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House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is almost as if these changes are being put out on the back of an envelope.

We still do not have the regulations that are in place. It is one of the reasons that we are hearing not just from employees who are concerned and not just from seasonal workers. We are hearing from farmers, from farm organizations right across the country, who are deeply concerned about the impact of these changes on their own employment practices with respect to temporary permits of people coming in from offshore.

Could the Prime Minister tell us why he will not withdraw these suggestions until such time as he has established a stronger national consensus for the kind of changes that this requires?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, these changes are widely supported by employers.

Our philosophy here is different than that on the other side. We want to make sure people can get jobs when jobs are available rather than employment insurance. We want to make sure that when jobs are available Canadians get first crack at those jobs, not temporary foreign workers.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, we all know what usually happens when there is a labour shortage: salaries increase. That is the principle of supply and demand.

However, the Conservatives' plan to reform employment insurance will put downward pressure on the salaries of workers across Canada. This will be very bad for the economy. If EI is to be reformed, the changes should target accessibility and the processing of applications.

Why are the Conservatives ignoring the real problems?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the real question is this: why does the opposition want to give jobs to foreign workers rather than to Canadians?

The Conservatives want to help Canadians find jobs and apply for positions that exist in their regions and in their areas of expertise. This will help Canadians, before employers turn to foreign workers to fill those jobs.

We want to help Canadians because that is the best thing to do.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, last year, the Conservatives forced Mexican nationals wishing to work in Canada to obtain a visa in order to restrict their entry.

The Conservatives want to connect people to jobs by sending emails and text messages, but they have yet to say what they will do about families living below the poverty line who do not have cell phones or Internet access.

People in outlying regions have also been abandoned, whether they work in the fishery, tourism or forestry.

Why is this government using EI reform to attack communities that make their living from tourism?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, there is a labour shortage in many sectors and areas across Canada. In those regions, there are often unemployed workers who are unaware of the jobs that are available. We will help these people find these jobs. We will notify them so that they can have jobs that pay more than employment insurance. This will improve their well-being and that of their families and our country.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's attack on rural Canadians is shameful. In towns that rely on seasonal industries like the fisheries, agriculture, tourism—

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Hamilton Mountain has the floor.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, in towns that rely on seasonal industries like the fisheries, agriculture, tourism or forestry, Conservative EI changes would exacerbate the exodus of workers from their communities. The skills shortages left behind would be permanent and the minister will not even consult with the industries hardest hit.

Why are the Conservatives so intent on pushing through these reckless changes that would hurt so many rural communities?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I was explaining to the hon. member in the elevator just this afternoon, we are working on helping rural Canadians find jobs that they may not be aware of in their areas. We want to ensure that they know what jobs are there, in their local area within their skills range so they can access them so they and their families would be better off. If they cannot find jobs within their field in their area, EI would be there to support them.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, one conversation with me in the elevator is not a public consultation. The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development claims that there have been consultations and yet she could not name a single EI-specific consultation anywhere, any time. EI is not just a safety net—

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Hamilton Mountain still has the floor.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, EI is not just a safety net for workers. Entire industries rely on it.

When will the minister hold public consultations with the workers, industries and communities affected? When will she follow the Minister of Finance's advice and talk to the provinces that would be hardest hit?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are supporting those provinces. We would help their workers, particularly their seasonal workers, become aware of jobs that are available to them for which they are qualified in their local area in the off season. That way, they could have access to those jobs, earning more money for themselves and looking after their families better. We would make other changes to EI as well to make sure that part-time work is better than being on EI, because we know that part-time work often leads to full-time work. When that happens, the workers win, the employers win, the families win and so does our country.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again Canadians see the abuses of entitlement that come from the lack of accountability of public boards and agencies. Let us look at the Old Port of Montreal where the taxpayers were stiffed with the cost for a South Seas cruise and an extended vacation. What did we get for all of our money? A bunch of stock pictures they could have taken off Google.

Canadians are tired of this excess. Will the government ask the Old Port to ensure that this $10,000 is not on the taxpayers' dime? What steps will the Conservatives take to rein in this system of buddy entitlement at these ports?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, all of us in the House share our concern about these expenditures. We have asked the Auditor General to do an audit of these expenditures and he has agreed to do so. In addition, at my request, the Old Port has agreed to put in place an independent third party member to oversee all expenditures going forward.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the Conservatives were really interested in accountability, they would not be stuffing these boards with failed Tory candidates. They have the nerve to tell average Canadians that the cupboard is bare while creating the most audacious employment scheme for people who were deliberately rejected by the people of Canada. We have failed Tories at the Employment Insurance Board, the Parole Board, the Human Rights Tribunal, the port authorities and, of course, the cash-for-life senator. My God, it is like watching a proliferation of zombies in a Tory horror movie. Why are they using the same tired old pork-barrel, rum-bottle politics that Canadians rejected when they threw out the Liberals?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's comments really miss the mark there. It is nothing of that type. We have ensured that appointments made to serve the public are from among Canadians who are very distinguished and capable. That does not disqualify people who, of course, have a political affiliation.

That is certainly the case with the NDP. We can find a number of its former candidates employed in political jobs. For example, we could look at Alain Ackad, who ran for the NDP in Lac-Saint-Louis. He is now assisting the MP for Pierrefonds—Dollard in a political job. I am sure there are many more.

EthicsOral Questions

May 29th, 2012 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if you want to see beautiful images from the four corners of the world, sign up for the Grands Explorateurs. A season ticket to attend six fascinating talks costs $83.50.

That is quite a bit cheaper than the $10,000 it cost to send the president of the Old Port of Montreal Corporation on a trip. What is more, the president, upon her return, submitted a report consisting mainly of slides. Clearly, a fish rots from the top down.

Conservative ministers have demonstrated that it is okay to live high off the hog at taxpayers' expense. It is not surprising that others are trying to take advantage.

When are the Conservatives going to restore a responsible, ethical culture?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, we all share the member's concern and partly his outrage, but at this point we have asked the Auditor General to do an audit and we appreciate that he has accepted to do that.

Furthermore, at my request, the Old Port has agreed to take on a third party independent company to sit in at the Old Port to review and sign off on all expenditures going forward.

LabourOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, impunity and hypocrisy are the Conservatives' trademark.

When it came time to protect the economy of the Montreal region, protect jobs and enforce the Air Canada Act, the Conservatives sat on their hands. They did nothing. Aveos employees were not entitled to the special treatment received by CP, Air Canada and Canada Post management.

Once again, the Conservatives have waded into a conflict involving a private company. Why this misplaced interventionism? The invisible hand of the Conservatives has once again got a stranglehold on workers and their rights.

Why are the Conservatives so bent on repeatedly sabotaging negotiations?

LabourOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, obviously the member did not watch the media on the weekend because, if he had, he would have realized that both parties have been unable to conclude a deal in the case of CP Rail, and, even though we have offered them 120 days of extra mediation, they have rejected that offer as well.

There is not question that the economy is being affected, which is why our government has tabled legislation and why we will be debating it this evening.

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, when will the Conservatives figure out that workers are the back bone of the economy. The Conservatives' back-to-work legislation also attacks workers' pensions. The CPP fund is at the heart of this dispute. The government is siding with a profitable company that has decided to go after employees' pensions just for more profit.

Employees play by the rules and pay for their own pensions. Why are the Conservatives always picking winners and losers and why are workers' pensions always under attack?