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House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jobs.

Topics

Air CanadaOral Questions

June 15th, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, with respect to Air Canada, the Minister of Labour keeps saying that special legislation is necessary because the Air Canada strike could hinder our economic recovery. She seems to forget that the workers affected by this dispute are also consumers who keep the economy rolling.

Does the Minister of Labour realize that vulnerable workers and people who lose their pensions are not going to help our country's economic recovery?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we have two parties at the table who have been trying to negotiate a collective agreement for a very long period of time. They are unable to reach said agreement by themselves, even though they have had ample opportunity to do so, and much support from this government and Labour Canada in terms of reaching an agreement.

Therefore, on behalf of Canadians in general and because we have a strong mandate on this economy to make sure it recovers, we have acted.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have just learned that the Minister of Finance has just given a speech in New York City where, in the middle of a major political debate in the United States, the minister has chosen to side with the Republican fiscal hawks in the United States Congress.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister, since when does the Government of Canada interfere in the domestic political issues in the United States, and since when does his government become a branch plant of the Republican tea party in the United States?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the leader of the Liberal Party is talking about, but I can tell him this. Throughout the global recession and recovery, the leaders of the G20 have been working together to address the global economic situation.

What we do in each of our own countries in this global economy affects us all, and obviously we are working together to ensure a strong global recovery.

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Speaking of double standards, Mr. Speaker, we now have another one.

The Prime Minister is constantly saying that those of us who quote the Auditor General are not telling the truth. So let me simply quote the Auditor General very directly with respect to the activities of the President of the Treasury Board and ask him one simple question.

The interim Auditor General said that he found what the government did unusual and troubling. I would like to ask the Prime Minister, is the Auditor General telling the truth when he says those words?

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the government has said before, we have looked at the Auditor General's report in its entirety. It does make some interesting recommendations and observations. The government has made it very clear that it will take those into account in the future and act on those recommendations.

Labour RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the third example of the government's double standard is the situation we are in with Air Canada and Canada Post. With Air Canada, it is clear that a legal strike started yesterday. Services are still being offered, but the government is in the process of introducing a bill to put an end to the strike. As for Canada Post, the government is very slow to react on behalf of the workers who have been locked out and on behalf of consumers.

Why this double standard?

Labour RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, so far, with both Air Canada and Canada Post, the parties have been unable to reach an agreement. This could cause serious damage to the Canadian economy and to a large part of the population. This government will take action to protect the best interests of the Canadian economy and the Canadian people.

PovertyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, some numbers released today reveal that poverty in this country remains at an unacceptable level. One in ten Canadians lives in poverty. That includes nearly 700,000 children. While this government is building gazebos, middle-class incomes remain stagnant and poverty levels are increasing.

When will the minister realize the seriousness of Canada's poverty issue?

PovertyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, one of the effects of the global recession has been an increase in poverty here in Canada. However, our economic action plan was there to fight poverty. We believe that the best way to fight poverty is to create jobs. That is why we have invested unprecedented amounts of money in training people so they can acquire skills and find work.

PovertyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, 634,000 children are living in poverty, and poverty, as the minister has just said, has been on the rise since the Conservatives took power. Too many have to rely on EI to get by, benefits are running out, and people still cannot find full-time jobs to replace the ones they have lost.

How can the government continue to hand out huge tax breaks to profitable banks and oil companies while ignoring Canadian families living in poverty?

PovertyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the NDP's concern for poverty is a little late in coming.

During the economic action plan, it was our government that tried to help those who were unfortunate enough to lose their jobs through no fault of their own by adding an additional five weeks and by making benefits available to the self-employed. We also provided unprecedented funding for training to help these people get the skills they needed for the jobs of the future.

Unfortunately, the NDP voted against every one of those initiatives to help lift these people out of poverty.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has begun announcing staff cutbacks in many departments including HRSDC, Canadian Heritage and Environment Canada.

It appears that these cuts have been made arbitrarily and that the government is no longer even trying to justify its actions to Canadians. The government really seems to be making things up as it goes along.

Can the President of the Treasury Board explain the logic behind these cuts—that is, if there is any logic involved?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is referring to the report of the Parliamentary Budget Officer which takes a look at part of our plans to ensure that we live within our means as departments, but it does not paint the full picture.

Our plans are on stream. We are looking at rationalizing some services, but also delivering those services to taxpayers in a better way. That is our promise to taxpayers. That was what we ran on during the most recent election campaign and we have a strong mandate to do so.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, now that we know that the President of the Treasury Board is able to stand, I would like to give him a third opportunity to tell Canadians about his use of the border infrastructure fund for projects in his riding, which is 300 kilometres from the border.

How can the President of the Treasury Board tell Canadians that he is going to cut their services when he himself is responsible for wasting $50 million of taxpayers' money?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have spoken to this issue before.

There were 32 infrastructure projects that went forward, including resurfacing a runway at the airport in North Bay, repaving a provincial highway, and building a community centre. All of those projects came in on time. All of those projects came in under budget.

The Auditor General raised some legitimate concerns and observations about how the government could do a better job and this government has accepted those recommendations.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians pay their taxes, they expect that their hard-earned dollars are going to be treated with respect. If we look at how the President of the Treasury blew through $50 million on glow sticks and gazebos, it is as if the three amigos, the mayor, the hotel manager and the minister, stuffed the largest porcine pinata ever conceived and then whacked all those baubles and booty over the hills of Muskoka.

When will the minister apologize for this abuse of the public trust?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest when the new Leader of the Opposition said that he was going to come to the House of Commons and raise the level of debate. I am very disappointed by the comments made by the member opposite.

With respect to the legacy fund, there were 32 infrastructure projects. They were all public infrastructure projects similar to projects done right across the country from coast to coast to coast. Every single dollar was accounted for. All the projects are now in the hands of municipalities, airport authorities, or provincial governments, and all providing good value for taxpayers.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP would certainly like to raise the level of debate, but to do that we would have to raise up somebody from the dead. He seems to be either hiding in the doghouse or he was put in the doghouse since he got whacked by the Auditor General.

When Chuck Guité played around with public funds for partisan gain, he got sent to jail. When the minister from Muskoka played around with public funds for partisan gain, he got the keys to the Treasury Board. What kind of message does this send to Canadians?

When will this minister stand up in the House and be accountable for his misrepresentation of public funds?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that, I deeply regret to say, was slanderous and character assassination. I expected better from the New Democratic Party.

G20 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, a year later and Toronto is still waiting for the government to accept full responsibility for the fallout of the G20 mess. Some Toronto councillors are pushing for long-term solutions, but the immediate financial needs still require action. Last week, New Democrats met, for example, with the owner of the Horseshoe Tavern which is one of the businesses still waiting for compensation.

When will the government stop stonewalling, treat Toronto with respect, and get their compensation out the door quickly?

G20 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this government has always treated the city of Toronto with respect, and let me tell members that on May 2 the people of Toronto showed their support and their respect for this government. Not only did we sweep the GTA with all but one, but we won the most seats in the city of Toronto.

I said to the member opposite when he asked this question last week, and I said to my friend from Parkdale—High Park, if there is any business, and the member provided the name of one, that is awaiting compensation, give it to me, I will be very happy to ensure that it is rectified as quickly as possible.

G20 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Conservatives rewarded their friends in Muskoka, no applications were required, no documentation was needed. However, in Toronto, they piled on paperwork and told Toronto businesses that they have to go into a process that is slow, bureaucratic, unfair and opaque, and then dismissed most of the claims or insulted them with a tiny amount.

What did Toronto businesses do to deserve such poor and shabby treatment?

G20 SummitOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if there are any businesses in the city of Toronto that are waiting for compensation, as I said last week, and I will say again, I got the name of one from the member for Davenport, and if the member for Trinity—Spadina knows of any businesses that are awaiting a response, I understand there are four or five yet to be determined, we would be very happy to move as expeditiously as possible.

I can say this. Boy, oh, boy, in the last 30 years, the people in Toronto elected the best crop of MPs that we have seen in that city in a long time.

Border Infrastructure FundOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, during tourist season in northwestern Ontario, visitors can wait more than three hours to cross the border.

For our communities, tourism is a key part of the economy. Yet, the government diverted $50 million from the border infrastructure fund to beautify communities in the minister's riding, using the fund as a private wish list, while ignoring border regions like northwestern Ontario.

Is the President of the Treasury Board finally ready to apologize?