House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Income Tax Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

On the idea of individualized EI accounts, it would not simply grow based on one's contributions because, clearly, one's contributions would be used to top up those who draw more frequently. There would be a growth in one's account over a period of time if one did not draw or draw from the account infrequently. It would be as large an amount as the hon. member suggested, the $580,000, but it would represent a significant amount that would, over time, reward people for not drawing EI.

There was a study that I would reference for the hon. member in The Economist magazine in 1998. The Library of Parliament has the study which was conducted by a U.K. group of academics on this idea of individualized EI accounts.

Income Tax Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Madam Speaker, as I was preparing to speak on Bill C-48, I wondered where such a bill might have come from. In the journal of the Chartered Accountants of Canada, in an article by Neil Smith, who is a senior tax manager, core tax practice, with Ernst & Young LLP in Calgary, we read:

The release came on the heels of a significant lobbying effort by the resource sector for federal corporate tax rate reductions—

We might wonder whether the resource companies really were winners in this respect. For example, it is interesting to read extracts from oil company annual reports regarding their semi-annual performance. For example, on page 1 of Petro-Canada's second quarter report to shareholders, we read:

Petro-Canada announced today second quarter earnings from operations of $455 million, which include a positive adjustment of $96 million for Canadian income tax rate changes.

Therefore, these measures have already netted Petro-Canada $96 million in tax savings.

The shareholders' report issued by Shell Canada Limited for the second quarter states:

Shell Canada Limited announced July 23,2003, second-quarter earnings of $178 million... Earnings included a one-time benefit of $54 million from a future income tax revaluation following announced income tax changes.

Petro-Canada apparently paid $96 million less in taxes, over the first few months of the year, which is a very short period. In the case of Shell Canada, that figure is $54 million. The same goes for Esso Imperial, which reported the following:

During the second quarter of 2003, tax rate reductions enacted by the Federal government and the provincial government of Alberta and settlement of various tax matters benefited results, mainly in the resources segment, by $109 million.

So, the three largest oil companies have declared additional future profits of $250 million. This is a direct consequence of the federal government's decision to lower the taxes applicable to oil and gas companies. They are not the companies suffering the most; they are companies that made astronomical profits in early 2003 and that introduced quite significant price hikes.

In the meantime, the federal government continues to collect 1.5 cents in excise tax per litre of gas. This tax is to pay down a deficit that has not existed since 1998. So, in a few short months, the oil and gas companies have pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars. It is not clear why they need this advantage.

Meanwhile, the federal government continues to pocket money because of a tax designed to pay down a deficit that no longer exists. We are talking about $2.8 billion in five years. No wonder taxpayers think this is ridiculous. Indeed, according to chartered accountants, the bill came “on the heels of a significant lobbying effort by the resource sector for federal corporate tax rate reductions.”

In other words, this government, which prides itself on helping the less fortunate and ensuring a better distribution of wealth, is granting $250 million in tax cuts to oil companies, and at the same time telling us it cannot give the provinces the $3 billion it owes them for health. This is a big problem. It shows an unacceptable lack of professional and political ethics. We cannot allow a bill to create this kind of situation.

Income Tax Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. He will have 16 minutes remaining to conclude his remarks after oral question period.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Pursuant to order made Tuesday, September 23, 2003, the motion to concur in the 45th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding membership of committees is deemed moved, the question deemed put and agreed to.

Pharmaceutical Industry
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Madam Speaker, the three Prix Galien awards were presented at a ceremony in Toronto on September 18. The Prix Galien are awarded annually to highlight the accomplishments of Canada's pharmaceutical industry and research community.

The Prix Galien Canada Innovative Drug Product Award, for the medication considered to have made the most significant contribution in terms of innovation, efficacy and safety, went to Gleevec, a product of Novartis Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia.

The jury selected Dr. Mark Wainberg, director of the McGill AIDS Centre and director of research at the Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, to receive the Prix Galien Research award.

The Prix Belleau-Nickerson went to Evista. This drug produced by Eli Lilly Canada belongs to a new generation of estrogen-like but non-estrogen-containing drugs. It is used to treat and prevent osteoporosis in premenopausal and menopausal women.

Congratulations to the prize winners.

Members of Parliament
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, recently we had votes which were not administrative but reflected basic societal structure and had moral implications for many in my community.

My electoral pledge requires me to engage the local marketplace of ideas and ultimately be guided by community consensus. That is our Canadian Alliance commitment to grassroots representative democracy.

We believe that a high level of citizen participation in the democratic consultation process is vital to ensuring the legitimacy of Parliament. MPs must ensure major issues receive a full and fair public hearing so that an informed democratic decision can be made by the community. Where an MP finds that a clear consensus can be obtained, it is his or her responsibility to vote accordingly over party or personal view.

I urge all parliamentarians to be better representatives and aspire to the higher standard of the Canadian Alliance Party.

Franco-Ontarian Flag
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, the Franco-Ontarian flag is an emblem dear to the hearts of the French-speaking community of Ontario. Today is its 28th birthday.

It was on September 25, 1975 that the Franco-Ontarian flag was raised on a flagpole for the first time, at Laurentian University in Sudbury.

In 1977, the community adopted it as its official flag. In 2001, the Legislative Assembly, in a unanimous vote, recognized it as one of the official emblems of Ontario. Today, Franco-Ontarians fly it proudly in all corners of the province.

This flag symbolizes our pride and our membership in our community. It is an expression of the linguistic duality of Canada.

September 25 is an opportunity for all French-speaking Ontarians to show how much they care about keeping our beautiful language alive.

Beef Industry
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Philip Mayfield Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Madam Speaker, just when the Canadian public thinks things cannot get worse with the government's spending habits and department investigations, it is hit with another slap in the face. This time it is the beef industry.

Yesterday, when the government was given an opportunity to actually do something by supporting a motion regarding opening the U.S. border for our beef, what did the Liberals do? They voted against sending a delegation to Washington to get the border fully open to Canadian cattle.

The Leader of the Opposition did this in July. Why will the Prime Minister not do it now? What does yesterday's vote mean? It means that the Canadian beef industry will continue to lose $11 million a day in exports, with an added $7 million a day as the price of beef falls.

Cow-calf operators in this country are not covered by the latest compensation package, meaning a whole sector of that industry could be indefinitely, if not permanently, in decline. About 80% of this industry is dependent upon the United States market, and the Prime Minister and his party are content to fine dine in Ottawa restaurants while this vital industry is crippled.

Canadian Women's Soccer Team
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the Canadian women's soccer team, which has given us some great moments of excitement and emotion.

Yesterday, during the team's second World Cup soccer match in the United States, it beat Argentina by a score of 3-0.

Congratulations, in particular to Charmaine Hooper who scored the first goal off a penalty kick, and Christine Latham who, late in the game, scored the other two goals in three minutes.

Saturday afternoon, Canada will face Japan to determine which team will advance to the quarterfinals. We have high hopes that our team will repeat its win.

Our Canadian athletes, no matter what sport they play, make us proud and are an example of perseverance. We encourage them to pursue their dreams and continue to do their best.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was a huge relief to learn this morning that Amina Lawal, who had been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery by the lower court, was acquitted by the Islamic appeals court.

This 32-year-old mother was found guilty in March 2002 of having a child out of wedlock. Her daughter Wasila is now nearly two.

I want to congratulate Pierre Brun from Lawyers Without Borders, who helped defend Ms. Lawal. Mr. Brun travelled to Nigeria to defend her right to a fair and just hearing.

His unfailing dedication and tireless efforts will serve as an example to others concerned with the right to life.

World Forestry Congress
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, the largest international meeting on forestry is being held in Quebec City. The XII World Forestry Congress, under the theme of “Forests, Source of Life”, will provide an opportunity to take stock of the state of forests around the world, to raise awareness among decision makers and to provide them with recommendations, the application of which will depend solely on governments and international or other organizations.

Last week, the papers reported the release of a study on Canada's wild forests. On Monday morning, Greenpeace held a demonstration in front of the Quebec City Convention Centre. Ecologists and scientists gave warnings.

The same thing applies here. We have to work on the protection and health of forests to ensure that they are here for future generations.

Literacy
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the Ottawa Citizen and its volunteers for the second annual Raise a Reader Day to help fund literacy programs in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

Unfortunately, while the federal government has publicly stated that literacy is a priority, recent changes to the operational guidelines of HRDC's summer career placement program has penalized libraries across Canada.

Programs that operated for years have been cancelled because the government has the mistaken notion that public libraries make money. By revoking their non-profit status some rural public libraries were forced to cut their book budgets in order to continue their reading programs. Libraries in small Ontario communities provide an important service, and in the case of places like Douglas, Killaloe and Sterling, scarce summer employment.

Small rural communities do not have the funds to make up the loss by this arbitrary change in funding criteria. It is time for the government to stop this attack on public libraries and support literacy in Canada.

Thomas Roussel-Roozmon
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me to acknowledge in this House the perseverance and talent of Thomas Roussel-Roozmon, a young man of 15 from Laval, who is currently battling for the highly coveted title of international chess grandmaster.

Thomas Roussel-Roozmon is currently ranked third in Canada in the junior division and he is number one in Quebec in the under 20 category.

Last summer, he also won his very first international match, a feat he will have to achieve many times to earn the title of international grandmaster.

Thomas Roussel-Roozmon is an example to us all of tenacity and I join the people of Laval in wishing him good luck. We all hope he earns the title of international chess grandmaster in Greece.

Cancer
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about a very serious medical condition in our country, that is the alarming number of cancer cases. An estimated 140,000 new cases of cancer and 67,000 deaths from cancer will occur in Canada in 2003. Right now there are more than 710,000 Canadians living with cancer.

In my riding of Gander--Grand Falls, Mr. Gerald Higgins has been on a one man crusade since his wife was diagnosed with cancer in May 2000. Mr. Higgins' crusade is about transformers and cancer. What is the connection? For example, in one community, 49 of 51 people were diagnosed with cancer; in another, 16 of 21 people were diagnosed with cancer; and in another, 21 of 23 people were diagnosed with cancer. In one community 35 residents have died from cancer.

What is the connection with transformers? All have transformers in close proximity to their homes. Is there a relationship--

Cancer
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville.