House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is part of parliamentary rhetoric to hear the kinds of comments that we heard from members opposite this morning, but just to be clear, is the member opposite saying that a cut in GST will not help Canadians? Is the member opposite saying that $1200 for every child under six years of age going to every family in Canada will not help Canadian families?

Budget Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, what I am asking is whether Canadians will use those deductions. Yes, they will use those deductions. Is a cheese sandwich going to feed a starving nation? I do not think so.

I believe the purpose of government, through the budget, is to elicit positive outcomes and make positive impacts. I will use the $80 tax deduction. I have three boys that take part in sports. Will it have any type of impact on whether I register my children in sports programs? It will have absolutely none.

Is being able to deduct the tax on books going to make a difference as to whether I am going to encourage my oldest to go to university next year? It will have none. There are Canadians who will look at the bottom line, when sitting down with their sons and daughters and making a conscious decision as to whether they will be able to afford post-secondary education.

This was an opportunity for the government to invest in our young people. This was an opportunity to give them something that would encourage them to pursue post-secondary education and the government failed miserably on this account.

Budget Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I agree with much of what was said by my hard-working colleague from Cape Breton—Canso.

There are two things we can say about this budget. First, it is dumb and, second, it is mean. It is dumb because it invests in the wrong things. The challenge for Canada is productivity. The challenge for Canada is to educate its people. The challenge is the emerging giants of China and India. They are not our enemies but they are our competitors.

We need to educate our children. The Liberals would have done that, particularly the lowest income children, if the economic update had been adopted in the fall. There would have been billions of dollars in direct assistance for low income Canadians, aboriginals and persons with disabilities, as well as expanding other scholarships.

My question is about the inequity of this budget, the meanness part, such as cutting the EnerGuide for low income houses and introducing a GST cut that disproportionately assists the rich. There are tax credits for education of $80 on tuition in my province, which is from $6,000 to $8,000 a year. The Conservatives' own brochure advertises this great cut, but for a family that makes $15,000, it will save, according to the government's own numbers, less than $100 a year in 2007 while families that make $150,000 a year will save over $1,200 a year.

The Conservatives advertised the GST cut and the example they used is a $375,000 house. I would like to ask my colleague from Cape Breton—Canso, does this budget even attempt to speak to the people of his riding or mine? How many in his riding live in $350,000 houses and how many make more than $150,000?

Budget Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, that was one aspect of the budget that really jumped off the page when I saw the $350,000 house. I know for some people in our urban centres a $350,000 house is not a strange thing, but one thing this misses is rural Canada. I have a coastal constituency. I probably have small streets in my riding that would not have $350,000 worth of real estate on them.

That is the sad part. It is the people who live in those homes, good Canadians trying to raise families and kids, and contribute to this country that this budget leaves behind. That is who this budget totally misses the mark on and that is why I will not be supporting this budget.

Budget Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House to speak to the budget. There have been many comments made about missed opportunities and I want to look at a couple of those.

Before I do that, I want to take a couple of moments to talk about the philosophy behind the budget. Looking at it from a historical perspective, the budget is extremely interesting. In many ways it reminds me of the kind of strategy the Liberals used to take, and I go back as far as Marc Lalonde. There was a little for everyone, but in the end nothing for anyone. We have a lot of pronouncements about little things that might seem to be good on the surface, as many have mentioned, but when we look at the detail, there is little substance to what is delivered.

I refer back to the way that budgets used to be written. It is from a strategic, philosophical approach at odds. It is what is referred to by some political scientists as brokerage politics. It is broker this group, broker that group, be it regional, be it class-based, so the government can be seen as meeting the needs of everyone, but meeting the needs of no one in the end.

I will now go into more detail about what the budget does not do and the opportunities that were missed.

The opportunities missed were on child care. I take great exception with some of my Liberal colleagues who have said that so much would have been done if they just had another couple of months. Let us be real about this. There were 13 years of missed opportunities. Many deathbed conversions were made up until the last election, but Canadians were tired of that. The trust had been broken and as a result voters told the Liberals what they thought.

We did not have a child care act in place. We had child care agreements. Yes, that was better than nothing, but let us be clear about what it was not. It was not permanent child care. They were child care acts that, as we have seen with the new government, were taken away with the stroke of a pen.

What we have in the Conservative budget is not a child care act nor is it comprehensive child care. It is income support. While no one would critique the need for income support, particularly for those who are most vulnerable, we have to acknowledge that this is not what Canadians wanted and it is not what they asked for with regard to child care.

I think even within the Conservative Party some members would have to acknowledge that their mandate was not on the issue of child care, and it is a minority mandate. The issue for the Conservative government, and why I believe it was elected, was a consensus that a trust had been broken with the previous government and it was time for a change. I have heard this on talk shows, from people in my community and I have read it in letters to the editor. If people did vote for the Conservative Party, it was not because of child care or the $1,200.

My leader has said time and time again that it is important not just to oppose but to propose. What should we propose instead of what has been delivered? We have said is the $1,200 should be there, but it should not be seen as child care. It should be seen, as we had proposed in the election, as an increase to the child tax benefit. My predecessor, Mr. Broadbent, was the member who proposed that we eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. We know the sad story and record on that issue.

What we do know is the child tax benefit was a good, sound policy. We should have increased the amount of that benefit by $1,200 to attack child poverty. This is not what the government has put forward. It has said that the $1,200 is for child care and that is it.

The NDP has proposed that the government keep the $1,200 for the child tax benefit and do not tax it. Interestingly enough, the government is opening that up. We should ensure that we follow through with sound investments in child care. The NDP wants the government to bring forward a child care act, which will guarantee that no government can take away child care. It is so important and so crucial to our youngest citizens.

What would we have in the child care act? Beyond child care agreements with the provinces, we would have an agreement that would set out not only financial support, but standards as well.

Budget Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Reluctantly, I have to interrupt the hon. member's speech. He will have four minutes remaining in the time allotted for his remarks when the debate resumes on the bill later this day.

We will now proceed to statements by members.

Hockeyville
Statements By Members

May 19th, 2006 / 10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to say I am proud to announce that the town of Hanover has been selected as one of 25 finalists and is heading into the third of five stages in the CBC Kraft Hockeyville 2006 contest. The contest began on March 19, with 450 communities competing. Hanover is one of five communities advancing from the central region of the country.

Hockeyville is about community spirt and hockey. The town of Hanover's support and commitment to Hockeyville is very evident. Hockey is an undeniable part of Canada. Hanover's spirit for hockey and Hockeyville is contagious. Given the chance, this community and, indeed, the entire surrounding area will show their fellow Canadians what it means to have hockey spirit.

If successful, Hanover will win $50,000 for a new arena, $10,000 in hockey equipment and a chance to host an NHL exhibition game.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the Hanover Buck-aneers for submitting the bid. I would like to wish the town of Hanover good luck because Hanover is Hockeyville.

Bowen Island
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Blair Wilson West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize a specific area of my riding, Bowen Island. As the first ever sitting member of Parliament to visit Bowen Island, I am proud to represent its interests.

Bowen Island is an idyllic setting that attracts many artists, sculptures, painters, writers and musicians. In fact, Bowen Island was recently identified as the fourth most artistic community in all of Canada.

Bowen Island, with its abundance of arts and community groups, is in desperate need of a multi-faceted, multi-use stage for all events. This facility would provide a home for a variety of events, including performing arts, literary reading and film screening.

Sharing culture brings richness to any society and encourages deep community spirit, not to mention job creation and economic spin-offs of increased tourism.

I wish to recognize the hard work of the Bowen Island Arts Council, which is dedicated to representing and coordinating the creative efforts and programs of all cultural groups on Bowen Island. I wish to thank it for its dedication to promoting the vibrant art community in our riding.

I also wish to welcome Monte and Gayle Rolston from Madeira Park who are in Ottawa today.

Noëlla Tremblay Carreau
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak here today in order to celebrate the outstanding work of Mrs. Noëlla Tremblay Carreau who was honoured by the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec on May 15, 2006.

This extraordinary woman, who works at the CHSLD in Gatineau, received the Florence award for community involvement for her contribution to the development and humanization of perinatal care in the hospital environment and for her commitment to the family.

Ten nurses from across Quebec received awards during the gala evening marking the end of nurses week, which was held May 7 to 13, 2006.

Mrs. Tremblay Carreau, your dedication brings honour to our community, which makes us even more proud of your involvement. The Bloc Québécois and everyone in Gatineau would like to thank you for your commitment to the well-being of the people of your community.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Monday the United Nations Human Rights Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is set to release a report, an assessment of Canada's progress on implementing our human rights commitments. The report is widely expected to raise serious concerns about our own record and make recommendations for improvement.

Many of those recommendations we will have heard before, recommendations like implementing transparent and accountable procedures for reporting to the Canadian people on our own human rights record; recommendations like the need to address the concerns of aboriginal communities, concerns like the alarming rate of violence and discrimination against aboriginal women and how we must, after 15 years, settle the Lubicon Cree land dispute; recommendations to find ways to address security concerns in a way that do not cause further injustice and increased insecurity through human rights violations, no more security certificates, no more deporting Canadians to countries where there is a serious risk of torture.

It is time for the Canadian government to take its commitments on the international stage seriously. It is time to comply.

Trade
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend the governments of Alberta and British Columbia for signing a groundbreaking agreement to eliminate barriers to trade, investment and labour mobility between their two provinces. The agreement will give businesses and workers in both provinces seamless access to a larger range of opportunities across all sectors including energy, transportation, labour mobility, business registration and government procurement.

Unfortunately, even though Canada has signed free trade agreements with other countries and despite the fact that we have an agreement on internal trade from 1994, we still do not have free trade within our borders. This is simply wrong and needs to be addressed.

That is why I also commend the Minister of Finance for raising the issue of the economic union in his recent budget and recognizing that governments will have to work together better, especially with respect to mobility and trade, employment for immigrants, capital markets and tax harmonization.

I support the finance minister in his efforts in this area and I encourage all provinces to follow the example set by Alberta and British Columbia.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Gary Merasty Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, when does the government plan to start treating the crisis in farm income as an immediate crisis, one that needs action today?

First, farmers demanded direct, immediate assistance for spring seeding but what did they get? Nothing. All the government is offering is double-talk, claiming that money delivered in the fall is somehow money put into the hands of farmers today and encouraging farmers to borrow themselves out of debt by offering no other immediate assistance.

Producers deserve a real plan and real action, not a whole lot of nothing. The hon. member for Malpeque saw through this ruse and I join him in demanding the government to stop this deception and to start acting.

Second, there is nothing on delivering a national renewable fuel strategy, nothing on the opportunities that ethanol and biodiesel offer farmers and forestry.

I call upon the government to support farmers across Canada.

Afghanistan
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy of the opposition during last Wednesday night's vote on our mission in Afghanistan is shocking. Opposition members are on record as supporting our troops and yet they played politics and voted against the government instead of voting for our troops.

The member for Vancouver South said:

We support the mission, absolutely, and in unqualified fashion...If you had a vote in Parliament, I have no doubt in my mind that there would be absolutely overwhelming support.

Yet he voted against our troops.

The member for Esquimalt--Juan de Fuca said:

The courageous Canadians who are in this dangerous theatre must have our unequivocal and steely support....We cannot afford to give them anything less.

Yet he voted against our troops.

The member for Markham--Unionville said:

...it is right that Canada step up to the plate and do its part. Canada is committed to Afghanistan.

This is not an easy mission and these are not easy decisions. I applaud those opposition members who were steadfast in their support, put politics aside and did the right thing, voting for our mission and for our troops.

Clothing and Textile Industry
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, since being elected, the government has not yet done anything for the clothing and textile industry, even though the needs facing these sectors are just as dire as when the current government was in opposition.

Last week, the failure of the Conservatives to take action once again cost approximately 50 jobs, and what is more, in a riding that they represent, Mégantic—L'Érable.

The closing of Confection Lapierre in Saint-Ludger represents another blow for the Mégantic region, which was already reeling from the closing of the Canadelle factory last March.

Conservative members and ministers have spouted plenty of rhetoric about these industries, yet they do nothing. The government must commit to saving the clothing and textile industry.

The Bloc Québécois has proposed several measures, including POWA, to help this vulnerable manufacturing sector. The federal government should use it as a model to save thousands of jobs in our regions.

Child Care
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to express my support for Canada's new universal child care plan.

As I know from my own constituency, the child care option that is great for one family does not necessarily work for another. That is why our plan is founded on respect for parents' ability to choose what is right for their children.

By providing each Canadian family with $1,200 a year for each child under the age of six, Canada's universal child care benefit will support their freedom of choice in child care.

I am proud of our plan that incorporates the Canadian values of respect for diversity and universality.

The Liberals spent 13 long years promising a national child care program and never actually delivered. Our government's plan is a balanced approach that supports all families, irrespective of what form of child care they choose. We made a promise and we have delivered.