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House of Commons Hansard #152 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the real question is: why did government members vote against undertaking a study on family inequality at the Standing Committee on Finance? The Prime Minister and his colleagues voted against it.

The fact is that the government is refusing to acknowledge that the challenge of our times is to ensure that Canada's wealth is shared fairly by everyone and that no one is excluded.

Why vote against that?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party prefers to conduct studies; on this side of the House, we prefer to take action. That is the major difference.

We have done important things: a GST reduction for the poor, benefits for workers on social assistance, higher GIS benefits, and so forth.

In any event, when we help the most vulnerable and the poor, the Liberal party votes against these measures.

Human RightsOral Questions

September 25th, 2012 / 2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, now that the Minister of Immigration and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have said that the establishment of gay rights around the world is a priority for the Canadian government, could the Prime Minister tell us if this now means the Government of Canada will provide the necessary financial support for the celebration of gay rights in Canada, in large cities right across the country, every summer that they take place and can we assume he and his ministers will join members of the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party across the country in celebrating gay rights here at home?

Human RightsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government advances human rights for all people, not just in Canada but internationally. One of the initiatives of this government that I am particularly proud of is the establishment of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. I hope some day we will the support of the Liberal Party for that.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, employment insurance reform is giving rise to anomalies that only the Conservatives can understand.

A man from Carleton was offered a job in Gaspé. Gaspé, of course, is three and a half hours from Carleton. In another example, a man from the Îles-de-la-Madeleine was offered a job in Bonaventure, on the Gaspé Peninsula. That is a twelve-hour trip, including a $50 ferry ride.

In light of this information, does the minister still believe that the definition of “suitable employment” is appropriate?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our objectives and priorities are job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity. This requires workers with the necessary skills and jobs available for them.

We are working to help the unemployed find jobs in their regions that match their skills, in order to make life better for them and for their families.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the parliamentary secretary falsely stated “those who work more will be able to keep more”. She knows that is not true. Grocery store clerks working a few hours a week have 50¢ of every dollar clawed back from their EI. Everyone making less than $300 will be worse off under this new scheme.

The minister needs to come clean. Is she deliberately misleading Canadians, or is she simply not on top of her file?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the old system actually clawed back dollar for dollar anything—

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Human Resources has the floor.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, if people made more than $75 a week, 40% of their claim, they got clawed back dollar for dollar for everything they earned beyond that while they were on claim. That discouraged people from working.

We want to ensure that people are encouraged to work and when they do work, they will always be better off than when they do not.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would really like her to stop with the tall tales. But let us move on.

Let us take another example: the cultural and tourist sites that have to close in the winter. Not all the inns, restaurants and museums in the Gaspé can stay open in the winter because there are no tourists. Thousands of my constituents make their living from tourism. They need employment insurance. The program is essential to the survival of seasonal industries.

With their reform, the Conservatives are jeopardizing these jobs. Why are they attacking the economy of our regions?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have supported seasonal industries to a much greater extent than any other government.

The right to employment insurance also brings with it the responsibility to look for work. If there are no jobs in the region that match people's skills, employment insurance will be there for them, as always.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, all regions of the country are paying the price for the Conservatives' choices. It could be more of the same if the Nexen takeover goes forward. State-owned Chinese company CNOOC, which wants to purchase the Canadian company Nexen, is run by Wang Yilin, who has said that drilling rigs were national territory and a strategic weapon.

Yet the Conservatives refuse to hold a public review of this plan. Is the Minister of Industry concerned about these comments? Why are they refusing to hold a comprehensive review?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, our government will always act in the best interests of Canadians. This transaction will be scrutinized very closely. If the hon. member wants to check out section 20 of the Investment Canada Act, she can do so. It clearly enumerates the six criteria for net benefit and that will be the criteria used to evaluate any decision.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are 18 days left on Nexen and the minister still refuses to respond to Canadians' concerns, including the following. CNOOC's chair was nominated in 2011 by the secretive organization department, confirmed by the Politburo and announced by the central committee. He was also named party secretary for CNOOC at that time.

Does the minister see CNOOC's relation as independent from the state, or will he now admit that Canadians, including many in his own caucus, have legitimate concerns and agree to hold public consultations?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, again, the government will always act in the best interests of Canadians. This transaction will be scrutinized very closely.

The Investment Canada Act process has provisions to protect national security. I remind the hon. member that when we introduced the national security provisions in section 25 in 2009, the NDP voted against them.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the handling of the XL Foods meat E. coli outbreak is the latest example of what is wrong with the Conservatives' dangerous changes to CFIA.

Hundreds of potentially E. coli contaminated beef products were shipped to every province destined for families' dinner plates. From the very first detection of E. coli, CFIA waited two weeks to issue a recall. This spring the minister said, “The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is not making any changes that would in any way place food safety at risk”. That claim is a joke.

Why did the Conservatives gut regulations and put Canadian families at risk?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, none of that is true. The safety of Canadian food is a top priority for this government.

The CFIA initiated a hold on the original product in question, all of it, on September 4, the day E. coli was discovered. None of it made it to store shelves. The recall is ongoing.

The work with the CFIA to adjudicate the paperwork at XL Foods is being done so that it can start getting back into that lucrative American market just as quickly as possible.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives do not like to talk to Canadians about the consequences of their decisions.

When the Canadian Food Inspection Agency discovered that beef from an Alberta plant was potentially contaminated, what happened? It took two weeks to sound the alarm, and we just learned that this product is banned in the United States. That is unbelievable. Consumers across the country were affected by this belated recall. People are worried. We cannot play games with their safety.

Will the Conservatives reconsider making cuts to food safety?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, we have done exactly the opposite. We have put hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of front-line inspectors to work at CFIA to ensure that this type of thing can be handled when it happens. We have done exactly that.

The people at CFIA have done an exemplary job. We are in a day-to-day conversation with them on the status of this recall and on the work forward to get back into that lucrative American market.

I reiterate that none of the product made it to store shelves and no illnesses have been linked back to this particular strain of E. coli. We have actually done a tremendous job.

It is unfortunate that the NDP consistently vote against the funding and manpower for CFIA.

CensusOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, hiding information about the effects of cuts to services has become a Conservative hallmark. Statistics Canada has given us the proof today. The Conservatives swore that abolishing the long form census would not have any effect on data. But we now know that the complete opposite is true: 12% of municipalities had response rates lower than 50%.

Does the Conservative government realize that its stubbornness has seriously compromised our ability to make informed, fact-based decisions regarding municipal development?

CensusOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada has posted the final response rates from the 2011 national household survey at the national, provincial, territorial and local levels. The final response rate for the national household survey was 78.3% nationally. This is comparable to response rates from other voluntary surveys conducted by Statistics Canada.

Statistics Canada is continuing its data quality assessment of the data from the national household survey and will make the results available as the work is completed. The first results from the national household survey will be available in May 2013.

CensusOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister has been talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Last February, the then industry minister bragged to this House about the high response rate to the national household survey stating, “...indications are very promising with the response rate for both the short form census and the national household survey”.

In reality, 12% of communities have response rates below 50%; statistical evidence of the government's failure.

What will the Conservatives do to correct the glaring problem with the collection of this information?

CensusOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I already answered that question.

The member was not in the House when we had this debate in the last Parliament as he had not been elected yet. However, if he had been here he would remember that we said that we would not threaten Canadians with jail time because they did not want to tell the government what their religion was. We also said that we would not threaten them with jail time because they did not want to tell the government how many bedrooms they had in their house or how many hours of housework they did.

The government will never do that. Maybe the opposition would but this government would not.