since July, she has been feeding us the same lines, even though reality tells us the opposite of what she says. The NDP has already disclosed figures that the government wants to keep hidden: thousands of Canadians hang up without speaking to an agent. By eliminating further positions, the government is asking Service Canada to do more with less.

Why is the government abandoning working people and their families?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to help the unemployed get back into the labour market. We have offered them training to prepare them for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Unfortunately, all the NDP does is try to make it easier for them to get employment insurance, not to access the labour market. It wants to have a 45-day work year, but that is not possible. We want to help the unemployed get back to work.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry NDP Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister can keep saying the same thing all she wants, but the system is not working any more and the public are the ones penalized by the government’s failure to act. Service Canada does not answer all its calls. It already takes too long to receive benefits. What will it be like if more employees lose their jobs at Service Canada?

Why is the government refusing to see reality? Why are families going to pay the price of the cuts at Service Canada?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want to help people get employment insurance benefits. The best way to help them is to give them training to prepare them for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Then they will be able to support their families. That is the best way to help them.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy predicts that climate change will cost Canadians up to $43 billion by 2050. The government's own advisory panel found that catastrophic climate change could wipe out up to 25% of Canada's GDP.

Right now, the government has no plan to meet 75% of its greenhouse gas reduction targets. As we lead up to the world conference in Durban, when will Canadians get a real plan?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, our government is indeed balancing the need for a cleaner and healthier environment with protecting jobs and economic growth.

The Kyoto protocol does not include major emitters such as China, India or even the United States and therefore does not work. Canada will not sign on to any new agreement that does not include all major emitters.

We remain committed to reducing Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels and we are achieving that goal.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the international community has been working for 15 years to find practical solutions to combat climate change, which is the greatest challenge of our day. Protecting forests, green technologies, financial mechanisms for the less wealthy countries and accountability for outcomes are central to the UN process.

Why is this government going to sabotage 15 years of work by egotistically refusing to live up to its responsibilities?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the reality is, our Canadian delegation has been preparing for the 17th conference of the parties in Durban all year.

In pre-Durban meetings in Mexico City, Washington and Cape Town, I have assured other national delegations that, despite some significant challenges, I believe we can move our common climate change cause forward in terms of both mitigation and adaptation.

At the same time, I have reiterated our government's decision to not make a second Kyoto protocol commitment but to work to create a new post-Kyoto agreement--

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for London--Fanshawe.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of National Defence said that the matter of sexual harassment in the RCMP would have to wait until a new commissioner is named. For the brave women who devoted decades of service to the Mounties and were sexually harassed by their peers and superiors, being told “Now, now, have patience” is an intolerable insult.

Will the government pledge to end this systemic violence not in months, not in years, but now?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely concerned about these troubling reports. We expect all members of the RCMP to carry out their duties with integrity and professionalism. Our government is committed to providing all men and women in the RCMP with a workplace free of harassment.

I will be raising this issue with the new commissioner very shortly.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can we believe that the Conservatives take this important issue seriously when they are asking these women to wait?

They did not ask for more time before they attacked the firearms registry, the Canadian Wheat Board or pay equity.

This government says it is tough on crime, but when the time comes to act it says to be patient.

Can the minister give us assurances that he will not wait for a new commissioner to be appointed before taking the action that is needed to help these women?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, our government is concerned about not only the women in the RCMP but also about the men who serve in the RCMP.

I am glad to hear that the member opposite has developed a new-found interest in the RCMP given that the member's party has consistently voted against giving the RCMP, indeed all police officers, the tools they need to do their job.

I want to call on the NDP not only to speak out against harassment, but also to speak out in favour of tools that will ensure that we target criminals.