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House of Commons Hansard #214 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was municipalities.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister confirmed that each of her inspectors must cut half a million dollars in benefits and that her employees are evaluated based on their ability to make cuts to EI benefits.

This means that the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development misled Canadians and the House, since the revelations in Le Devoir confirmed the existence of these quotas, which the minister calls “performance objectives”.

If an unemployed worker does not tell the truth, he loses his benefits. What will happen to the minister?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are working to ensure that employment insurance will be there for the people who follow the rules and pay their premiums. Unfortunately, the NDP only cares about people who cheat or defraud the system, people they call victims.

If the opposition prevents us from identifying these individuals, the only people who will lose are Canadians who follow the rules.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives accept no ministerial accountability, no Senate accountability and have no respect for the unemployed. Yesterday, the minister would not even use the word “unemployed”. She called it “transitioning to another job”. She did not call them “quotas”. She called them “performance objectives”. All this from the same minister who called the EI program “lucrative”. Playing semantic games does not answer the legitimate concerns of Canadians.

When will she take accountability for her department's quotas, targets and objectives and finally admit that she misled the House?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are working to ensure that EI is there for individuals who play by the rules and who pay into the system. Sadly, the New Democrats are only worried about people who are trying to cheat the system, people they call victims.

The only people who will lose if the opposition prevents us from rooting out those who would cheat the EI system are Canadians who play by the rules.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, to say that the employment insurance reform will have no impact on workers or on regional economies is completely false.

According to Martin Prescott from Saint-Barthélemy, the reform will impoverish the Lanaudière region and many people will have to move away and look for work elsewhere.

The reform is a direct attack on qualified workers in seasonal industries. This will have a terrible impact on productivity, because businesses in the regions will lose their competitive advantage.

Why is the minister attacking the productivity of seasonal businesses and regional economies?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have repeated several times, if there is no work for seasonal employees in their region in their field, employment insurance will be there, as always.

To help them find a job, we are offering an enhanced job alert service as well as help learning how look for work. The employment insurance system will be there for the unemployed if there is no other work.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives imposed quotas because they think that all unemployed workers are fraudsters. That is why the minister calls them “bad guys”. HRSDC employees are being forced to make honest people who happen to be unemployed look like fraudsters. The minister is even sending her employees to knock on people's doors to spy on them and intimidate them.

What does the minister have planned next—electronic bracelets? Why will the minister not simply cancel her reform instead of causing so much stress for these poor people who are simply trying to find a job? What will be next—

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Human Resources.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are helping people find jobs, but if there are no jobs in their field in their region, employment insurance will be there. However, it is very important to protect the integrity of the EI system, which workers pay into, in order to ensure that the system will be there for all eligible unemployed workers.

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, last year the Minister of Finance blamed the deficit for cuts to vital programs like food safety, but that did not stop him from doubling his own advertising budget. This year he is at it again. According to the main estimates, the increase in expenses for the finance ministry belongs to “government advertising”, with an increase of $6.8 million. These same estimates show a cut to food safety of $30 million.

Why is it a Conservative priority to waste tax dollars on Conservative propaganda instead of investing in vital programs like food safety for Canadians?

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:35 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, of course, we do all of that. The issue, as the Prime Minister indicated earlier, is our obligation to communicate with Canadians about programs and services that are available to them.

I would indicate to the hon. member that only 0.03% of government spending is used for advertising, and communication of all sorts. Last year, our advertising budget was $83.3 million, which is well below the last full year under the former Liberal government of $111 million.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lise St-Denis Liberal Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, today the federal government, the staunch defender of public protection, decided to cut the budget for public safety on aboriginal reserves.

These cuts translate into a reduced police presence in some communities that find themselves in difficult circumstances because of their remote location and because of rampant crime.

Did the government account for the social costs of this decision in its main estimates?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, while policing is primarily a provincial responsibility, the federal government has long invested in first nations policing to help keep communities safe. A funding decision will be made in the near future regarding this matter. However, I can say that spending on first nations policing has increased substantially under this government, as opposed to that government when the Liberals were in power.

Human RightsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, today we learned that the Conservatives are cutting $270 million from foreign affairs, including human rights programs. That is on top of eliminating $11 million for Rights and Democracy, protecting human rights abroad.

However, it has increased $5 million to create a new bureaucracy for only religious rights. Why the shell game? What about other human rights? What about the deadly attacks on women and the LGBTQ community, or does this government not care about their concerns?

Human RightsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is quite regrettable that the member opposite chooses to take the view of affairs that way. This government has made human rights the cornerstone of our foreign policy. Promoting Canadian values is something that is tremendously important. No country has spoken more loudly on human rights, religious freedom, or on the important rights that women and gays have right around the world, than this government.

We are very proud of our Office of Religious Freedom. It is a fundamental freedom. It promotes pluralism, which is a fundamental Canadian value, and we make no apologies for standing up for this important human right.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the leader of the NDP asked the Prime Minister to provide an explanation for Senator Wallin's residency and expenses, he said that she spent the money to travel to and from her home province, as any other parliamentarian would do.

The problem with that answer is that it is untrue, according to CTV's information. The Senator has already secretly paid back a large portion of her excessive spending.

Since there is no reason to defend her anymore, will the Prime Minister force her to make public all documents regarding her recent reimbursements? Will he do that?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I already said, we are committed to ensuring that all expenses and the rules governing them are appropriate. We have also committed to reporting back to the public on these matters.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Senator Wallin is not the only one trying to hide things. Duffy and Patterson are being reviewed, and there are allegedly two new additions to the list of those who are dipping into taxpayers' money. And it is not just the ones we keep hearing about.

The problem with the Senate and its supposed transparency is that the reviews will still be done behind closed doors, in secret. People will never know who misused their money and how.

Will the Prime Minister commit to demanding that all of these reviews me made public?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I think that I already answered that question. We want the Senate to report publicly on this issue.

Our government is moving towards a more democratic and responsible Senate by demanding clarification from the Supreme Court of Canada. The government has also introduced a bill, in this chamber, to make the Senate truly democratic. Yet the NDP is opposed to it.

Why is the NDP against real, progressive Senate reform?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the great Canadian ripoff continues in the Senate. We learn that more senators are under investigation, but the Senate is keeping it secret. Mike Duffy is having to pay back oodles of money, but the Senate is keeping the amount secret.

Now we learn that Senator Pam Wallin is the latest senator looking for a back kitchen door to get out of because she apparently has to pay back a substantial amount of money.

When will the government come clean with taxpayers and call on the Conservative-dominated Senate to tell us, how many times has she been investigated, how much money has she had to pay back, and what are the consequences to be for her ripping off the taxpayer?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we have made it quite clear that we want to see the Senate review all these matters in terms of expenses, which it is doing, to ensure that the rules they have pertaining to expenses are appropriate, and of course to report publicly on that.

The real question is, why does the NDP continue to resist real reforms toward a democratic Senate? Why does it not put forward a plan of its own, if it has a different plan?

The fact is, NDP members may have a plan, but they are not telling us. The member for Timmins—James Bay was asked what the NDP would do about the Senate and his answer was, “I cannot say what the NDP leader will do after the next election”.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I reach out my hand in reconciliation. Let us put it to the Canadian people and let them decide, and not hide behind patronage appointments.

My God, the glaciers are melting faster than the Conservatives are being accountable to the Canadian people.

Speaking of which, we now know that Mike Duffy has ripped us off for, what, $40,000, $50,000, $100,000? Who knows, because the Liberal and Conservative Senators are telling taxpayers it is none of their damned business what Mike Duffy took.

It's a simple question. How much money did he take, and when are we going to—

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I think we can avoid words like that during question period.

The hon. government House leader.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the question was put to Canadians in 2006, when we proposed an elected Senate; in 2008, when we proposed an elected Senate; and in 2011, when we proposed an elected Senate.

None of those times did the NDP support it, but Canadians did. They elected a government committed to delivering Senate reform. We brought forward legislation on Senate reform and the NDP has blocked it every step of the way.

What is the real agenda of the NDP? Appointing its own senators. That is the agenda of the NDP.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

February 26th, 2013 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, British Columbia is developing its resource potential while ensuring the environment is protected. B.C. is known across Canada and the world for its vast resources in forestry, mining and hydroelectricity.