Diane ST-JACQUES

ST-JACQUES, Diane

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Shefford (Quebec)
Birth Date
May 16, 1953
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diane_St-Jacques
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=354dac59-8dac-4e3f-ba44-5dc318e04bd7&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
advertising consultant, public relations consultant

Parliamentary Career

June 2, 1997 - September 11, 2000
PC
  Shefford (Quebec)
September 12, 2000 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Shefford (Quebec)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  Shefford (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development (January 13, 2003 - December 11, 2003)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 6 of 49)


May 29, 2003

Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, certainly the government is aware of the challenges facing seasonal workers in the crab processing industry, both in Quebec and New Brunswick. We know that seasonal workers contribute to the local economy, and they must also overcome obstacles that other workers do not face.

As the hon. member mentioned, the crab fishers have now gone out and the plant workers have been able to start work, and they are working very hard. But I want to reassure the House that, throughout the boycott by the crab fishers, we kept the door open in case the workers wanted to discuss possible solutions.

As the minister said in this House, I will say again, and I will quote her for the benefit of my hon. colleague:

I never refused to meet with these Canadians, who are important for our country, and I dare hope that the hon. member will see, in light of my record, that I have never hesitated to meet with Canadians no matter where they live.

So, this is proof that the minister is listening.

Moreover, the governments of New Brunswick and Quebec have both announced measures to help those workers affected by the recent boycott. In New Brunswick, training programs were extended so that affected workers qualify for EI. In addition, the Government of Canada pledged to ensure that the EI plan would continue to meet the needs of workers, including seasonal workers.

Recent changes to the Employment Insurance Act, such as the elimination of the intensity rule, were designed to meet the needs of seasonal workers.

But the best way of helping workers in the long run is more jobs, not more employment insurance benefits. That is why we are continuing to help communities diversify their local economy and create new employment opportunities.

Perhaps the hon. member will not appreciate what I am about to tell him, but I will say it anyway. In 2002 and 2003, the Government of Canada transferred nearly $91 million under the labour market development agreement signed with New Brunswick.

Under this agreement between Canada and New Brunswick, the province is responsible for developing and implementing locally employment programs with funding from the EI plan.

Through this partnership, the government can support the development of long term solutions to employment problems specific to seasonal workers in that province.

We are continuing to ensure that our programs meet the needs of Canadians to the greatest extent possible.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   National Children's Memorial Day
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May 29, 2003

Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in this debate requested by the hon. member for Lanark—Carleton who, on February 20, asked the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs about the federal transfer payments to the provinces and funding for various social program.

The member for Lanark—Carleton is suggesting that the current government does not trust the provinces to administer programs in these sectors. He also maintains that additional tax points are, as he puts it, the only way to guarantee stable and long-term funding. On these two points, I beg to differ with my hon. colleague.

First, it is incorrect to say that our government does not trust the provinces to administer their social programs. As the minister himself said on February 20, in each of these areas, our government has, in fact, established excellent cooperation with the provinces. So, it is incorrect to say that the Canadian government does not trust the provincial governments.

My time is limited, and I would have liked to examine this issue more fully, but I want to provide just one example of this spirit of cooperation: the agreement on health signed last February 5.

Under this agreement, the first ministers agreed on a new health plan that would contribute to improving health care in all areas of the country. The Canadian government will contribute $34.8 billion to this plan over five years, to alleviate the current pressure on the health care system, to establish a health reform fund for home care and catastrophic drug coverage, to purchase diagnostic and medical equipment, and to invest in information technologies.

In addition, every year, governments will inform Canadians how the funds will be used to meet the targeted objectives.

Clearly this is not a sign of any mistrust in the ability of the provinces to manage their social programs. I would see it more as a willingness of the two main levels of government to work together for the greater good of the people we are called upon to serve.

I was just talking about health, but there are other social sectors that our government is addressing under the Canada Health and Social Transfer. The government will make $37.8 billion available in 2003-04 for such areas as health care, post-secondary education, social assistance, social services and early childhood development.

Of this amount, almost $17 billion will be in the form of tax points. The formula the member for Lanark—Carleton refers to in one of his questions on February 20 is already used by our government for funding social programs throughout Canada.

I am therefore surprised that the Alliance member would raise this issue in the House today. In my humble opinion, the government can be proud of its record in federal-provincial relations. It is because of its spirit of cooperation that this country has become what it is today and it is in this same vein that we intend to continue making it prosper in the future.

That is why I feel the statements by the member for Lanark—Carleton are unfounded and I wanted to refute them.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   National Children's Memorial Day
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May 29, 2003

Ms. Diane St-Jacques

Mr. Speaker, I want to confirm the minister's promise to meet with New Brunswick workers. She said:

I have never refused to meet these Canadians, who are important to our country, and I would hope that my record would show the hon. member that I have never hesitated to meet Canadians wherever they may live.

I wish to conclude by saying, as I have said many times, that workers can count on help from our government and we will continue to do what we can for the workers affected by this situation.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   National Children's Memorial Day
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May 29, 2003

Ms. Diane St-Jacques

Mr. Speaker, my Alliance colleague can criticize our government's policy with regard to the provinces if he wants, but the facts belie the alarmist report he seems to take pleasure in giving.

When our country succeeds, in almost all areas of human endeavour, in being one of the top and most enviable performers in the world, it is okay to say, very humbly, that Canada is on the right track.

Quite honestly, I do not think that we have anything to learn about respect, cooperation and, above all, tolerance from the Canadian Alliance in terms of our relationship with our provincial partners.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   National Children's Memorial Day
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May 28, 2003

Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Shefford, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec awarded the Mercuriade in the New Investment Project-Large Company category to Artopex Plus, a company whose head office is in Granby, in the riding of Shefford.

The winner of this award is a family business that specializes in the manufacturing of office furniture. New work processes have been introduced, with a focus on a greater involvement of the company's 350 employees. Plants were retrofitted and investments were made in equipment. Management and employees share a firm commitment to innovation and quality.

The success of this company, owned and operated by the Pelletier brothers, is based on sound values, hard work, a close management-employee relationship, and outstanding products.

Congratulations to Artopex Plus.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Artopex Plus
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