House of Commons Hansard #59 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The Budget
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask members to please contain themselves, especially during the statements by members. We all want to hear what they have to say. I would expect that we would all listen to what members have to say. If members do not want to listen to what others have to say, I invite you please to wait in the lobby.

International Women's Week
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today in the House to mark International Women's Week, March 6 to 12.

The federal theme this year is “Canadian Women Taking Action To Make a Difference”. This theme was chosen to highlight the initiatives and accomplishments of women's organizations across the country in the struggle against violence and poverty, the major themes of the upcoming World March of Women in the year 2000.

Women's organizations have played a key role in influencing government policy to advance gender equality in all aspects of Canadian life. The work to make a difference in the areas of violence against women and poverty has impacted on the lives of many women and young girls in creating an awareness of these crucial issues among decision makers and all Canadians.

As we celebrate International Women's Day, let us remember that while we have made progress, women account for 88% of the victims of sexual assault. Single mothers with children under 18 have a poverty rate of 57%.

We salute the efforts of all women across Canada to end violence against women and poverty in society. Each of us has had a role to play in reaching these goals and we will all benefit from these efforts.

Niagara Regional Police Service
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Niagara Regional Police Service for its recent receipt of accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

The commission is an independent, non-profit organization founded by law enforcement membership associations. The commission maintains a body of professional law enforcement standards and administers a voluntary process for participation.

The Niagara Regional Police Service entered this voluntary program to demonstrate its professionalism and pride in delivering quality law enforcement service to Niagara.

The awarding of this accredited status makes the Niagara force and its officers part of an elite group of law enforcement agencies in the United States, Canada and Barbados that have received this prestigious international recognition.

Congratulations to Chief Grant Waddell and to all the members of the Niagara Regional Police Service.

Gasoline Prices
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government should make sure that the service stations of all the major and independent oil companies and all businesses in Canada display the base price per litre of gasoline or diesel at the pump, free of the federal and provincial taxes, in the same way as consumers see the base price of food and household products they purchase.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the budget speech, the government announced a major innovation that will have a significant impact on the lives of Canadians.

We are reintroducing full indexation of personal income tax in order to protect all taxpayers from automatic tax increases through inflation.

The plan provides immediate tax savings, that is as of 2001. These measures will benefit Canadian families directly. For example, a one-income family of four earning some $32,000 will pay no net federal tax.

Also, a one-income family of four earning $40,000 will have its federal income tax cut by 17%.

This is how our government is working to improve the quality of the lives of Canadian families.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, for the last number of years farmers have been caught in the deathly grip of an income crisis forced on to them by years of federal agriculture mismanagement and compounded by high foreign subsidies and bad weather.

This crisis has shaken the agriculture industry to its very roots. Increasingly, distressed farmers are turning to desperate measures, including hunger strikes, to try and make this government aware of their problems.

When simply ignoring the problem did not work, the Liberals grudgingly announced AIDA, an emergency program that has only delivered a paltry 23% of the promised $1.7 billion. When they realized that AIDA was a failure they tried to apply another $200 million band-aid with no guarantee that any of these funds will ever be delivered. If that was not insult enough, farmers were completely shut out of yesterday's budget.

Farmers need more than band-aids. They need real reform that addresses the root problem of the farm income crisis, and they will not get that reform from this government.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the budget speech, the Canadian government announced its intention to invest $2.5 billion, over a four year period, through the Canada health and social transfer.

I wish to point out that this is the fourth consecutive increase under that program. Our government is receptive to the requests and needs of Canadians.

The government also announced that the Canada child tax benefit will get an additional $2.5 billion by the year 2004.

Finally, under budget 2000, the amount of maternity and parental benefits paid under the employment insurance program will double, since these benefits will paid for 12 months, instead of six. The criteria will also be more flexible and more people will have access to these benefits.

These are concrete initiatives that will allow us to help Canadian families and improve their quality of life.

Michel Dumond
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to read a letter from one of my constituents.

This letter is a cry from the heart by a man who is paying for a crime he never committed. After years of making representations, Michel Dumond is still waiting for that injustice to be corrected.

His letter reads as follows:

Dear Madam Minister:

As you know, since 1990, I have been claiming that I was innocent and you have in your possession a large file that proves my innocence. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of all the problems caused by the offence of which I am wrongly accused, including loss of employment, impossibility to obtain a passport and travel abroad, etc.

You have the authority to undo the harm done to me by the justice system by invoking section 690 of the Criminal Code. I am anxiously waiting for your decision.

Thank you for your kind attention.

I hope the minister will follow up on Mr. Dumond's request at the earliest opportunity, so that he can resume a normal life, the one he led before these terrible events.

St. Patrick's Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Independent

John Nunziata York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we approach St. Patrick's Day it provides an opportunity to recognize the immense contribution of the Irish community in Canada.

Ted McConnell, an Irish immigrant, is being honoured this year for his significant contribution to Irish-Canadian relations and his lifelong commitment to peace in Northern Ireland.

Ted was selected as this year's grand marshal for the St. Patrick's Day parade and will be honoured at the Grand Marshal's Ball on March 11 in Toronto.

Ted was born in Belfast in 1931 and immigrated to Canada in 1957. Throughout his successful career, Ted has devoted himself to enhancing Canada's relationship with his homeland.

In recognition of his efforts, Ted was selected the first honorary consul general of Ireland to Canada in 1997. He is currently Canada's representative on the International Fund for Ireland. He is also on the board of the Ireland Fund of Canada, the Canada-Ireland Chamber of Commerce and the School of Celtic Studies at St. Michael's College.

Ted was honoured in 1991 with the prestigious Order of the British Empire.

On behalf of parliament, I would like to pay tribute to this outstanding individual and to say thank you for bringing Canada and Ireland closer together.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ian Murray Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's budget gave the high tech community something to celebrate. It fulfilled almost every priority on the industry's wish list and showed support for innovation and technology across the country and in particular those in silicon valley north in my riding of Lanark—Carleton.

The Minister of Finance provided $1 billion worth of tax breaks directed largely at the high tech industry, lowering the tax rate paid by higher taxed industries, mostly in the high tech services sector, from 28% to 21%.

The budget included a deferral on taxing stock options, reductions in capital gains and corporate taxes and the creation of tax free rollovers. This will allow individuals to defer capital gains taxes on as much as $500,000 when they withdraw capital from one small business and reinvest in another.

I am confident these measures will encourage innovation and investment and help put all sectors of our economy on an internationally competitive footing.

Apec Inquiry
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has almost achieved his objective of burying his involvement in the suppression of Canadian freedom of expression at APEC. The Prime Minister has said that he does not have to go and testify at the commission because he can reply to questions in the House.

There are two important differences between the House and the APEC Inquiry. First, the inquiry witnesses are under oath. Second, witnesses may be cross-examined with direct challenges to their testimony.

Obviously the commissioner feels that testifying under oath, providing detailed answers and being cross-examined are what the Prime Minister needs to do in order to avoid a cloud of public suspicion over the APEC inquiry.

Understandably, complainants are withdrawing from the process in Vancouver today. The use of the Public Complaints Commission has been a smokescreen for the Prime Minister and his office all the way along. The Prime Minister will not testify with the excuse that he will set a precedent for future prime ministers. Well the Prime Minister has already set the precedent, one of arrogance.

Public Transit
Statements By Members

February 29th, 2000 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, several weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting with Randy Graham and public transit representatives who reaffirmed the importance of public transit in Canada. It was good to hear in yesterday's budget that this government is renewing one of its most successful initiatives, infrastructure programs.

This is great news for municipal infrastructure. In places like Ottawa, this means that public transit may be able to improve and expand the existing transit system. Better public transit means a reduction in harmful emissions, which is positive news for the environment.

Also good for the environment is the commitment made to green infrastructure. The green municipal enabling fund will help communities assess where their environmental needs are greatest.

This budget is great news for public transit, the environment and all Canadians.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's budget abandoned the promise of investing in our children.

The minuscule social spending announced does almost nothing to reduce child poverty, to give our kids an adequate education or to protect our children's health. It says that it is okay that one in five children live in poverty. It does not help families find affordable child care. It does not help students with crushing debt loads. It shrugs off the despair driving aboriginal children to suicide.

Last evening, while the finance minister was out selling tax cuts, CBC Radio's Ideas talked about our social obsession with youth and the fact that we pay no real attention to the harsh reality of our children.

The budget is a clear example of this. There is nothing about overcrowded classrooms, too few teachers or out of date books. The budget is silent on kids without food, without housing and self-respect. Tax cuts come before poor kids, highways before public caring.

The budget says that this is an acceptable condition for our children and that this government knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, in many respects, the government's last budget was a big disappointment.

Despite the desperate needs of hospitals, the crowding in emergency rooms, and the unanimity of the provinces, community groups and the public, the federal budget has announced a one-time increase of only $2.5 billion over four years, a one-shot payment that will resolve nothing and that represents only 14% of the real funding called for by the provinces.

The federal government has also dashed the hopes of 58% of unemployed workers, who do not quality for benefits, and of women and young people who are heavily penalized by a system that is too restrictive and that does not reflect reality.

With this budget, Quebecers and Canadians can see that surpluses will remain high and will sit in federal government coffers for the coming years.

The federal government's millennium budget is a missed opportunity to show compassion and caring. This is a fine way to mark the yeqr 2000.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the finance minister delivered his seventh budget to the people of Canada, which I believe will translate into a better quality of life for all.

He delivered investments in health care, in knowledge and innovation, in families with children and in the environment. He also announced a five year tax reduction plan and a continued commitment to sound financial management.

Since 1993 the finance minister has asked parliament to consult with Canadians in preparation for each budget and he has acted on their views and priorities year after year after year.

Last night the finance minister stated that budget 2000 puts us in a strong competitive position internationally such that, in his own words, “no one will be able to touch us”.

I wish to congratulate the finance minister for his leadership role in getting our financial house in order and for delivering to Canadians the tax cuts of strategic investments which will make Canada the place to be in the 21st century.