IN THE HOUSE ~ Question Period ~ on job losses

40th Parliament, 2nd Session

(Question was put forward in French by Mr. Julian-English translation follows)

M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, un quart de million de personnes ont perdu leur emploi en trois mois. Rien qu'en janvier, 129 000 Canadiens, 30 000 au Québec, trois fois plus que dans les prévisions. Le chômage continue à grimper en flèche: 7 p. 100 à Trois-Rivières, 8 p. 100 à Montréal, 8,5 p. 100 au Saguenay, 11 p. 100 à Windsor. Les critères d'admission à l'assurance-emploi sont épouvantables, la moitié de ces gens sont exclus.

À quand des changements pour aider ces gens? Ils ont besoin d'aide maintenant.

(Mr. Speaker, a quarter of a million people have lost their jobs in three months. In January alone, 129,000 Canadians, 30,000 of them in Quebec, three times more than expected, lost their jobs. Unemployment is skyrocketing: it is at 7% in Trois-Rivières, 8% in Montreal, 8.5% in the Saguenay, and 11% in Windsor. Employment insurance eligibility criteria are appalling; half of these people are excluded.

When can we expect changes that will help these people? They need help now. )

Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is very important that we recognize how sobering the job loss numbers are this month. Unfortunately, we expect to see more of that over 2009. That is why we, as a House of Commons, have to take action now to make sure that our economic action plan moves forward quickly to help these people by providing them with EI assistance and extra opportunities for training for the jobs of the future.

We consulted Canadians across the country. They told us they wanted more benefits. We are giving them five weeks more at the end.