House of Commons Hansard #268 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was goods.


Supreme CourtAdjournment Proceedings

June 13th, 1:05 a.m.


Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, we are focusing on the real needs of Canadians, namely strengthening our economy, creating jobs and taking the necessary action to balance the budget.

The member opposite continues to attempt to reopen these debates, but Canadians can rest assured that our government will be focusing on the real priorities.

Employment InsuranceAdjournment Proceedings

June 13th, 2013 / 1:05 a.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, a few short weeks ago, I had to ask the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development a question about a media release from the International Monetary Fund concerning the austerity measures implemented in Canada.

The International Monetary Fund, which is not exactly a left-leaning economic organization, is well known for its sometimes extreme rhetoric promoting fiscal austerity to get world economies back on track after a recession.

However, this same organization, which recently publicly admitted that its most renowned economists were wrong about their global budget forecasts and the impact of austerity policies, reversed its position on Canada's policies. Indeed, the IMF stated that it had called on governments to implement austerity plans with caution.

The IMF added that overly sharp budget-balancing could increase risks and also said that decreasing debt is a marathon, not a sprint, and that going too fast will kill growth and further derail the recovery.

The IMF also said that the decline in global growth would slow Canada's economic growth. It anticipates the Canadian economy to grow by 1.7% this year and 2% next year. These predictions reflect drops of two-tenths of a percentage point and one-half of a percentage point, respectively, based on predictions from September. This downward revision leads us to believe that the Canadian economy is and will be dragged down by various global economic problems, such as the weak economy recovery in Europe, decreased commodity prices and economic growth in emerging countries that is not meeting our expectations.

The IMF points out that Canada does not need to be overly zealous in getting its finances in order. The main short-term challenge is to sustain its weak growth and to reduce other economic vulnerabilities, such as decreased commodity prices and the fact that the Conservative government is putting all of its eggs in one basket by focusing almost exclusively on our natural resources instead of ensuring that our country maintain a strong and diversified economy.

Based on this information, I would like to ask the minister why her government is moving forward with EI reform, when this reform is being widely criticized even by her own provinces. If such draconian austerity measures are not unnecessary, why is the government going after middle-class families who expect to get the services they are entitled to, since they made their contributions?

All this proves is that the reform unnecessarily guts the system and does nothing to improve our economy. On the contrary, these new policies weaken our regional economies, which rely on seasonal industries.

Could the minister explain why she is moving forward with gutting the EI system without any changes or consultation, if it is not in the name of Conservative ideology?

Employment InsuranceAdjournment Proceedings

June 13th, 1:10 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario


Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, changes were made to employment insurance to help unemployed workers find suitable employment. They help them, their family and the local economy. Everyone wins.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. A claimant would not be required to take a job unless it puts them in a better financial position than being on employment insurance.

What we are doing is helping employment insurance claimants re-enter the workforce, not penalizing them.

We are ensuring that EI is there for people who paid into the system who are without work and who need it.

We also know that not everyone lives the same reality. Personal circumstances are different for everyone. For that very reason, the changes recognize that personal circumstances must be taken into consideration when assessing whether an employment opportunity is suitable.

We take into account the commute, the working conditions, the type of work, the salary, the hours of work and the personal situation. Not one of those factors is more important than the others.

We know Canadians want to work, but some face challenges in finding suitable jobs. They may not know where or how to find available jobs. They may not be aware that their skills match needs in another industry or occupation. Others still may not know about the supports available to help them in their job search.

The changes we made to employment insurance encourage and help unemployed workers find jobs in their region and in their field.

We have enhanced support measures, such as job alerts, to help EI claimants with their job search. With the enhanced job alert system, individuals can receive daily notices regarding new job postings that match their profile.

We are helping EI claimants get back into the job market, as they are always better off working than receiving EI.

We are taking measures to connect employers with job seekers and to keep Canadians in the workforce.

Full-time jobs have been increasing across occupations and in many industries. In fact, since July 2009, employment has grown by over one million jobs. This represents the strongest growth by far among the G7 countries. Of these million jobs, most of them are full-time positions.

Helping Canadians remain active participants in the labour force is important to ensure the economy's continued growth.

Job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity remain our top priorities.

Employment InsuranceAdjournment Proceedings

June 13th, 1:15 a.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, with a million new jobs and employment insurance deductions at source, the fund should be in the black.

I should point out that Canada's unemployment rate is still 7.1%, which is much higher than the unemployment rate prior to the 2008 recession. In addition, the proportion of individuals working is still 62%, which represents a gap of 400,000 jobs compared to the employment rate prior to the recession. That is a net loss.

We are far from back to normal, and this government's austerity policies, as the IMF pointed out, should be cut short in favour of measures that foster growth. The employment insurance reform, which is penalizing thousands of workers who are having an increasingly difficult time accessing benefits, should be completely overhauled.

Canadians deserve a fair and accessible system for all.

Employment InsuranceAdjournment Proceedings

June 13th, 1:15 a.m.


Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, the changes to the employment insurance program were made to help EI claimants return to work as quickly as possible.

We understand that people who want to work sometimes lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Employment insurance will be there for them to provide them with temporary income support while they look for a job or upgrade their skills.

Our government recognizes that some Canadians are going through trying times. As I have said many times before in the House, for those who are unable to find work, EI will continue to be there for them, as it has always been.

I would also like to add that our government is focused on job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity. Those remain our biggest priorities.

Employment InsuranceAdjournment Proceedings

June 13th, 1:15 a.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

The hon. member for Québec not being present to raise the matter for which adjournment notice has been given, the notice is deemed withdrawn.

Pursuant to an order made on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, the motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until later this day at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 1:18 a.m.)