House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was species.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government reduced taxes for the Canadian people by $100 billion over the period of five years. It is reflected to everybody.

If the hon. member would read the budget he would see that lower and middle income Canadians are paying hundreds and thousands of dollars less taxes today than they were paying two years ago.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is not true.

Last Friday, the econometric firm DRI-WEFA confirmed that the government's supposed tax reduction was no more than a mirage. We learned that there has been no change to the tax burden since 1996, and it remains a huge 40% of the GDP.

Clearly, this Minister of Finance is more concerned about image than reality. How can he continue to mislead people by saying that he has lessened the tax burden, when this is false?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has pointed out, these statistics do not tell the full story.

The fact of the matter is that this year alone we had $20 billion in tax relief. The fact is that by 2004 income tax will be down by 21% on average, 27% for families. The fact of the matter is that we are giving our companies a Canadian advantage with a lower corporate tax rate as of a couple of years and a substantially lower rate of tax on capital gains as we speak.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, those are not facts, those are ridiculous Liberal talking points.

The studies produced by the Canadian Tax Foundation and DRI-WEFA make it absolutely clear that we are losing $44 billion to the underground economy because of overtaxation and that the federal tax burden today is exactly where it was six years ago.

How can the government claim that it is reducing taxes when Canadians are in fact paying more in taxes this year than they did at this time last year?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a wonderful economic story to tell in London, New York and around the world. However, the Canadian Alliance, with its spurious statistics, its non-stop negativity and its non-stop trashing of the Canadian economy, it is sad to say, is part of the problem not part of the solution.

Highway Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

February 25th, 2002 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance announced the creation of a $2 billion foundation for strategic infrastructures.

On February 5, he changed his tune and said that only the savings made on the service of the debt would be invested in infrastructures, that is a significantly smaller amount of $350 million over two years, according to the minister's own officials.

In spite of this correction, the Deputy Prime Minister continues to say that there is an amount of $2 billion available right now.

Since the establishment of this fund has yes to be approved by parliament, that its budget is fluctuating and that timetables are changing, could the Prime Minister tell us how much money will be available, in the end, for strategic infrastructures and when?

Highway Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the $2 billion for strategic infrastructures will be available as soon as the bill has been approved by the House of Commons.

Highway Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport told the House that the $2 billion for the strategic infrastructure fund was only, and I quote an initial payment.

Given the magnitude of the Liberals' promises, which total $3.5 billion for Quebec highways alone, could the Deputy Prime Minister confirm the comments of the parliamentary secretary and tell Quebecers whether the $2 billion strategic infrastructure fund is renewable or not?

Highway Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the $2 billion for strategic infrastructures is not just for highways. In the budget delivered in December by the Minister of Finance, an amount of $600 million is specifically earmarked for highways, in addition to the $2 billion for strategic infrastructures, which could of course be used for projects other than highways.

Highway Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the promises made by Liberal ministers and members regarding highways during the election campaign go well beyond the moneys currently available for this purpose.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister say what percentage of the $2 billion infrastructure fund will be allocated to the construction of the highways promised by his colleagues during the election? What portion of the $2 billion will be spent on the highways?

Highway Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, 100% of the money will be spent on strategic projects. We will define the projects. But we know, as we heard on Friday afternoon, that it was not in the interest of the Bloc Quebecois or the Parti Quebecois before the election, but only when the Liberal candidates raised the issue about highways in Quebec.

Highway Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport said in the House that there would be no interprovincial cost-sharing of the funds available in the infrastructure program, implying that this would allow the government to fulfill its promises made in Quebec during the election campaign.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister confirm the comments made by the member for Chicoutimi--Le Fjord, to the effect that there would be no interprovincial cost-sharing in connection with the infrastructure fund?

Highway Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, there seems to be some confusion on the other side of the House.

Other funds already exist for highways. The Minister of Transport is trying to conclude an agreement with the Province of Quebec in this regard.

There is also the strategic infrastructure fund. As I mentioned, it is a program for strategic infrastructure for the 21st century, including, possibly, highways.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, who in the name of heaven is running the Export Development Corporation? Certainly no one concerned with securing softwood lumber jobs for Canadians who have been seeking EDC support.

Today we learned that the Export Development Corporation is bankrolling an American firm so it can purchase locomotives being built in Mexico.

Why is it not a condition of receiving EDC funds that they be invested in creating Canadian jobs instead of Mexican jobs?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear that in the North American economy, the EDC has the mandate to promote Canadian exports, and that is exactly what it did in the particular contract to which the NDP leader is referring.

GM has been in the position to save 850 jobs in Canada because it had Bombardier help deliver on that contract in the United States.