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House of Commons Hansard #171 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-45.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development can brag about the employment insurance reforms all she wants, but Canadians are finding the half-truths that she is trying to pass off hard to swallow.

Last week, the Conservatives were deluged with criticisms of their reforms. Thousands of people held demonstrations in Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. I was there.

The minister could have avoided these troubled waters had she consulted Canadians, but she did not. Will she backtrack again and create programs that the meet needs of the unemployed?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the unemployed need work. They need jobs. They need help finding jobs, and that is what we are giving them.

We have made changes to the employment insurance system in order to support people who work while receiving employment insurance benefits. We help them find jobs and we do not penalize them if they work while on benefits. That is how we support the unemployed.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister should know that “just move west” is not a job creation strategy.

Two thousand people gathered in Campbellton, New Brunswick this weekend to protest the government's reforms to EI. They called the changes “destructive” and an “attack on the Maritimes”. They are fighting back against the devastating effect that these changes will have on workers, employers and the local economy.

Will the minister finally listen to these Canadians, abandon her disastrous reforms and work with Canadians to strengthen EI instead of destroying it?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are strengthening the EI system to help those who are out of work, who have lost jobs through no fault of their own, to find a new job. Also, when they are on claim, we will help them work, and when they work, we will let them be better off than not working. That is better for them and their families.

The member talks about New Brunswick. To quote someone else: “There are more shortages in the higher skilled positions, but we still have 30% of respondents [that is, employers] highlighting challenges and filling most skilled positions.” Who said that? That was New Brunswick Business Council CEO, Susan Holt.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is not happening only in Campbellton. Last Saturday, no less than 3,000 people went to Thetford Mines to speak out against the employment insurance reforms. They do not agree with the government's decision to force people to relocate and work for 70% of their previous wages.

Instead of ignoring Canadians and defending the reforms come hell or high water, will the minister listen to these criticisms? Or will she continue to ignore unemployed workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should get his facts straight about the changes to employment insurance. These are common sense. In other words, if a position requiring the skills of an unemployed worker becomes available in his region, he must apply.

The right to employment insurance goes hand in hand with the responsibility to look for work to meet the needs of one's family and to work, which is better than not working.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, with five unemployed for every job opening, “just get a job” is not good enough.

Another group of over 200 workers and employers gathered in P.E.I. to protest EI cuts. They did so because employers are concerned about losing part-time employees and out-of-work Canadians are concerned about being denied benefits.

How large will the protests have to get before the minister starts to listen? When will the contempt for the unemployed end?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, what we want is to help the unemployed find a job, and we are doing that in tangible ways. We are broadening the number of job alerts that are sent to them so they are aware of employment opportunities in their competencies and in their geographic area. We are helping them to find that work, and when they do work while they are on claim, we are going to allow them to be better off than not working.

That is showing respect for the unemployed. That is helping them get a job that is going to help their families and their communities.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the proposed Canada-China investment agreement is radically different from other investment deals that Canada has signed. Experts believe Canadian taxpayers will assume more risks and face more constraints than the Chinese. Chinese companies can sue our provinces and municipalities and have the cases decided by arbitrators behind closed doors.

Why would the Conservatives cut a deal that would give China special advantages for decades?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would have to disagree with the hon. member. The reality is that this treaty is similar to other treaties we have signed. It is designed to protect Canadian investors from discriminatory and arbitrary practices, and the rights and obligations of this treaty apply equally to both countries.

I think there is a point we could agree on, though, and that is the NDP position on trade. Recently, the NDP member for British Columbia Southern Interior wrote that trade agreements “threaten the very existence of our nation”. That is the NDP position. I think we would be in agreement.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

October 29th, 2012 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, this is about hitting Canadian investors. Actually, under the Canada-China investment agreement, Canadian taxpayers assume more risks and get fewer protections than their Chinese counterparts.

Canada's legal framework is considerably more open and transparent than China's, which is opaque and difficult to get justice in. That means that complaints by Chinese investors here can create greater risks and liabilities for Canadians, while little legal protection exists for Canadian investors who are treated unfairly in China.

Could the government explain how locking in this unlevel playing field is to Canada's net benefit?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, that is just pure nonsense. I would remind the member opposite that it was our government that brought openness and transparency to the treaty process. I will say, once again, the rights and obligations of this treaty apply equally to both countries.

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, by making cuts to the Canada Revenue Agency, the Conservatives are undermining Canada's ability to combat tax evasion. To replace the revenue that is being lost to tax havens, the Conservatives are cutting services to Canadians. Billions of dollars are being lost and all Canadians are paying the price. In the current economic situation, the Conservatives' decision to miss out on revenues lost to tax evasion is troubling and absurd.

When will they provide the Canada Revenue Agency with the resources needed to combat this scourge?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House that the Canada Revenue Agency is not laying off any tax evasion experts. These people are key to battling tax cheats and ensuring fairness for taxpayers. Some of these positions may move, or they may change to allow for better coordination between the Canada Revenue Agency, the RCMP and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.

Recently announced reductions at CRA reflect the fact that more people are filing their taxes electronically rather than phoning in or mailing paper.

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, over the past year, we have seen a government willing to spend tremendous resources targeting single parents, charitable organizations, environmental groups and the most vulnerable instead of going after offshore accounts belonging to billionaires and multinationals.

Cuts to CRA will not help the issue. Why has the government not targeted offshore tax cheats?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I can assure my colleague across the way that we are targeting offshore tax cheats. We take this issue very seriously and we aggressively pursue all the information that we receive.

I can assure the House that since 2006, we have audited thousands of cases and identified more than $4 billion in unpaid taxes through our efforts on international and aggressive tax planning.

This is compared to only $174 million in the last year that the Liberals were in office. The number of voluntary disclosures alone has increased by an astounding 238% since 2005.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, this past August, a ship dumped 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean, 300 kilometres off the B.C. coast. The ensuing algae bloom has spread some 10,000 square kilometres and is visible even from space.

Could the Minister of the Environment please inform the House what our government is doing in response to this development?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member for Nanaimo—Alberni that Environment Canada enforcement officers are continuing their investigation into this alleged violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Environment Canada was not asked to approve this now self-confessed act. Environment Canada did not approve this demonstration of rogue science.

This government takes very seriously our commitment to protect the environment. Anyone who violates environmental laws should be prosecuted to the full extent.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, before answering questions about two Nigerian students who have taken sanctuary in a Regina church, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism asked for privacy waivers from those two individuals. Those documents have now been supplied.

Again, this question is for the minister. Is the government's determination to deport these two girls and thereby destroy their education based solely on their honest mistake of working for two weeks at a Walmart store? If that is their only transgression, is not such retribution out of proportion?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, first, one of the women in question is not a student and has not been attending classes or enrolled in an institution for several months, but was working illegally without a work permit.

We do have a problem of many foreign students working illegally in Canada. This has been raised with me by Canadians who are concerned that their kids cannot find work while foreign students are taking work illegally.

That is why it is important that our law be applied—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism has the floor.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is raised with me all the time.

The point is this. The law should be applied consistently by independent public servants and should not be politicized. I leave it to those responsible, entrusted by this Parliament and its statutes, to enforce the law in a consistent manner.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2011, the House voted for a bill aimed at fixing Canada's Access to Medicines Regime, but the bill died in the Senate.

Now with Bill C-398, we have a new opportunity to help developing countries access the medicines they need. MPs from all parties will be at a rally on the Hill Thursday in support of access to medicine.

Will the Minister of International Cooperation join MPs, the grandmothers and concerned Canadians on Thursday?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the only thing I can say is that the CIDA network of aid and support is well-known and well appreciated. We do an excellent job of helping those in greater need, and we will continue doing that.