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House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our objective is to ensure that our old age security system is there for current generations and for future generations, because we want to act in the interests of our economic security for the long term. That is not what the leader of the NDP wants to do. The leader of the NDP believes in an economic theory that says for one Canadian to do better, another Canadian has to be worse off and for one region to succeed economically, another region has to be worse off. I can say that is not the experience of 145 years of Canadian history. Canadians know better. They know that when one part of Canada succeeds, when our economy grows, we all grow together. That is why the NDP approach is so dangerous to Canada's economic future.

PensionsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is not surprising that the Conservatives want to hide the facts from Canadians. Every known report on old age security indicates that the program is viable and that the retirement age does not have to be raised to 67. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, the OECD and Canadians all agree.

Is the real reason why the Prime Minister does not want to release this report because it would confirm that the program is already viable?

PensionsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I said several times, we are trying to ensure the economic and income security of Canadians in both the short term and the long term. That is what we are doing with our changes to old age security. I find it very interesting that the NDP House leader is now backing off and will not even defend his own leader's comments about our resource sector development being a disease. He will not even defend his own leader's policy of pitting one region of Canada against another. I am not surprised. Already his party is abandoning the NDP leader.

PensionsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not that we are not defending him. We do not need to defend him because the Conservatives are misquoting what the leader said previously. We do not need to defend our leader, who wants resources and good jobs for everyone, but not at the cost of harming the environment.

One month ago, the Conservatives on the Standing Committee on Finance questioned Kevin Page's competency. Yesterday, the Parliamentary Budget Officer provided a clear and reasonable response to these unfounded assertions. Mr. Page again proved that the old age security program is sustainable and is not at risk.

Why are the Conservatives continuing to attack the Parliamentary Budget Officer when they are not even capable of providing their own figures?

PensionsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote some Canadian economists in response to my colleague's question so that she might understand what Canadians think about this.

Avery Shenfeld, CIBC World Markets' chief economist, said budget 2012 “...makes sense in a world economy that is still not what we would like it to be. Relative to what anybody else is doing, we still come out with flying colours.”

Other economists have commented about this. We continue to push forward with a plan to create jobs, sustain the economy and make sure we have long-term prosperity.

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

I wonder, Mr. Speaker, who do we trust more, let me see, the Parliamentary Budget Officer or the government that changes its tune every day? The Parliamentary Budget Officer also showed that the Conservatives could have created 94,000 new jobs if they had not been so reckless with their cuts. So much for standing up for jobs.

The point is this. The Parliamentary Budget Officer puts out public reports for all Canadians to review. The Conservatives will not even say how much they are going to take away from seniors, so why do they continue attacking Kevin Page?

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the PBO has said repeatedly in the past that our government's plan to return to balance is not sustainable. In fact, less than a year ago, he said we do not have a sustainable fiscal structure, a significant delay in taking fiscal action substantially increases the required amount of corrective measures.

Regardless, our government continued on its path. We continued on the intended plan and demonstrated that it works. We have created over 750,000 net new jobs since July 2009. I cannot explain the PBO's contradictions, but numerous economists tend to agree with this government's plan.

PensionsOral Questions

May 18th, 2012 / 11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Let us focus, Mr. Speaker. Let us talk about OAS.

On Tuesday the Minister of Finance explained that he had no idea how much money the budget's OAS changes would save the government, “because we do not project beyond five years”.

Today we find out there was a report, and that report has existed since 2007. The Conservatives can project beyond five years, but in a typical Conservative fashion, they will not let anyone see it. Will they release the report so that parliamentarians and Canadians can have an informed discussion about the OAS changes?

PensionsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I already said, that report was never completed because it was being worked on at a time when our priorities changed, when it became necessary to focus dramatically on the economic downturn.

The results are clear. As a result of our economic action plan 2012 and the effort of our Prime Minister and our Minister of Finance, Canada posted the strongest economic performance through the downturn of any of the major developed economies with the strongest job growth, the lowest debt and the lowest deficit.

We are still working to continue to keep that strong fiscal position. We are doing it through economic action plan 2012 to ensure that we stay in a strong position to ensure the economic future of--

PensionsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Bourassa.

PensionsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister to shut off his tape of talking points. We are not talking about that. Even at the time, he said that there was no report and denied the existence of any reports. Well, today, there is a report.

We are talking about taking billions of dollars from the pockets of our seniors.

In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that access to government information was a right guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and I quote, “...only where access is necessary to permit meaningful discussion on a matter of public importance...”. I think this is important enough.

Instead of playing games, when will the Conservatives table the report so that we can have a serious discussion? Is it because they are afraid that people will finally see that there was no problem with—

PensionsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

PensionsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I already said, the report was never completed. We want to ensure that the old age security program is sustainable for future generations, and that is the reason for our changes.

Seniors' pensions will not be reduced. The old age security program is not sustainable in its present form and changes therefore have to be made. Our changes will ensure the sustainability of the old age security program so that Canadians can benefit from it when they need it.

Search and RescueOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, the government is not only ruining the Canadian fishery, it is now putting Canadian lives at stake. After closing the coast guard centres in St. John's and Quebec City, now it has decided to shut down the biggest and busiest search and rescue centre on the west coast in Kitsilano, B.C. It is also reducing the coast guard regions from 5 to 3, and firing 763 coast guard employees.

Why does the government insist on putting Canadians at risk on the sea?

Search and RescueOral Questions

11:25 a.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, I can assure my colleague that the top priority of the Canadian Coast Guard is the safety of mariners.

He referred to the consolidation on the west coast, which we are very familiar with. I can assure him that the service will remain the same and will be in line with other major Canadian ports. I would also remind him that the search and rescue capability in that area was actually improved through the addition of a hovercraft in the 2010 budget. I would also tell him that the coast guard will be establishing a new inshore rescue boat station for the summer season in the Vancouver port. He has no reason to be concerned.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is stepping up its attack on Canadian workers. Today, Conservatives are targeting seasonal and contract workers with the new EI changes.

Contract workers are the backbone of many Canadian industries. These people work hard from seed to harvest in order to keep our farms and orchards putting locally produced food on Canadian dinner plates. Yet the Conservatives want to target these workers and compel them to earn less than other EI recipients.

When will the Conservative government stop targeting Canadian workers and start respecting them?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we expect that Canadians will take available jobs in their own area with the appropriate qualifications. Canadians will face unprecedented labour skills shortages in the coming years and we want to ensure that employers, like those in my riding, of Simcoe—Grey, who run apple orchards and run small businesses, are turning to Canadians first so that Canadians get the jobs that they need and they want.

I would just ask the NDP why it will not get with the jobs plan so Canadians can be employed.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's jobs plan actually increased the unemployment rate in the last two months, so I am not too sure it is a great plan.

The government keeps pretending that employment insurance belongs to it but we all know that it does not. EI belongs to the workers. It belongs to the people who have put in the time and the sweat, and it is their money that goes into this program, not the Minister of HRSD's who has some distorted view of being unemployed.

The Conservatives seem to think that being unemployed is an all-inclusive vacation. Seasonal workers are, from coast to coast to coast, the backbones of many communities, so why the attacks? When will the government realize that EI does not belong to it, it belongs to the workers who paid for it.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, it must be clear that EI belongs to the workers and the employers who pay for employment insurance. We will experience unprecedented labour shortages across the country over the next number of years. We support and applaud the millions of Canadians who work hard every day to support their families. Canadians will face these unprecedented labour skills shortages and we want to ensure employers in Canada have Canadians first as the individuals they employ to ensure that they have jobs.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, these changes will hurt workers.

The Conservatives have decided that their new target will be those in seasonal or temporary jobs. Murky employment insurance reforms couched in barely veiled insults are an attack on these valiant workers.

The labour market has changed a lot since Duplessis's day. Jobs for life are no longer the norm, and people need employment insurance for smooth transitions.

Will the government abandon these poorly thought-out reforms, seeing as it does not even understand exactly what they mean?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, we expect Canadians will take available jobs in their own local areas based on appropriate qualifications, the qualifications that they have.

However, let us talk about issues of disparaging people. The Leader of the Opposition wants to call Western Canadian employers a disease.

We want to ensure that every Canadian in this country who is willing to work has a job That is why we have created 750,000 net new jobs since the downturn in the economy. I look forward to the NDP finally supporting a jobs plan in the country, the one we provided.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the government finally inoculating workers against the changes that it is proposing.

The more money they pilfer from the employment insurance fund, the less the Conservatives seem to remember that the fund belongs to workers, not to them.

Now this disrespectful government is telling workers that they will not be entitled to employment insurance. People who have contributed for years are having the rug pulled out from under them as the government changes the rules. That is unacceptable.

Is the government really planning to lock up the employment insurance fund so that unemployed workers cannot access it?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, employers and employees pay for EI. We are experiencing unprecedented labour skills shortages across the country. We want to ensure that Canadians have opportunities for jobs in their local areas based on their qualifications.

The NDP may say whatever it wants but it is clear that it is not for the jobs plan that our government has created, the one that has created 750,000 net new jobs since July 2009.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, people want a plan that will work well for workers, not a plan that will work poorly for them.

Apparently, closing search and rescue stations was not enough for the government. Now it is planning to shut down 10 Coast Guard centres, which analyze marine traffic and navigation conditions. The government's decision will put crabbers, lobster boats and other Atlantic and Gulf of St. Lawrence fishers in danger.

Will the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans reverse these dangerous decisions and ensure adequate protection for fishers?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:30 a.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, as I said earlier, the safety of Canadians and mariners is the top priority of the Canadian Coast Guard. The efficiencies that are proposed by the Coast Guard are balanced and will contribute to its fair share to reducing the deficit. However, the proposed changes to the Coast Guard will have no impact on our ability to provide the world-class service that Canadians and mariners have come to expect.