This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #208 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was witnesses.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

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

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

As the employment insurance system was administered previously, people were discouraged from working. When they had the opportunity to work part time, the EI system discouraged them from doing it.

With so many employers looking for workers full time and part time, we needed to make sure that they had access to the people for the right reasons. We needed to make sure that we were supporting families when they wanted to work and make them and their families better off.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, in the wake of a number of questions from the NDP, Quebec's employment and social security minister is calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Conservatives' EI reform. The Conservative government in New Brunswick is also demanding an urgent meeting.

Every day, my office receives hundreds of phone calls and emails from discouraged workers who are wondering why the Conservatives are targeting them.

When will the Conservatives understand that gutting the EI program is simply unacceptable and is hurting our economy?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I have to wonder why the NDP continues to spread fear among the unemployed. That is unacceptable. It wants to ignore the facts: we have removed the obstacles that discouraged the unemployed from working, whether it be full time or part time. The NDP does not want us to help the unemployed find work that would help them, their families and their communities. We want to help the unemployed find work.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's labour minister is in Ottawa to talk about why Conservative cuts to EI will hurt provincial labour markets. Provincial governments, seasonal workers, municipal groups and local businesses are all united against the Conservative's short-sighted cuts to EI.

Consulting stakeholders is a basic principle of competent public administration, something this minister just does not get. Now that she is finally talking to the provinces, will the minister actually listen to these concerns and rescind her reckless cuts to EI?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about cuts. In fact, it is just the opposite. What we are doing is enhancing the assistance that is provided to people who are unemployed, maybe helping them find another job. We have expanded the job bank considerably so that it shows a lot more jobs that are available. We are also making sure that people are aware of those jobs. If they do not have access, we are sending them notifications so that they are aware of the opportunities for which they are qualified in their areas. I think that is a big improvement in helping connect Canadians with the jobs available.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Francine Raynault NDP Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, workers have had more than enough of the minister's evasive answers. They know that they are being unfairly punished by the employment insurance reforms, no matter what the Conservative Party says.

There are many workers and employers in Quebec and eastern Canada who depend on seasonal jobs, and now they are considered to be bad guys. The Conservatives are tearing apart the social safety net and passing the bill on to the provinces, which must now pick up the tab for social assistance.

Will the minister finally admit that she has made a mistake and immediately announce that she is suspending these unwarranted reforms?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong.

We are helping people find work, which is better for them, their families and their communities. If more people work, fewer people will be applying for social assistance from the Government of Quebec. That makes sense. We are making these changes to help people find positions in their area for which they are qualified and to help them get these jobs.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the minister says there have been no cuts. This would mean that the five-week pilot project has been restored. I wish to thank the minister for that.

The EI reform is causing chaos in my region and across eastern Canada. Workers blocked downtown Tracadie-Sheila this morning. It was the third protest in five days. The New Brunswick Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, who is a Conservative, is asking for an emergency meeting because he realizes that the reform is unfair and simply will not fly.

Does the minister realize that we are in this situation because she did not want to consult with workers or the provinces? She can toss her reform in the garbage.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, members are obliged to tell the truth in this House.

The truth is that seasonal workers have always had the responsibility of looking for work during their off-season. If there is no work available in their area of expertise in their region, employment insurance will be there, as it always has been.

The NDP should stop fearmongering. Instead it should encourage people to accept the work that is available to them.

JusticeOral Questions

February 11th, 2013 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, since first elected in 2006, our party has been steadfast in our commitment to put the rights of victims ahead of the rights of offenders. We have enacted over 30 measures aimed at keeping our streets and communities safe. However, there is still much work to be done when it comes to further strengthening Canada's justice system.

Canadians have expressed concerns with the number of high-risk accused persons found not criminally responsible. Can the Minister of Justice please provide the House with details on his latest justice bill, the not criminally responsible reform act?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct. Canadians, particularly victims, are increasingly concerned about the potential for high-risk individuals being released into the community. It is not surprising, given that, according to the Department of Justice, between 1994 and 2004, there was a 50% increase in the number of review board admissions for those found not criminally responsible and unfit to stand trial. This is one of the reasons we have introduced Bill C-54, the not criminally responsible reform act. We are acting to ensure that public safety is given paramount consideration while giving a greater voice to victims. These are common sense reforms. I hope they have the support of all members of the House.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, it was not enough that the Conservatives shut down the Experimental Lakes Area, the ozone network, the PEARL research centre and the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. They then stopped Environment Canada scientists from talking to the media.

Now they are telling Fisheries and Oceans scientists that every publication they work on will have to have DFO approval before they can say anything. This is muzzling, plain and simple. What are the Conservatives afraid of, and why did the minister approve this policy?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, in fact, there has been no change in DFO policy with regard to scientists.

We are very proud of the work our scientists do and encourage them to participate in conferences and networks throughout the world.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the new guidelines being forced on Fisheries and Oceans Canada are quite troubling.

We knew the Conservatives were control freaks, but now they want to have even more control over scientific research.

The Conservatives are now in a position to prevent independent scientific research from being published if it does not suit their ideology. This policy is paranoid and dangerous for science.

Why does the Conservative government want to control independent scientific research?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the only paranoia is on the other side of the House. There has been no change in the way DFO and DFO scientists deal with their science work. We encourage them and we will continue to encourage them.

Human Resources and Skills Development CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I received a letter from Human Resources and Skills Development to inform me that I was one of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians whose personal information went missing on the Conservative government's watch.

The victims, who, like me, are vulnerable to identity theft, expected this matter to be dealt with quickly, but it took three class action suits for the Conservatives to do anything about it.

Why are the Conservatives providing less credit monitoring protection than was originally recommended?

Human Resources and Skills Development CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have signed a contract with Equifax to protect the credit of those affected by the loss of information.

This contract was signed to help people and it is far more than the opposition is suggesting.

Fortunately, so far there is no evidence that there has been any fraudulent use of this data.

Human Resources and Skills Development CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, it took several class action lawsuits for the Conservatives to act at all. Now they are offering less than what HRSDC originally recommended. That is a fact.

I know the minister likes to ignore real victims and act like we are just statistics, but I am here standing in front of her. Therefore, can she tell me, along with the half a million other Canadians, who for the rest of our lives are now more vulnerable to identity theft, when she will take the issue of privacy seriously, instead of re-victimizing Canadians?

Human Resources and Skills Development CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we take the privacy of Canadians very seriously. That is why the Privacy Commissioner was contacted immediately. That is also why the RCMP has been brought in to investigate the situation, because we want to make sure that we get the facts.

Meanwhile, the department has signed a six-year contract with Equifax to protect the credit of those people affected, such as the hon. member, to make sure that their credit is secure and that their identity is not stolen.

Fortunately, so far, there is no evidence that there has been any fraudulent use of this data.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, after the coup in Mali, this government cut direct aid to the Malian government, which was the right thing to do. But since then, the government has taken two positions that are difficult to reconcile.

First, the government will reinstate aid to Mali once a government is democratically elected. Second, the government will reinstate aid to Mali once a road map for elections and restoring democracy has been created, which will allow the government to help restore democracy.

Which of these positions does the government support?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a long history of supporting the people of Mali. In fact, the ambassador of Mali noted that Canada's assistance has been long standing and exemplary.

While government-to-government assistance remains suspended, we continue our development and humanitarian assistance with our partners, and we wish to see a democratically elected government in place and stability restored as soon as possible.

Parks CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's national parks and tourism are the latest victims of the Conservatives' disastrous handling of the economy.

First, they slashed $29 million from Parks Canada, which has forced cutbacks to hours, shortened seasons and a serious downgrade of services. Now they are hoping to make up for these shortfalls with larger user fee increases.

National parks contribute millions to our local economies. When will the Conservatives stop this government killing tourism tax?

Parks CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, my colleague knows that parks fees have been frozen for years and in fact represent only a very small percentage of the actual cost of operating our parks.

We have been working with our respective communities with regard to the different parks in different situations across the country. We have developed a new fee regime that will address visitor experiences at the times of the greatest visitor numbers.