House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to answer that question. As the member knows, when we came into power there was a significant deficit. The government has removed that deficit. This is once again another surplus budget. We are one of the only countries in the G-7 that has such a budget.

If the member would like this type of accountability, then he should be voting for the $3 billion in cuts that are in the budget. He should be voting for the $100 billion tax cut, the largest in Canadian history. If he is interested in fiscal prudence, he would be voting for those items.

We will continue to use the contingency reserve, which is one of things that has allowed us to remain in surplus. It has also allowed us to pay down the national debt, which the Conservative Party largely contributed to increasing. It could not get rid of the deficit.

If the member wants fiscal management, he should also be voting for $1 billion a year that we are taking from the 2003 budget through the planned extensive review of all our programs. We also have a new accountability put into place, with the reintroduction of the comptroller general. We are looking at the Financial Administration Act. We are looking at crown corporations.

If the member likes accountability, I would be delighted to hear the platform of the other side. I would like to hear some of their ideas, over and above our list. I can see they are itching to get up and ask me more questions.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Werner Schmidt Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, that last comment really does deserve a question.

I would like to ask the hon. member, how in the world can he suggest that we should be supporting this particular orientation of the Liberal government when in fact the Auditor General said that in certain programs, like the ad scam for instance, every rule in the book was broken?

One of the concepts that the Auditor General uses to evaluate management is the concept of probity. She defines probity as the adherence to the highest principles and ideals. One of the principles and ideals that ought to followed is to follow the rules.

The Auditor General has seven rules to be followed and I will not go through all of them. Another one is effectiveness. That is, the extent to which the outcome of an activity matched the objective or the intended effects of that activity.

On the one hand we have the government breaking the rules, and on the other hand the government wants effectiveness to ensure that the purposes of a particular program are met.

I want to ask the hon. member, is it a measure of effectiveness when Rolls Royce in the 2000 contract said that it would contribute to some 200 jobs and it actually produced only 100 jobs? In fact, is that an effective program?

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I definitely agree with the member. If a company suggests it will produce 200 jobs and it only produces 100 jobs, that is not good and that is not effective.

However, it is amazing that the Conservatives want to run on a platform of reducing these particular programs that we have, that lead Canada into the new century, into the high tech century.

There are countries in Europe, for instance, that fund Airbus. All the other nations of the world have export development financing and high tech financing. They support research and development in their countries. The Conservatives are going to put us back into the 19th century. Canada will be the only country that is a hewer of wood and drawer of water and will have none of the modern economy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that someone from the other side stands up and talks about all the things that are in the budget, and that we are going to promise this and promise that.

The government, at our insistence, established a committee of the House of Commons to study drugs. The committee cost about $500,000 over 18 months. We made 41 recommendations, none of which were acdepted. A national drug strategy does not even exist in this country. This was the first time since 1972 that we did it.

Today, ecstasy, crack, crystal meth, and heroin are all scourges on our society, with young people in particular. Not one red cent is in the budget about that.

About eight years ago an individual came into our country and recently I found out that the person has been on welfare since he has come into the country. He now owns three houses. How does a person own three houses when he is on welfare?

The reason is that crime and drugs are spreading rampantly throughout our country, and not one red cent is in this budget about drugs. Would the member stand up and justify that one for a change?

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the member for that issue. Basically, I support him. It was a very good question and a very good comment.

In my region of the country, we definitely have substance abuse. I will certainly support any initiatives from the member in that particular area. I hope he does not leave the impression with Canadians that we do not already have huge expenditures in that area. The budget outlines those new expenditures. We do have large expenditures in that area.

I will certainly support the member for any increase as he comes up with new plans. As members know, we are starting a public health agency. In fact, I will be involved in the consultation. I am helping to set this up for the day after tomorrow. These consultations are going across the country. If Canadians bring this issue up to the minister of state, we will continue to put money into that area.

We have set out on a social basis and an economic basis to improve the lives of Canadians. As their lives improve, they will not be falling back on a dependency on substances and there will be a great improvement in that respect.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is just rhetoric. What does he mean, he is going to go out and study it? We spent 18 months going across the country, through Europe and the United States, and the member has the gall to stand up in the House and say we are going to study it now and to submit suggestions. We had suggestions. We had 41 recommendations on how to deal with the drug problem in the country.

You should not look around for someone to help you. Get an answer. The problem--

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Order, please. Please address your comments through the Chair. The hon. member for Yukon has 30 seconds to respond.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I did not say we were going to study it again. What I said was that when we are doing the consultations across the country, we will get more support for financing in this area.

A dozen people on a committee is not 30 million Canadians. By getting this extra support across the country, as Canadians support what the member is saying and what I agree with, that will give us more impetus to increase even more the money we are putting into reducing substance abuse.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I speak today to Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 23, 2004.

As I said, the purpose of the bill is to implement provisions that quite often have created a true imbalance and perpetuated the fiscal imbalance in the provinces, including Quebec.

Furthermore, this budget implementation bill does not repair the social deficit created by the federal government, through the current Prime Minister, who was the finance minister at the time.

This budget is far from resolving the environmental imbalance as well. That is the least we could expect, given the considerable challenges and commitments the federal government must meet to implement the Kyoto protocol.

The biggest deficit is the fiscal imbalance. We are entitled to expect from a so-called new government that wants to establish partnerships and a better relationship with the provinces that it would first recognize the fiscal imbalance between the federal government and the provinces. This new government refuses not only to recognize the Quebec nation, but also this fiscal deficit that Quebeckers are suffering from the most.

It was all well and good for the government to announce in its March 23 budget $2 billion in funding for health, which corresponds to $472 million for Quebec, but in fact, this is not new money. This announcement had already been made by the previous government, the Chrétien government. This additional funding had already been included in the 2003-04 budget.

In the weeks to come I invite the public to stay tuned. Several months ago the government announced a $2 billion investment for health and repeated this announcement on March 23.

We also know that the government, which announced highway 175 a few months or years ago, is getting ready to make this announcement again in a few weeks as an election promise.

We can probably expect to again hear from the member for Beauharnois—Salaberry that there will be investments in highway 30. Hon. members will recall that, when he was running for election, the present member for Beauharnois—Salaberry made a commitment to the public for work on highway 30.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

An hon. member

Before the next election.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Before the next election. I am sure that, within a few weeks, he will be making another promise to the people in his riding regarding work on highway 30, as the Liberals are also planning to do in connection with highway 175 in Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, to save the bacon of their members there. It will be just like the last time, when the same Liberal members and candidates needed the help of the federal government to get them out of trouble.

It is very likely that what was announced in the last budget relating to health will also turn up in campaign promises in coming weeks.

In addition to serving up the same old story as far as reinvestment in health is concerned, this federal budget reopens the door to total federal interference in areas of jurisdiction that belong to the provinces. While the needs are in Quebec and the money is in Ottawa, we have learned that Health Canada will be taking $404 million to establish an agency responsible for the management of infectious diseases.

We also learn that, in 2004-05 and 2005-06, $165 million will be included in the budget for a public health agency, when Quebec already has its own such institute. The government has nothing to teach us about how services should be delivered. The federal government is creating a public health agency when Quebec already has the Institut national de santé publique.

I should point out that Quebec, and the Liberal Government of Quebec, also feel that this interference is unacceptable. Philippe Couillard, Quebec's health minister, said the following on March 19:

It is not right for an organization that is somewhat of a minority shareholder at 16% to assume the right to oversee and audit health care systems in Canada when it does not make a firm financial commitment.

He made this statement a few weeks ago, on March 19, just before the federal budget was brought in. It is as if the Government of Quebec were giving the federal government a solemn pledge that it will never accept federal interference in its jurisdiction.

The Romanow report was clear. The government often takes its inspiration from this report. Just last week, in a written statement—which is unusual for him—the current health minister referred to the Romanow report. What does this report say about funding? It says that the federal government must be expected to fund at least 25% of health care costs in Canada.

A few weeks ago, the federal government's share stood at 16%. The federal budget has reduced the federal share of health care costs to 4.5%. This is a flagrant injustice from a government that says, and will be saying in the coming weeks, that health is its priority.

This is the first fiscal imbalance I think should be pointed out in the current budget. In the few minutes I will have after oral question period, I will discuss the other two imbalances that are found in the March 23 budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I wish to inform the hon. member that he has 11 minutes remaining in which to finish his speech after oral question period.

The hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.

Spirit of the Community Award
Statements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Jagoda Pike on being named this year's CH--Safe Communities “Spirit of the Community” award winner.

The Safe Communities Foundation is a national non-profit organization that strives to make Canada the safest country in the world in which to live, work, learn and play. The Hamilton Safe Communities Coalition works with the community in order to develop and implement health and safety programs.

Among her many contributions, Jagoda was chair and president of the Bid Corporation that worked hard to bring the 2010 Commonwealth Games to Hamilton. She is also the current publisher of the Hamilton Spectator newspaper.

I am proud to acknowledge and congratulate the CH--Safe Communities “Spirit of the Community Award” winner, Jagoda Pike.

Fisheries
Statements by Members

May 4th, 2004 / 1:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, over the past decade, 319 citations were issued to foreign fishing vessels acting in violation of NAFO's rules outside the 200 mile limit on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish cap. Only 21 of these violators were ever fined.

How are we going to protect our fisheries or prevent the total extinction of the northern cod under such a lax enforcement system? NAFO has proven to be a toothless tiger.

For the sake of Atlantic Canadians and to preserve a world food resource, Canada should act and declare custodial management outside 200 before it is too late. The House of Commons fisheries committee, including all Liberal members, unanimously agreed. The Conservative Party agreed. Why does the government not agree?

Multiple Sclerosis
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and at times disabling disease of the central nervous system. MS can occur at any age, but it is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, when people are finishing school, building careers, and establishing their families. It has no known cause or cure. Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world.

May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. I am honoured to help kick off the 28th annual MS carnation campaign this year. Tomorrow volunteers from the MS Society and I will be pinning carnations on MPs to help raise awareness for the campaign. It is something we have done for about four years now. This weekend, volunteers in over 280 communities across Canada will be selling carnations to help raise money to find a cure for MS. Last year we raised over $1.4 million.

I encourage all members of the House and all Canadians to join me in supporting the MS Society to help make a difference for individuals and for families living with this disease. I ask everyone in the House to wear a carnation tomorrow and to make a donation. Let us help find a cure.