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House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was centre.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, with what is happening in Europe, what the world economy needs right now is leadership, something sorely lacking from the Prime Minister, who prefers to play the blame game.

Conservatives are not focused on growth or job creation. They are preoccupied with cutting old age security, cutting employment insurance and dismantling environmental protection.

Will the Conservatives now rethink their job cutting budget and come back to the House with a real plan for job creation and growth?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I might observe that actually the last three budgets we put in place have helped the Canadian economy grow over 750,000 net new jobs. That is pretty important. For those people who are working now who were not working at the end of the recession, that is pretty good news.

The sad part is that whatever policy we put forward to help with long-term prosperity, with job growth, with growing this economy, it is opposed by the NDP.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been on a lecture tour in Europe. He has been lecturing the Europeans on fiscal integration. Meanwhile, he runs this federation as if he were Louis XIV.

We have no co-operation on health care, no co-operation on transportation, none on infrastructure, none on housing, none on employment insurance, none even on taxes.

When will the Prime Minister be coming back to Canada to sit down to meet with the premiers for the first time in six years to finally practise what he is preaching over in Europe?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, what the Prime Minister has been talking about in Europe is Canada's approach to fiscal management, to economic discipline, to achieving balanced budgets, to achieving job creation and economic growth by adopting those measures. That is what we are doing through our economic action plan 2012.

We have an opportunity in this House to vote on things like a tax credit for the creation of jobs by small businesses. That is something that is important to help add to our 750,000 net new jobs.

Why does the leader of the third party oppose a measure like that to create new jobs?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has increased taxes paid by employers and employees by $1.2 billion. At the same time, it has downloaded costs onto the provinces. The Prime Minister cannot talk about fiscal integration when he is transferring the burden of federal expenses to the provinces without having held a single meeting since the start of his reign as Prime Minister, as if he were Louis XIV.

When will the Prime Minister sit down with the premiers to develop a real Canada-wide program?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party is wrong.

The reality is that the biggest increase in transfers to the provinces in my lifetime, and perhaps in his as well, has come under this government.

It is an example of the commitment to strengthening our federation that we have seen the biggest increase in transfers to the provinces. We have delivered on our commitment, and we have also done it in a way that allows us to deliver a balanced budget.

When Liberals look for a way to balance the budget, what do they do? They slash transfers to the provinces. I think he remembers that from when he was an NDP premier.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on another subject, the chairman of the Conservative brain trust, the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, at an interview that he gave to the Meaford Independent apparently has suggested that it is time for Canada to withdraw from the United Nations.

I would like to ask the government House leader, has it really come to this on that side of the House? Has it really come to the point where the government is seriously contemplating withdrawing from the United Nations? Is that now the international policy of Canada?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our foreign policy is a values-based foreign policy based on those fundamental values we share of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, values we seek to promote around the world, values that we have promoted through our participation in a United Nations-sanctioned mission in Afghanistan, where we have helped to advance those values that we have delivered on, and a United Nations-sanctioned mission in Libya led by a Canadian, Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard.

We will continue to work to see that those values are advanced at every opportunity, including trying to see them more advanced at the United Nations.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources is finally being honest. There will be no consultations with Canadians about the massive cuts that the Conservatives are planning to make to the employment insurance program. There will be no consultations about changes that will leave thousands of unemployed workers empty-handed. There will be no consultations about changes that will force even more young people to leave their communities and that will deal a harsh blow to seasonal businesses.

Why is the minister afraid to consult people about these changes?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but I have to correct all of the erroneous, unfounded statements that the member made.

The changes that we are making to the employment insurance system are the result of consultations and what we have heard from employers and workers across Canada over the past few months. We need a system that is equitable and fair. Claimants need to understand their responsibilities.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, that is pretty pathetic.

The consultations that the minister was talking about as recently as last week were actually discussions that took place in cabinet. They were not public consultations. If she wants public consultations, she should go to the Atlantic provinces or talk to people in her Conservative colleague's riding of Kootenay—Columbia. These changes to employment insurance will affect millions of Canadians. Why insult them? Why not consult them?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the NDP is the party that keeps insulting Canadians. We are the ones who want to help them find available jobs that suit their skills in their own regions. We are going to remove the obstacles that prevent unemployed people from working. There are many such obstacles in the system.

However, we know that there is a labour shortage across Canada, and we want to connect unemployed workers with available jobs. That is what we are going to do.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, no one is buying the idea that muzzled Conservative MPs are a substitute for genuine public consultation. The minister did not even bother to consult with premiers.

Today, Atlantic Canadian premiers are meeting in P.E.I., and the Conservatives' reckless proposed changes to EI are at the top of their agenda. Communities across Atlantic Canada rely on seasonal business and some of these communities are already struggling.

Will the minister now agree to be accountable and work with the premiers before she makes these changes to EI?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I said to all of my Atlantic minister counterparts, I am open to hearing their concerns and taking those into consideration.

I have to tell the member that the representatives of people from right across the country have been informing me of their constituents' views. What we are trying to do here is help connect Canadians with the jobs that are available, because right now we have a shortage of skills and labour across the country. We want to help connect people with the jobs. Why does the NDP not? We want to ensure that people are better off working than they are on EI.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, punishing out-of-work Canadians is not the same thing as helping them. Right now, 40% of unemployed Canadians even qualify for employment insurance. With these changes it would mean that even fewer Canadians would qualify. More young people are going to leave their communities. Our businesses are going to be undercut and our communities are going to suffer.

Why are the Conservatives refusing to hear from the very people who would be forced to take low wages and work outside their fields? Why will the minister not stop hiding from Canadians, and when will she actually talk to the people who will be affected?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. Let us get the facts on the record. Of those people who work and pay into employment insurance, almost 85% of them can collect when they lose their job through no fault of their own. The hon. member is misrepresenting those numbers.

We want to help those Canadians who have been unfortunate enough to lose their jobs connect with jobs in their area within their range of skills so that they and their families are better off. We are making changes to the EI system to ensure that when people work they are better off than when they do not.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, either the minister does not understand or she does not want to understand. Lobsters are not trapped on Yonge Street in Toronto. They are trapped in Chaleur Bay. It is not the workers who are seasonal; it is the work.

The Conservatives are insulting workers in Atlantic Canada and in the seasonal industries. The Conservatives want the money, like the Liberals before them, in order to pay for limousines.

When will the minister consult the provinces and talk with the Atlantic premiers?

The Atlantic premiers do not want these changes. When will the minister and the Conservatives do their job?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, what we want is to continue to create jobs. Our government's priority is economic growth and job creation. For that, employers need to have workers with the necessary skills or their businesses will collapse.

For there to be economic growth, there need to be workers. The obstacles preventing them from working need to be eliminated, and that is precisely what we will do. If workers have more work, they will earn more money and that will be better for them, for their families and for their province.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the attacks on Atlantic Canada and the fisheries continue. Today we hear that no less than six Department of Fisheries and Oceans offices will be closing in Newfoundland and Labrador. These offices provide front line support for the fishing industry on the east coast. They cannot be replaced by a 1-800 number.

When will the minister stand up and do his job, stop these closures that are harming not only the economy but the communities that depend on the fishery?

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, as I have indicated many times, it should be no surprise to the member opposite that we are trying to find efficiencies in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We are doing that. We are not only making it more efficient, we are saving taxpayer dollars, and we will continue to do that. We think that is the best way to operate.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, why does the minister not go and visit Trepassy, Arnold's Cove, Burgeo and the other rural outports that will be losing their DFO offices? Try to explain to those people how job losses and shutdowns are going to somehow make the fisheries better. Explain how they will be able to regulate the fisheries with no local office.

Consider this an invitation. Will the minister come with me to these outports to explain to the people why the Conservative government is abandoning them?

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, nothing could be further from the truth. A consolidation of conservation and protection offices will improve the overall efficiencies the conservation and protection program will provide for a more strategic deployment of limited resources to higher-risk areas.

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are closing the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices after announcing the dismantling of the Fisheries Act. This is just one more institution that is being attacked, much like the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

The Conservatives have basically told the Parliamentary Budget Officer to get lost, when he is merely asking for numbers that, under the Conservatives' own law, should be provided to him. Imagine—he might have to take them to court just to do his job.

Why are the Conservatives hiding information from an independent officer of Parliament, whose only job is to check the government's numbers?

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. We will continue to report to Parliament through all the usual channels, including the estimates, the quarterly financial reports and the public accounts.

As usual, with budget 2012, we are supporting an economic action plan to boost our economy, fight unemployment, create jobs and encourage economic growth. That is our goal, and with budget 2012, we will succeed.

Government SpendingOral Questions

June 6th, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the law is clear. The Parliamentary Budget Officer is mandated to provide MPs with independent analysis of budgets, estimates and spending. The objective is ensuring MPs are not voting blind on fiscal measures.

Despite promises of openness and accountability, the Conservatives continue to withhold key information on cuts from the PBO and from Parliament. The Parliament of Canada Act requires the government to disclose this information.

Why are Conservatives refusing to comply with their own accountability laws?