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 #205 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pope.

Topics

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, when we become the government, we will show veterans how they should be treated in this House.

The reality is that these veterans had to go before a politically appointed board with information the adjudicators have but that they do not have. What fairness is that?

The ombudsman was very clear. He said that the department must make it fair so that the veterans, when they appeal for their benefits, have all their documents in advance so that there can be a level playing field when the discussions take place.

Will the minister now commit to this House, to the people of Canada and to the veterans community that when veterans appeal for benefits, they will get all the documents they so richly—

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs.

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are already committed to making sure that our veterans have a fair procedural process. That is why our adjudicator had access to all the information.

We want to proceed in an efficient manner. That is why we are streamlining this process as well as making sure that the response is provided in a timely manner.

The response is positive for the veterans 85% of the time. When will the NDP support our initiatives and vote with the government to fund our veterans initiatives?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, hold that change in government.

The NDP and Liberals have chosen to ignore the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police Association, victims organizations, immigration lawyers and experts and have voted against the faster removal of foreign criminals act. They are voting to allow foreign nationals who break the law to remain in Canada.

With the final vote on this bill taking place tonight, can the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism please update this House on our government's commitment to protect the safety and security of Canadians?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

February 6th, 2013 / 2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, for too long, too many serious, dangerous, convicted foreign criminals have been able to delay their deportation from Canada for years and in too many cases have gone on to commit new crimes and create new victims in Canada. Canadians have had enough of this.

When people come to Canada and violate the privilege of residency here by being convicted in a court of law of having committed a serious crime, they lose the privilege of staying in Canada and should be deported quickly. This new law will do just that. We hope that the NDP and Liberal parties will listen to victims' rights groups and support the faster removal of foreign criminals act.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, since the Conservatives first began gutting the employment insurance program, they have been claiming to want to address the shortage of workers in the regions. Well, I have some news for them: there are no jobs.

To complicate matters, the economic situation is preventing the creation of a sufficient number of new jobs. It is easy to understand.

Rather than trying to create jobs, the Conservatives are trying to punish seasonal workers. It does not make any sense.

Why not help people in places where the unemployment rate is on the rise to find jobs rather than punishing these poor workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, there is a shortage of workers across this country, even in the east. That is what I am hearing from many employers every week.

We are trying to connect unemployed workers with the jobs that are available in their area of expertise and their region. It will be better for them, their families, employers and the economy. We are trying to help people find jobs. The NDP should help us do it.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government is making a mess of the EI system. I was talking to Frances this weekend, one of a whole flood of constituents who have been calling my office because they cannot get through to Service Canada to deal with their problems. In Frances' case, she said she had been calling every hour on the hour for a week, and all she got was an answering machine that said,“Sorry, call back please. We're busy”.

Can the government explain to Canadians why it is messing up the EI system? It cannot even manage a call centre. Please explain that.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Far from it, Mr. Speaker, we are helping Canadians get back to work.

There are shortages of workers across this country, even in the east. That is where we are focused on helping people get the jobs that are available in their areas. As a last resort, too many employers have to bring in temporary foreign workers to fill the jobs, because there have been disincentives in employment insurance that keep people from working when they could, when they would be better off, and their families would be better off, if they did so.

We are helping Canadians get back to work.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the NDP successfully pushed the finance committee to study tax havens. The U.K., the U.S. and Australia all have published official estimates of how much these tax havens are costing them, but the Conservatives' position is to cover their eyes and pretend it is not happening.

Could the Minister of National Revenue tell the House why she is not interested in finding out just how much of these tax revenues go missing?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we are very interested in how much of this money goes missing, and that is why we aggressively pursue all information we receive. We take this issue seriously. That is why our government has increased the number of CRA experts on this file by roughly 40% from the last year of the Liberal government.

Since 2006, CRA has audited thousands of cases and has identified more than $4.5 billion in unpaid taxes through our efforts on aggressive international tax planning. This is compared to just $174 million the last year the Liberals were in office.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are quick to brag about money they have recovered, but they do not know how much money has gone missing.

It is entirely possible to calculate how much revenue the government is losing as a result of tax havens. Other countries have done it.

So why will the minister not commit right now to finding out how much revenue the government is losing and to solving this problem once and for all?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this is a serious issue. Under this government, we have taken a leadership role with our international partners.

At finance committee, when asked about the issue, former Secretary General of the OECD and Liberal cabinet minister Donald Johnston had this to say: “The progress that has been made...over the last five years [in Canada has been] remarkable”.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, we live in a big, diverse country where all regions contribute in different ways. Some are more affluent than others, and I applaud that success, like the riding of Ajax—Pickering, where the EI rate is under 7% and household income is over $100,000. However, their Conservative member believes that people in Canso, Nova Scotia, where the EI rate is over 17% and household income is under $36,000, should be happy to take jobs at Tim Hortons. The problem is, the closest Tim Hortons is two hours away, because it is rural Canada.

Where are the rural members of the Conservative caucus on these changes?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I come from a very rural part of Canada and I am proud to do so. My constituents have been telling me that they support the changes we are making.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

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

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, my constituents are applauding the changes because so many of them are trying to find jobs. They are getting the help they need from Service Canada in identifying opportunities in our area in their skill range. There are also small business people who are trying to find skills and talent to work for them. The new systems are helping them do that and they are helping those people who are getting those new jobs. It is a win-win for rural Canada.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should get out of her limo and she should kill her job-killing EI plan.

Seasonal employers are calling on the government to put an end to this bad reform that is affecting their industry and depriving them of the skilled workers they need.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are at risk of losing our best workers. It will be difficult to attract and retain the best talent. That is what the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in the Atlantic region is saying.

Will the government listen to these job creators or will it stubbornly continue to kill jobs?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of employers' associations who are with us on this. Let me cite a few.

The government’s changes to EI reform are a positive and integral step in addressing the challenges for Canadian industry.

That was from the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

One area I commend the government for looking at is the removal of disincentives for people who take, for example, part-time work. Too often we penalize people who've wanted to go to work...

That was from the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Hon. Perrin Beatty.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, after the government dismantled the farmer owned and operated Canadian Wheat Board, the minister appointed unelected directors to rebrand the institution. It has not been a success. So much so that they are reverting to 1950s pin-up ads to sell wheat.

The new CWB ad symbolizes the Conservative agenda, setting farmers and women decades back.

Since the minister appoints the directors to run the show, will he tell his buddies to take the ad down, or is this how he really sees western Canadian men and women?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

3 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the question. The ad in question was put up by the board. Its spokesman, Dayna Spiring, did some focus group testing on it, and 90% of the responses on their email have been very positive.

At the end of the day, where the member is actually totally wrong is in the unprecedented success that western Canadian farmers have enjoyed under the freedom to market their own product. Now, with the rail review legislation before the House of Commons, I ask her to support that and move it through so they can continue to have a banner year.