House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was spending.

Topics

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, I wanted to address the last comment that the member made. I believe he may have misled the House and Canadians by suggesting that the passage of Bill C-48 would mean that Canadians would have to pay more.

I would be happy to show him in the bill where any amounts payable under Bill C-48 are only payable to the extent that there would be a surplus in excess of $2 billion. Indeed his own member has put forward an amendment to make it $3.5 billion.

I wonder if the member would answer just a short question about the existence of surpluses. Many of his colleagues have said that the existence of a surplus means that there is overtaxing. Does that mean that the member and his party are opposed to any surpluses and are therefore opposed to any repayment of the national debt?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, as most Canadians watch these types of debates take place in the House of Commons, they are certainly attracted to the word surplus. A surplus sounds like a good thing and he is right, a surplus is a very good thing.

When we deal with business, and I have a small business, and we see a surplus at the end of the year, that is good. When we build a budget in our family and we live within that budget, and we have a surplus at the end of the year, that is good. I think every Canadian family wishes that they could have a much greater surplus on the kitchen table at the end of the year, but when governments have a surplus, that is not necessarily good. When governments have a surplus and it has done it because it has been able to reduce the size of government or streamline and make things more effective, that is positive, but the government does not do it that way. The government does it on the backs of taxpayers.

The Liberals are saying that they are going to make it more difficult for Canadians and businesses to have surpluses because they are going to make government bigger. Higher taxes equals more government. More government equals more regulations. More regulations equal more red tape. More red tape equals more bureaucracy. More bureaucracy equals more taxes. It is a continuous cycle.

We are encouraging the government to take the fiscally prudent way and recognize that there are certain needs. We need to ensure that we can help those who are poor, those who are sick and disabled, but it is wrong to continually be taking money from one middle class family and giving it to another middle class family and telling them that if they accept these values, they will get extra cash dollars from the government. Picking winners and losers is wrong. Smaller government and allowing the private sector a role in prosperity is the direction that the Conservative Party would take.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for an excellent summation of the vicious circle that is represented by the Liberal government. An excessively high tax burden creates social problems, which are then addressed by big Liberal programs, which always have cost overruns and never actually get to where they are needed. Therefore, the government needs to raise taxes to fund more programs to fix these problems.

I want to comment on what the member said because it was quite indicative of the Liberal government's attitude. When we were questioning the Minister of Social Development, he was talking about his big, huge babysitting scheme. He mentioned that the money he had given to Saskatchewan this year was double what it was the year before. He did not know where the money was going, but he knew he doubled it and therefore it must have been a good thing. He did not have any results of how the money was spent last year, no evaluations of whether or not the money was going to address any problems or that the programs were going well. All he knew was that this year he doubled it, and therefore it must have been doing a lot more good, that it must be half the problem since they doubled the money. He still could not provide us with any details about where this year's money was going to go and how it was going to address any of the problems this year.

Does the member see a pattern here with Liberal attitudes? When there is a problem, they double the money. They just throw more money at a problem without any sort of program or planning. We see that problem across the board. Could he highlight a few of those for us?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, the government believes that the only way it can solve a problem is to throw money at it. A former President of the United States said, “Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other”. The government has a huge appetite for taxpayers' dollars and is not responsible at the other end.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, I am speaking on behalf of my constituents today on Bill C-48, an agreement to increase spending in a way that I think is unhealthy. This agreement is bad for Canada's economy, for my constituents, and represents a missed opportunity for the House and the government to improve the lives of Canadians.

Bill C-48 enacts $4.5 billion of the $4.6 billion deal struck by the Liberals with the NDP to make payments in fiscal years 2005-06 and 2006-07, and takes away the tax relief that was promised by the Prime Minister in the original budget that was presented to Canadians in the House on February 23. The bill is heavy on the public purse but light on details. It commits hundreds of millions of dollars under broad areas without any concrete plans as to how that money would be spent.

The bill authorizes cabinet to design and implement programs under the vague policy framework of the bill and to make payments in any manner. The bill contains an open-ended statement:

The Governor in Council may specify the particular purposes for which payments referred to in subsection (1) may be made and the amounts of those payments for the relevant fiscal year.

Put another way, the legislation creates an undefined multibillion dollar slush fund for the Liberal cabinet members to spend in the way that they see fit as we head into an election campaign. This is economically and democratically unacceptable.

Condemnation of the NDP-Liberal budget is not just mine. In a letter to the finance minister and the Prime Minister, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce wrote:

Bill C-48, the budget amendment that fulfills the terms of the Liberal-NDP agreement at the expense of corporate tax rate cuts, was concluded quickly and with little effort to determine whether the new spending initiatives are effective in boosting productivity and fostering long-term economic growth. This politically motivated action showed a clear lack of planning and long-term strategic thinking on the part of the federal government.

Nancy Hughes Anthony, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, added:

The government has shown a total lack of respect for the budget process by reneging on its commitment to provide future tax reductions for all businesses.

Garth Whyte of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has also slammed the legislation and the way the Liberals are managing our finances. In his open letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Whyte wrote:

Elimination of the corporate tax cuts would be a slap in the face to all small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners who create most of the new jobs in every community across Canada. Prior to last year’s federal election, both the Liberal and NDP parties expressed support for creating a fair taxation system for small businesses in recognition of the important role it plays in economic growth and job creation.

We believe that these tax measures are far too important to be used as political bargaining chips for political purposes. That is precisely what the Liberal-NDP bill does.

As a young Canadian representing one of the youngest ridings in the country, and one of the fastest growing areas of Canada, the budget is of great concern to me, in particular the growth of program spending over the past few years. Federal program spending is estimated to reach $163.7 billion this year. Just two years ago program spending was $141 billion. That is an increase of 15.8% in just two years, which far outpaces the growth of our economy and our population, according to economists.

What makes the growth in spending really problematic for me as a British Columbian is that it is being steered by the NDP. As a British Columbian, I have seen and experienced first hand the realities of NDP fiscal and economic policies and I can report to the House, and to all Canadians, that NDP economic policies are something we should always shy away from. Actually, we should run away from.

In British Columbia on the NDP watch, the uncontrolled tax and spend approach was disastrous for my province. In the decade from 1991 to its defeat in 2001, the NDP imposed $2 billion worth of new taxes on everything from personal to corporate income. Fees and taxes grew 50% faster than the pre-tax incomes of British Columbians. If we think that a $2 billion tax increase is hefty, it was eclipsed by a $5 billion spending increase in just five years between 1992 and 1997 and as a consequence the B.C. NDP ran eight consecutive budget deficits and in the process doubled B.C.'s debt.

As a result of that uncontrolled tax and spend philosophy, taxes were raised, spending was dramatically increased, deficits were run, and new debt was incurred. Worse, the bonding rating agencies that rate the credit of companies and governments were shocked by the reckless management style and reacted by downgrading B.C.'s credit rating which in turn raised the amount of interest B.C. had to pay on its rapidly growing debt.

The ongoing result of a disastrous NDP decade is that B.C. today has to spend roughly $2.6 billion a year on interest on the provincial debt. This is a problem because if we have to spend $2.6 billion a year on interest, it is $2.6 billion that can not go toward other priorities and programs for Canadians and for British Columbians.

In the case of B.C., that $2.6 billion a year works out to $672 for every man, woman and child in my province or nearly $1,700 a year for every B.C. family. In other words, the ongoing cost of just 10 years of NDP economics is a $1,700 annual tax for every B.C. family. I am raising this provincial example of the impact of NDP economics in British Columbia to this federal House because I am hoping that there are some Liberal members who do care about fiscal responsibility, as they bragged about in the last election campaign. Consider the facts of the NDP economics and consider the facts of the NDP partnership with which they are getting in bed.

In British Columbia the NDP introduced five separate fiscal management plans. Not one targeted outline was ever met. In nearly every category, deficits, debt management and spending, the NDP missed its promises every year in terms of targets. It introduced eight consecutive budget deficits, including two fudge-it budgets where it misled the public. The NDP took British Columbia from a have to a have not province during the nineties, a decade of robust economic growth across North America. The NDP doubled taxpayer supported debt in less than a decade. B.C.'s debt to GDP ratio increased dramatically by 20% in less than a decade. The NDP left B.C. with the highest personal income taxes in Canada. Fees, royalties and taxes had increased one and a half times faster than British Columbia's pre-tax incomes.

In the 1992 to 1999 period, the government increased spending from $17 billion to $22.2 billion, over a 30% increase. Spending increased faster than the ability to pay for programs. Under the NDP, B.C. had two credit rating downgrades, the worst fiscal record in Canada during the 1990s.

My constituents do not want to face the same disastrous NDP economics here in Ottawa. The budget is a missed opportunity and at every step of the way, the Conservative Party, the official opposition, has stood up and said “no” to the tax and spending priorities of the Liberals, “no” to the tax and spend priorities of the NDP. We will continue to fight this fight in the House, at committee and through the coming election campaign in the spring, which the Prime Minister has called.

We believe in lower taxes, less government and more freedom. We believe in personal responsibility and democratic reform. We believe in ensuring that Canadians have more money in their pockets so they can choose how they want to live their lives rather than having more money in the hands of Liberals and a $4.6 billion slush fund that it can throw money around, prior to an election campaign being started, for their own political purposes.

We believe in empowering families and putting money back into the hands of individuals so people have choice in how they live their lives and taking away the power of cabinet to politically manipulate a budget so it can buy votes in the House and then buy votes in the next election campaign, having no regard for the future economic health of our country.

We will be voting against this budget proudly. When the new Conservative government is formed, we will bring this country back to some sane fiscal management.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I found it quite interesting that the member opposite brought up the track records of past governments. I am glad he did. In fact, the track record in B.C. was kind of scary.

If we take a look at the federal track record of the last Mulroney Conservative government, never mind scary. It was a complete nightmare for Canada. We should look at what it did to small business. One of the other members talked about his small business background. My background prior to entering the House was also in small business.

There is an anniversary that I mark. It is 1993, the anniversary of the Mulroney Conservative government leaving office. What that government led to, with its fiscal mismanagement, was the devastation of the small business sector in Canada. I lived through that. For a decade that sort of fiscal mismanagement led to record numbers of small businesses going bankrupt.

I found it quite interesting that the members would mention small business. What this bill does not do is talk about removing tax cuts for small or medium size businesses. It addresses corporate Canada. When the members say there is no substance to this bill, they are narrowly focusing strictly on tax cuts for corporate Canada, large corporate Canada Bay Street.

If we take a look at small business, it disproportionately pays a larger amount of taxes than corporate Canada. Corporate Canada does not pay its fair share. I can understand why they would not want to see the substance of $900 million for the environment, for public transit. We know the Alberta gas and energy lobby has contributed substantially to that party.

I understand that the $1.6 billion for housing is not a grave concern for that party. From Bay Street boardrooms, they do not see the homelessness on the streets. The amount of $500 million in foreign aid is not a concern because there are not a lot of Conservative voters in the Sudan or in other parts of the world.

Would the member opposite please compare the track record of the B.C. NDP government to the nightmare track record of the Conservative Brian Mulroney government?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

2 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

The hon. member will have a couple of minutes to respond at the next discussion of the bill.

Hamilton Police Services Awards
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Madam Speaker, the Hamilton Police Services recently recognized the outstanding performance, courage and service of both its staff and the citizens of the Hamilton community.

Detective Troy Ashbaugh and Constable Don Sauvé were the recipients of the 2004 Members of the Year Award in recognition of the brave actions while off duty.

Citizen Sabrina Pelone was given the Award of Courage for risking her life to help someone else in danger.

Safety Patroller of the Year winner, grade 8 student Navneet Randhawa was recognized for her dedication in promoting the safety of all her classmates at Memorial Public School.

Division 10 received the James Elliott Safe Driving Award for the best police vehicle accident record.

Detectives David Doel and Hank Thorne were honoured with the Thomas J. Fitzgerald Memorial Award for excellence in forensic services.

Congratulations and thanks to these and to all other winners for making Hamilton a safer place to live.

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Madam Speaker:

Quebec Referendum, Liberals were sighing,Chrétien to the rescue: let's get the flags flying.We gave a few million to friends no denying,But damn the taxpayer, the Liberals are buying.

The ad scam debacle, the Libs claim it's petty.The Auditor General and Gomery prying,Grits throwing money just like it's confetti,A billion a day and the Liberals are buying.

Now comes the budget vote; could be a tight one.Buying the NDPs so satisfying,Five billion dollars of pure desperation,Screw fiscal prudence, the Liberals are buying

Lure a defector, it's winning conditions.Ambition's alive, but integrity's dyingPrinciple's traded for cabinet positions,Put on your price tags, the Liberals are buying

Prince Edward Island
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Madam Speaker, I would like to take a moment of the House's time to extend an invitation for all to visit Prince Edward Island this summer.

Prince Edward Island has long been recognized as one of the world's top island destinations. There is something for everyone, from scenic touring to cultural experiences to outdoor activities.

Please come and spend some time on our famous beaches, enjoy our first class golf courses, take in one of the many seafood festivals or explore the timeless world of Anne of Green Gables.

Why not spend Canada Day in Charlottetown, the birthplace of Confederation. Enjoy the festival of lights, then spend an extra week for the jazz and blues festival. Harness racing fans like myself are already looking forward to the Gold Cup and Saucer Race during August.

Visit Prince Edward Island this summer. It is sure to be an unforgettable vacation.

Chrysotile Asbestos
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Boulianne Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

On May 31, thanks to the efforts of the Bloc Québécois, the Subcommittee on International Trade, Trade Disputes and Investments heard witnesses from the Thetford and Asbestos Mouvement ProChrysotile.

A number of developments have been supportive of the use of chrysotile: International Labour Organization Convention 162, the Quebec policy on the use of chrysotile, the Rotterdam convention, and recent studies on biopersistence.

The second report of the Subcommittee on International Trade, Trade Disputes and Investments, which was tabled in this House on June 17, and unanimously accepted, recommended that the Government of Canada: develop a national chrysotile policy based on the research, promotion and safe use of this product; conduct a comparative study on the “hazardous nature” of replacement fibres and chrysotile; and organize a public education campaign on chrysotile and, in so doing, promote the safe use of this product domestically and internationally and encourage its own use of chrysotile asbestos.

Breast Cancer
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, cancer is a word that strikes fear in the hearts of all Canadians and breast cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of this terrible disease. Fortunately, there are many caring Canadians who in their determination to help find a cure for cancer have created new and original ways to raise funds for research.

I rise today to praise the accomplishments of four such creative individuals from my riding of Lac-Saint-Louis, Louise Barré, Michele Sanderson, Marilyn Moffat and Bibi Pelletier.

While the official Weekend to End Breast Cancer Walk was held a few weeks ago, these four resourceful individuals modified the “walk” to a “meal”. Those wishing to sponsor them were treated to a variety of delicious meals that ranged from Asian delicacies to Italian submarines to an old-fashioned family barbecue.

I join my constituents in congratulating Louise Barré, Michele Sanderson, Marilyn Moffat and Bibi Pelletier on their selfless concern for others.

Mitchell Creek Bridge
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Township of South Frontenac recently announced a plan to replace the 75-year-old bridge over tiny Mitchell Creek. Originally the plan was for the new bridge to be the same height as the old one. The low clearance of the existing span allows canoes and small boats to pass under the bridge, but keeps out jet skis and other more powerful watercraft.

By good fortune this has preserved the creek's pristine environment. Local nesting sites, for loons at the water's edge and for bass just under the surface, have been destroyed elsewhere by boat wakes and turbulence but not in Mitchell Creek. This is about to end.

Transport Canada wants to force the township to raise the height of the bridge because it has decreed that Mitchell Creek is a navigable waterway that must be opened to boat traffic. Leaving aside the additional $60,000 cost, Transport Canada's rationale is preposterous. Mitchell Creek connects two small lakes that are completely cut off by dams from external waterways, besides which the creek is so shallow that a non-swimmer can wade across it.

I therefore call upon the ministry to revoke this decision and allow the municipality to build a bridge like the one that has served the community and the environment so well for 75 years.

Region of Festivals
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, the riding of Thunder Bay—Rainy River is indeed a region of festivals. Throughout the year and especially during the beautiful summer months, communities across the riding host a variety of themed events. Of note are the upcoming Thundering Women Festival, the Atikokan Outers 40th anniversary reunion, the Thunder Bay Blues Festival, the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, Pinewood Sports Days, Chapple Days, the home of Chapple pie, the Morson Bass Classic, and the Rainy River Giant Pumpkin Festival. In addition, the Seine River, Lac La Croix, Fort William and Stanjikoming first nations will each host a powwow.

I am pleased to take this opportunity to congratulate the thousands of volunteers across the riding who organize these events in an effort to enhance our communities and increase tourism. I would also like to invite my fellow parliamentarians and indeed all Canadians to visit our region of festivals and enjoy the northern hospitality of Thunder Bay—Rainy River.

World Refugee Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is World Refugee Day, and this year's theme is “To Feel at Home”.

The Bloc Québécois acknowledges the courage of the refugees of this world, salutes those who so generously provide them with assistance, and affirms our determination to defend their rights.

Some federal government policy changes are in order, particularly with respect to deportation practices and detention conditions, in keeping with recommendations from the UN committee against torture and the working group on arbitrary detention.

As for implementing the refugee appeal division, the government is not even respecting its own legislation enacted back in 2001.

The delays in unifying families have become a major problem, making refugees suffer needlessly and hampering their integration into their host communities.

The federal government must act promptly in order to remedy this situation. What better occasion to do so than this, World Refugee Day?