House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreement.

Topics

Government Programs
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, a Tory federal government is poison for the city of Summerside, P.E.I.

In 1989 the last Mulroney government closed CFB Summerside, the only military base in the province of P.E.I.

Now this rapidly aging minority Tory government is closing the GST rebate program which is delivered out of the tax centre in Summerside, a tax centre that the province, the city and all Islanders fought to get as an offset in lieu of the military base.

This unnecessary cut will eliminate 60 permanent jobs, 30 term jobs and 50 casual jobs. It will be a heavy blow for the families and the economy of P.E.I.

In addition, members of the tourist industry from Victoria, B.C. to St. John's, Newfoundland are decrying the elimination of the program, saying it is a critical blow to the industry already suffering a severe downturn. This was a decision made with absolutely no consultation with the provinces or the industry.

The president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Randy Williams, said, “This is a more serious blow to the industry than 9/11 and could result in bankruptcies for tourism businesses in Canada”.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, under the previous Liberal government farmers in my riding suffered through years of neglect and disastrous Liberal policies.

We can imagine the surprise of farmers two days ago when the Liberals suddenly announced they have a plan for agriculture. Where was support for farmers when Liberals were in power?

In 2005 the member for Malpeque was the parliamentary secretary to the agriculture minister. What was his plan for farmers?

In a report on farm income last year, the member for Malpeque recommended exactly none of the solutions he calls for so loudly today. It is Canada's new government that is standing up for farmers.

We promised an additional $500 million. We delivered $1.5 billion. We promised a better inventory evaluation method. We not only delivered, we made that change retroactive.

The member for Malpeque and the Liberal Party had their chance. Unfortunately they failed farmers miserably for 13 long years. Canada's new government is standing up for and will keep delivering for farmers.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

September 27th, 2006 / 2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Official Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister treated us yet again to Conservative twaddle about how his cuts will not affect minorities.

Today, the president of the Canadian Bar Association said that the court challenges program is often the only way for the vulnerable and underprivileged to be treated fairly.

Will the Prime Minister admit that, among other things, he has just cut an opportunity for our minority francophone communities to seek justice in the Supreme Court? Let him explain that to the Acadians.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, let me make it clear that none of the cuts affect the Official Languages Act.

This government supported that important legislation. The truth is that the government is under no obligation to pay lawyers to support the Official Languages Act because the government itself will do so.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, perpetual hyperbole and bluster no longer fool the House or Canadians.

The Prime Minister's assertion in the House yesterday that the government is not cutting funding to immigrant youth is simply not true. The court challenges program for visible minorities is gone. Workplace programs for disadvantaged youth are gone. Reading and writing programs for refugee kids are toast.

Why did the Prime Minister not at least admit the facts? Why were programs for visible minority youth cut in such a meanspirited way? I use that term not only in its parliamentary sense, but in the sense that every common Canadian would understand.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition never lets the facts get in the way of a good argument. The Leader of the Opposition had already written his supplementary before he even rose in the House to ask the first question. Let us look at the facts.

We are looking at spending to see if it meets the priorities of the people of Canada. This year we are putting $100 million more toward helping families with a child with a disability. This year we are spending some $450 million to provide clean drinking water to our first nations, something that the previous government after 13 years still could not do.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the facts. The youth employment strategy specifically targets visible minorities for help. Cutting it is a direct assault on the finest values of our society.

The Conservative government is undermining programs for equality. It is undercutting access to the courts for minorities, access to reading and writing help, and access to housing and job skills.

In the name of decency, in the name of compassion, how can the Prime Minister be so incredibly harsh and ultimately so short-sighted for Canadian society?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, again, nothing could be further from the truth. This government has not made any reductions with respect to summer employment programs for disadvantaged youth. That is something that was specifically exempt from the cuts.

I say to the member opposite that we are looking at reallocations for the budget. The member voted against our budget. He voted against providing hundreds of millions of dollars more for clean drinking water. The member voted against spending $52 million a year for a strategy on cancer control. The member voted against every single good initiative contained in our budget and he is going to have to defend that at the next election.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minority Conservative government cut blindly on the basis of its ideology rather than the merits of the programs.

In the past, the Prime Minister called the regional economic development programs corporate welfare. Not only is there no new money for Economic Development Canada, its budget has been slashed and some programs have been cut.

Now that it is clear his Marshall plan has fallen through, can the minister explain why he has so little influence on the Prime Minister, not to mention his failure as the minister responsible for this issue?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am proud of our record. In its last budget, this government managed taxpayer dollars responsibly. We put money back in Canadians' pockets. We lowered the GST and reduced income and corporate taxes. My colleague did not support a single one of these fiscal measures. She voted against the last budget. She should be ashamed.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the Prime Minister is going back on his promise to Quebec and the other provinces on the fiscal imbalance. The Prime Minister irresponsibly created expectations that he now cannot meet.

For a second time, he is breaking his promise. First he said it would happen after the election, then it was the fall, then it was after the spring and now it will be when pigs fly.

Since he has never defined or given figures for the fiscal imbalance, will the Prime Minister admit that his promise was nothing but smoke and mirrors, that he had no solution and that he misled Quebeckers?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the issues of equalization and fiscal balance and moving toward fiscal balance in Canada are of vital importance to the country. We issued a paper with the budget this year about restoring fiscal balance in Canada. We have had meetings of the various ministers responsible and their provincial colleagues. These discussions continue.

We will be talking about it more in the fiscal update to come this autumn and then in budget 2007. It is a very active file and is very important for all Canadians.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a speech he delivered in Quebec City on December 19, the Prime Minister promised to resolve the fiscal imbalance. On May 2, in the budget speech, the Minister of Finance reiterated the Prime Minister's promise saying that there would be funding in the 2007 budget to resolve the fiscal imbalance. Yesterday we hear from the Prime Minister's mouth that resolving the fiscal imbalance could be put on the back burner if there is no consensus among the provinces.

Is the Prime Minister reneging on the campaign promise he made to Quebeckers?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, it is very important that we try to reach a consensus with the provinces and territories about these important issues of equalization and transfer payments to the provinces. Those discussions are taking place. They have taken place. There will be more discussions in the coming months.

I think most Canadians would want the government, as Canada's new government, to move toward consensus, if possible, on these vital issues for Canadians.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we will be clear. On December 19, the Prime Minister did not say, “I will resolve this if there is consensus”. Anyone can do that. If you say, “If everyone agrees, will you accept?”, then I would say yes, we accept. If that is his reasoning, then what a joke. His promise was to resolve the fiscal imbalance and the Prime Minister knew full well there was no consensus.

In other words, is the Minister of Finance saying that they willingly misled Quebeckers during the last election?