House of Commons Hansard #130 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's information is correct. The government will not have to go to the markets to borrow new money.

What the government is doing, which is being financed internally, is providing institutions like Canada Post and a number of other institutions with the funds to go into the market because it is more important for them to do so for pension fund liabilities.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, even the minister's fancy footwork is not going to work on this one. The fact is that the senior economist of J.P. Morgan is saying that a budget deficit this year is “highly likely”. TD Bank economists are accusing the minister of “fancy accounting footwork” to avoid the appearance of deficit.

Instead of fancy footwork to avoid the appearance of deficit, why does the minister not listen to the auditor general and cut wasteful Liberal spending so that Canada can avoid the reality of deficit?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the only thing I can do is do exactly what I did with the Alliance, which is to point out the wasteful spending to which the hon. member is referring. It is money for health care, for pensions, for international assistance and for labour market training.

I cannot believe that the hon. member, who up until now I thought had a social conscience, would identify with the Alliance Party in the gutting of the social fabric of the nation. Maybe they ought to merge.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the wasteful spending. How about home heating fuel rebates to the dead? How--

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The Chair has to be able to hear the question of the hon. member and I know other hon. members will want to hear it too. The hon. member for Macleod has the floor.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me try again. The wasteful spending we are talking about is home heating fuel rebates to the dead. How is that for wasteful spending?

The Minister of Finance has increased the payroll tax, and this is killing jobs. He has done nothing to reduce the debt, and has not cut back one cent on waste.

Can the Minister of Finance explain to the public why he has not done the smart thing and cut back on waste?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member speaks of payroll tax, if he means contributions to the Canada pension plan, there is an agreement between the federal government and the provinces, one signed, I might point out, by the former treasurer of Alberta and his former leader, the man he would like to replace.

Furthermore, if he is referring to employment insurance contributions, what can I say? We have just cut these once again, for the eighth time in a row. This makes $6.8 billion that have been put back into the pockets of Canadians.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, opposition politicians often get accused of just being critical for no good reason, but listen to what Brian Costello said yesterday about the finance minister's budget. He said not to let this finance minister trick anybody into thinking there were tax reductions in this budget and that taxes had in fact gone up.

Why did the finance minister try and trick every single Canadian with his “fiberal”, Liberal budget?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if he would like, we certainly can exchange quotes. Ernst & Young said:

(The government's) determination to preserve the promised, and largely enacted, tax reductions and to maintain the fiscal discipline that has led to the dramatic improvement in the federal financial picture...

I have quote after quote, and I would be delighted to give them to number eight if he wants them.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

December 12th, 2001 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, page 207 of Monday's budget addresses surpluses in the EI fund as follows, “The Report recommended, therefore, that employment insurance rates be set on the basis of levels of revenues needed to cover program costs over the business cycle looking forward, and not take into account the level of the cumulative surplus or deficit”.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that, in plain English, what this means is that the government is unilaterally paying down its debt and officially sanctioning the theft of $44 billion from the EI fund?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, what we are doing is following the auditor general's 1986 recommendation that we include the revenue from EI premiums in our consolidated revenue fund. That is what we did.

This money is then invested in health, education, and job creation, sectors Canadians view as priorities.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general also said that the government had an unacceptable surplus.

On Monday, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance confirmed that the surplus in the EI fund is fictitious, that it has been spent.

Will the Minister of Finance confirm what his parliamentary secretary said and admit that, in fact, the fund's $44 billion surplus has been used to pay for more than just EI benefits?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear, this is an accounting practice. It has been discussed on many occasions in the House.

I remember giving this same answer to the member for Roberval at least three or four years ago.

It does not exist. It is an accounting practice. The money comes in like other revenue, and the expenditures go out like other expenditures.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Joe Peschisolido Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance once said “We believe there is nothing more ludicrous than a tax on hiring, but that is what high payroll taxes are”.

If the Minister of Finance still believes that, why are hard-working Canadians paying $610 more in payroll taxes than they did in 1993?