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House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-38.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative record for workers is abysmal, attacking seasonal workers, temporary foreign workers and construction workers, and the worst is yet to come. The Conservatives' omnibus budget bill would give the minister carte blanche to make unilateral changes to employment insurance. If we cannot even trust the Conservatives with public legislation, how on earth can we trust them behind closed doors?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, one thing we know we cannot trust is the NDP when it comes to creating jobs for Canadian workers. Every single thing we have brought in to help those who have been laid off to get new jobs and keep those jobs, and to support them while they are looking for jobs, the NDP members have voted against.

We introduced a tax EI credit for small businesses to create jobs. The NDP members voted against that. We are trying to help Canadians get back to work by connecting them with jobs that are available in their areas, and the NDP members are voting against it. Why will they not stand up for Canadian workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister sure seems proud of an embarrassing record. However, she forgets two key facts. One, we will always vote against Conservative budgets that do not get the job done. Two, EI belongs to the workers who paid into it, not to that minister.

The minister refuses to meet with Canadians, listen to their representatives or hold any consultations outside the PMO. Will the minister stop using the budget bill to give herself new powers to undermine EI?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is utter fabrication. I and many of my colleagues have met with Canadians right across the country. We have listened and we have heard. People want help getting back to work. They want to make their families better off. Employers right across the country are looking for workers who quite often are discouraged from working because of the current structure of the EI system. We are changing that because we want these workers to have better access to jobs, so that they are better off, their families are better off and their employers are better off. That makes the country better off all round.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the unemployed are not the only ones in the crosshairs of this budget implementation bill. In clause 447, the government is raising the old age security eligibility age, effectively stealing money from seniors. These few lines will deny millions of workers access to a social program that they are entitled to. When one is not proud of what one is doing, one tries to hide it. It looks as though that is what the Conservatives are trying to do.

Does the minister not think that such changes merit in-depth study rather than a mere mention in such a gigantic budget bill?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want old age security to be there for today's seniors and for future generations. We are changing the program to keep it sustainable. Nothing will change for people who are already receiving benefits. We will begin to gradually raise the retirement age in 2023 to ensure that the program remains available to all Canadians who need it.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, we understand that the minister is trying to justify the government's actions, but we would also like her to try to answer the question.

If the Conservatives are so bent on destroying old age security, they could have introduced a separate bill and taken the time to explain to MPs and seniors advocacy groups why they want to steal their money. At the very least they should have analyzed these changes thoroughly and publicly instead of hiding them in the middle of a 425-page bill. Old age security is too important a part of our social safety net to be sabotaged so negligently.

Does this government realize how irresponsible its approach is?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the old age security system is very important to us. It is one of the foundations of the social security system for our seniors. That is why we want to safeguard it, which means gradually increasing the eligibility age from 65 to 67, starting in 2023. In addition, we are going to give seniors the choice of receiving more money if they want to wait longer for it. They will have that choice.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, this budget bill will allow mining and pipeline projects to move forward without proper consultation. The Conservatives are reducing the right to participate in environmental assessments, limiting that privilege to those directly affected. The minister refuses to clarify what that means.

Who is affected when a pipeline starts leaking? Is it just those who share the minister's opinion?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the NDP members need to quit making things up. The public is well aware that we are focusing on making the review process far more predictable and timely. They know that we are trying to reduce duplication and regulatory overlap. They know that we are working to strengthen environmental protection. They know that we are enhancing consultations with aboriginal people.

The NDP needs to get on side with us and support the bill, rather than trying to delay it and opposing it at every turn.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, as the Parliamentary Secretary knows, we only get one chance to do these projects right. Future generations are going to pay for today's mistakes. Instead of allowing a study of the bill, the Conservatives have rammed through sweeping changes to environmental protection. In one clause Conservatives create an entirely new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Now cabinet gets to overrule decisions from the National Energy Board. Politicians will decide, so there is no need for science or research or evidence.

Will the Conservatives stop their power grab and work with us to find a reasonable compromise?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, reasonable compromise was months of consultations prior to the budget coming down. It was 50 hours of consultations and hearings at the finance committee and 20 more hours of hearings at the special committee set up to study these very things. The critic herself chose not to attend most of those committee meetings after she had taken a slot on the committee, so she should not be giving us a lecture about listening to Canadians.

We have heard from Canadians. They support this budget. They want to go ahead with it. They want jobs and economic prosperity in our country, and we aim to provide that for them.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

June 11th, 2012 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, this weekend for the first time every Inuit publicly protested. They wanted to draw Canadians' attention to the high prices for food in Nunavut and across the north: $15 for a small bag of apples and the same for a 2-litre carton of milk.

After Conservatives replaced the food mail program with the nutrition north program, people saw their food budgets increase. Will the Conservatives admit the nutrition north program needs fixing and find a way to correct their mistakes?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. Of course we are committed to providing northerners with safe, secure and healthy food choices at affordable prices at the point of purchase in their communities. In consultation with northerners, retailers and suppliers, we created an advisory board made up of northerners to take stakeholders' concerns and provide recommendations to the government as this program develops. We have northerners' concerns in mind, which is why we even support safe and secure traditional foods, and important items like baby food and formula are subsidized.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, that just does not cut it. The Conservatives have boasted for years about their northern strategy and have promised investments to promote social development in the north, but on one of the most fundamental aspects, food, their approach is failing Canadians who live in these remote communities.

The problem with nutrition north is that while subsidies were supposed to help food prices go down, consumers have no idea where the savings are. Will the Conservatives commit to making the program more transparent?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, if the member actually had isolated and remote communities in her riding, as I do—more than 25—she would know that at the point of purchase, there are savings on many kinds of healthy food. Nutrition north is bringing fresh, healthy food to northern homes. The program allows for a new, market-driven model that is sustainable, efficient, cost-effective and transparent. It means bringing safe, secure and healthy food to northerners at affordable prices.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, last month, I met with the UN special rapporteur to discuss the outrageous and prohibitive food prices in communities like Kashechewan, Attawapiskat and Fort Albany. The health minister had a chance to show real leadership, but instead she led this embarrassing attack on the United Nations. The government knows to ship Timbits to Kandahar but has no idea about how to get fresh milk to Attawapiskat.

It is a simple question. Instead of attacking the United Nations, will the minister stand to admit that she has blown this file and that the government has no plan to help communities in the Far North?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, northerners asked for a program that focused on healthy foods and traditional foods and on making them safe, secure and affordable at the point of purchase, which is a major renovation from the food mail program. We did consult--

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor. I would like to hear him finish the answer.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, as my colleagues here do.

Mr. Speaker, we have continued listening through the advisory board made up of northerners and we are implementing changes based upon what they have heard. This is an ongoing process.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I suppose we were a bit hasty in complimenting the government on its shipbuilding strategy.

To go along with other botched procurements in this decade of doofus, including the F-35s, the fixed-wing search and rescue, the military vehicles, the close combat vehicles, the Chinooks, we now learn that the shipbuilding plan is both behind schedule and over budget.

Does this mean we are going to have another seven-point plan administered by the three blind mice and the minister of gazebos?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our government is very proud of the fact that we have committed to building our ships here in Canada for the Navy and Coast Guard. We know that our national shipbuilding strategy means long-term jobs and investment in the shipbuilding industry and will create more than 75 million person-hours of work for the Canadian shipbuilding industry.

This is a long-term industrial strategy. I have every confidence that Irving and Seaspan will work with the Coast Guard and the Navy to implement these projects on time and on budget. For our part, we will be providing oversight.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and chief government ethics spokesperson continues to be under active investigation and is facing the highest personal penalties in the Canada Elections Act.

Now he says he has the records that will explain it all. What is he waiting for? When will he release them?

If the parliamentary secretary needs more time to focus on his own ethical mess, will the Prime Minister do him a favour and relieve him of his duties as the government's ethically challenged ethics spokesperson?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has already submitted all of the relevant documents to Elections Canada. That was almost four years ago. They were audited and approved by that agency at that time. Now we have unproven allegations by the opposition, which is just trying to distract from the fact that its own finance spokesman came out over the weekend and said that he wanted to take “massive” quantities of Canadian tax dollars and send them over to Europe at a time when this government is focused on creating jobs and building our economy here at home.