House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our principal legislative objectives continue to be Bill C-43, the third reading vote of which will take place after question period, and Bill C-48. The government believes these bills reflect public interest and the enactment of both of these bills is required before the House adjourns for the summer. As the hon. member mentioned, if the House does not pass Bill C-48, we will be here in July and August. Consequently, we will continue to give these bills priority until they are disposed of.

We will then consider report stage of Bill C-38, the civil marriage bill; Bill C-25; Bill C-28; Bill C-52, the Fisheries Act; Bill C-47; Bill C-53; Bill C-55, the bankruptcy bill; and Bill C-37, the do not call legislation.

The House resumed from June 15 consideration of the motion that Bill C-43, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 23, 2005, be read the third time and passed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 3:07 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-43.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

Budget Implementation Act, 2005
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to inform the House that, because of the recorded division, the period provided for consideration of government orders will be extended by 11 minutes.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-48, An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments
Government Orders

June 16th, 2005 / 3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to continue with my speech on Bill C-48.

The Liberal government has had 12 years to implement a lot of the wish list that the NDP put forward in Bill C-48. I am wondering how the NDP feels assured that any of this is going to happen. The timeframe speaks to the fact that there will be an election before any of this actually comes to pass, so how does that party feel that this is going to carry over?

Daily we see the leader and other members of the party rising and questioning the Prime Minister and ministers on the front bench as to the very issues that the NDP are asking for in Bill C-48. I do not think the New Democrats feel reassured that they ever will come to pass. There was a kind of deathbed conversion by the Prime Minister to stay alive, at least until the summer recess and into the fall by buying the NDP favour over there.

Those members make a big thing that we sat on our hands at second reading of Bill C-43. I feel a lot more content sitting on my hands than using my hands like the NDP members used theirs to prop up the most corrupt government in Canadian history.

The papers are now saying that $5.4 million ended up in the Liberal Party coffers and the Liberals have set up a $750,000 trust fund to pay that back. That has not happened since the loaves and fishes. They are going to have to pony up a lot more money than $750,000, if it ever did show up.

I guess there is going to be a fairytale ending to this. Canadian taxpayers will be relieved to see that none of this is going to come to pass. An election will put an end to all of this and we will get on with a government that will use taxpayers' money in a proper way, that will rise to the challenges that face governments in this country.

An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Carr Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the hon. member that people believe we will do it because of the things that we said in the last election, thinks like health care, with $41 billion, and the child care program with $5 billion, which we said in the election campaign we would do and we have. Tomorrow there will be an announcement in Richmond Hill, close to my area of the country. The Prime Minister will announce the money for the gas tax. That is what we said we would do in the election. Those are three of many things.

What part of Bill C-48 does the member not agree with? Is it the $1.6 billion for affordable housing? Are you against affordable housing? Is it the $1.5 billion going to post-secondary education? Can you tell me how you can go against giving $1.5 billion more to post-secondary education? There is $1 billion for the environment. Is the member opposed to helping the environment? Finally, there is the $500 million for foreign aid. I say very clearly to the member and all members, what part of that do you not agree with?

An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the member repeatedly directed his comments straight over to the member over here without going through the Chair. We would urge all members to follow the Standing Orders and direct their comments through the Chair.

An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I quite agree with the member for Nepean--Carleton. I did not hear the remarks. I was having a discussion with someone else and missed it. When I listened in after seeing him rising on a point of order, I only heard one such error and it was the word “you” which I assume, of course, was not directed at me.

An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Carr Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member may know, I was Speaker of the Ontario legislature. I definitely know the rules and I was going through you, Mr. Speaker, to the hon. member. I will always say “through Mr. Speaker”.

Mr. Speaker, through you, I ask the member, and I want to be very clear, Mr. Speaker, through you, what part does the member not agree with in Bill C-48?

An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the rookie member over there realizes that rookies do make mistakes and of course the leader of the NDP, as a rookie member, made a huge mistake in trusting the Liberal government to deliver on any of this.

As to what part of it we like or do not like, it is really a sidebar agreement. The member talks about putting money back into health care. Excellent. Nobody disagrees with that. The problem we have is that it is never going to happen because we have seen the reality of $25 billion in cuts over the last 10 years under the Prime Minister as the former finance minister. The government can throw a few dollars back at it but it will never catch up. Provincial ministers and premiers are saying to the federal government that they cannot operate on what the federal government is providing.

Let us talk about child care. The $5 billion allocated for child care is over a number of years. Studies prove it would take $10 billion to $12 billion per year to come up with any sort of a plan that is being floated out there. When the government talks about a 40% increase in child care spaces, the reality is that we are going from 7% capacity, 7 out of 100 kids, to 10 out of 100 kids. It is nowhere near good enough for a program that throws $5 billion at something without any kind of a plan. I guess we have a problem with that.

When we talk about the gas tax, this is about the third year we have heard those promises. We heard about GST rebates to the municipalities. It is not happening. We have seen the gas tax and the vast majority of that is going to go to downtown Toronto. Good for Toronto, but there is a lot of country besides downtown Toronto, so I guess I have a problem with that.

We have spent $2.2 billion over the short term on housing. What has been done? There are no benchmarks to show that there has been any kind of positive reaction to any of that and now another $1.6 billion is being allocated with no specified plan and no specified term involved.

The groups that have studied what the government proposes on education with its NDP sidekicks say that students would save at this rate about $200 and it would cost them $5,000 when they go to pay it back. There is a little bit of short term gain for some serious pain.

I have a real problem with the environment in my area. There are no credits for what my farmers have done and will continue to do. The government is going to buy credits from the Russian mafia and the Chinese triads instead of coming up with a made in Canada solution for Canadians.

An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to reflect on one part of what my colleague mentioned. He seems to be very critical of Chinese immigrants coming to Canada and the whole issue around that, but we in the New Democratic Party have been absolutely amazed that when it came to selling Canada's natural resources to China, the Conservatives were supporting it. We are kind of at a loss as to where they are coming from.

An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no validity in what the member just said. I did not say anything against Chinese immigrants. They are great people if they come here and do not jump the queue.

I talked about buying credits from the Chinese triads. We are going to finance the crime and corruption in China by buying carbon credits so that we can offset and everybody keeps polluting. China does not fall under the Kyoto accord, and the member well knows that, and it is building 500 and some coal fired energy plants. That flies in the face of what we are trying to do globally. China just rejected buying a Candu reactor. In fact, we could probably argue about whether it paid for the one it has. Let us clean up the globe if we are going to have a global solution. Kyoto does not do it.

An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am particularly pleased to have an opportunity to speak to Bill C-48, which the NDP, in this corner of the House, gave rise to. It is important. Indeed, after two years of Liberal inaction and budgets causing despair among Canadians, it is thanks to the NDP that we have a better, balanced budget.

I would like to begin by talking for a few minutes about some of the important aspects for Quebec. It is quite clear, in our opinion, that neither the Liberal Party of Canada nor the Bloc Québécois has defended the interests of Quebeckers. For many years, in this House, we have been aware of the pressing needs of Canadians. However, neither the Liberal Party nor the Bloc Québécois has proposed anything in response.

I would first like to read remarks by a few Quebeckers who think what the NDP did is important. They come from all parts of Quebec. It is very important that Quebeckers be heard. Through the changes the NDP has made to the budget, we have touched on a few aspects that, we hope, will improve the situation in Quebec.

That said, I would like to read from a letter from the Centre d'alphabétisation de Villeray in Montreal. This is only one of the many comments we have received from people in Quebec. The centre's representative wrote:

After some people have waited more than 10 years for decent housing at a price they can afford, we feel it is essential to tell you it is high time for you to show some common sense and help one part of the population recover some of its dignity.

That is only one of the many comments we have received showing the importance of this budget for Quebeckers.

Here is another from the Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain or FRAPRU. It is a well known organization in Quebec, as you know. François Giguère, FRAPRU's president, appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance. He said that Quebec had exhausted its funding under the current initiative—he was speaking about housing, of course—and really needed the additional funds promised in Bill C-48.

It is obvious, as FRAPRU indicated, that when the Bloc Québécois opposes this bill, it is opposing something that the most experienced people in the area of housing in Quebec are promoting as a solution to the current situation in the province.

The Liberal Party of Canada has done nothing to solve the housing problem there. The Bloc Québécois is trying to block a bill that will make a difference. FRAPRU clearly stated that the interests of Quebeckers are well served by Bill C-48, for which the NDP is responsible.

I will read a third letter. I could read them for half an hour or even two hours, but I do not think that I would be allowed to continue like that. This letter is from Gabrielle Vena, president of L'Ombre-Elle, which is a home to assist and shelter women who are victims of spousal violence. She wrote:

We are writing this letter to ask you to rapidly adopt the NDP's amendment to provide $1.6 billion over two years for new social housing and $0.5 billion to make affordable housing more energy efficient.

As you know, in recent years, there has been a rental housing crisis in Quebec, and low-rent housing is even harder to find than before.

This is particularly evident in shelters for victims of domestic violence and their children. These women stay longer because they cannot find affordable housing, which in turn means that there are fewer beds for new admissions. Women and children are at risk, while others just need housing in order to leave. This situation is intolerable.

There is another indication. By opposing this bill, the Bloc Québécois is not working in the interest of Quebeckers. And the Liberal Party of Canada, by ignoring the needs of Quebec, is doing exactly the same thing.

I have one last letter. It is from the Association des personnes handicapées Clair-Soleil in the Laurentians, in north- central Quebec. Danielle Harbour-D'Anjou, who is the director of this association for the disabled, wrote the following:

We are writing this letter to ask you to rapidly adopt the NDP's amendment to provide $1.6 billion over two years for new social housing and $0.5 billion to make affordable housing more energy efficient.

Based on all these examples, Quebeckers are sending the House a very clear message. Furthermore, by writing to all the members of this House, they are telling the Liberal Party of Canada that, finally, thanks to the NDP, here is something that has some effect on the lives of Quebeckers and that the Bloc Québécois should not try to oppose this bill.

I would also like to speak for a few minutes about the whole issue of effective management of our resources.

I spoke yesterday in the House about the deplorable record of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party of sound fiscal management of the collective resources of Canadians. The fact is 85% of Liberal government budgets between 1981 and 2001, if we take both provincial and federal governments, were in deficit, the worst record of any Canadian political party. Two-thirds of the Conservative budgets at the provincial and federal levels were in deficit as well.

I mentioned as well the appalling record of the Conservative governments in the 1980s, the record deficits that have never been matched. I should mention as well that n the last federal election campaign, we saw the Conservatives come forward with a platform that was the most expensive in Canadian political history, even before we throw in the aircraft carrier which the leader of the Conservatives threw in at the last moment.

We have seen both Liberal and Conservative mismanagement of finances. A member of the Conservative Party talked about the level of corruption in the Liberal Party before I rose to speak. In this corner of the House, we are waiting, with great interest, for Justice Gomery's report so we can move to take action. Meanwhile, we will continue our work in this corner of the House.

It is important to contrast the corruption of the Liberals with the corruption of the Conservative Party. As we know from Stevie Cameron's book, On the Take: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years , the Mulroney Conservative years were just as bad as the years that we are seeing now.

In both cases what we see is corruption at regular levels and bad fiscal management. Over the past 12 to 15 years, we have seen is a decline in the quality of life for most Canadians because of program cutbacks. We have a lack of health care and longer wait lists. We have a crisis in post-secondary and housing. We have longer and longer food bank lineups and more and more child poverty. We also know the average Canadian worker earns 60¢ an hour less and that there are fewer and fewer full time jobs available, less than half of what is created. Most jobs are temporary or part time in nature.

We have seen this steady decline in the quality of life. The NDP budget amendments are designed to stop that decline and to start the country moving forward. We will continue to work, in this corner of the House, for a better balanced budget. We have been pushing this forward. We will continue to work to get a health care policy that stops privatization, which is rampant in this country, and brings a decline in our waiting lists.

Rather than spending money on pharmaceutical products through the evergreening provisions, which means Canadian taxpayer dollars for health care are instead spent to profit the most profitable industry in North America, we will be pushing for home care. We can reduce health care costs that way and channel more money effectively into patient care and reduce waiting lists. We will continue to work for all of these things.