House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was surplus.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem, led by the hon. member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound.

[Members sang the national anthem]

The Environment
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, the clean air act will reduce greenhouse gases and pollution in Canada. I want to thank the Minister of the Environment for her courage to put forth a comprehensive and practical solution.

This is the first time all industry will have mandatory targets, some beginning as early as next spring.

This plan will do more towards addressing our Kyoto targets than the 13 years of Liberal inaction.

We all have a responsibility, every level of government, every sector of the economy and every individual Canadian.

The Central Okanagan Regional District, led by the municipal governments of Kelowna and Lake Country, have already taken proactive measures to address environmental quality. I applaud their efforts in promoting sustainable environmental programs, alternative energy and motivating our communities to go green.

The clean air act will reduce pollution and greenhouse gases, regulate all industry, set realistic and achievable targets, and reward Canadians for smart choices.

Once again a Conservative government delivers real action on the environment.

The Economy
Statements by Members

October 25th, 2006 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to show contempt for reality. It is trying to rewrite history by undermining the best economic record Canada has ever seen.

Thanks to Liberal governments, Canada's economy, which was on the verge of collapse 13 years ago, is now the healthiest in the G-7. We are the only country in that group in surplus. Eight straight Liberal surpluses left the current government the best set of books any incoming administration has ever seen. And what has this government done with it? It has cut billions in funding to Canada's most vulnerable with the help of the NDP, and increased income taxes on those who earn the least.

This government's contempt for the least advantaged Canadians is no surprise, considering the purse strings are held by the Mike Harris admiration society. Ontarians remember what they did in this province at a time when federal transfers were at record levels.

Canadians are horrified at this government's trying to destroy all they have worked so hard to achieve.

Older Workers
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, after the federal government had been sleeping on the softwood lumber issue for almost five years, the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development announced a semblance of a program for older workers.

Right at the outset of the softwood lumber crisis, 650 workers from the Port-Alfred plant in my riding, most of whom are aged 50 and over, were laid off. The plant was closed on a temporary basis in 2003, but that closure became permanent in 2005. Despite retraining measures, dozens of former workers were not able to find work and some of are now living on welfare.

We in the Bloc Québécois believe that, after contributing to society and the economy for 30, 35 or 40 years, older workers deserve both moral and income support. Therefore, I am asking the minister to act with humanity and provide a true income support program for, among others, these 100 citizens from my riding who were abandoned by the federal government.

Refugees
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon refugees who are seeking shelter in Canada will be out in the cold on Parliament Hill. They are mostly women and children who are struggling to survive. They are vulnerable. They are hungry. Most are very poor. Many of the women are trying to escape domestic violence or the sex trade.

The previous Liberal government and now the Conservative government is exploiting and punishing them further by applying a modern-day head tax with the refugee landing fee of $550 per refugee and $150 per child.

I have tabled a motion in this House to drop these fees, this head tax, this blood money on the heads of the most vulnerable. If the government does not act, then it is saying to the world and the 10,000 Canadians who signed a petition that children should be made to suffer and women should indeed be treated like dogs. We must end this cruel practice now.

West St. Paul Fire Department
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to the firefighters of the West St. Paul Fire Department in my riding of Kildonan—St. Paul. Recently the department celebrated its 50th anniversary, which I had the privilege of attending.

In the early 1950s, 25 members of West St. Paul, mostly World War II veterans, began their firefighting training with the city of Winnipeg. After the completion of their training and the construction of a fire hall, the West St. Paul Fire Department was created in 1956. Over the last 50 years, the fire department has grown from one fire truck to a modern rural fire department with 24 members and five response vehicles.

At the anniversary celebration, three firefighters were acknowledged for their 25 years of service to the West St. Paul Fire Department. They are Jim Turney, Bob Wright and Tom Addis, Jr.

I offer my sincere congratulations to Fire Chief Ryan Yackel and all of the firefighters on a job well done.

Government Policies
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government has shown contempt.

Yesterday it was claimed by the Parliamentary Secretary to the unelected Minister of Public Works that the Liberal government had racked up deficits. Has the hon. member been asleep for the last decade?

The Liberal government's economic record is the best Canada has ever known. Eight straight Liberal surpluses paid down billions of dollars on the national debt, which was spinning out of control at the end of Canada's last experiment in Conservative government. In fact, the last Conservative surplus, other than the one the Conservatives inherited from our government, was in 1912.

Conservative tax policies have already been exposed as anti-competitive, anti-democratic and anti everything that sound economic policy preaches. They want to turn surplus to deficit with tax breaks for the rich, just like they did in Ontario, and the Mike Harris triumvirate across the way is here to help them do the job.

The Liberal economic record speaks for itself, as does the contempt the Conservative government shows for Canadians.

Canada Awards for Excellence
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce that the Region of Peel has become the first government in Canada to earn the National Quality Institute's prestigious Canada Awards for Excellence Gold Trophy.

The Canada Awards for Excellence is an annual awards program that recognizes Canadian organizations which, through a commitment to innovation, productivity, a healthy workplace and ethics, have demonstrated sustainable measures of continuous improvement.

On Thursday, October 26, a presentation of the award will be made to the Region of Peel at its headquarters located in Brampton, Ontario. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely congratulate the Region of Peel Chairman Emil Kolb, Caledon Mayor Marolyn Morrison, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion and Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell, and their councillors, on this tremendous achievement and for the excellent example it has set for all governments.

First Nations Socio-Economic Forum
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, October 25, is a historic day for Quebec's first nations and the Quebec nation.

I am proud to inform this House of the initiative taken by the aboriginal people of Quebec. Indeed, today and the next two days, first nations are holding their first socio-economic forum in Mashteuiatsh, close to Roberval, in Quebec.

This major event provides an opportunity to make commitments and take concrete measures that will help aboriginal nations thrive.

It has already been 10 years since the royal commission on aboriginal peoples tabled its report, and too little has been done since. Ensuring that these nations will thrive is a major challenge.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and myself are proud to support the initiative and the political courage of Quebec's first nations. We hope that the federal government will take concrete action, and I mean concrete, for the well-being of Quebec's aboriginal peoples.

MY Canada
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to your attention that a group named MY Canada is meeting with members of Parliament and senators this week here in Ottawa.

MY Canada stands for Motivated Young People for a Strong Canada, and that is exactly what these young people are. This past summer they held an event on Parliament Hill that attracted over 12,000 participants. They have been working all across Canada to motivate young people to vote and get involved in federal politics in a variety of ways.

I had the privilege of meeting with this fine group of young Canadians earlier this week. They want our members of Parliament to know that there are thousands of young people from coast to coast who hold fast to traditional values which have been held by former generations. They are here to support us as elected officials and to share their views with us on the many issues that are affecting young people today.

I encourage all members to get acquainted with this fine group of young people by meeting with them. Canada needs more fine young men and women like the people in MY Canada.

The Economy
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, 13 years ago today, the Liberal Party inherited the fiscal mess left by the Conservatives. We have spent 13 years cleaning it up.

Thanks to the Liberals, this Conservative government inherited an excellent fiscal record.

The current Minister of Finance has destroyed Ontario's economy, whereas with us the provinces were receiving record transfer payments. He has managed to take a large provincial surplus and turn it into a deficit.

One can only wonder what this minority Conservative government will do to the eight consecutive surplus budgets produced by the Liberals.

Harbours
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, the commercial fishery in my riding of South Shore—St. Margaret's is one of the busiest and most productive in all of Canada. In recognition of that, Canada's new government announced that we will provide funding for major improvement projects at three fishing harbours located on Cape Sable Island.

Three of the island's most important harbours will benefit from large major capital projects to improve safety and services as well as increase capacity and the harbours' ability to serve today's larger vessels.

I am proud to see that Clark's Harbour, Newellton and West Head will be the sites of major construction and harbour development work over the next several years.

This investment combined with other small craft harbour projects totalling $16 million for Nova Scotia clearly demonstrate how Canada's new government and the Minister of Fisheries are committed to supporting the Nova Scotia fishing industry.

This is a significant federal investment to provide our fishers with the first rate harbours and facilities they need for continued success.

Veterans
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, on November 11 millions of Canadians will be wearing the symbol of Remembrance Day, the red poppy. Hundreds of thousands of Canadian families will be visiting cenotaphs and memorials from coast to coast to coast. It truly is a wonderful day to express our thanks to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our peace, freedom and democracy.

But what happens to these veterans on November 12? That is the question the NDP is asking the government. We have some simple solutions which would effectively enhance the lives of veterans and their families.

Remove the gold digger clause which disallows veterans giving their second spouses their pension benefits on their death. End the discriminatory practice of the clawback of their pensions at age 65, and especially the pension clawbacks on the disability payments. As well, extend the veterans independence program to all widows of all veterans, regardless of when the veterans died.

If we did all of those things to help our veterans, November 11 would have a greater meaning for their lives throughout the entire year.

The Economy
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, today Canada's economy is one of the healthiest in the world, thanks to years of sound Liberal policies.

Thirteen years ago today when the election was held, Canada was an economic basket case. Unemployment was at a near record high, inflation was spinning out of control and the federal Conservative government had racked up a $50 billion deficit. On the international scene, Canada was considered to be an honorary member of the third world.

In 2005 the Liberal government recorded its eighth consecutive budget surplus, paying down $63 billion in debt. We put the Canadian economy back on its feet while the current Minister of Finance ran the Ontario economy into the ground.

The revisionism and contempt shown by the Minister of Finance is unacceptable. By trying to slam the best economic record in Canadian history, the Conservative government is ignoring the reality that all Canadians know: Liberal governments mean world-beating economic policies.

Commissioner of Official Languages
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 17, Mr. Graham Fraser officially succeeded Dyane Adam as the sixth Commissioner of Official Languages. A former English language journalist who speaks French fluently and a staunch advocate of linguistic duality in Canada, Graham Fraser lived in Quebec for more than 10 years. Mr. Fraser has acknowledged on many occasions the vital input of Quebec legislation to the survival of the French fact in North America.

A number of challenges are facing the new commissioner, including those associated with the judicial nature of the Official Languages Act and the impact of the elimination of the court challenges program on representing the interests of linguistic minorities.

Mr. Fraser's appointment has been very well received by my colleagues from the Bloc Québécois and myself, and we wish him the best in his new position.