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House of Commons Hansard #128 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was labour.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I must correct what the hon. member said.

The fact is that nearly 85% of workers who have paid into the employment insurance fund have access to benefits when they lose their job through no fault of their own. We are proud of that fact.

Our government is making changes to help these people find another job.

There is a shortage of workers in Canada, and we would rather help our unemployed workers find jobs.

WorkOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, again, the Conservatives have pushed the panic button.

Here we go again with another back-to-work bill. This time, it is the railway workers whose rights are being trampled on. Five ministers held press conferences today. Were they trying to protect pensions? No. Were they defending good salaries? No. They came out to justify eliminating the rights of workers.

Do the Conservatives realize that the workers drive our economy, that they buy bicycles and clothing and spend money at the small businesses in their communities? Do the Conservatives realize that people need good salaries and good pensions in order to keep driving the economy?

WorkOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, indeed, I was joined by my colleagues today so we could update the Canadian public on the effect that the six-day work stoppage has had on businesses that are not necessarily Canadian Pacific. They are in the automotive industry, the natural resources industry, the agriculture industry and the transport industry.

We are seeing layoffs. We are seeing people cut back. We are seeing those things happen. That is why we are acting today by tabling legislation. I say to the member that the real reason for the press conference was to ask the NDP to support us in passing this quickly, so that we may be able to get people back to work sooner.

WorkOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry. It will not happen.

It is always a race to the bottom with those Conservatives. This is the sixth time in six years they have legislated workers back to work. They have beaten the Liberal record for back-to-work laws.

Well, 5,000 workers and counting are asking themselves what they have done to deserve the wrath of the minister. Why are Conservatives always picking winners and losers, and why are they crushing the principle of collective bargaining? Why are they crushing the principle of free collective bargaining?

WorkOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we are firmly on the side of the Canadian public and the national economy. We are not taking one side over the other. The economy is being affected. It is a six-day strike. We have provided ample opportunity to the parties. They are facing very serious issues at the table. They were unable to do it and finish their own collective agreement. As such, we will be making our legislation known this afternoon.

The BudgetOral Questions

May 28th, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, when his constituents asked the member for Kootenay—Columbia to help split the non-budget measures out of the budget bill, he agreed, saying, “...you'll find a barrage of Conservatives that do hold your concerns, and I am one of them.... I do believe some could be separated out”.

Will the government listen to Canadians and listen to its own members of Parliament and split up the budget bill, or does it agree with the member for Kootenay—Columbia that Conservative MPs are “not going to make a difference”?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be able to stand and talk about Canada's economic action plan 2012, which is focused on jobs, the economy and long-term prosperity for this country.

I would remind hon. members that this government has put in place policies that have helped create more than 750,000 jobs since July 2009. That is important, that is what Canadians are focused on and that is what Canada's economic action plan is all about.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has pushed almost every aspect of the old Reform ideology, from EI to immigration to first nations to crime. But the reform, the freedom of members of Parliament to represent their constituents instead of party ideology, has masterfully disappeared in spite of the opposition calls, concerned Canadians and now members of the Conservative caucus.

Will the Prime Minister divide the undemocratic budget bill?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. There was far too much noise on both sides during that question.

The hon. Minister of State for Finance.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I would also agree there was far too much noise.

Speaking of divides, we are actually starting to see a divide on the other side, battling amongst themselves about who can oppose what Canadians support, and that is economic action plan 2012. It is a plan to get Canadians back to work.

The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development is doing her best to make sure that people who are unemployed can actually find a job, but we need help in this House of Commons to get this bill passed, and passed quickly, to create jobs for more Canadians who do want to work.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, closing the Kitsilano search and rescue station will result in people dying. That is according to retired Coast Guard commanders, rescue volunteers and boaters.

This Vancouver Coast Guard base is the busiest in Canada. This year it has handled more than 70 life-and-death emergencies well before summer even started. Closing the Kitsilano base will increase Coast Guard response time by up to an hour.

To the minister, if he were capsized in the cold waters of English Bay, injured and needing rescue, would he still say that the Richmond base is close enough?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as always, the top priority of the Canadian Coast Guard is the safety of mariners.

The level of search and rescue service in Vancouver will not be affected and will remain the same. In fact, the Coast Guard will establish a new inshore rescue boat station for the summer season in Vancouver port and strengthen our partnerships with other on-water search and rescue partners such as the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' decision to close the Freshwater Institute is a step backward for freshwater research and will have a huge impact on the management of our fisheries. Scientists from Harvard, the Smithsonian and other top research centres have slammed the cut. This research helps us understand and manage the impact of pollution on our freshwater systems and our fishery.

Why are the Conservatives so afraid of knowledge? Why are they cutting the Freshwater Institute?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to support freshwater research across Canada. The Experimental Lakes facility has a lot to offer to non-governmental research labs involved in ecosystem manipulation research. We look forward to facilitating a transfer to a private organization.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, first the Trojan Horse budget paves the way for treating our lakes and streams as dumping ponds. Then the government cuts the very programs that tell us why we need to be so careful.

The Freshwater Institute has already led to breakthroughs on acid rain, hydro dams and the use of phosphorous, but now when we need it the most the government will ensure it disappears. Why are the Conservatives throwing caution to the wind and ending this important scientific tool?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I said, Fisheries and Oceans will continue to support freshwater research across Canada. The department will no longer conduct research that requires whole-lake or whole-ecosystem manipulation. Departmental research on fresh water will continue in various locations across Canada.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the cuts do not end with protecting fresh water. There are major cuts to the Coast Guard too. The Kitsilano station in the heart of Vancouver is one of the busiest in Canada, but the government is planning to close it. This would double response times, putting lives at this international port at risk.

Will the minister stop the dismantling of this station and reverse these reckless Conservative cuts?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, levels of search and rescue service in Vancouver will remain the same. Search and rescue capability in the area was also improved through budget 2010, which provided funding for a new hovercraft available early next year, to replace the aging hovercraft at the Sea Island base.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend 55 lives were saved because of the Kitsilano station alone. With growing traffic, the impacts could be severe, but the government did not consult anyone but DND. It did not consult the province; it did not consult the city; and it did not consult the community. It did not consult the facts.

How can the minister close the station without talking to the very people whose lives he will put at risk?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, we are very aware and we are convinced that search and rescue services in Vancouver will remain the same. We will strengthen our partnerships with other on-water search and rescue partners such as the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary. We think we have an opportunity to provide better service in this area.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Labour met with CP Rail and with the Teamsters Union to try to encourage and facilitate an agreement that would have avoided a work stoppage. While the parties continued to negotiate until yesterday, the union began strike action on Wednesday, May 23.

Notwithstanding the rhetoric of the parties opposite, labour stability in the rail sector is critical to the functioning of the Canadian economy, the continued economic recovery and the confidence of Canadian businesses and the Canadian public.

Could the Minister of Labour please, once again, give the House an update on the status of the labour negotiations at CP Rail?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, our government is very concerned about the prolonged work stoppage and the effect it is having on the national economy. Indeed, figures indicate that it could be half a billion dollars a week for a prolonged work stoppage.

That is why today our government will take further action. I will be introducing legislation to resume all rail services to protect the Canadian economy and, of course, national interests.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, we all know that when it comes time to listen to the advice of the departments, the Conservatives like to add their own personal touch. Clearly, the Minister of Canadian Heritage spends a little too much time with his colleague, the Minister of International Cooperation, because now he likes to interfere in these kinds of affairs.

I have here the unbelievable decision to ignore the recommendation to designate Tadoussac and Rouyn-Noranda as cultural capitals of Canada. Why? Because the minister decided to favour the City of Calgary, which was not even on the selection committee's shortlist.

Why did the minister go against his department recommendation to list these two Quebec cities as cultural capitals of Canada? Why?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we were proud to name Niagara Falls and Calgary the cultural capitals for 2012. It is sad that the opposition constantly tries to pit Canadians against each other. We received several nominations for cities that wanted to be listed as cultural capitals, but only a few can actually be named. There were two quality nominations.

Having said this, Rouyn-Noranda and Tadoussac will receive funding for cultural events that will take place this year. Tadoussac will receive funding for the Festival de la chanson in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Rouyn-Noranda will receive funding for the 36th and 37th editions of Salon du livre. They will be getting money.

It is also true that the NDP voted against this.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jonathan Tremblay NDP Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is the minister who is pitting one city against another. When you play with the rules to help your friends, it smacks of bad faith and favouritism.

After spending several years putting together their applications, Tadoussac and Rouyn-Noranda are going to have to look elsewhere in order to fund their projects. The mayors of these two Quebec cities were told that their bids were not good and that they did not meet the criteria. Yet, officials said that the two towns qualified, and even recommended them.

Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages tell us why he decided that these two cities’ bids were not good enough?