House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firefighters.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the member is asking me for the history of these taxes, it has to be Canadian government policy that corporate tax, as well as personal tax, has to be put into a competitive framework.

That competitive framework is determined by a number of things.

It means that a company can do business in Canada, hire people and have a reasonable expectation of keeping some of the money it makes. That is the first part of it.

The other part of it is that we have to see what our major trading partners are doing. Again, I am quite sure that this escapes everyone in the New Democratic Party, but if taxation rates in Canada are considerably higher than they are in the United States or the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan and other countries, that actually hurts us. It hurts us. It means that people will not invest money in Canada and therefore they will not hire individuals.

Over the years that has been one of the cornerstones of Canadian taxation policy, I think, that is, to allow free enterprise to flourish. That is what we want. At the same time we want to make sure that we stay competitive with the people with whom we trade and compete. That has been the policy over the years.

I really think this is an exception and a bad exception as well. I hope I have answered the hon. member's question.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Niagara Falls on a point of order.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, would you be good enough to revisit the question of Motions Nos. 4, 5 and 6. One of them, as you know, is identical to one that was defeated at the committee and the other two are very similar.

I would ask, as a public policy matter, that these issues should be debated by the full House. By necessity and the configuration of a committee, all members do not get the opportunity to comment. As you know, Mr. Speaker, we have independent members, and we seem to be getting more of them all the time. I always think it is fair that they get the opportunity to speak and pass judgment on some of these important issues of public policy.

I have had the appropriate consultations, Mr. Speaker, and I ask if you would perhaps give a ruling and reconsider the advisability of having those debated today.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

There being no other submissions on the matter, I am prepared to entertain the request from the hon. chief opposition whip.

With respect to Motion No. 4, I believe it is the one that is identical to the one moved in committee and I am inclined not to bring that forward again. However, I will agree to make Motions Nos. 5 and 6 ones that then could be considered. They will constitute Group No. 2. The previous Group No. 2 will now be Group No. 3. Therefore, we will have three groups for the purpose of voting in the House, if that is satisfactory. That will allow for the House to make a decision on Motions Nos. 5 and 6.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am taking it you are ruling that Motion No. 4 is still out of order and Motions Nos. 5 and 6 are back in order. On the issue of domestic credits, my recollection is a specific motion was moved in committee by the party opposite which was defeated by the overall committee. I am not quite sure I follow why this is back in.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

For the same reason the government motion to reinstate certain clauses is allowed back in. Motion No. 1 to amend clause 9 to put back in words that were deleted in the committee was allowed. I understand they are the same words. I allowed those to be debated because, as I say, the minister made submissions that indicated he thought this was a matter of public importance. I am prepared to make the same arrangement with respect to Motions Nos. 5 and 6 and I have so ruled.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the grouping that you are now proposing, will there be a separate round of debate with respect to Motions Nos. 5 and 6 or will Motions Nos. 5 and 6 be lumped in with the other matter?

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

I said a few minutes ago that Motions Nos. 5 and 6 would constitute Group No. 2 and the previous Group No. 2 would now be Group No. 3.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether, for the purposes of expedience and efficiency, you might consider the grouping of those two together because they all relate to similar issues; that is environmental matters.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

I will take the matter under advisement, but at the moment we thought they were sufficiently separate that we would leave them as three different groups. However, I am sure we will look at the matter and if it is appropriate to lump them back together, we will do that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Bloc

Guy Côté Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us take a look back and talk about the Minister of Finance's presentation of budget 2005. You will recall that the presentation of this budget was not the seventh wonder of the world in the minister's eyes, nor was it the sixth. In his eyes, this was the greatest wonder in the world. In his opinion, nothing so extraordinary had ever been done in Canadian budgetary history. It was magnificent.

Just a few days before the Prime Minister practically appointed the leader of the New Democratic Party the de facto finance minister in some type of shadow cabinet, the actual minister had said that Bill C-43 was perfect and would not be amended in any way.

Earlier, during questions and comments, I mentioned that a similar bill had been debated in the Standing Committee on Finance and had been defeated. I want to point out that in committee, the parliamentary secretary's presentation was not very convincing, to say the least.

Earlier I mentioned that I was quite pleased that the parliamentary secretary had used his 10 minutes of speaking time. However, although he talked for 10 minutes, I must admit he was not any more convincing in the House than in committee.

As you can see, the motion we are discussing today is one that the government itself does not believe in. The parliamentary secretary was very clear that, in any event, future legislation will reintroduce the initial presentation.

That said, the Bloc Québécois was opposed to this motion in committee and we are still opposed to it today, for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is that this motion effectively excludes roughly 60% of businesses from this tax cut.

It is understandable that the NDP, in its desire to improve its profile, has abandoned its main objective for a more watered down one by entering into a pact with the Liberal Party. It is understandable that the NDP has abandoned the unemployed by entering into that pact with the Liberal Party out of a desire for votes. It is understandable that the NDP has not joined us in pushing to obtain some improvements to EI by entering into that pact with the Liberal Party.

What is more, if 60% of businesses are excluded from these tax cuts, the competitive strength of those businesses is decreased. Competition now is not just within North America, or indeed all the Americas, but global. We have had reminders of that in recent months with some very sad events.

I will touch briefly on the situation in the textile sector in Huntingdon, and the more recent one with Tembec, in the forestry, pulp and paper sector. This has had a very heavy impact, in my riding among others. So excluding 60% of businesses from the tax cuts is harmful to the economy in general, and by extension to the workers. If people are to be able to earn a living they need companies to employ them. This strikes me as pure logic.

Today we have a motion the government does not even believe in, a motion inspired by the NDP budget, one which lets the unemployed down completely, in connection with both EI and conditions favourable to creating real employment for real workers.

The other dramatic thing about this situation is that, following the tabling of the 2005 budget, companies, workers and other governments—I am thinking specifically of the Government of Quebec—have taken steps in accordance with what was presented in that budget.

When Bill C-43 was introduced, all the provinces took note of this legislation and acted accordingly.

Let us take Quebec for example. Soon after the presentation of the federal budget, the Quebec government presented its own budget. Minister Audet looked at the overall situation. He noticed that the federal government was about to bring in a corporate tax cut. With the objective of making Quebec companies even more competitive on international markets, the Quebec government took advantage of this extraordinary opportunity and lowered its overall corporate taxes.

If the House adopts this motion, it will have a negative impact on all businesses in Canada, since it will exclude 60% of them. However, this negative impact would be even greater on Quebec businesses, because Quebec tried to reduce the tax on capital. While it increased the corporate tax marginally, it primarily tried to reduce taxes in general.

So, these two motions do not promote job creation and retention in Quebec. These motions do not reflect the long term management of corporate capital and taxes. They could have very serious consequences with respect to a challenge that we will soon have to face, namely, competition on international markets.

I am thinking more specifically of China, which is really hurting a large number of industries, including the textile and pulp and paper sectors. This is not to mention the competition with the United States, which is also hurting our industry very badly. Unfortunately, despite their very liberal—in the economic sense of the term—statements, the Americans often rely on protectionist measures.

In any case, we have before us a motion in which the government does not believe. This motion would impede the creation and retention of jobs. I do not see how the New Democratic Party—which likes to think of itself as a champion of the rights of citizens—can, in good conscience, support such a measure. It seems to me that this measure includes things that NDP members should really be concerned about. Again, it is critical that businesses can continue to create jobs for workers, so that the latter can earn a decent living.

It is really unfortunate—this was discussed a few minutes ago—to bring back motions considered inadmissible, on the pretext that there are extraordinary conditions. This is the case, especially, with Motions Nos. 1 and 2. At the same time, I find it rather ironic that the parliamentary secretary is saying that, in any case, the motions will be amended in future legislation. Then he tells the House, through the Chair, that it is important to reintroduce these motions for extraordinary reasons, not apparent to us at all.

I do not see what extraordinary reasons justify the reintroduction of these motions. They were debated in committee and rejected. The government does not even believe in them and plans to amend them in future legislation. I find this rather ironic. I would almost like to say that sometimes the parliamentary secretary talks out of both sides of his mouth, but I would not go that far.

Because of the parliamentary secretary's lack of enthusiasm, both here and in committee, we realize that the Liberal government does not believe in these measures. I suggest they withdraw these motions in order to be honest with the House and with their supposed allies, whom they plan to dump in any case at the first opportunity. Even more importantly, they should be honest with the public.

In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about public cynicism with respect to the public service. These are not measures that will increase public trust in elected officials. He told us himself that he knew he no longer had the confidence of the House and that he had to present measures to please the NDP and would be taking them out. That is not responsible.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Speaker

I must inform the hon. member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier that he will have five minutes for questions and comments when debate resumes.

Tsunami Relief
Statements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the enormity of the tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004 continues to touch the world.

McMaster University philosophy Professor Alison Miculan and student Anushka Joseph recently travelled to Sri Lanka to see how they could help. They met women who, as a result of the tsunami, are widows. The women expressed that they dreamed of having homes and of being financially independent.

This August with the help of Relief Aid International, a non-profit organization from McMaster University, 20 to 30 people from Hamilton plan to travel to Sri Lanka. They will build a village for 50 of these women and their families and establish a local trade for the women to support themselves and their children. Professor Miculan has told us that the widows feel this project has given them back their freedom.

Congratulations to Professor Miculan and all those involved in the project for their contribution to the rebuilding efforts of Sri Lanka.

Seniors
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week is Seniors Week in Canada. I rise today to pay tribute to the millions of Canadians over the age of 65.

As more and more baby boomers retire, including of course many of us in the House, Canada will be facing new challenges and requirements. Seniors today face a multitude of issues, including pensions, health and home care, transportation, drug insurance, housing and palliative care to name just a few.

That is why I moved for the creation of a separate ministry of state for seniors in 1997 at our party's policy convention. I am pleased to see this initiative finally included in our March 2005 policy declaration and the appointment this past week of a critic to this vital portfolio.

I urge the government to consider the creation of a ministry of state for seniors to allow for easier access of government services for our aging population. Our seniors certainly deserve that.

Outers Program
Statements By Members

June 10th, 2005 / 11 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to congratulate the Atikokan High School on the 40th anniversary of their Outers Program. It is the longest running outdoor adventure education program in a publicly funded school in Canada. Atikokan is a wonderful community in the heart of Quetico.

This program is designed to present physical and emotional challenges beyond that which an average individual encounters in everyday experiences. This develops confidence and self-reliance while demonstrating the importance of creating good interpersonal relationships and teamwork to overcome adversity.

Since its inception in 1965, there have been over 2,500 graduates. The Outers Program remains the cornerstone of the educational experience at Atikokan High School and is the single most influential experience in the lives of high school students. It has been described as a rite of passage and a cultural icon. It has become a part of Atikokan's heritage. This natural progression has made the program part of the fabric of this community.