By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 29, 2013 - 0 Comments
Thomas Mulcair offered a simple premise.
“Mr. Speaker, a year ago the Conservatives created a new accelerated approval process for hiring temporary foreign workers,” the NDP leader offered. “They allowed them to be paid 15% less than Canadian workers doing the same job. That is an incentive to hire temporary foreign workers instead of Canadians. Today, Conservatives are begging Canadians to believe that this time they are really going to crack down, but Conservatives have not removed the incentive to hire temporary foreign workers. Why have they not changed the 15% rule? Their message is still, ‘Work for less or you’ll be replaced.’ ”
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney rejected this premise entirely.
“As always on this matter, Mr. Speaker, the NDP is wrong,” Mr. Kenney declared. “I do not know whether the Leader of the Opposition has been improperly briefed or whether he knows he is wrong when he says that the rules allow for foreign workers to be underpaid. That is not true. People cannot come into this country to work on work permits unless they are paid at the prevailing regional wage rate. However, of course, in every occupation there is a range and this allows for some people to be paid as long as Canadians are paid within that range, at the same wage level.”
That said, the answer to Mr. Mulcair’s actual question was apparently yes. Indeed, an hour and 45 minutes later, Mr. Kenney convened a news conference to declare that, a year after it was the introduced, the 15% rule was no more. Only, as Mr. Kenney explained, for entirely different reasons. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 4, 2013 at 5:41 PM - 0 Comments
David Christopherson, in furious form, stood to recount the events of Friday morning.
“Last week, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, who once described EI as… ‘lucrative‘ defended her new quota system by describing the unemployed as… the bad guys.’ ”
At least in so far as Diane Finley had in fact spoken the phrase “bad guys,” Mr. Christopherson was correct. It is merely in the entire context of those words that the New Democrat led the House astray.
The official opposition had been pestering the minister on Friday morning about a report that quotas had established for inspectors charged with rooting out fraud of the employment insurance system. In the midst of this, Ms. Finley—on two occasions—suggested the New Democrats were on the wrong side of this matter. “Mr. Speaker, with respect to the employment insurance program,” she said, “it is very important to note that, once again, the NDP is supporting the bad guys.”
Perhaps this was a prepared line—an attempt to turn an attack around. Perhaps Ms. Finley came up with this in the moment in a fit of frustration. Either way, the New Democrats have apparently decided to see Ms. Finley’s oversimplification and raise her a distortion.
“Law-abiding out of work Canadians deserve better than to be treated like criminals,” Mr. Christopherson declared. “Why is the government cutting EI just when people need it to the most?”
Here John Baird was provided an opportunity to be reasonable. “Mr. Speaker, my friend from the NDP has it all wrong,” he scolded. “The minister made no such statements. He is flat-out wrong.”
A few moments later, Nycole Turmel stood to read the charges against Ms. Finley en francais. “Tell the truth!” protested a voice from the government side.
Perhaps for the sake of not being too blatant about all this, each of the men and women on the opposition resisted the urge to yell back, “you first!” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 5:50 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Peggy Nash was very nearly pleading. ”Will someone in the government,” she asked, “please outline right now what constitutes suitable employment?”
In Ms. Nash’s moment of need it was Ted Menzies, minister of state for finance, who stood. ”Mr. Speaker, I actually have some examples here of what constitutes suitable employment,” he reported.
At last, clarity seemed at hand. ”A mining company in Newfoundland is looking to hire 1,500 people in St. John’s, Newfoundland, through the temporary foreign worker program,” Mr. Menzies explained. “There are 32,500 people looking for work right now. That is why we are trying to make EI more effective to help these mining companies get people to employ.”
What precisely was the minister of state suggesting here? That if you are presently looking for work you might soon be expected to strap on a helmet lamp and make for St. John’s? And are there really only 32,500 people in this country presently looking for work?
There were chuckles of incredulity from the opposition side. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 9:30 AM - 0 Comments
Bob Rae and Ralph Goodale weren’t impressed with the NDP’s approach to QP yesterday. The NDP’s Pat Martin and Jean Crowder weren’t impressed with Messrs Rae and Goodale.
Bob Rae Took the NDP half an hour to ask about 2500 workers losing their jobs – I guess that what a “move to the centre” is all about.
Ralph Goodale Cons glib answers abt AirCda+Aveos killing jobs are shameful. Only thing worse – NDP ignored the issue til 15th question in QP.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 2:35 PM - 0 Comments
Five female NDP MPs—three current, two former—explain their support for Brian Topp.
Today we support Brian Topp because we believe it is the best way for us to continue the legacy of Jack’s important work. We know that Brian Topp will work collaboratively with women in the NDP to make important political gains for women. Brian shares our values. He cares passionately about equality for women. His approach to politics is courageous, inclusive and progressive.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 12:13 PM - 0 Comments
The ideas, amendments and complaints raised are likely all worth consideration, especially for fans of such stuff, but various matters of general interest came up: including time allocation, Question Period, petitions and statements by members.
Below, some chosen highlights. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, January 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM - 0 Comments
Brian Topp has released his fifth policy paper, this one on the arts.
I propose a cultural industries investment fund for the rest of Canada, and a matching offer of federal support for SODEC to help promote its own work. The federal government’s program of targeted tax credits and other supports in the cultural industries would be reviewed to ensure they complement this new approach…
I propose a careful, top-to-bottom rethink of the CBC’s television and internet service; the re-launch of Canadian public broadcasting on a model that will work in the 21st century — and then a substantial, sustained investment in that model…
I propose a review and modernization of the Broadcasting Act, and some clear dialogue with the CRTC (perhaps in the form of a Cabinet directive) to ensure the Act is enforced – including in its requirements that broadcasters (conventional, cable and internet) earn their access to the Canadian market through an appropriate commitment to Canadian content…
I propose our party commit to updating and modernizing federal status of the artist legislation and, in the course of doing so, review how basic federal income support and taxation policies (pensions, EI, the issue of income averaging) work for people pursuing artistic careers.
Last night, he picked up the endorsement of Chris Charlton.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 3:34 PM - 1 Comment
On the other hand, I’m told that Libby Davies hasn’t ruled anything out.
A preliminary list of potential candidates is thus as follows: Davies, Megan Leslie, Paul Dewar, Charlie Angus, Peter Julian, Francoise Boivin, Pat Martin, Thomas Mulcair and Brian Topp.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 1:07 PM - 0 Comments
Shortly after the clock passed midnight, a dozen Conservatives sang happy birthday to their colleague, David Sweet. His birthday had actually just passed—he was born on June 24, 1957—so the gesture was a bit belated. But perhaps owing to the pizza party the Prime Minister had apparently been hosting, the government side seemed a jovial bunch, eager to find fun wherever it could be found.
As luck would have it, they had all been summoned to the House of Commons at this late hour for a vote—specifically on an NDP-authored motion to delay moving forward with Bill C-6 for another six months. The official filibustering of this particular piece of particularly contentious legislation had commenced some 27 hours earlier. What began on Thursday was now moving into Saturday. Except that, so far as the reality within these four walls is measured, with the House having not yet adjourned for the day, this was still Thursday. Indeed, there in the middle of the room sat the four-sided calendar, reminding all who could see it that here they remained trapped in June 23. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 12:35 PM - 12 Comments
An NDP source says party finance critic Thomas Mulcair and deputy critic Chris Charlton have been invited to meet early this afternoon with junior finance minister Ted Menzies. The meeting was described as important by the Tories and was to take place at the beginning of the traditional briefing the political parties get on the budget details starting at 1pm. Neither the Liberals nor the Bloc Quebecois had been called to similar meetings and sources says that for the first time the parties have been allotted separate rooms to receive their usual budget briefings.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, June 12, 2009 at 1:17 PM - 7 Comments
From the NDP’s Chris Charlton during this morning’s session of QP.
Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect their government to be upfront with them, especially in the midst of a recession that is hurting so many. Yesterday’s performance by the Prime Minister and his own personal Phil Donahue had all the substance of a 30-second spot for ShamWows.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 11:34 PM - 17 Comments
CBC just aired something of a supplementary debate on the economy. They’re calling it the X-Challenge, but let’s pretend they’re not.
Tonight’s proceedings included Ontario voters in the audience and candidates from the Liberal, Conservative, New Democrat and Green parties on stage. The twist being that the audience was screened to ensure it roughly matched the voting intention of the province at large. And, at the end of 90-minutes, the crowd was polled again to see if they’d at all been persuaded by what they heard and saw.