House of Commons Hansard #23 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was species.

Topics

Gildas Molgat
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask the House to rise for a moment of silence in memory of our late colleague, the hon. Senator Gildas Molgat, the former Speaker of the other place.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, our GDP growth for the last quarter slowed to 0.6%.

This is the lowest it has been in three years, but the Minister of Finance continues to assure us that things are just fine.

Why is the minister refusing to bring down a new budget to reflect these economic realities which are constantly changing and which changed today?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know that the Leader of the Opposition is always on the lookout for bad news.

But I must say that the last quarter was the 22nd consecutive one of growth. This has not been seen since the 1960s.

While I am at it, I also want to tell him that our rate of growth in the previous quarter was twice that of the United States.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, he loves to talk about the United States, so let us do that for 22 seconds.

The consumer confidence index in the U.S. dropped 8.9 points in February. That is a drop that economists are telling us could signal a recession. Just this morning U.S. federal reserve chairman Alan Greenspan says the U.S. slowdown has not run its course yet. That was just this morning and he loves to talk about that.

In light of this continuing economic weakness in Canada's large export market, to which he constantly refers, why is he not adjusting our financial plan by bringing in a new budget of tax and debt reductions?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States spoke yesterday. Let me just simply say that our stimulus package as of January 1 was six times greater in the first year, the year the member is referring to, than that being projected in the United States.

I would simply ask a question of the hon. member. Given the fact he has just stated that the problem, as Mr. Greenspan has stated, is one of consumer demand in the United States, what does he recommend that I do to increase consumer demand in the United States?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, those segues make it too easy. We are not working a tag team here but I am glad he asked. I have already sent him some recommendations which he has not followed up.

The Bush administration in the United States is talking about a $1.6 trillion tax cut and significant debt reduction. That will create economic advantage over Canada. It will lure investment and human resources.

His own former assistant deputy minister says we need further tax cuts to remain competitive. What he is preparing us for is a launching of more of the approach of failed government programs and massive Liberal intervention into the economy, the type of thing the auditor general has been criticizing.

Why will he not instead bring in a new budget with a significant move toward tax and debt reduction?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is because President Bush's plan is over 10 years. Ours is over five. President Bush's is back end loaded. Ours is front end loaded. Ours is already in place. They are still talking about it in the United States.

Let us take a look at the results: fourth quarter growth twice that of the United States and 22 consecutive quarters of growth. In case I forget, let me also say that in the numbers that came out this morning Canada's current account surplus is at an all time high.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I know that many people who have recently been laid off at Nortel and other places will be stimulated by this apparent lack of reluctance to accept what is happening.

These are not my numbers. These numbers are reflected around the country by people who watch what economies are doing. It is his own former assistant deputy minister who said that the tax cuts up to October closed the gap but the gap was still there. Now the new proposals open it up again.

Why will the finance minister not include proper tax reductions and debt reduction in a new budget to strengthen the economy and strengthen—

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Finance.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, why does the Leader of the Opposition not take a look at what Mr. Drummond actually said? Why does he not take a look at the reality?

I guess I will remind him. As a result of our budget, our corporate taxes will be lower than those of the United States after the Bush plan. As a result of what we have done, our capital gains taxes will be lower than those of the United States after the Bush plan. As a result of what we did, our treatment of stock options will be more generous after Mr. Bush's plan comes in. That is what we have done.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, he is the only one using the Liberals' own numbers who is saying that they have created the advantage. Most other economists are saying it is absolutely not true. Since I cannot address and engage the minister in this discussion, I will ask a question of the Deputy Prime Minister.

In 1991, only three months after a budget was overtaken by a worsening economy, the now Deputy Prime Minister was in the opposition at the time. He asked the finance minister at the time to produce immediately a new economic recovery budget. Then he asked, if not, would he and other ministers produce their resignations. We are not asking for resignations. We are just—

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Finance.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member simply ought to get his act together. He really should try from one week to the next to have a consistent story.

The Leader of the Opposition is now standing and attempting to fearmonger, attempting basically to say that things are very gloomy. The fact is that we are not immune to what is happening in the United States.

Would the hon. Leader of the Opposition tell us why it was only two weeks ago that he stated publicly that we had a very “vibrant economy in Canada”.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Free Trade Area Of The Americas
Oral Question Period

February 28th, 2001 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned this morning that the government of Quebec was going to give the members of the national assembly's parliamentary commission on institutions access to the texts of the negotiations on the free trade area of the Americas.

The government of Quebec is taking this initiative out of a concern for transparency and to fight parliamentarians' loss of power of through the phenomenon of globalization.

Since he is refusing to make the texts of negotiations public, will the Prime Minister at least promise to give access to them to the members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade?