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House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sector.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Madam Speaker, the hon. member has it totally wrong. What we committed to Canadians was that we would protect their pensions, and that is exactly what we are doing.

However, we know that going forward the old age security system is not sustainable. With three times the expense of what we have right now and only half as many people to pay for it, it only makes sense that we have to take action right now not just to protect the pensions of our retirees of today, but those of future generations as well. That is exactly what we are going to do.

PensionsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, Canadians are not buying the government's doublespeak. Future seniors are deeply concerned because the Conservatives are promising to slap them in the face. Over the next 10 years, 4.5 million Canadians will retire; 92% of them will need the old age pension and 75% will have incomes below $40,000. The scheme the Prime Minister announced in Switzerland does not make those human needs go away for those modest income seniors. It just dumps them onto provincial welfare. How is that any better?

PensionsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Madam Speaker, if we were to take the advice of the hon. member and do nothing, those poor seniors of the future would not have any OAS left for them. Is that what he really wants? That is what it sounds like.

That is not what we want to do. We want to ensure that all Canadians have a secure retirement in the future and that is what we are working toward. That is why we introduced the TFSA. That is why we increased the GIS for the most vulnerable seniors. Unfortunately, the hon. member across the way voted against those initiatives.

PensionsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lise St-Denis Liberal Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Madam Speaker, the Conservative government is not letting up in its attack on old age security, but it is swimming against the tide. Eighty-one per cent of Canadian women are against the government's proposed changes.

Considering the impact the proposed changes would have on Quebec's social assistance program, as explained yesterday by Premier Charest, will the Prime Minister tell us whether he plans to consult the provinces about this and what he thinks such measures will end up costing the provinces?

PensionsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Madam Speaker, as I have said repeatedly, we are working to maintain the old age security system for today's seniors and for future generations.

The old age security system is just not viable for the future. That is why we have to take action right now. It is the responsible thing to do. We will do it in a fair way. However, we will do it in a prudent way, so that we can support Canadians.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

February 3rd, 2012 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development told Canadians that the real reason Service Canada cannot keep up with EI requests is that there are too many unemployed people applying for benefits.

Now, it seems to me there is a solution here. Instead of letting the jobless rate rise, lower it with a job creation plan. Instead of cutting back on EI services, give Canadians the support they need.

Is the government just going to give us more excuses, or will it finally decide to act?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Madam Speaker, we have done exactly that already. When we noticed there was an increase in demand during December and January, the spike season, and when the increase in demand was greater than what we had anticipated, we immediately put extra resources to help process EI claims.

We are seeing positive results from that. We are seeing the backlog come down. We are seeing Canadians get the benefits they need and deserve in a more timely manner. Our goal is to get those benefits to them when they need and deserve them.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, when will the government stop blaming unemployed people? They played by all the rules. The lack of empathy for thousands of unemployed Canadian families is stunning. This is not just about statistics, although the numbers will back me up here. This is about out-of-work Canadians being told it does not matter if they have to wait six or seven weeks just to get their EI cheques.

These are tough economic times. Why is the government making Canadian families wait?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Madam Speaker, we are trying to get those cheques to them just as quickly as possible. We understand how difficult it is when people lose their jobs due to circumstances beyond their control. We are trying to get the EI system to go faster. We are putting more people on the job to deal with the current problem. Over the long term, we are automating the system. We encourage employers to automate their filings, because it will go faster.

The real scheme is to create jobs. That is what we are doing. We have more jobs created in the last month. In fact, thanks in part to our action plan, there are over 610,000 more net new jobs in this country than there were at the pit of the recession.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, let us just take a look at the government's track record right now. The jobless rate just climbed another notch today, after months of bad news. The government's corporate tax giveaways cannot guarantee one single job. Across this country, Conservative-approved foreign takeovers are shipping Canadian jobs overseas or south.

Canadians are finding out they cannot even rely on EI, a service they spent their whole working lives paying into.

When is the government going to reverse its losing streak?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I am proud to be part of a government that is considered by many Canadians and by many other countries as a winner. We will continue to be in that position for years to come because of decisions by the NDP to oppose every measure that we take to move forward on job creation and on protecting Canadians who are at risk.

In fact, I would ask the member, why did the NDP members vote over 100 times against measures that would protect Canadians, for example, against the TFSA, against the increase in GIS, and more and more and more? Let us have the NDP answer that.

JusticeOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, today, another provincial justice minister added his voice to a growing long list of people who do not want the Conservatives' prison agenda. Nunavut's justice minister says Bill C-10 would undermine the Supreme Court ruling on aboriginal justice. It would drag down the corrections system and it would rob judges of the chance to use their own discretion.

The verdict is in. The Conservatives' prison agenda will not work. When will the government admit its mistake and go back to the drawing board?

JusticeOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Madam Speaker, while we recognize that the administration of justice, including the courts, is a provincial and territorial responsibility, we continue to work in collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners. This is very important, to ensure a strong justice system.

We are committed to supporting successful justice programs, such as the aboriginal justice strategy that achieves real results in reducing and preventing crime in aboriginal communities. In 2008, we enhanced this program by investing $40 million more, for a total commitment of $85 million toward aboriginal community justice programs.

We are continuing to do what we have committed to do.

JusticeOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, the reality is that this agenda is going to burden Canadian taxpayers. It is going to weigh down an already strained justice system. That is clear. The list of those who are complaining continues to grow: provincial leaders, lawyers' groups, justice groups and police chiefs. Canadian taxpayers are speaking out about this problem.

When is the government going to fix the bill and get the burden off Canadians?

JusticeOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Madam Speaker, contrary to the soft on crime approach of the NDP, we continue to stand up for victims in Canada as we always have done.

It is not correct that provinces continue to complain or to criticize what we are doing. Many of the initiatives we have taken were requested by the provinces. Justice ministers across this country, including in B.C., Manitoba and New Brunswick, have praised us for our initiatives. They are thanking us for doing exactly what they asked us to do.

We are committed to this program because it is what Canadians need and want.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

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

Madam Speaker, after dragging his feet for over 18 months, the minister is finally going to announce a water management strategy for the oil sands. Canadians have a very hard time trusting the Conservatives when it comes to this file. We know that water contamination has been a problem for years now, but no measures have been taken so far.

Can the government tell us if the water monitoring system will be completely independent and transparent?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Madam Speaker, as my colleague opposite continues to lobby against 500,000 jobs in Canada's energy sector, we are taking real action to protect the sustainable development of Canada's natural resources.

I would like to remind my colleague opposite of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development's testimony on this very subject in committee. He said, “What I would say is there is now an ambitious plan, a significantly important plan for the federal government to put in place a monitoring system”.

Instead of her empty rhetoric and talking points, the member should get on board.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

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

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague has not done her homework. Pollution from the oil sands is expected to triple by 2035. Instead of a voluntary approach that favours friends of the government, lobbyists and large corporations, we should be imposing strict limits on the pollution caused by the oil sands in order to protect the environment and the health of Canadians.

Will the government protect the communities of millions of Canadians, or is it too busy chasing “foreign radicals”?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Madam Speaker, when we talk about homework my colleague opposite should stop lobbying against the Canadian energy sector.

What we are about to announce today, and I do not want to steal the minister's thunder, is a credible monitoring system where we will be working in lockstep with the provinces and with industry to come up with a world-class monitoring system. The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development said this “holds the promise of establishing a credible, robust and publicly accessible monitoring system for measuring environmental conditions and changes in environmental quality levels, as well as determining the source of changes”.

We have a real plan with a real focus. The member should get on board.

Oil and Gas IndustryOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Madam Speaker, in spite of the risks, the government blindly backs the northern gateway. It dismisses Canadians who raise real concerns about the effect on our fisheries, on our first nations and on our way of life.

Yesterday, we learned that the pipeline would also raise oil prices for Canadians, hurting the bottom line of families and businesses throughout the economy.

Why is the minister putting oil companies ahead of Canadians?

Oil and Gas IndustryOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Madam Speaker, if members had been at committee yesterday they would have heard great testimony about the strength of the Canadian energy industry and the great future that we have ahead of us.

The Minister of the Environment has referred the northern gateway pipeline to a joint review panel. That panel will hear everyone who has an interest in speaking to it. It will make a decision in the end.

We are going to protect the environment and develop the energy industry across this country. We then expect to export our products around the world.

Oil and Gas IndustryOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Madam Speaker, the government's only energy strategy is to boost the profits of oil companies at the expense of the rest of us.

The government has sold out Canadian jobs and our environment to back the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline.

The government is so cozy with big oil that it would not surprise me if it were to take it along to China.

When the Prime Minister flies to China, is he bringing Canadians' interests or the CEO of Enbridge?

Oil and Gas IndustryOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Madam Speaker, we need to diversify our markets to move forward in Canada's economic future. Why can the NDP members not realize that?

Mark Carney agrees. He said, “The Chinese market is a tremendous opportunity for Canada”. Why can the NDP members not realize that?

Jack Mintz said that getting our oil to market would result in $131 billion for the Canadian economy. Why can the NDP members not stand behind that? Why will they not stand with us to protect Canadian jobs, protect the environment, protect the economy and let us move ahead?

EmploymentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Madam Speaker, the national unemployment rate in January rose to 7.6%. Over 2,200 jobs were lost in Atlantic Canada alone. In my home province of Nova Scotia, the unemployment rate has gone up to 8.5%. Hashtag: Tories suck at job creation.

What will get worse is the massive cuts to government positions. We have seen already that the minister responsible for Service Canada has crippled her department. She is sleepwalking through a crisis. Canadians are hurting and need their money--

EmploymentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!