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

Mathieu Cusson
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Diane St-Jacques Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to a very young hero from the riding of Shefford, Mathieu Cusson.

Last Thursday, Her Excellency the Governor General presented Mathieu with the Medal of Bravery for a heroic act he performed on July 5, 2000.

During a fishing trip, Mathieu, his father and a friend were returning to shore with their catch when their canoe was capsized by two large waves. As they fought the waves and the coldness of the water, hypothermia began to set in.

Although weak himself, the young hero managed to swim with his father and friend in tow to a large rock.

He and his father survived their five hour ordeal; sadly, his friend Jared, despite a courageous struggle, did not.

I am proud to draw attention here in the House to the courage of this heroic 13 year old, who has proven that a person's worth is not measured by his age.

Bravo, Mathieu.

Employment Insurance
Statements by Members

December 12th, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the recent recession has resulted in numerous layoffs throughout the country. The Trenton steel works plant in Nova Scotia has been hit especially hard. Many workers have been laid off since last May leaving only a skeleton crew at the plant. As Christmas approaches their EI benefits are coming to an end leaving angst and apprehension for the new year.

In the United States President Bush has been extending EI benefits to help workers affected by the downturn in the economy. Yet in Canada the Liberal government prefers to use the EI fund for its own special interests.

The Liberal budget failed to address the crippling EI and CPP premiums which are a tax grab and devastating to employees, employers and businesses like Trenton Works.

There is a $36 billion surplus in the EI fund that continues to be exploited for a purpose that it was not intended for. If the government refuses to lower EI and CPP premiums, it should at least return some of the surplus to the workers by extending EI benefits and programs for those who have lost their jobs in this economic downturn.

It is disturbing. It is terrible to be without work and certainty before Christmas.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

I am sure, Mr. Speaker, the warmth will last all of about 35 seconds.

This budget was a wasted opportunity for the government and, unfortunately, for Canadians.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The Leader of the Opposition is new and everyone will want to hear his question.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, with a 9.3% increase in spending, this is the largest increase in spending since the Prime Minister was finance minister.

The government has not cut waste. It has thrown money away to pet projects of the Liberal leadership candidates and has neglected the real priorities of Canadians.

Could the Prime Minister explain to Canadians and to the auditor general how the government could not find one cent in wasteful spending to cut?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the member for West Vancouver--Sunshine Coast. I know it is sunshine for us to see him there. I have known him for a long time and I am very happy that he is my seventh Leader of the Opposition.

However, something is very unusual. Never in the history of Canada has a Prime Minister gone to a fundraiser to help the Leader of the Opposition. He was a speaker in British Columbia but since he did not like the Tories any more he needed a speaker to raise money and he asked your humble servant to do the job.

We are so tight with money on this side that I went there. He made $20,000 and he paid me no money.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I might ask him again some day but I want to tell him that he is not the first Liberal Prime Minister I have ever faced and I can assure him that I will do my best in this role to make sure he is the last one I face.

This year the government will spend $1.9 billion more than it collects in revenue. By U.S. accounting standards, we are already in a deficit.

The auditor general identified $16.3 billion in poorly managed grant programs.

Could the Prime Minister not have found ways to cut rather than pushing us to the brink of a deficit?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have had five budget surpluses in a row. When we started we had a $42 billion deficit. Our plan at the moment is to still have a balanced budget and to have money to stimulate the economy, to develop the infrastructure, to help health care and to help many sectors of our economy.

We will do that. At the same time, the ministers, the President of the Treasury Board and everybody will make sure that when money is not well spent, it will be corrected immediately.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would not brag about the mess that was left in 1993. Anybody could have done better than what was there in 1993.

Last week the Prime Minister's press secretary said that he was writing the budget, not the finance minister, and it shows. With his tax hikes, wasteful spending and near deficit, this is a budget that only unreconstructed sixties Liberals would appreciate.

The question is: Will the real author of the budget please stand up?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is responsible for the budget but the Prime Minister has to approve the budget. On top of that, the Prime Minister is a former minister of finance so he has an interest in the budget.

What is great is that we have managed to have nine budgets that have served the Canadian population very well. Never ever has the Minister of Finance complained about the Prime Minister or the Prime Minister complained about the Minister of Finance.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I see the finance minister was dutifully applauded.

Last spring the Canadian Alliance predicted that the finance minister's out of control spending would lead us back into a deficit. Now we learn that is exactly what has happened, but he is trying to cover it up by cooking the books.

According to the TD Bank, the finance minister was only able to avoid showing a deficit by “fancy accounting footwork”. Both J. P. Morgan and Merryl Lynch say that a deficit is likely next year.

Why does he not just admit that without his creative accounting Canada would be headed back into a deficit?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Canada is not in deficit. We are the only G-7 country not in deficit. We are not in deficit this year and we will not be in deficit next year, nor will we be in deficit the year after.

The hon. members talk about wasteful spending. I would like to talk about the $16 billion in wasteful spending, so I have gone back to take a look at what they are talking about.

Let me tell the House what their wasteful spending is: $1.5 billion pension and health benefits for veterans; $1.1 billion for labour market training, employment assistance to persons with disabilities and helping the homeless.