House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

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Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, members of the House might know the story of old King Canute, who hundreds of years ago took his throne to the beach, ordered the tides not to rise and his feet got wet.

I would submit that the minister is Canada's new King Canute. He goes to bankers and says, “Let the bank rates come down”, and the bankers say, “Get lost, king”. Then he goes to the retailers and says, “Let the prices come down”, and the retailers say, “Get lost, king”.

The point is that the minister is engaging in blatant posturing in matters over which he has achieved nothing and has no leverage. Is he not embarrassed at this blatant political posturing?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I knew the member for Markham—Unionville was the president of the GST club. I did not know his contemporary was King Canute, but I guess he has been having informed discussions with that person.

I congratulate him and his leader for their persistence in raising the GST. They want to get that GST up. His leader has called it wasteful that we are reducing the GST. They want to raise taxes for Canadians by $12 billion, led by the finance critic, the member for Markham—Unionville, and the Leader of the Opposition. These are the people who are asking Canadians for some credibility. They want to raise their taxes by $12 billion, something they think is a good thing to do. I do not think Canadians agree with them.

I am very proud of the fact that ATM users in Canada, seniors, students and people with disabilities, all got positive responses from the banks in Canada. I know the member for Markham—Unionville does not care about those people. We accomplished that. The Liberals did nothing, which is what they usually do.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I noted that the minister talked about reducing the deficit by $24 billion. What he did not talk about was the social deficit that he has increased in this country.

I want to know about the deficit of 200,000 homeless Canadians. I want to know about the deficit where there are no additional child care spaces. I want to know about the deficit where 1.6 million children live in poverty in this country. I would also like to know about the $100 billion municipal infrastructure deficit, the loss of 300,000 jobs, and the additional 33,000 jobs that we are going to lose because of this Korean free trade deal.

I want to know what the minister is going to do about the social deficit the government has created?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Finance has approximately 30 seconds to respond.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the WITB program, not only because it is my riding of Whitby--Oshawa, but it is the working income tax benefit.

I do not know why the NDP votes against it. The New Democrats say they care about working people. They say they care about people getting engaged in the workforce. Here is a government program and initiative that helps people on social assistance come into the workforce and they are against it.

They talk about caring, but when it comes to actually taking action that helps real people in Canada get to work and support their families, they vote against it.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

I notice that the hon. Minister of Finance only used 10 minutes of his allotted 20 minute time slot. Was it his intention to share his time?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Yes, Mr. Speaker, with the member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:40 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière
Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker—

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Mississauga South on a point of order.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not mind if the finance minister would like to maybe finish his time, but there are House rules about the splitting of time particularly if the member does not give notice at the beginning of the speech. The Chair has occasionally asked during the middle of the speech, but after we have had questions and comments, I believe the rule is clear. If you could please check with the table, I believe the time for that slot has expired.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, I think we could solve the dilemma here by just being collegial, as we like to be in a minority Parliament. I would suggest that you simply ask for unanimous consent that the request to share the time be granted.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. Minister of Finance have the unanimous consent of the House to share his time?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:40 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière
Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to speak in support of the 2007 Speech from the Throne. From the moment the speech started, I knew that it was a defining moment for not only our government, but also all Canadians. And I was not disappointed with the vision this government has for Canada's future.

Canadians have every reason to be proud of their country and of what we have accomplished. We have worked together to build a nation that serves as model for the rest of the world. Advantage Canada, our government's long-term economic plan, is based on sound fiscal management. Canadians now want a government that will help them build on this heritage, a government that sets clear objectives and that gets real results.

To meet those expectations, our government set out in the Speech from the Throne, its vision of a Canada based on the following five priorities: strengthening Canada’s sovereignty and place in the world; strengthening the federation and our democratic institutions; providing effective economic leadership for a prosperous future; tackling crime and strengthening the security of Canadians; improving the environment and the health of Canadians. In the final analysis, Canadians want a government that will be accountable for its actions and their results. They want a government that gives priority to Canadians and their families.

Today, Canadians are holding on to a bigger share of their income because we have reduced taxes, including income taxes. Families have a real choice in terms of day care thanks to the universal child care benefit. Canadians can now count on a government that is determined to help them receive the medical care they need more quickly, and a government that is tackling crime and strengthening the security of our cities.

All of these matters are of great importance to Canadians. That is why they elected our government: to improve conditions for them and their families. Canadians want a government that gets concrete results. Thanks to the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister, our government is getting those results. The economic and fiscal update this fall will spell out our progress toward achieving those objectives.

Let us stop for a moment to reflect on some of the initiatives launched by our government to show how we are investing in our families. In terms of taxation, for example, we have delivered or announced tax reductions amounting to more than $41 billion over three years for Canadian companies and individuals. The family is the basic unit of our society and our government will continue to support our families and help them to achieve their dreams of a better and more secure future.

One of the first measures taken by our government in its first budget was to honour our promise to reduce the GST. We immediately reduced it to 6%, which was an important step because it really was a reduction with general application. It affects all Canadians, whether individuals or families. In the Speech from the Throne last Tuesday, the government announced that it will deliver the second part of its election promise and will reduce the GST to 5%. Our government keeps its promises.

In the 2006 budget, we also introduced the universal child care benefit to provide support for families.

This plan is giving families the resources to make the choices that will enable them to balance work and family as they see fit, regardless of where they live, their particular circumstances or their preferences.

With Advantage Canada, the government has committed to working with the provinces and territories to do away with the social security trap by implementing the working income tax benefit to make work more profitable for low- and middle-income Canadians.

The working income tax benefit is designed to make work more lucrative and attractive for approximately 1.2 million Canadians who are already part of the workforce and to encourage them to keep working. Moreover, we expect that the working income tax benefit will encourage about 60,000 more people to join the workforce.

In Budget 2007, the government followed up on the group's recommendations by announcing a new registered disability savings plan to help parents save money to ensure the financial security of their severely disabled children. This plan, the first of its kind in Canada, will ensure the financial security of disabled children, improve their quality of life, and bring peace of mind to their parents.

The tax fairness plan allows pension income splitting for pensioners. This initiative will give families a greater incentive to save and invest their money to ensure their financial independence following retirement.

As I said earlier, our government will continue to invest in our families and our future. As we said in the Speech from the Throne, we are committed to helping those who want to escape the hardships of homelessness and poverty. As you know, the new homelessness partnering strategy came into effect on April 1, 2007. The strategy's $269.9 million over two years will promote new structures and support measures to help the homeless and people at risk create a better, safer future for themselves.

We have accomplished great things, but we still have a lot to do. Our government believes that families, individuals and businesses are still paying too much tax.