House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was surplus.

Topics

Unanticipated Surpluses Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member somehow suggests that this is a forecasting problem. Is there another country in the world that has our problem of doing too well?

The corporate community in the fourth quarter has performed way beyond what was anticipated by any of the internal forecasters, any parliamentarians, any bank or any chief economic forecasters and the opposition is suggesting that somehow we are cooking the books.

As a consequence of these points that were raised, we consulted with Dr. Tim O'Neill. One of his recommendations was that if the government wanted to retain its no deficit rule, it should adopt a more formal and structured process to deal with fiscal surprises by setting out in advance contingent allocations among tax cuts, spending initiatives and reducing debt from any unanticipated surpluses. That is precisely what Bill C-67 would do.

Unanticipated Surpluses Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that what we have here is a problem of overtaxation. If the government were being run like a regulatory agency or a public utility, when it brings in too much revenue to exceed its expenses it would be forced in law to actually pay that money back.

Here is the problem that the government has never zeroed in on and I would ask the finance minister if he would take a look at this. Is the finance minister not aware that there are actually two levels of taxation at all times which will bring in the same amount of revenue to the government? It should be the government's job to pick the lower of the two. Let me explain very quickly.

It is called the Laffer curve. I do not think he has ever heard of it, but it is a very basic principle that would yield proper results for taxpayers and the government. If the government taxed people 100%, there would be no revenues. That is one point of taxation. If the government taxed 0%, there would be no revenues either. There are two levels that yield the same amount of revenue.

If we start to move down the curve and the government starts to tax at 90%, a bit of revenue will come in. If the government starts to tax at 10%, there will still be a bit of revenue. What is the difference? At the high point, taxation is a disincentive. It drives incentive out of the country. We still get some revenue in but it is a disincentive. It is a disincentive to work hard or to work overtime because people say that they do not want to work overtime as they get pushed into a higher tax bracket. It is a disincentive to become more educated because people say that if they go to school for a further 4 years or 10 years they will get a higher salary and be taxed more.

On this so-called Laffer curve, the government needs to ratchet down the rate it is at now which is bringing in this huge surplus. If it were to start taxing at a lower rate it would bring in the same revenue but it would give young people the incentive to stay in the country and not go to the United States or some other jurisdiction. It also would keep investment in the country.

It has worked. After the first world war, taxes in the United States and Canada that were paying the war effort were left high. However, when taxes were lowered in the United States in 1920 or 1921 by President Harding, what happened? Taxes were lowered and revenue increased. The exact same thing happened in Germany in 1948. When Ludwig Erhard lowered the tax rate, what happened? Revenues came in but more people were working and there was more investment.

The same thing happened with the JFK tax cuts. The same thing happened in Alberta in 1998 when there was a commodity crisis. Taxes were lowered and more revenues came in. The burden was lifted from people's backs.

Why will the Minister of Finance not apply that application, lower the taxes, create more incentive for people to work, to become educated, to become skilled, to invest and it would bring in the same amount of revenue for government but it would set the people free? Why will the government not do that?

Unanticipated Surpluses Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that in the last fiscal year the surplus was only $1.6 billion. That would not cover very much of a tax cut and may even throw us back into deficit. I am sorry but the hon. member has to realize that at least the government has made a firm commitment not to go back into deficit.

With regard to the prior fiscal year in which there was a $9.1 billion surplus, that all had to do with the fourth quarter corporate performance, corporation taxation not personal taxation. The member has not addressed that.

It is interesting to talk about what might work but I can say that if we look at the last eight years, since 1997 eight balance budgets, $65 billion in debt has been repaid. He says that the existence of a surplus means that people must be overtaxed. The only way we can ever pay down debt and save interest expense is to actually run a surplus. His finance critic said that the Conservatives want corporate and personal tax cuts. They did not say one word about health care, seniors, children, paying down the debt, infrastructure or research.

We know the agenda of the Conservatives is. We also know what the agenda of the government is. We have a track record to run on and I am going to be proud to run on that track record.

CKTB Radio
Statements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, on November 7, 2005, CKTB Radio will celebrate its 75th anniversary of broadcasting.

In 1930, Edward T. Sandall, owner of Taylor and Bate Brewery, brought radio to the city of St. Catharines. From its humble beginnings on the second floor of the Welland House, with 50 watts of power, to Oak Hill, the former home of William Hamilton Merritt on Yates Street where it broadcasts today.

CKTB has a rich history with colourful radio on-air personalities in the news, talk show, music and sports fields. CKTB has prided itself for being the voice of Niagara. It has been a leader in providing school and storm information. Quality, locally produced programs have kept thousands of listeners entertained and informed. It has also held important fundraisers when tragic events have hit other parts of the world or to help meet local needs.

On behalf of all members of the House of Commons, I congratulate CKTB on its 75th anniversary and wish the station many more years of service as the voice of Niagara.

Chalk River Laboratories
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the friends and colleagues of the Chalk River Laboratories in beautiful Renfrew county, I congratulate John Hardy and Ian Towner as being North America's top nuclear physicists in winning the Tom W. Bonner prize in nuclear physics from the American Physical Society.

If anything demonstrates the short-sighted policy of the current Prime Minister in being opposed to research and development in Canada, it has to be the fact that this prize was awarded for work that begun in Canada but finished in the United States after the scientists' lab was shut down at the Chalk River labs of AECL.

Like the broken promise to fund the Canadian neutron facility, Liberal policy is forcing bright Canadian researchers to leave Canada because the government would rather see other countries benefit from Canadian research and development.

The time has come to reverse the brain drain. Only a change to honest government will bring home Canadian scientists who have demonstrated their ability. If only this country would provide the support to do their research in Canada.

Year of the Veteran
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, on November 11 at 2:11 p.m., students from across the province of Ontario will join in readings of In Flanders Fields . This will not only honour veterans in the Year of the Veteran but it also will honour and promote literacy.

In creative and innovative ways, they will come together in this program that was started in my own riding, I am proud to say, by the Durham West Arts Centre. I want to take a moment to thank Ontario Power Generation, Veterans Affairs Canada, and particularly Ontario Power Generation and Angie Littlefield. Angie Littlefield is with the Durham West Arts Centre and started this initiative.

It is my sincere hope that this program will spread across all provinces and that next year on November 11, at 2:11 p.m., every school in the country will be reading In Flanders Fields and celebrating our veterans.

Going forward, I would ask all members to look at this program and to promote it in their own constituencies.

Gisèle Bergeron
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to Gisèle Bergeron from Chesterville, in my riding of Richmond—Arthabaska. She was recently named Woman Farmer of the Year for Region 17, at the annual general meeting of the Central Quebec women farmers' union.

A mother of five, Mrs. Bergeron is fully involved in the operation of the family farm, which she has been running since her husband died in 1998.

Involved in her community, Mrs. Bergeron was the mayor of Chesterville from 1998 to 2002, and has worked in education as a member of the parents' committee and school commissioner in 1994. She also did volunteer work for Héma-Québec and the Knights of Columbus.

The vitality of a community shines through the efforts of people like Mrs. Bergeron. The Bloc Québécois salutes her life path, which is a model of dedication. This is a most deserved honour.

Lakeshore General Hospital
Statements by Members

October 27th, 2005 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Lakeshore General Hospital, located in my riding of Lac-Saint-Louis, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Besides providing quality medical care to Montreal's West Islanders, this general hospital is at the heart of local community life.

The Lakeshore, as it is known to West Islanders, is more than an architectural landmark and a growing complex of state of the art buildings and equipment.

The hospital is a family of caring individuals, from the dedicated medical staff who work tirelessly around the clock to respond to emergencies and other challenges, to the permanent managerial, administrative and technical personnel who provide vital support to the doctors and nurses, to the hospital's countless volunteers who give generously of their time to comfort patients, assist medical staff and raise funds which make it possible to offer West Islanders the most advanced treatments.

I congratulate the Lakeshore and, above all, thank them for their 40 years of caring for our community. I hope the next 40 years will be as successful and exciting as the last.

Congratulations and good luck in the future.

Year of the Veteran
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, 2005 is the Year of the Veteran. Next year is also significant as it marks a special anniversary. On July 1, 1916, at 9:15 in the morning, 801 men of the Newfoundland Regiment attacked at Beaumont-Hamel. Thirty minutes later it was all over. Of the 801 men, 710 were killed, wounded or missing. Scarcely a household in Newfoundland was left untouched.

Of the men it was written, “It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour, and its assault failed of success because dead men can advance no further”.

In 1916 we were not part of Canada. We are now. On the 90th anniversary, recognition of this event should be given at our National War Memorial. We celebrate Canada because of such sacrifices.

Let us not forget.

Immigrants
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is never an easy thing to leave one's country for another. The men and women who leave their countries by choice or, all too often, involuntarily, are setting out on an adventure fraught with many challenges.

The host community, which will benefit from the presence and contributions of these newcomers, must do everything it can to help them integrate fully.

The various governments try to do so, but they cannot do it all, hence the essential role played by the devoted community organizations that work so hard at helping immigrants to integrate.

I am thinking in particular of Carrefour Solidarité Anjou, an organization in my riding that is doing great things in this field. It works small miracles on a shoe-string budget, be it providing language training or skills development.

These organizations deserve our respect, as well as greater governmental support. As I have said many times before, they will always be able to count on my personal support.

Richard Lamontagne
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell hon. members about Richard Lamontagne, a sensitive and determined man who is deeply concerned about the well-being of the disabled.

Mr. Lamontagne has recently seen his 25 years of volunteer work recognized with the Dollard-Morin award for the Eastern Townships sector. This is an annual award given to volunteers who have excelled in sports and recreation though the quality of their involvement, enthusiasm and commitment.

Mr. Lamontagne organizes dances for the developmentally disabled, attended by an average of 180 participants from all over the Eastern Townships region.

He has been a volunteer at the Special Olympics, and for the Sherbrooke association for the developmentally disabled, where he was actively involved in fundraising and other activities.

Thank you, Richard, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois and all those who benefit from your support. This award was richly deserved.

Saint-Joseph-de-Madawaska Fire Brigade
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, today I want to take advantage of this opportunity to address the House to mark the 25th anniversary of the Saint-Joseph-de-Madawaska fire brigade in my riding of Madawaska—Restigouche in New Brunswick.

I wish to acknowledge the important contribution to the community made by the members of the Saint Joseph fire brigade. Thanks to the dedication of these brave volunteers the community is protected and given the peace of mind it needs. These firefighters do not hesitate to lay their lives on the line when there is a fire and that deserves to be recognized.

I call on hon. members from across Canada to pay tribute to our firefighters. I want to thank all the members past and present of the Saint-Joseph-de-Madawaska fire brigade for 25 fine years of service to the community.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, last night on the Hill, the Parliamentary Border Caucus met again to discuss issues of trade and security affecting the Canada-U.S. border. We were honoured to have the new U.S. Ambassador, David Wilkins, join us for a lively discussion about the Canada-U.S. relationship.

Of course, we talked about trade issues such as the softwood lumber dispute. The ambassador demonstrated he is well versed on the issue.

Among the other issues discussed were the details of how the western hemisphere travel initiative would affect those crossing the border in the future. Border MPs are concerned that the possibility of a “passport only” policy will damage tourism in their ridings. The high cost and inconvenience of passports will discourage many Canadians and Americans from travelling.

Instead, the border caucus proposes that both the U.S. and Canadian governments look at improving the security standards of other forms of government-issued ID, such as driver's licences, health cards and birth certificates.

I want to thank Ambassador Wilkins for his attendance and for his willingness to engage the border caucus on these all important issues.

New Canadian Program
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the New Canadian Program, an organization in my riding of Kitchener--Waterloo, has received one of 20 Citation for Citizenship awards.

This honour is given every two years to groups and individuals from across the country which have demonstrated exemplary citizenship by assisting newcomers to Canada to successfully integrate into Canadian society.

New Canadians are part of our labour market future and successfully integrating them into our communities and our workforce must be a priority.

For the past 13 years, the New Canadian Program has assisted close to 1,500 professional newcomers to Canada in connecting with businesses that can use their skills. Of these clients, 65% to 75% have found employment in their related professions.

Congratulations to the New Canadian Program and continued success in the future.

Literacy
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, today we are celebrating Literacy Action Day. Advocates from Nova Scotia and every corner of Canada are here to press for a desperately needed pan-Canadian literacy plan to develop a quality adult literacy and education system, to address barriers to learning and social inclusion, to develop and share knowledge and to develop partnerships for a learning society.

Of Canadians aged 16 to 65, 42% lack minimum literacy skills. Studies show a 1% rise in literacy skills will drive a 2.5% increase in labour productivity and a 1.5% increase in GDP. That is $13 billion each and every year.

It is bad enough that the federal government imposes GST on books. To expand the GST to include books and CD-ROMs makes a mockery of the limited literacy support from the government. This counterproductive measure must be reversed and more resources invested in a comprehensive literacy plan in the upcoming budget.

The private member's bill that I will be introducing will remove GST from books and pamphlets. It is a small step toward helping increase literacy in Canada.