House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the Minister of Finance on both his election and his appointment as minister and welcome him to the House. I was looking forward to his comments when he entered the House because one notices when the Minister of Finance arrives and we especially notice it on budget day of course.

We are all looking forward to that, but in spite of the fact that it was not budget day, we did look for some more details and there were a lot of vague generalities. We are all anxious to have more details, anything really. We hope we have some soon. There was not much unfortunately in his comments today and I guess we have noted already that the plans of the Conservative government are in fact to raise income taxes.

I really question how the government can come in here and talk about tax relief when in fact its plan is to raise income taxes. We know the government's revenues are up. The Conservatives have been left in a very good situation with the strength of the price of oil, for example, and other factors across this country. The revenues of the Government of Canada are very strong.

If it were not for the fact that over the past 13 years the Liberal government has put the finances of this country on a solid footing and left the government in a very good basis, members would not be able to talk about doing any of these things. The fact is the government is in a very good position and there is no reason, whatever it does with the GST, why it should have to actually raise income taxes for lower and middle income people as it is planning to do. It is entirely irresponsible, so I hope the minister will assure us that this will not happen.

Second, I wish to comment on the point of eliminating the child care agreements across this country. The premier of Nova Scotia and the new Premier Rodney MacDonald were here not long ago and met with the Prime Minister and talked about the importance of maintaining those agreements. I wonder what his plans are in relation to those agreements, when the Conservative premier of Nova Scotia is saying to maintain those deals. What is he planning to do? Let us hear about that.

When he talks about job training and the importance of skills, he is right. Skilled workers are incredibly important in this country. There were a couple of words in the Speech from the Throne about competitiveness and productivity, but not the word “education”, not the words “job training”. He talks about incentives, but no direct support for apprenticeships, for real training. What is the government going to do for those crucial areas? So far we are seeing nothing from the government in these crucial areas.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the comments of the member opposite. He talks about raising taxes and lowering taxes. One has to have a starting point, so I have looked for one. There was a traditional budget last year for 2005 which was one of the longest budgets ever with all the papers that went with it, but it did not last very long. All of a sudden there was another budget, the NDP budget. So now we have two budgets from one government in one year.

Then there were more announcements made after the second budget. This is all in one year by one government, the last government the members opposite were involved with. Then we have three sets of numbers. My friend says we would raise taxes, from where? From the first set of numbers, the second set of numbers, or the third set? But there is more. There was then a fourth set of numbers in the fall. And that is not enough. The numbers the member opposite is talking about I believe are election promises numbers. That is the fifth set of numbers that we have from the members opposite. The member suffers from the confusion that his election promises are the law of Canada.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

No, guess again. It's already passed.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

It wasn't passed here.

There is a fifth set of numbers that we hear from the Liberal members and they expect the people of Canada to figure out what they mean by raising or lowering taxes. I know there were tax reductions in budget 2005, but that was four sets of numbers ago.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Before leaving the chair, I want to thank hon. members. I will allow one more question by the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage and a very short reply.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6 p.m.

Durham
Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on your new responsibilities.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the constituents of the riding of Durham for their confidence in enabling me to serve them in the 39th Parliament. I not only share the responsibility to serve my riding but also to work with the Minister of Finance as we both serve the people in the region of Durham.

As the Minister of Finance knows, the people in Durham are hard working, have a strong family heritage and have safe communities. I will continue to work with the minister and my colleagues on behalf of Durham and all Canadians. How will the families in Durham, particularly the youth, be better off under the new government?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The hon. Minister of Finance, and my admonition remains.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I am always short but I will also try to be brief.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage and I share the honour of representing two of the ridings in the great Durham region, one of the fastest growing areas of Canada and the greater Toronto area in southern Ontario. We have had the opportunity to work together before on projects that are of great importance to our area and to our communities. I am honoured to serve in the House with her now.

We intend to keep the trust that Canadians have placed in us. Although not all Canadians voted for us in the last election, we intend to be a government serving all Canadians and all families which is why we intend to proceed with tax reductions that will serve, not just people who happen to have income tax to pay but all Canadians every time we can.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to cite Standing Order 16(2) in chapter II which states:

When a Member is speaking, no Member shall pass between that Member and the Chair....

When the last member was speaking the President of the Treasury Board took the opportunity to cross between the Chair and the speaker in violation of the Standing Orders. He tried to duck down while he was doing it but it is in our Standing Orders and I wanted to raise that point for the Chair.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I sincerely apologize to the Chair and in the interest of being able to debate the important issues which our constituents sent us here to do I look forward to hearing the next speaker.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

We will consider the matter settled and everyone properly chastized. The hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by congratulating you on your appointment to the Chair. I know you will serve us faithfully and well and I am pleased to see you there.

I also appreciate the opportunity to add my remarks to those of the Minister of Finance in support of the government's vision for the future of Canada. In particular, I would like to express my support for the promise made by the Prime Minister to reduce the GST.

However let me first speak about the government's clear plan for what we want to accomplish for Canadians. As the Minister of Finance has just said in the House, Canadians sent us to Ottawa to get things done, and that is exactly what we intend to do, and we will do it in a manner that is committed, focused and fiscally responsible.

We will also be respectful of the hard-earned tax dollars of Canadians. Working families and business people make responsible decisions about their own budgets every single day. They expect governments to behave the same way: to be prudent, to be accountable and to make the tough but necessary choices.

The government is committed to this approach just as we are committed to keeping our word to Canadians from coast to coast to coast and that starts with our five priorities. They are as follows: cleaning up government by passing the federal accountability act; reducing the tax burden of Canadians by starting with a one percentage point cut to the GST; making our streets and communities safer by cracking down on crime and introducing mandatory minimum sentences; supporting families by providing parents with direct financial support to make the child care choices that meet their specific needs, while also working with stakeholders to create new child care spaces; and working with the provinces to improve health care by establishing a patient wait times guarantee.

These initiatives are important to Canadians and Canadians expect their government to deliver, not just talk. That is why they sent us to Ottawa. Canadians also expect and deserve real progress in reining in unnecessary government spending so that they receive good value for their money. That is why our government will ensure that the spending of taxpayer dollars will be limited only to those programs that are efficient and effective.

This approach to fiscal discipline will translate into substantial savings putting more money into the pockets of hard-working Canadians. Just imagine people being able to keep more of their own money to invest in the things that matter to them. What a wonderful thought.

As the Prime Minister has said, our new Conservative government will be one where we put the budgets of Canadian families first and the pet projects of politicians and bureaucrats last.

Tax relief is a vital part of our plan and delivering on our GST commitment is the first step in our plan. Why not? Let us consider the facts. Unlike any other tax reduction, the GST cut is a tax cut for everyone whether they earn enough money to pay personal income taxes or not. Canadians will see a GST cut in action every time they buy something, regardless of their age or income level. Everyone from a newspaper carrier to a senior on a fixed income will see a savings. Unlike other tax measures, as the Minister of Finance said, no future government will be able to take this tax cut away from Canadians by stealth.

The benefits of a GST cut for individuals can be significant. Just imagine the thousands of dollars in potential GST savings for young families that want to buy a new home or the hundreds saved on the purchase of a car. No matter how large or how small the purchase, Canadians will be saving money while at the same time contributing to economic growth. It is important to point out that this one percentage point cut in the GST is an important part of our tax relief plans but it is by no means the only one.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech From The Throne

6:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

I regret having to interrupt the hon. member but pursuant to order made earlier today, the question on the subamendment is deemed put and deemed adopted.

(Amendment to the amendment agreed to)

Pursuant to order made earlier today, the House shall now resolve itself into committee of the whole to consider Government Business No. 3.

I do now leave the chair for the House to go into committee of the whole.

(House in committee of the whole on Government Business No. 3, Mr. Blaikie in the chair.)

Agriculture
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

moved:

That this committee take note of agricultural issues.