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House of Commons Hansard #131 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was changes.

Topics

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I certainly welcome the question because it has just been answered by the Minister of the Environment who along with his two other colleagues, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Natural Resources, appeared as witnesses. That is the important part. They have provided information. They have answered questions.

We understand that at the subcommittee last night, the critics responsible for those two areas did not even show up.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services has revealed, it is hardly a secret, that the government's defence procurement processes are in a total shambles. I wonder if the Prime Minister would not agree that when it comes to the F-35 contract, which is the largest procurement that is going to be undertaken, before any decisions can be taken with respect to the particular airplane that is being proposed, it is even more important to get the question of the mission for this plane after 2020.

What exactly do we think Canada's foreign policy and defence needs are going to be? Why not go back to the beginning of the process, rather than start where we are today?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course, the process began in 1997, during the previous Liberal government, so I do not know why the leader of the Liberal Party would be calling upon me to revisit all of that.

The leader of the Liberal Party makes these sweeping comments about the procurement being in a shambles. The difference under this government is we actually do procure things for our military, so that the men and women in uniform have the equipment they need to do their job.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am well aware that he is still getting advice from his Minister of Foreign Affairs. The problem we have is that yesterday the Minister of Public Works stated clearly, in a speech, that the Prime Minister was wrong.

She said there were problems with time frames and administrative problems. We heard what the Auditor General had to say, which was the complete opposite of what the Prime Minister said. He said that when the Liberal government was in power, there was no problem with the government's military procurement strategy. The problem—

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The right hon. Prime Minister.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party said there were no problems at that time. We have taken a look at the purchase of the submarines; is he serious?

We have a comprehensive strategy to ensure that our troops have the tools they need to do their work. We will continue to improve the process to ensure that this equipment will be available as soon as possible, but at a good price for taxpayers.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, with the Conservatives' fiscal ship firmly lodged on Mount Ararat, with an F-35 tied to its deck and a flood of taxpayer dollars flowing down the mountains, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, in a rare moment of poetical insight, said, “The public and parliamentary confidence in this [F-35] process to date is low”. Oh, really?

On the faint possibility that the minister's candid remarks actually represent a change in the government's thinking, could the minister now commit to an open, fair and transparent competition and save the taxpayers some of these dollars?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works is committed to improving and optimizing military procurement to ensure that the Canadian economy, Canadian industry and Canadian jobs can benefit.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, last night, at committee, former Conservative fisheries minister Siddon warned us that the Trojan budget bill, “makes a Swiss cheese out of the federal Fisheries Act” because today's Conservatives are abandoning their constitutional duties to protect our fish and fish habitat.

Mr. Siddon has this simple challenge for the minister. Will the minister stand to say, “I understand what my job entails and I am here to look after fish, full stop”?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.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, the measures we have introduced in Bill C-38 would allow Fisheries and Oceans Canada to focus its efforts in a practical, sensible way on managing threats to Canada's recreational, commercial and aboriginal fisheries. I know he likes to use former minister Siddon to criticize this new direction we would take here, but let me read this for him. It states, “The policy applies to those habitats directly or indirectly supporting those fish stocks or populations that sustain commercial, recreational or Native fishing activities of benefit to Canadians.”

Who wrote that? It was the Hon. Tom Siddon in the 1986 habitat policy that is still in force here in Canada.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that the member supports what Mr. Siddon has to say. It is clear that the Conservatives would dismantle fish habitat protections and they would sell out our fisheries for short-term corporate profits. Canadians are not buying the minister's claim that this is all about farmers' ditches.

Neither is former minister Siddon, who called what they are doing “a shallow...phony excuse for change”, so I ask the minister to drop the charade, accept the advice from the Conservative predecessor, split the bill and do the right—

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:30 p.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, what we are doing is making changes that would provide greater certainty, consistency and clarity for Canadians, including conservation groups, land owners, municipalities and the provinces. More importantly, this new, focused approach to protecting fisheries would conserve and protect Canada's fisheries for future generations. I wonder what my colleague opposite is opposed to in that.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, this bill will create a lot more uncertainty.

There was a time when the Conservatives thought it was very important to protect the environment. That is why the Mulroney government implemented the Fisheries Act, which the Conservatives are trying to destroy today.

Yesterday, the former Conservative fisheries minister, Mr. Siddon, told the subcommittee that responsible parliamentarians would withdraw these changes from Bill C-38.

Will the Minister of the Environment listen to his Conservative colleague and split up this irresponsible bill?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.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, perhaps I can read something else from former minister Siddon's habitat policy from 1986. He said, “In accordance with this philosophy, the policy will not necessarily be applied to all places where fish are found in Canada, but it will be applied as required in support of fisheries resource conservation.”

That is the direction we are going. We are going to be protecting fisheries resources and we are going to be protecting fisheries. This might be a novel concept for the members opposite, but the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is going to protect fisheries.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

May 31st, 2012 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that it is now 2012.

Other Conservatives are against Bill C-38, including voters and the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia.

The government claims that overlap in federal and provincial jurisdictions is creating delays and unnecessary costs. That is absolutely not true. An internal document prepared for the Minister of the Environment confirms that there has been no overlap since last fall.

What, then, is the real reason behind the government's decision to dismantle environmental assessments in Bill C-38?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I remind my colleague opposite that legislative improvements to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act in 2010 did go some distance toward eliminating duplication in environmental assessments. However, we would build on that with Bill C-38 and we have introduced timelines. We would also contemporize processes under the National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. We would strengthen and improve what was already in place.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the government seems to have set a goal of dismantling as many institutions and social programs as possible. Environmental monitoring, old age security and, of course, employment insurance are being put through the ringer. The Conservatives are playing with the employment insurance fund as though it belongs to them. I have some news for them: this fund belongs to the workers and employees who have paid into it over the years to weather the storms that may come.

Does the minister understand that the employment insurance fund does not belong to her?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the employment insurance system is there for people who lose their job through no fault of their own. It is there to support them while they search for another job and to provide financial support during the transition.

What we want to do is to help these people—the unemployed workers—find a new job much more quickly. We will offer them assistance and any other support they need to find a new job.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is not about connecting people to jobs. It is about a government that is demonizing Canadians who, through no fault of their own, have been laid off more than once. This out-of-touch government is forcing people to accept jobs, even if the jobs do not correspond to their qualifications, at much lower wages. The Conservatives may say they support free markets, but clearly not when it comes to the labour market.

When will the minister admit that her changes mean people will now be paying the same premiums for less coverage?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, what is really outrageous is the lack of truth in that question.

What we are doing is helping Canadians who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own get more information about jobs within their qualification ranges that are also within their geographic ranges. We are helping connect them with those jobs because, frankly, there is a shortage of skills and labour right across the country. Employers are having to go to the expense and trouble of bringing in foreign workers when in many cases there are qualified Canadians in their area who are available for that work. We want to help those workers get those jobs.

Employment EquityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Isabelle Morin NDP Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a recent Quebec study, people with foreign-sounding names are 64% less likely to be called for a job interview. Job market discrimination is not just a problem in Quebec. That is why the federal government brought in employment equity measures. Unfortunately, all those measures are going to go under the knife in the Conservative budget. That is another absurdity.

It is already hard enough for young people and immigrants to find a job. Why are the Conservatives making it even more difficult for them?

Employment EquityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our priority as a government is fairness and equality in the hiring of employees. That is something we are very proud of, and we are working with officials to ensure this policy is followed.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan NDP York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, Conservatives are forcing unemployed Canadians to take jobs at lower wages and engaging Canadian workers in a race to the bottom. Workers could be forced to take a 30% wage cut. If they are laid off again, they get another 30% wage cut. Conservatives are putting Canadians into a downward spiral of lower wages and reduced eligibility.

Will they agree to base future EI claims on a worker's original wage?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, another fact free question. What we are trying to do is increase employees' earnings by making sure that when they work while they are on claim, they get to keep half of what they earned on top of their EI instead of having it clawed back, as it is now. We want to make sure that work always pays and when people exercise themselves in the market and become more attached to the labour market, they do earn more than they would on EI. That is helping them out.