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View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-06-08 17:42 [p.14725]
Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank my colleague who did some duty work, even on the standing committee, allowing me to be near my wife as she was giving birth to our second child. However, now I am back.
To hear the comments that some of my colleagues opposite have made since I returned early this afternoon, one would think that they do not often get out into the community to see the people on employment insurance and the social fabric that the governments have tried to put in place in the past 50 years, since World War II, in order to help people at specific times in their lives, especially when they lose their jobs.
We are not going to talk about social housing or old age security, but about employment insurance, because this vital program to help people in an industrialized and modern country has also been abused.
Employment insurance was created after the Second World War, on the eve of the 30 glorious years, to give employees and employers a tool that would guarantee employees a stable income during the transition period between two jobs, but also, and more importantly, during temporary layoffs, since that is always happening in the manufacturing industry.
The employment insurance program allowed employers to keep a skilled workforce that was available as soon as business picked up. In other words, it provided an income to employees who were temporarily laid off so that they could pay their rent, feed their families and purchase essentials, such as clothing and school materials. When employees went back to work, they would pick up their daily tasks where they left off, as though nothing had happened, and no training was needed. Of course, they sometimes needed to upgrade their skills, but the workers came back and carried out their duties properly.
Over the past few decades, industries that rely on seasonal and temporary jobs have developed. Although they sometimes involve non-standard employment, these industries contribute to the regional economy. Take for example tourism, agriculture and the fishery.
What happens when employment insurance is not there to fulfill its basic mandate, which is to meet the needs of Canadians, allow the regions to continue to survive and stabilize their economy? Employers lose their workers and have to train new ones, which costs them time and money.
That is an important part of the equation, since seasonal workers are not slackers. They are skilled men and women and single-parent families that often live in the regions. This sector of economic activity is often found in the regions.
When the government eliminates social housing programs, makes it harder to access old age pensions, cuts services for people with disabilities and does not provide employment insurance when needed, communities are destroyed and people can become disengaged. People no longer believe in the economy and no longer trust these governments. Some will even become disengaged, and it leads to domestic violence, suicide attempts, and so on.
The local economy includes the restaurants in the little village or the municipality, the credit union, the post office. When all of that disappears, the social fabric is torn. That is what we are currently seeing in Canada's regions.
I will be speaking on behalf of the regions because that is where it hurts the most. There are a number of urban sectors in which things are going well, but in which there are still high unemployment rates, especially among young people and women. These are people who are often looking for work and who are left behind. If they are also denied access to employment insurance, it is catastrophic in many regions of Canada.
I will talk about the Eastern Townships. Back home, we rely on agriculture, forestry, tourism and culture. These are all of the industries that bring in billions of dollars and provide tens of thousands of jobs. These are people who still believe that they deserve their job. When the time comes they are prepared to go back to those jobs. Perhaps we should make employment insurance more accessible to self-employed workers. There are some needs there as well. People do not have access to employment insurance even though the employer and the employee paid their premiums.
The system works. It can work. Someone is whispering that it could be a lot more effective. It is not effective. In the past, eight or nine people out of 10 who had paid into the employment insurance fund had access to it; now it is four people. Sometimes it is less than four. Why? Because there are so many hassles and refusals. No one will talk to these people. The administrative tribunals are stretched to the limit. People give up. We cannot even include them in the workforce statistics. They are not even unemployed. They are no longer workers. Where are they? Are they working under the table? I do not know where they are, but these people have paid into the employment insurance system and they are entitled to employment insurance.
Canada is one of the industrialized countries where the system is the most callous toward the unemployed.
I am going to tell the story of a company in the Eastern Townships where the workers had 20 or 30 years’ experience. The company closed down overnight. There were no layoffs; the whole company closed down. There were so many hassles that half of the people who were entitled to employment insurance ultimately never had access to it. These people found themselves unemployed, with three or four years of mortgage payments still to make. They had worked and contributed their whole lives, and then they were refused access to employment insurance. The employer and the employees had paid their premiums. The money is not there. What is happening with this system?
I must correct what I said earlier. I said that the system worked, but it does not.
In the early days of the scandal involving the $50 billion that was misappropriated by the Liberals, who did a really fine job that was continued by the Conservatives, one of my former economics professors, Jean Lacharité, told me that the workers had worked their whole lives and contributed to a system that was supposed to be there to serve a purpose: to fill a temporary need and help people move from one stage to the next.
A rich, modern, industrialized country like ours needs an effective employment insurance system. With a motion like the one put forward by my colleague from Trois-Rivières and especially with the NDP in power in the fall, in a few months, we will put things right. There will be no more hoops for the unemployed to jump through. Workers will be working in a prosperous economy.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-06-08 17:54 [p.14726]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for helping me get back in the swing of things.
Indeed, in urban areas, we must not forget the construction and tourism sectors, which are very big. The same is true of the cultural sector. As the member said, these are seasonal jobs. These jobs return year after year and are always there.
As for the local economy, I was talking about restaurants, but I really mean the entire local economy—everything from a night out at the movies to dinner out at a restaurant. The entire local economy, whether in an urban or rural area, suffers. When we have an employment insurance system, old age pension system and social housing system, and when those programs are realistic and tailored to people's needs, that is what supports an economy. Those economies are the ones that will come out ahead, and in the end, Canadians will be much happier and will contribute to the country.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-06-08 17:56 [p.14726]
Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, to hear the comments from members on the other side of the House, you would think that they do not often get out into the community to listen to people and talk to them about the problems they face because of a system that does not meet their needs.
When a system does meet people's needs, the local economy, whether it is urban or rural, is stronger. That is not at all what we are seeing now. With all of the Conservatives' reforms and disparaging of employment insurance, it is less accessible and it meets the needs of the public less than ever. A system like this will not help us develop strong economies.
If the economy is prosperous, the season for seasonal jobs will keep expanding. The unemployment period will always be shorter, because when the economy is prosperous, money is everywhere, jobs are abundant, people are happy and they contribute voluntarily. This is a great country that we will continue to build this fall with a New Democrat government.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by mentioning the passing of a friend and collaborator, André Nault. A pioneering ecologist and co-founder of the Friends of the Earth, his courage and his battle for a better world will always be an inspiration to us.
Last week, I had the pleasure to welcome the great member for Sackville—Eastern Shore in Compton—Stanstead. We spoke to veterans from all across my riding and visited various sites. For instance, Ogden's Weir Memorial Park in honour of Robert Stanley Weir, who wrote the English version of our national anthem; and Hatley village, where over 3,000 people attend each year one of the oldest Canada Day parades. We also paid tribute to Louis St. Laurent, Canada's 12th prime minister, born and raised in Compton, where he was buried in 1973.
I would also like to pay tribute to a fantastic man, Mr. David Woodard, who devoted most of his life to helping veterans. For over 35 years at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch No. 5, he helped many and continues to do so. Mr. Woodard is celebrating his 63rd birthday today. I wish him a happy birthday and thank him for his work.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-04-28 19:56 [p.13173]
Mr. Speaker, upon listening to my speech, members will quickly understand not only my interest in but also my uneasiness—and even my ambiguity—in speaking clearly to the matter before legislators, namely Bill C-642, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (high profile offender).
In October 2009, my cousin Natasha was savagely kidnapped by a repeat offender, a sexual predator. He murdered her shortly after assaulting her. The authorities found her body a few days later. My life, the lives of her close relatives and especially her mother's life were turned upside down forever. When the police caught this high-profile offender, his long list of misdeeds gave pause to our society: hostage-taking, repeated sexual assault, repeated domestic violence—which are all found in Schedule I of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act—and also drunk driving, road rage, drug possession and other offences.
It makes you wonder why he was out on parole. In reality, the real questions this evening are as follows: Would this bill have affected his release? How could the people involved have influenced this decision? I am not really convinced that it would have made a difference.
First, this amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act concerning high-profile offenders is grossly inadequate, meaningless and unfortunate when we examine the scope of its provisions. There is absolutely nothing about their reintegration into society and, more particularly, there is nothing about providing resources to victims. Tracking the comings and goings of an offender in a neighbourhood or community is not going to alleviate the stress of victims of crime, let alone prevent offenders from committing other crimes in a community, regardless of how close by or how far the offender is living.
I will not even comment on the availability of drug treatment programs, mental illness treatment programs, and anger or violence management programs, let alone their effectiveness.
The objective of the bill is to require the Correctional Service of Canada, in certain circumstances, to disclose particulars of the statutory release of a high-profile offender by posting those particulars on the service’s website and to provide a written notice to the victim, but the bill definitely misses the mark. Our police forces already have the discretionary power to disclose all of the relevant information regarding offenders covered in Bill C-642 when they deem it necessary. In the specific case I mentioned, it would have been extremely necessary.
As a result, this objective, while laudable, calls into question the credibility of this bill, especially if we look at the results of the consultations this government has held on these types of issues since 2006. Not once have the Conservatives considered anything important coming from citizens' groups or stakeholders. The minister and his government simply hold phony consultations, which have become old hat now, in order to satisfy their need for control and partisan politics, at the expense of good public policy and good faith that could make our streets and neighbourhoods safer.
In this case, even though all kinds of people testified in committee that it was important to provide prevention programs or other types of programs to someone who is being reintegrated or released, nothing to that effect was included in this bill.
I would remind the House that according to the Correctional Service of Canada's definition, a high-profile offender is an offender whose offence dynamics have elicited or have the potential to elicit a community reaction in the form of significant public or media interest.
When the NDP voted in favour of Bill C-32, the Victims Bill of Rights Act, which provides for a mechanism for communicating information to victims regarding an offender's conditional release, we thought the issue was resolved. Alas, no, this is just more partisanship. The practical political interests of an upcoming propaganda campaign are the impetus for this bill, which serves no legal purpose and does nothing to improve public safety.
Specifically, this bill has to do with high-profile offenders who have committed a schedule 1 offence, as my colleagues have already mentioned. Such offences include causing injury with intent, using a firearm, invitation to sexual touching, child pornography, corruption, criminal negligence causing death, criminal negligence causing bodily harm, as well as dangerous driving, harassment, assault, rape and aggravated assault. Many of those offences were among the ones committed by the criminal I was talking about earlier.
These offences are enough to make Canadians shudder. Nobody wants the people who have committed these crimes anywhere near them. Everyone agrees on that. However, the victims' bill of rights already includes provisions on the disclosure of the comings and goings and all of the information the victims want.
However, victims do not always want that information. They just want to know that these predators are far away from them. Regardless of formal demands, criminals always come back. That is stressful for victims and can cause burnout.
We live in a changing world. People want to live freely, to enjoy health and safety. That is one of the principles that all bills should be based on to ensure they are useful and pragmatic.
It is clear to me that weakening the social fabric by cutting front-line services, such as food banks, education and mental health services, does not help people who are vulnerable and marginalized, nor does it help struggling or single-parent families.
It is our duty to put those who can be redeemed back on the right track. Some can be redeemed, but they need reintegration programs and help. The resources have to be available. This government puts various provisions in place through its bills, but it constantly forgets about resources, both human and financial.
In conclusion, I believe that this bill is futile and useless. It does not achieve the objective of making our society safer, even though that is what Canadians expect. The NDP believes that we must help victims of crime get their lives back by ensuring that they can benefit from all of the services they need, including the full range of legal and health services. We want to work with victims' groups to find real, pragmatic solutions.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-04-21 15:28 [p.12843]
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on her excellent and very passionate speech. She has touched on a fundamental aspect of the issue we are discussing today: rehabilitation. That also includes treating people for the various illnesses and pathologies that are found in the prisons. This is crucial because if we could do that, we could prevent the unfortunate consequences and, most importantly, ensure that many of these individuals can be better reintegrated into our society.
Why would it be in the interests of society to rehabilitate these people more effectively and, most importantly, to provide the Correctional Service of Canada with the necessary resources, both human and financial?
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-04-21 15:30 [p.12843]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to add that most of our institutions lack not only resources, but also planning. What do we do with these people? If we want to prevent crime, then we have to have a public safety plan, a national safety plan. We also need to pass a number of bills in order to prevent different types of crimes. We were talking earlier about criminal gangs. That too takes prevention and resources on the ground.
I would like to ask my colleague what type of resources should be put in place in our prisons in order to prevent various types of crime and especially recidivism?
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-03-24 16:47 [p.12265]
Mr. Speaker, simply put, this motion calls for courage on the part of the government. We want to save our ecosystems for future generations. We know that the Conservatives would much rather help out their friends in the petrochemical industry, because a discussion about plastic is really a discussion about the petroleum industry.
However, we are just asking them to make a bit of an effort because there are other options. It is possible to show political courage and take the initiative to eliminate things that are bad for the environment.
Can my colleague tell us why it is so important to pass this motion not just for oceans, but for all ecosystems? All it takes to change things is leadership and courage.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-03-24 17:33 [p.12270]
Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague from Drummond. He is one of the staunchest defenders of the environment of all my colleagues and all members of Parliament. He is thinking about future generations.
I have a question for him about the long-term effects of harmful plastics, such as microbeads, on the environment. Earlier he was talking about the food chain. Fish and micro-organisms eat these plastics and end up on our plate. The effects on the food chain in the medium and long terms are extremely harmful, and this also affects the health of those who fish in the Great Lakes and our waterways, especially in the summer.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-03-13 11:35 [p.12107]
Mr. Speaker, as of a few months ago, Agop Evereklian is once again working for the Conservatives.
To refresh the memory of the House, this former chief of staff to Mayor Tremblay was found guilty of fraud in 2005. His judgment is so poor that the Prime Minister himself had to ask him to cut ties with a dubious campaign manager during the 2011 campaign.
How can the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec allow someone with such a dubious past in terms of ethics to be involved in distributing grants for the agency? Come on.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-03-10 13:25 [p.11918]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the fine member for Surrey North.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to debate this excellent motion put forward by my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley, because it is not only insightful, but also very representative of the current employment situation in Canada from coast to coast.
When we look at it carefully, we first see that the unemployment rate has remained high since the 2008 recession, and the quality of jobs has been declining since 1989. Whether under Liberal or Conservative governments, it makes no difference. There has been a decline.
Furthermore, we would very much like to see the House call on the government to ensure that budget 2015 first and foremost invests in measures that stimulate the economy in order to create and protect sustainable full-time jobs for the middle class in high-paying sectors across Canada.
In addition, the government must abandon its expensive and unfair income splitting scheme, which would cost $2 billion. When we look at unemployment during the second decade of the 21st century, after the Liberals and the Conservatives successively stole over $57 billion from the fund—which still belongs to the workers who have paid into it all their lives in many cases—the troubling part is that it is increasingly difficult to access the EI system. It is especially difficult because of the reform introduced by the minister at the time, a disgraceful reform for the workers who have consistently paid into it.
The result is that more and more people are opting out of the system, which brings me to my point about the unemployment rate. This actually means that those people are no longer accounted for in the number of people looking for work, which ultimately brings the rate down. It is basically all make-believe. It is an abominable sham in a modern society that says and thinks it is flourishing.
So much for prosperity. Absolutely everything has been done to discourage people and keep hope alive because hope is so important when we are talking about men and women looking for stable work in Canada that is not in the oil industry. I have nothing against those jobs—that is not what I am saying. However, there are other fields, and people are qualified to do other kinds of jobs that, unfortunately, have not been available since the crisis and were not available even well before that.
Before, Canada was a shining example of diversity in its economic sectors. The manufacturing industry was the cornerstone and made growth over the years and well-paid full-time jobs possible. Unfortunately, there were back-to-back crises in 1980 and 1981—which was a long time ago—and 1992 and 1993. Then the focus was on “hyperglobalization” in the 1990s, with Asia leading the pack, especially China with growth rates around 15% in the 1990s. All of these irritants should have raised red flags for quite a few alert governments around the world, but they did not. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives focused on one sector. They let themselves be blinded by IMF and World Bank recommendations. That is unfortunate.
Over the past few decades, our economy, which grew thanks to the manufacturing sector, quietly morphed into an economy that relied primarily on the tertiary sector, which is retail sales and customer service. It simply cannot grow at the rates that the manufacturing sector made possible. It cannot perpetuate, create and maintain stable, full-time jobs for both men and women.
Today, Canada does have niches where research and innovation can support investment and provide hope for a good future. These include the aerospace industry, where the dream is still alive, the video game industry, which has been flourishing for some time around Montreal, new energy sources such as biomass, wind and solar, and of course, electric cars. That is right: small companies are developing electric cars right here in Canada.
All of that is possible if we improve the socioeconomic conditions in which these businesses evolve, be they small and medium-size businesses or large corporations. Sometimes self-employed workers are even the ones to come up with an idea and develop a small business. We need a safe, prosperous environment
Furthermore, the gap between the upper middle class and lower middle class has widened dangerously in recent decades, because the end of the “glorious thirty” for the manufacturing sector in the west has increased that gap. We need to address this trend once and for all, because society as a whole suffers as a result. The middle class, which is now deeply in debt, is mortgaging future generations. We must not forget that it has always been the middle class that has supported the high consumption levels we have right now, and therefore economic growth. However, there is no longer any certainty, except for the debt we are passing on to our children, and not just an economic and environmental debt, but also a social debt, which will have an impact on our society.
One out of every two workers is uncertain about his or her job. It is unfortunate. That is why education and training still lead to better opportunities on the job market, regardless of the level completed. The $2 billion that the government will try to recover because of income splitting would be better spent in the know-how of Canadians across the country, which is an important component. It would be far more useful to invest in ongoing training and research and development than any other partisan action, which would one day have to come to an end, anyway.
What do we want to pass on to our future generations? I will not talk about the environment since everyone knows my opinion on that subject: we are destroying the planet. Nevertheless, with regard to the environment and the economy, the Stern report, which was released in the fall of 2006, was clear: our inaction will cost more than a massive and immediate intervention. Naomi Klein said the same thing in her book, which was published recently.
These two economists, who have changed their opinions about the impact of air pollution, ocean overfishing and the well-known plastic islands that are now floating in our oceans, have shown that things can change if we take action soon.
It would be easy to work together in an inclusive way, as brothers and sisters, to make this planet and this country a place of wealth, development and even friendship. Everyone benefits from economic wealth, development and prosperity. We are not going to help each other and give everyone a chance by tearing the fabric of our society, as the government is doing right now with employment insurance and social housing.
I would like to close with a message of hope for the people in my riding. Regardless of our sexual orientation, religion or beliefs, we should all have the right to live in a region, province, territory, nation and country where all people are considered equal and have an equal opportunity to follow their dreams and enjoy their rights and freedoms, which include access to a job that allows everyone to achieve their full potential in a free, fair and just world.
To counter the words of the famous and rational Mr. Spock, who said that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, Captain Kirk, who was more sensible, told him that the individual must be saved because without him the group no longer had value. In economics, it is the decisions of that individual, the Homo economicus, that create demand and wealth.
It is not by letting things go, by being complacent about our social fabric and job creation across the country or by forgetting the first nations, women, single-parent families and self-employed workers that we are going to create wealth and harmony and finally live in a prosperous Canada.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-03-10 13:36 [p.11919]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question.
I am not going to applaud what the Liberals did in recent decades. They stole $50 billion from the employment insurance fund. They used that money to create jobs and invest. They invested on the backs of workers.
Clearly, SMEs drive our economy because that is where we have the most potential to create jobs. With the reduction of the tax burden and red tape, or what we call bureaucracy, many small businesses could truly continue to be prosperous and, more importantly, create jobs. Whether in agriculture or in new energies, the potential to create jobs is tremendous, especially if we stimulate the economy by investing in SMEs.
This is a question of creating a healthy and fair environment for all. Whether SMEs have 5 employees or 50, they all need a bit of support, not just for creating jobs, but also for continuous training. In other words, people working in businesses need ongoing training in order to be more effective and more productive.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-03-10 13:39 [p.11919]
Mr. Speaker, one of the first measures we will adopt will be to gradually reduce the tax rate from 11% to 9% for SMEs so that they can reinvest in job creation and make their environment safe. We are also talking about continuous training for employees and increasing investments in innovation.
If we focus on all the SMEs in a number of economic sectors across Canada, this could create thousands of jobs. This could ensure that in every region of Canada, in my riding in the Eastern Townships or in British Columbia, businesses can not only survive, but earn good money.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-03-09 11:41 [p.11824]
Mr. Speaker, I wish you long life and prosperity during your well-deserved retirement. You will be missed here in the House.
Motion No. 553, which was moved by my riding neighbour, the hon. member for Sherbrooke, and which we are debating this morning, pertains to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. In summary, the motion calls on this government to present, as soon as possible, a mechanism that would allow non-designated airports, that is, airports that are not on the 2004 list of airports designated under the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act, to provide, at their expense, security screening services that are recognized by the act and thus by CATSA.
Above all, motion No. 553 seeks to identify a solution for the numerous airports—they were listed earlier—currently seeking CATSA-recognized security screening. The mechanism that would be identified and implemented by the current or future government would be useful for many Canadian airports not designated in the schedule to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act.
As my colleagues know, airports across the country are important economic drivers for the communities in which they are located. We must support them so that they can grow, move forward and create quality jobs for the middle class.
Air safety, like food safety and rail safety, are very high priorities for me, as they are for my leader, my party and my caucus. However, over time, this government has been slacking in these areas, although these issues should be very important priorities for the government as well. The mechanism proposed in this motion is a practical solution that would in no way compromise air safety, since it takes into account the standards developed by the existing regulations.
The security screenings in question are the responsibility of CATSA, a crown corporation that was created in 2002, as a logical step in air safety in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The law creating this crown corporation stipulates that CATSA must ensure that security screenings are carried out in accordance with strict standards, which we of course respect.
CATSA is responsible for screening costs, which are recovered by means of a tariff added to the price of every plane ticket. CATSA has contracts with security companies—Garda, Securitas and G4S—to perform screening operations in many Canadian airports. The attribution of this screening standard and of new airports is practically arbitrary. Just two new airports have been added since 2004. There have been no real updates. Two airports out of twelve made a request and were added to the list of designated airports. That does not leave much room for expansion or, most importantly, an update, because many regions in the country have experienced economic struggles in the last 15 years. Therefore, it makes sense to update this list, or at least to find a mechanism, a way to ensure that passengers have safe access to flights and that these airports—and there are many—can help the surrounding region grow.
Unfortunately, for the past few years, our requests have been forgotten. Not a word has been said about this for over two years. The government has not come back in any way, shape or form to the proponents who are waiting for answers about economic proposals that could generate revenue for the state and major economic spinoffs for the region. As it happens, one of those regions is in my riding: Sherbrooke, which was known as the “Queen of the Eastern Townships”.
As my colleague said, this is one of the few centres in eastern North America with more than 200,000 inhabitants that unfortunately does not have a functional airport with rules, standards and regulations in place enabling it to function. The municipality of Sherbrooke, which owns infrastructure on lands surrounded by smaller municipalities in the RCM of Haut-Saint-François in my riding, including Westbury, Cookshire-Eaton and East Angus, is impatiently awaiting the day when it can say yes to a whole list of projects. There are many economic development projects that have the support of dozens of economic and political partners in the region.
The area is home to the Université de Sherbrooke, Bishop's University in Lennoxville, and more, including the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke and a number of major corporations, such as Domtar, BRP and Waterville TG. Even companies as far away as Stanstead, which is 45 minutes from the airport, and the Mont-Mégantic observatory could benefit from spinoffs generated by a viable and functional airport that would promote tourism and farm tourism.
Here is what I would like people to know about my region: it is a beacon of farm tourism with amazing locations all around Massawippi and Memphrémagog lakes. All economic players could benefit. In fact, not only will nearby regions benefit, but also those 30 minutes, 45 minutes or an hour from the airport. We need economic development. We need to create long-term jobs. Companies and small businesses really need support; they need an economic driver. They have been waiting for this for 30 years—since before my colleague was born. People have been fighting for a viable, functional airport in Sherbrooke for the past 30 years.
Many efforts have failed, but right now, all of these partners want to work together and ensure that the Sherbrooke airport will serve as a tool for economic development and as a benchmark. We would then be able to stop turning down projects. The chamber of commerce has to turn down development projects every month because there is no air or rail link. Let us forget about rail for the moment and focus on the air link. It would be so simple to work together, with the government, to ensure that not only the Sherbrooke airport, but also the many other airports in Quebec and Canada that are awaiting this designation, actually get it.
Many levels of government, including the city of Sherbrooke and the RCMs of Haut-Saint-François, Coaticook, Memphrémagog and Granit could all benefit from the windfall that would arise around the airport, not only from the travellers, but also through sustainable industrial and economic development. There could be jobs in research and development projects. Consider, for example, Enerkem, a biomass technology company where scientists are engaged in research, development and innovation that are exported across Canada. Many companies are waiting for this. They know that with a major benchmark just outside of Sherbrooke, the region could develop its economy and create jobs at a time when things are otherwise rather gloomy. It is crucial that we work together, with the government, since all the partners are there, ready and waiting to move forward.
In closing, as I said, many regions across Canada stand to benefit if only this government would be more responsive to the pressing needs of shrinking local economies. A positive response to my colleague's initiative could provide hope to thousands of workers across Canada.
View Jean Rousseau Profile
View Jean Rousseau Profile
2015-02-25 15:04 [p.11673]
Mr. Speaker, the Ferme aux Champêtreries, a social economy enterprise in Haut-Saint-François, creates jobs for young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 who need help.
The Ferme aux Champêtreries applied for a training subsidy as part of the skills link program in April 2013. It is now February 2015 and they still do not have an answer.
Why is the government dragging its feet on this file? Is it pinching pennies to balance the budget at the expense of young people? Unbelievable.
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