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House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, we can selectively quote from the memo all we like, but the facts and the documents contradict the minister.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca has the floor.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the other part the minister did not cite says:

The lessening of current restrictions could create new, and increase existing vulnerabilities in our telecommunications networks, further exposing them...to an increased threat of cyber espionage and denial of service attacks.

What makes the minister so confident when the United States, Australia and even his own department disagree?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, in fact what the official did do is point out certain concerns and then indicate that those concerns had been addressed.

What I find surprising is that member is a member of a party that did not even recognize that there were any security concerns a year or two ago in respect of cyberspace.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, for generations unemployed Canadians have had the protection of the law which was passed by Parliament with respect to when they could claim and how they could claim and how those claims would be adjudicated.

Now the government is saying that those protections will be taken away because the law is being repealed with respect to those issues. It is being replaced by regulations and no one knows what they are going to be. Not a single soul in this Parliament has a clue as to what the regulations are going to be.

The ideas are in the heads of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Human Resources. Give us the regulations.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party is inaccurate once again.

The government is changing the appeals body to find a more efficient way. Right now there are multiple appeal bodies within Human Resources Canada, and those are being consolidated. There will still be appeal processes for those who are seeking to claim benefits.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is absolutely wrong and is refusing to acknowledge what is really going on.

The Conservatives have made it clear to unemployed workers that their rights will no longer be protected by laws passed by Parliament, but by regulations approved and passed by the Prime Minister himself.

What are those regulations and those laws? Canada is not a dictatorship. It is a democratic country in which workers have the right to know which law will protect them.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are still protected by the law.

With respect to appeals, several bodies will be consolidated in the future to ensure a clearer, more efficient process for Canadians.

PensionsOral Questions

May 16th, 2012 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has stated that there is an affordability issue with respect to old age security and the guaranteed income supplement. That was what the Prime Minister said in Davos, and that has been said by the Minister of Human Resources and the Minister of Finance. The odd thing is that the government, neither the minister, nor the Prime Minister, can tell us how much money is going to be saved by the changes they are introducing in 2023.

If they cannot tell us how much money they are going to save, could they please explain to us why there is a crisis of affordability? It is a very simple question.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as has been noted by all experts, old age security and guaranteed income supplement are by far the largest programs of the Government of Canada. These will continue to grow over time. In fact, they are projected to grow three times over the next generation, three times what they are today.

This is a program without a fund. That is why we are taking measures beginning in 2023 to make sure Canadians are prepared and that we have a system that is sustainable for future generations.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' arrogance knows no bounds. The Conservative ministers are insulting Canadians by blaming them for having lost their jobs. The Conservatives are also planning to make major changes to employment insurance, yet they refuse to provide any details.

Will the minister tell Canadians what changes—hidden in their Trojan Horse bill—are planned for employment insurance, what the consequences will be and when these changes will take effect?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, the only changes that we are seeing are the changes in attitude in the House of Commons.

We on this side of the House do not think that Canadians working are, and I quote the leader of the NDP, “a colossal waste”. We think Canadians are proud to work, and they should be. We are making sure that they have opportunities to work.

It is a sustainable program that we put in place. We on this side of the House are proud of Canadians when they go out and find a job. There are unfortunately too many people still searching. We are helping them.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the biggest waste is Canadians who are unable to find a job because of the high level of unemployment created by the government.

I know Conservatives are busy doing damage control around the comments of the Minister of Finance, but in trying to fix one problem they are creating others.

The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development gave us some insight on why members of her government are being so tight-lipped about these changes to EI. They said they want “to make sure the legislation gets through first“. They do not want to tell us until after the changes are passed. That is not accountability.

Will someone in the government please outline right now what constitutes suitable employment?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I actually have some examples here of what constitutes suitable employment. A mining company in St. John's, Newfoundland is looking to hire 1,500 people through the temporary foreign worker program.

There are 32,500 people looking for work right now. That is why we are trying to make EI more effective, to help these mining companies get people to employ.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the budget implementation bill does not give any answers and the Conservative ministers are contradicting each other regarding the scope of the changes.

The Conservatives want to make major changes to the Canadian social safety net and they want to do it quickly and behind closed doors. The minster even said that she wants the bill to pass before she defines suitable employment. I will give the minister another chance.

Can she give this House the new definition of suitable employment?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I think I defined one suitable job, but I do want to clarify that the 32,500 people looking for work were actually in Newfoundland, as was the mining company that was looking for the 1,500 people.

Another example I will give is that Nova Scotia's recent shipbuilding contract will create over 15,000 jobs over the next 30 years and the provincial government is already talking about importing workers.

At this point there are 45,000 Nova Scotians looking for work.

Does the House want some more examples?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, with this philosophy, psychologists and teachers will be sent to work in the mines. The budget implementation bill—

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I am sorry to interrupt, but there is too much noise in the House. Order, please.

The hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I was saying that with this philosophy, psychologists and teachers will be sent to work in the mines.

The budget implementation bill states that the Employment Insurance Act will be amended in order “to permit regulations to be made respecting what constitutes suitable employment”.

I just gave the minister the opportunity to clarify this amendment, but I still have not received a reasonable answer. The Minister of Finance is saying one thing, and the Minister of Human Resources is saying another.

Does she really think that the employment insurance system is too attractive? What will be the scope of the changes made to the definition of suitable employment?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, as I have been saying, there are available jobs out there, but we will ensure that Canadians will not be expected to take jobs that are not within their skill set.

One other thing we need to exemplify is that no job seeker will be asked to relocate.

The important part of these changes is to—

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. Minister of State has the floor.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thought I was done. I have lots more examples, but the important thing is that there are a lot of people who want to go to work. There are people who are on EI. We need to make sure it is effective and that the jobs that are still vacant can be filled.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development keeps proving how much she does not understand about the reality facing unemployed Canadians.

The minister says EI is “attractive”, as if being out of work is somehow delightful. She also said it is too “lucrative”, as if one's income being cut 45% is a rewarding experience. She will only tell us what she means by “suitable employment” after the legislation has passed.

When will she stand up and give Canadians a straight answer about her plans for EI?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, as the NDP continues to insult Canadians who want to work, I would like to quote the leader of the NDP once more. We on this side of the House do not think it is, as he says, “a colossal waste”, when Canadians are actually working.

We think Canadians working in restaurants, as truck drivers, as food handlers, are important contributors to the Canadian economy. We support and applaud those Canadians.