House of Commons Hansard #153 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

National Revenue
Oral Questions

November 18th, 2005 / 11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Betty Hinton Kamloops—Thompson, BC

Mr. Speaker, a recently retired constituent had a very interesting question for me to ask the Minister of National Revenue. Could the minister explain why the Government of Canada feels the need to charge a retiree tax on a going away gift presented by the company for his years of service?

Why does the government play Scrooge with a retiree? Are there plans afoot by the Liberal government to also charge Canadians a taxable benefit penalty on the Christmas gifts they exchange between one another this Christmas?

National Revenue
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of National Revenue, this obviously is a question of technical tax interpretation. I would be more than happy to take it under advisement and to provide the hon. member with a written explanation, including the rationale behind the tax policy.

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, rather than interfering increasingly in areas belonging to Quebec and the provinces, the Minister of Finance should invest his huge surplus in areas under his own jurisdiction.

Why has the Minister of Finance not used his huge surplus to treat seniors fairly by paying them the billions of dollars it owes them in guaranteed income supplement benefits?

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, a number of measures are before the House right now, brought forward by the government to assist senior citizens.

First, we propose to increase the GIS on both January 1, 2006 and January 1, 2007, assuming the House stays in session and does its business. Second, we have implemented an energy rebate program to help offset the high cost of energy for those who are in receipt of the GIS.

Again, if the House pays attention and passes the necessary legislation, we will make our best effort to ensure all eligible seniors get their money.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or the Minister of Finance.

In the greater Toronto area, the construction industry is one of the most vital and active sectors of the economy. Within it there are thousands of undocumented workers. Labour unions and management recognize that without these workers, the industry would be unable to function. For over two years I have worked to bring a resolution to this issue.

In view of the importance of these undocumented workers to the economic health of our country, will the minister let us know what action is being taken to resolve the issue of undocumented workers?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his concern. It is an ongoing expression of his desire to solve a problem that everybody recognizes must be dealt with. We are doing the very best we can to bring together all the government departments and agencies, some 11 of them, and the employers, the labour groups and the NGOs that are involved in the process of integration and settlement.

I compliment the Minister of Finance for having brought with the economic update a $1.3 billion contribution over the course of the next six years precisely for integration and settlement. It will allow people to come here and be productive, almost--

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Year of the Veteran is almost over. We have made reparations to aboriginal war veterans and to merchant marines, but there is a significant block of veterans who have still fallen through the cracks and those who were deemed never to have served because they did not fill out their discharge papers properly.

The minister's answer that they can come forward individually and be dealt with is not good enough. We need to reinstate their service records by order in council so when they apply, there is a record of them having served.

Will he not agree to give justice to this last group of forgotten veterans?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has suggested that go through the service records of some people. By his own colleague's statement, they even admit that over half of those people were either absent without leave or would perhaps have been prosecuted as deserters.

Is the hon. member really suggesting that we should take 14,000 names, determine who should have been prosecuted and who should not? I suggest that would be an unjust way to approach this. We are approaching it by allowing those who feel unjustly treated to come forward. We will rectify the records and work with them to solve it. That is the just and Canadian way to deal with this issue.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

Noon

Conservative

Jim Prentice Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, since the time that I arrived in this Parliament, we have been asking the government to take action with respect to stopping violence against aboriginal women. We have heard today a shameful performance from the government on this issue.

Why will the government not answer the question? No more dodging, no more obfuscation, tell the House of Commons why violence against aboriginal women is not one of the agenda items at the first ministers meeting?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

Noon

London West
Ontario

Liberal

Sue Barnes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat my answer perhaps a little slower so it can be understood on the other side. Last June we had meetings where the federal government and the regional, territorial and provincial ministers came together with the aboriginal leadership, including NWAC. We together worked out the agenda of major items. We have health, housing, economic development and relationships. All these things will incorporate many different topics that could be included, and that is under discussion. These are the general--

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

Noon

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saint-Maurice--Champlain.

Seniors
Oral Questions

Noon

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us not forget that the GIS concerns the most vulnerable members of our society. We are talking about seniors who barely have enough to get by on.

Second, the Minister of Finance is swimming in a surplus of over $11 billion. This is shameful.

What will it take for the government to show a bit more heart and, above all, a bit more honesty with regard to seniors and pay them what they are owed?

Seniors
Oral Questions

Noon

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, what is shameful is that the Bloc wants to defeat the government and that all seniors, including those in Quebec, will not even get the GIS increase. That is the real shame. Its interests—and not those of Quebeckers—are the only ones that matter.

Premiers of Quebec
Oral Questions

Noon

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, there has been a strong reaction to recent comments made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Could he clarify his thinking for us?