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House of Commons Hansard #156 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, development is about being there for the long haul, not paying lip service to talking points.

Education--

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou has the floor.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, education is the signature project in Afghanistan, but the government is reneging on it. The fact of the matter is that the minister had an option to renew the funding but chose not to.

I have a simple question. Why are the Conservatives abandoning what was supposed to be Canada's legacy in Afghanistan?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the simple answer is that we are focusing Canadian taxpayers' investments where they can have the greatest impact for those most in need in Afghanistan.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Conservative Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, we are celebrating the second annual National Seniors Day. The government created this special day to officially recognize and celebrate our seniors and all that they have done to make Canada a great country.

Could the Minister of State for seniors please tell the House what other action our government has taken to support seniors, who so richly deserve it.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Richmond B.C.

Conservative

Alice Wong ConservativeMinister of State (Seniors)

Mr. Speaker, our government has been working hard to increase access to services and benefits for seniors while promoting ways for them to stay active, engaged and informed. However, there is more.

We have increased funding for the new horizons program, taken action against elder abuse, increased the GIS by biggest amount in 25 years, and put OAS on a long-term sustainable path.

Our government is standing up for seniors and we will continue to do so.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, for two weeks now, the Minister of Human Resources has been repeating that no Canadian will be penalized by her employment insurance reform, but we know that this is not true. Part-time and seasonal workers are still the victims of the minister's ill-advised reform. This time, the Conservatives are directly attacking unemployed workers though the working while on claim program.

Does the minister hear the public outcry and will she put an end to this vindictive reform?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, there is a shortage of workers across the country. Employers need skilled workers. We are there to connect unemployed workers with jobs that are available in their skills range in their geographic area. We are trying to ensure that unemployed workers are better off when they work part-time while receiving employment insurance benefits.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, with the minister's proposed changes, employment insurance claimants who find part-time work will have less money in their pockets. Once again, it is the poorest Canadians who will be hit the hardest.

The Conservatives announced $130 million over one year for this project and then, in the end, they cut that amount in half and extended the funding over two years. And they have the nerve to say that this is not a budget cut.

Why do the Conservatives refuse to help unemployed workers and to come up with a real plan for job creation?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, over 770,000 jobs have been created in Canada since 2009. That is the truth. However, there is still a shortage of workers. That is why it is very important to connect unemployed workers with employers who have jobs available in their geographic region. That is what we are doing by improving the job alert program and promoting contact through the temporary foreign workers program. We are encouraging people to work.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, two sides of the country, two different stories from two different Conservatives.

In May, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans claimed that the goal of EI reforms was not to force Atlantic Canadians to move away from their home communities, but then last week the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources went to Alberta and said that the goal of the changes was to force unemployed people to relocate.

Why should Canadians trust the government when its story changes according to where its audience lives?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been very clear that we are not requiring people to relocate across the country to find a job.

In the past, this country was built on people moving to where the jobs were. However, we are making sure that if people cannot find a job in their skills range in their geographic area, employment insurance will be there for them, just as it always has been.

We believe that the best way to help the unemployed is to help them get a job. That is why we are increasing the information they get about jobs in their skills range in their geographic area.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see the minister backtrack from the comments of her parliamentary secretary, because there is no shame in making a mistake. The only shame is in failing to acknowledge it and correct it.

For days now, we in the NDP have been bringing to the House cases where working while on claim has been detrimental to the lowest income Canadians.

Will the minister do the same thing again and stand up in the House today and say there was an error in the program design and correct it here today?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our goal is to make sure that EI claimants who work while on claim are always better off working than not. That is what this program does.

Quite frankly, we are always working to make sure that our programs fulfill a goal. However, what the NDP has been putting forward, not just for several days but for several years now, is the notion that we should move to a 45-day work year.

That is unacceptable because we have skills and labour shortages right across this country, even in areas of high unemployment. We need to help Canadians get connected with the jobs that are available for them right there at home.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government claims that chipping away at the OAS, the cornerstone of our pension system, will somehow help future seniors. This regressive plan is brought to us by the same minister who says that cutting EI will somehow help the unemployed.

Slashing pensions to help the elderly and cutting health transfers to help the sick is no way to pay tribute to the people who built this country.

Canada's seniors are a hardworking bunch and we all know that, but now they are worried both for their future and the future of their children. When are these attacks on our seniors and our most vulnerable going to stop?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member does have her facts completely backward. It is our government, unlike the Liberals when they were in power, that has actually increased health transfers to the provinces by 6% a year. The Liberals slashed $25 billion from transfers to the provinces.

We are the ones who are making a difference for seniors by lowering their taxes and increasing their exemptions. Unfortunately, the Liberals voted against all of that help for our seniors. We will continue to provide it in spite of them.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives showed their true colours when they eliminated funding for the Afghan Canadian Community Centre in Kandahar, a school for young Afghan women. Last year they were saying wonderful things about the school; now they are abandoning this initiative, which has reduced poverty and offered hope to young Afghan women. The United States government, which is more enlightened than the Conservatives, is keeping its school open.

How can the Conservatives abandon young Afghan women after all our soldiers' work and sacrifices?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that Canadians want to see the Afghan people succeed in their struggle to become a free and democratic society.

Canadian taxpayers' investments through CIDA are achieving results. A couple of examples include the 1,400 health care workers trained and the 7.8 million children vaccinated against polio.

We will take the necessary steps to ensure that the sacrifice of our Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan have not been in vain and we remain committed to helping the Afghan people.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is National Seniors Day. Unfortunately, many seniors have nothing to celebrate because the Conservatives are making seniors shoulder the burden of their cost-cutting measures. The Conservatives have raised the eligibility age for old age security from 65 to 67, reduced provincial health transfers, and the list goes on.

Can the minister tell us why the Conservatives have chosen to cut services to seniors?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Richmond B.C.

Conservative

Alice Wong ConservativeMinister of State (Seniors)

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to supporting seniors.

We have taken action, including the biggest GIS increase in a quarter century. Our low-tax plan has helped remove almost 400,000 seniors from the tax rolls completely. There is additional funding for affordable housing for seniors, increased funding for the new horizons for seniors program, and we continue increasing awareness of elder abuse and have introduced legislation to ensure there are tough sentences for those who abuse seniors.

I would like to encourage Canadians to visit seniors.gc.ca as a resource to help guide them to the services and benefits they deserve.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, very few of the government's recent decisions will help seniors. Furthermore, I would like to add that increasing the eligibility age for old age security is equivalent to cutting services for seniors. I can understand why the minister would be ashamed to talk about it today because this is National Seniors Day.

As for employment insurance reform, she is causing us to fear the worst for older workers who lose their jobs.

These workers will have to accept lower pay or work far from home. Why will the Conservatives not help seniors who want to keep working?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we are doing, and the NDP is opposing every single step we take to make sure that happens.

The NDP opposed increasing the guaranteed income supplement, the largest increase in 25 years, destined for the poorest of our seniors. The NDP opposed increasing the age exemption, not once but twice. The NDP opposed pension income splitting for seniors.

The NDP opposes everything we are doing to help seniors keep more money in their pockets and to keep our labour market alive and well.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

October 1st, 2012 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has a plan to impose a carbon tax that would raise the price of everything and hurt the Canadian economy and job growth.

The NDP's $21 billion cap-and-tax scheme would punish job creators, raise the price of gasoline and diesel, and essentially tax everything made in Canada.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans please inform the House how the NDP's hidden tax agenda will punish fishing communities in Canada?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, my colleague raises a very good point. In fact it is shameful that the NDP is targeting Canada's fishermen with its carbon tax plan.

Fishermen have told our government that it is a tough business, and we agree with them. The NDP wants to increase their fuel costs even more. It just does not make sense.

What does make sense is our government's unequivocal support for fishermen. For example, under the economic action plan, we contribute to jobs, growth and economic prosperity by investing in hundreds of fishing harbours across the country.

The NDP carbon tax would keep fishermen down while our government builds them and their harbours up.