House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was claims.

Topics

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

March 9th, 2005 / 3:25 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Notice of Motion for the Production of Papers No. P-2, in the name of the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar, is acceptable to the government and the documents are tabled immediately.

That an Order of this House do issue for a copy of the letter that the Chairman of the Board of the Canada Post Corporation wrote to Mr. André Ouellet on September 21, 2004, requesting receipts that the Minister of National Revenue referred to during the Oral Question period on Wednesday, October 6, 2004.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House that Notice of Motion for the Production of Papers No. P-2 be deemed to have been adopted?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

I would ask that other Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it agreed that the remaining Notices of Motion be allowed to stand?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from March 8 consideration of the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.

The Budget
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my valued colleague from Ottawa—Orléans.

I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity today to speak to what I see is an outstanding budget. Budget 2005 has in it specific measures that will benefit my riding of Kitchener Centre.

I am proud of the new initiatives announced in the recent budget. It points our nation in the right direction, a direction that will benefit all Canadians.

Budget 2005, entitled “Delivering on Commitments”, responds to Canadian priorities with responsible measures that invest in people and achieve a stronger environmentally responsible economy.

I happened to be parliamentary secretary to the minister of the environment when Canada ratified the Kyoto protocol in 2002. Canada's changing climate is simply everyone's responsibility. In my opinion, nothing is more essential to our health and to the quality of life than clean air and clean water.

Climate change is a global problem and it requires a global solution. This solution is reachable through our Kyoto accord agreement. There is no doubt that this change will be a challenge, but dealing with climate change while ensuring a robust economic growth is something we can do together.

How we address climate change can help us meet policy objectives in the areas of innovation, energy efficiency, clean air, mass public transportation, agriculture and forestry.

Good climate change policy will contribute to a better quality of life and better health for Canadians today and for future generations.

Canadians have demonstrated, whether it is at work in industry or in their homes, that they are ready to be part of the efforts to preserve our natural environment and to address climate change. That is why it makes good sense to expand on the successful EnerGuide for houses retrofit incentive program so more Canadians can renovate their homes for future energy savings.

Kitchener's business community as part of Canada's technology triangle is very keen to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented in developing energy efficient technologies.

Industry has already demonstrated that greenhouse gas emissions can substantially be reduced in ways that are cost effective and that generate ancillary benefits to improve companies' competitive positions.

Across Waterloo region, companies such as Teleflex GFI, Arise Technologies and ATS Automation Tooling Systems have become industry leaders in developing technologies that address our environmental responsibilities while improving productivity.

Our government's strategic investments in ideas and enabling technologies, $810 million in this year's budget, will continue to contribute and support research and the development, and new technologies.

Businesses across Waterloo region spent over $277 million in research and development in 2002 according to an industrial research and development study that was prepared for Canada's Technology Triangle Inc.

Budget 2005 continues to reflect the federal government's commitment to building a world-class research environment. It has measures such as $375 million over five years for three federal research granting councils; an additional $165 million to Genome Canada to sustain its support for breakthrough genomics research; and $75 million over five years to help meet the indirect costs of federally supported research in hospitals and universities.

Education and health care have continued to be two priorities in my community and across Canada since 1997.

Business growth is a critical part of any economy. Small businesses across Canada but especially in Kitchener attract investment to stimulate economic growth as well as job creation.

Last year I had the opportunity to meet some of Canada's most dynamic women when I travelled with the Prime Minister's task force on women entrepreneurs. We met women in every province and territory of this great nation.

Many businesses are succeeding through hard work and good ideas, but there are other businesses that require government resources in order to thrive. I am pleased to see that budget 2005 includes a commitment to work with business organizations to further improve the productivity environment for Canadian small businesses. Small business is the fastest growing sector in our economy and the one that is creating jobs at the fastest rate.

To support business development, budget 2005 proposes to reduce the statutory corporate income tax rate by two percentage points by 2010 and to end the corporate surtax. This is good news for the economy of Canada.

Kitchener's manufacturing sector is pleased to see measures in budget 2005 that ensure equipment cost analysis rates are better aligned with the useful life of these assets. More realistic depreciation rates will encourage companies to continue to invest and grow. What is good for business is good for Kitchener and is good for Canada. Budget 2005 includes important initiatives to achieve productive and sustainable economic bases.

The success of an economy can be judged on its ability to secure its social foundations. The government's prudence in managing Canada's public purse has provided the opportunity continued investment in order to meet our social needs and to ensure a greater equality of opportunity in every community across Canada.

During the last Parliament I was a member of the Prime Minister's task force that looked at seniors issues. I met with seniors in Kitchener and across this great nation. It was clear that Canada's seniors needed support from the government in order to ensure a quality of life in their golden years.

Budget 2005 responds to these needs with improved support through the guaranteed income supplement program. This program benefits low income seniors and it will be increased by $2.7 billion over the next five years. The result will be monthly benefits that are increased by $36 for single seniors and by $58 for couples by January 2007.

Further, budget 2005 commits funding for the redevelopment of the new horizons program for seniors, to promote voluntary sector activities and to support seniors. If I heard one thing across Canada during my task force work dealing with seniors issues, the reinvestment and reinvigoration of the new horizons program was a key theme.

There is no greater investment a government can make than in our children. A good start in their earliest years can level the playing field, inspire confidence, foster life skills, encourage ambition and make possible greater goals for our greatest asset, our children.

Budget 2005 delivers on the Liberal government's commitment to work with Ontario to build high quality, universally inclusive and accessible early learning and child care. This commitment translates to $5 billion for early learning and child care initiatives across the country.

I have a great appreciation for the kind of vibrancy that the arts community contributes to Kitchener. Whether it is the Waterloo Regional Children's Museum or our incredible Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery or Theatre & Company or the kinds of productions that we see at Centre in the Square, we see through these initiatives our artistic heritage, our creativity and our national identity played out for us.

The tomorrow starts today program is an essential part of ensuring that Canada's arts and culture is given a voice, a stage and a venue. Budget 2005 extends this important program for another five years.

I have seen the kind of investment and creativity when the government partners on the ground with the arts community which is alive and well. For example, there is the Waterloo Regional Arts Council, as well as the Open Ears festival of music and sound.

As we look forward, the investments in this budget of an additional $300 million over the next five years to support immigration settlement and integration services across Canada can be no more appreciated or better reflected than in the services that are provided by a multitude of agencies in my riding of Kitchener Centre.

In conclusion, budget 2005 is both a responsible and a visionary document. I am proud of the Liberal government's track record. I am proud of these commitments that we are delivering on.

The Budget
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member extolled the virtues of the great government babysitting bureaucracy that her government is proposing at the expense of the choices of women and families. I am wondering why the government feels it has the right to take the choice away from women and families on how to raise their own children.

Let us face it. This new babysitting bureaucracy is going to involve massive new costs well beyond the $5 billion laid out in the budget. Those new costs are going to be picked up in the long term through higher taxes for middle class working families. This means those families will have even less capacity to make their own child care decisions. They will have fewer dollars in their pockets and will be required to work longer hours. It will force them into a system of child care that they do not want.

The Vanier Institute conducted a comprehensive study. The Vanier Institute by the way supports the government's child care initiative. In that study, 70% of the parents questioned, and this is especially true of women, said that they would rather have the option of keeping one parent in the home with the children instead of having a government bureaucracy raise their kids for them. In fact government day care was the second last option, the fifth out of six, for the vast majority of Canadian parents.

The minister responsible has said that the decision and the sacrifice of keeping one parent in the home is nothing more than a frivolous luxury akin to having ice cream once a week or chocolate twice a day. In light of that fact, how does the member feel about her colleague and this initiative which will take choice away from women and families and put it in the hands of government bureaucrats and politicians?

The Budget
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell my colleague opposite that as the mother of four children I did have the choice of staying home, which I did until our youngest son entered grade one.

The Budget
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

So why do you want to take that away?

The Budget
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The Budget
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Order. We are trying to listen to the answer. The chief government whip has the floor.

The Budget
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I concur with the hon. member opposite, who someday may have the life experience that I have had. Choice is absolutely fundamental. All parents whether they choose to work inside the home or outside the home should have a choice.

When I was a trustee with the Waterloo County Board of Education I happened to be president of seven child care centres. I acknowledged that regulated, consistently high quality, education focused child care allowed parents exactly the kind of choice that the member opposite is asking for.

Our investment in child care will be tailored in partnership with the provinces. There is some amazing work being done right across the country.

There is a child care centre in Waterloo region called the Butterfly Learning Centre which is non-profit and has been invested in by Conestoga-Rovers. “Let's talk science” is a syllabus which is now being taught to two-year-old children and older. Junior kindergarten and senior kindergarten teachers are rotated through the centre so the children are not displaced.

This provides the peace of mind to those parents who for whatever their motivation choose to work, that they will have high quality regulated child care to choose from.

I would also point out that yes, this is a women's issue, but it is also a community and a societal issue. If we look at the kind of remuneration early childhood education providers get, there needs to be capacity building so that the workers who are taking care of children in regulated child care centres earn decent money so that they too can realize their dreams.

We are offering choice to Canadian parents.

The Budget
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Godbout Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank the chief government whip for sharing her time with me.

As the member for Ottawa—Orléans, it is a privilege for me to have the opportunity today to speak on behalf of my constituents on the recent budget tabled by our government.

More specifically, I want to elaborate on the highlights of the budget and the provisions that apply more to the challenges faced by several Canadian communities, such as Ottawa—Orléans, which are in full growth.

In my opinion, we have a solid, balanced and responsible budget. It is a budget of vision, audacity and fiscal prudence. In keeping its promises, our government is ensuring our economic and social future by providing a realistic strategic framework applicable over a 10-year period.

Budget 2005 proposes an equitable and competitive tax system without endangering our productivity and economic growth. Under the measures set out in the budget, the amount of income that Canadians may earn without paying federal income tax will increase to $10,000, which means that 860,000 taxpayers will be removed from the tax rolls, including 240,000 seniors.

RRSP annual contribution limits will also be increased to $22,000. The corporate surtax will be eliminated and the 21% general corporate income tax will be reduced to 19%, maintaining our tax rate advantage relative to the United States.

These measures that have been taken are by no means small. We must recognize that our government is working hard at prudently paving the way toward the reduction of the Canadian fiscal burden.

I also consider the budget as a green budget. The preservation of our environment is an important issue for all of us, and especially for the people Ottawa--Orléans. In order to address climate change and ensure a sustainable environment, I am pleased that the government is making a major investment of more than $5 billion over the next five years for initiatives such as the clean fund, the wind power production incentive and the green municipal funds.

I believe that an initiative such as the green municipal funds perfectly illustrates the strong partnership that has been established between our government and the municipalities. Indeed, we trust that the municipalities are more qualified in identifying and developing projects that will help keep our cities clean and green. It is a fact and we took steps to recognize it.

In the same vein, I was also pleased to note in the budget that our government demonstrates that we have a people's agenda we intend to follow. Several commitments have been made in this regard.

Our government, for instance, has always been committed to health. It represents the one social policy Canadians constantly identify as their number one priority. Accordingly, under the Liberal government's 10 year plan to strengthen health care, Ontario will receive $16 billion in additional health care funding. Of this amount, $13.9 billion will be for core health programs, $194 million for medical equipment and $2.1 billion for reducing waiting times. I must admit that such commitments to strengthen and secure Canada's social foundation make me proud to be part of this government.

What social foundation could be more important than our children? Our government rightly recognized that high quality child care and early learning opportunities are essential to support children's physical, emotional, social, linguistic and intellectual development. In that regard, the budget is granting $5 billion over five years to start building, in cooperation with the provinces and territories, a framework for an early learning and child care initiative.

This is quite an achievement. Imagine that every dollar spent in this program could save up to $7 in the long term. As a trained educator, I believe this is an important way of supporting young parents of Ottawa--Orléans in the care of their children.

This budget also includes good news for our seniors. Guaranteed income supplement benefits for low income seniors will be increased by $2.7 billion over five years. Funding for the new horizons program for seniors will also be increased from $10 million to $25 million a year to promote voluntary sector activities by and in support of seniors. There is little doubt in my mind that our community will benefit from this, Ottawa--Orléans being considered by many as a wonderful community in which to retire.

As for our many welcome and appreciated newcomers, budget 2005 provides an increase of $298 million over five years for settlement and integration programs for immigrants. Ontario alone will receive approximately 60% of this funding.

Ottawa—Orléans is a bustling community. It boasts a high level of skill, dynamism and leadership and benefits from broad cultural and linguistic diversity, which is not only one of the true jewels of the Ottawa Valley but a gemstone of our Canadian mosaic.

However, like so many other Canadian communities, Ottawa—Orléans is currently in a context of rapid growth and change and must face many challenges. That is why, with the participation of my provincial and municipal counterparts—whom I wish to thank—we have set up a public partnership so that the different levels of government can work together.

That concept is behind team Ottawa—Orléans, a joint initiative that—I am proud to say—was launched with great success a little over a week ago. I know this type of innovative partnership will benefit from the programs and initiatives available in this budget.

We have shown clearly that we are listening to the needs expressed by the cities and communities. We know they need additional funding. We need simply to recall that in the 2004 budget, we adopted important measures to give the municipalities $7 billion over the next few years in the form of a full GST rebate.

I applaud the fact that Ontario will receive $1.9 billion over the next five years as a result of our decision to transfer a portion of the federal gas tax revenue to municipalities. By year five, Ontario will receive $746 million per year in stable and predictable funding representing 5¢ per litre. This means better roads, an improved transit system and more sustainable infrastructure.

Although Ottawa--Orléans is more than ready to assume its rightful place in the national capital region and at the federal level, I strongly believe that it is still far from having reached its full potential. The incredible population growth the region has been facing for the past 20 years has created enormous economic, social and cultural needs that must be addressed.

As previously mentioned, I am more than pleased by the government's budget commitment toward Canadians and especially toward their communities. I think it is a faithful reflection of our election promises, both nationally and locally.

I can be counted on to work hard so that the rural parts of Ottawa--Orléans may eventually benefit from the municipal rural infrastructure program. I also hope that a portion of the funds allocated to the municipality through Canada's strategic infrastructure program will be reserved for social infrastructure. For instance, in Ottawa--Orléans such an investment could be used for the creation of an arts and culture centre, an athletic complex and a multi-service centre for seniors.

I was also pleased to note that the Canadian Forces will benefit from a $12 billion investment over five years, the largest increase in a five year period in the last 20 years. Another $1 billion over five years will be delivered in support of key national security initiatives. In addition, the government is committed to expanding the forces by 5,000 troops and the reserves by 3,000. What a great way to back our troops here and overseas.

In conclusion, I would have liked to see more attention paid to other needs, such as the development of official language communities or post secondary education. However, rest assured, I will defend the next budget.

Although we are all aware that we can do even more in the years to come, I truly believe that the budget presented by the hon. Minister of Finance reflects the integrity and sense of responsibility of our government. You will agree that he has illustrated our determination to meet our commitments while maintaining a balanced budget.

As the member of Parliament for Ottawa--Orléans, I am proud and feel privileged to represent and serve my constituents. Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, we are more than ever dedicated to improving the well-being of all Canadians. I strongly believe that this budget is a step further in the right direction. Therefore it has my full support and I congratulate the Minister of Finance on a job well done.