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House of Commons Hansard #136 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was panama.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, order. We have just started. The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor, and I am having difficulty hearing him.

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

You are right, Mr. Speaker. We are only getting started with them.

As we know, the Prime Minister likes to make important economic announcements when he is travelling abroad. Perhaps he could use his trip to France as an opportunity to announce that he is reversing the cuts to old age security and restoring the retirement age to 65.

What do the Conservatives say to that?

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we are making changes to old age security in order to ensure the sustainability of the system. This is very important for the future, for future generations of seniors. The opposition parties do not understand the situation. It is not a question of saving money, but rather one of making the old age security program viable so that it can continue to exist when Canadians need it.

The EconomyOral Questions

June 7th, 2012 / 2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for months now New Democrats have been sounding the alarm about the risks facing the global economy. The Prime Minister has painted a rosy picture. He has told Canadians we do not need a new plan; he has told us we should just stay the course, but this week in London he changed his tune. Suddenly, after months of insisting that all was well, the Prime Minister has started musing about catastrophic economic scenarios on the horizon. We are running out of runway, he has told us.

Which is it? Is everything under control, as the Conservatives say, or are we on the brink of collapse?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our government's economic policies, and Canadians know this, have made Canada an island of stability in the world of relative economic unhealth. It is true that some of the eurozone countries have not dealt with their financial crisis and they need to deal with it, not only for the sake of the eurozone but for the rest of the world, to avoid banking contagion and another credit crisis like we had several years ago. The solution is not, as the NDP leader suggests, to take billions of Canadian tax dollars and give them to wealthy European countries.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

That is the type of pure fabulation one resorts to when one does not have any arguments, Mr. Speaker.

In 2008, the same Conservative minister went after Jack Layton when he declared that we were on the verge of a new recession. The Conservatives said that there was nothing of the sort, that it was not true. We were eventually proven right.

So what is the government going to do? Is it once again going to wait until we are caught with our pants down?

Since the Conservative budgets have left Canadians in an unstable financial position, when will the Conservatives change their approach and bring in a real economic action plan?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the Leader of the Opposition brought up what happened during the great recession and the fact that the Conservative government brought forth the economic action plan, which was a remarkable plan, voted on in the House, the subject of the budget in January 2009, a seminal document, and the NDP voted against it. This was the document that created the economic action plan that led to a Canadian recovery, which is the best among the developed countries in the world, which led to the creation of 750,000 jobs. This is another demonstration of the economic incompetence of the Leader of the Opposition.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

And the Conservatives denied there was even a problem going into the previous election, Mr. Speaker.

An economic storm seems to be brewing on the European horizon, but lecturing European leaders will not solve the problem. The Prime Minister said that Europe was a half-done project, but he was not able to explain his own recovery plan.

If we are on the verge of a new recession, what will the Conservatives' plan be? Do they have one, or do they simply plan on blaming Europe?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, certainly we have been working with our European colleagues. In fact we have been working with them, I and the Prime Minister, for several years now with respect to the European challenges.

The United States dealt with its issues in the fall of 2008 and recapitalized its banks. We dealt with our economic issues in Canada, and now we have secure and solid economic and fiscal fundamentals in this country, the best in the G7.

It is time, and we have encouraged our European allies to move forward, to seize the day and to address the major fiscal issues that they have, without Canadian tax dollars bailing them out, which the Leader of the Opposition suggests.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about seizing the day.

The Prime Minister is in Paris today, saying that Europe is only “half-done”. The Prime Minister says he has a plan if there is another serious fiscal crisis, but he will not say what that plan is. That is far less than half done; that is not even getting started.

In 2008, the Conservatives adopted stimulus measures only when the government's very survival was threatened. What is the contingency plan? Will it be 2008 all over again and will Canadians have to wait for a last-minute makeshift plan? Which is it?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the government is fully capable of economic management, unlike the opposition.

The opposition, in fact, when it was presented with the stimulus plan, the economic action plan in January 2009, at a time when we were very worried about millions of Canadians being unemployed, they voted against the plan. The plan worked despite the New Democratic Party, despite the incompetence of NDP leadership on economic issues.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might draw the attention of the government to Bill C-38, which is in fact the 750-clause piece of legislation that deals with the environment and in one clause changes the entire Environmental Assessment Act; it deals with old age pensions, raising the age of access to old age pensions to 67; it cuts EI dramatically, with details that are still forthcoming and we still do not know what they all are; and it deals with environment and fisheries.

I would like to ask the government: Does it not see the fairness and the logic of dividing up this bill, of giving this House the opportunity to deal with it, of giving the provinces and the premiers—

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. government House leader.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our economic action plan 2012 is a comprehensive plan. It is a comprehensive plan focused on job creation and prosperity in the short term and in the long term.

It takes advantage of the resources that Canada has, talented human resources, the most skilled workforce in the world, and how we make that even better to respond to our needs in the future; the fact that we have tremendous natural resources, and how we harness those to create jobs and prosperity for the future, to ensure that we balance our budget, so again future generations are not paying the costs of expenses of the past.

These are all part of ensuring Canada has a strong fiscal footing, job creation and prosperity for generations to come.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the government is transferring the costs of the change to the public, the provinces and municipalities, without any consultation.

The Prime Minister of Canada is going to France and Great Britain. He is meeting with European leaders. He is not meeting with the premiers. He is not meeting with the mayors of Canadian municipalities.

What is his problem? Why does he not consult people before taking action and transferring the burden onto them?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we have increased transfers to the provinces to the highest levels in Canadian history. That is this government's record. We have given the provinces the tools they need to do this work in their own jurisdictions.

Compare what we are doing now with the actions of the Liberal Party, which made massive cuts to transfers when it tried to balance the budget. Much like the former NDP premier of Ontario, the Liberal Party of Canada is familiar with the consequences of such a decision.

Department of National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government House leader announced, in all solemnity, that the Department of Foreign Affairs had conducted a full and open competition with respect to the cost of $20,000 limos in Davos, Switzerland.

If the government can conduct a full and open competition for limousines in Davos, can the government please tell us why it cannot have a full and open competition for a $9 billion purchase of F-35 planes?

Department of National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as we know, Canada's aging CF-18 aircraft are nearing the end of their lifetimes. Therefore it is necessary, if people believe in supporting the military, something the Liberals do not have a record of doing, as we do by purchasing new equipment and by providing them with the equipment they need to do their jobs, to make a commitment to purchasing those aircraft.

We have established a secretariat to deal with the purchase of new aircraft to meet those needs. We have in place a seven-point plan that deals with the best process to ensure the military gets the equipment it needs and taxpayers' interests are protected.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives keep making decisions behind closed doors, where they do not have to face public opinion or the unemployed they are attacking so unscrupulously. The minister has decided to throw together a change to employment insurance that penalizes certain regions and certain sectors of the economy. She could at least have the decency to go talk to the stakeholders.

Will she promise to tour the country and consult the public before making this change?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we know that there is a labour shortage across the country. That is why we want to help people receiving EI to find out about these positions, apply for them and start working. We also want to ensure that these people improve their standard of living by working, not by continuing to collect EI. We want to help families.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the minister did not and will not consult anyone because she is afraid to face workers.

When the Conservatives are proud of their policies, they hold press conferences across the country, but when they make changes they are not proud of, they announce them in Davos, hide them in a Trojan Horse and limit debate.

If the minister were truly confident about her changes, she would go talk about them with seasonal workers and Atlantic fishers. Why is she not doing that?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I wonder why the NDP wants to prevent workers from working. If workers can contact employers and get work, they will have a better standard of living, which will be better for them, for their families, for employers, for the economy, for the regions where they live and for the rest of Canada. We want to help them contact employers and get better jobs.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is not for the regions, because the Atlantic premiers met yesterday. Not surprisingly, the Conservative attacks on EI were at the top of their agenda. These premiers understand how critical employment insurance is to the economy. They know Conservative EI restrictions will hurt these industries and force workers out of their communities.

Lobster does not grow in a tank in the seafood section. The next time Conservatives sit down to their lobster dinner, will they take even a moment to think about the workers, the employees, the employers and the communities that they are targeting?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, once again, we see examples where the NDP does not want the Canadian economy to grow. We have employers all over the country who are desperate for workers. We are having to bring in tens of thousands of temporary foreign workers because Canadian employers cannot find Canadian workers to do the jobs.

We want to help the Canadian workers who are unemployed, with those skills, find the jobs in their area. That way the employers are better off, they produce a better product more economically and the families are better off. That is better for their communities and for the provinces.