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.

Topics

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, we do have the right of appeal on that and we have announced that.

I, for one, as a western Canadian farmer, cannot understand the unhealthy obsession of the former minister from Malpeque. I can pledge to the people of Malpeque that after the next election they will be rid of that one-trick pony.

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, counterfeiting and piracy pose an ever-increasing threat to the growth of the knowledge economy and affect consumers and business in Canada and abroad.

Could the Minister of International Trade say what the government is doing in the fight against piracy and counterfeiting on the international stage?

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, I am getting a lot of business today and I would like to thank the hon. member for Peterborough for his question. He is quite right. Intellectual property theft is a particularly pernicious form of piracy. It hurts creators and innovators. It puts consumers in danger and it supports organized crime.

I am, therefore, pleased to announce today that Canada, along with Japan, the United States, the European Union and Switzerland are entering into negotiations to develop an anti-counterfeiting trade agreement that will be a model of intellectual property protection for the world.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the throne speech does not address the issue of poverty, particularly that of the elderly. At present, recipients of the maximum guaranteed income supplement live in poverty with $13,600 per year, which is below the low-income threshold, a euphemism for the poverty line. Not only does the government have the means to help seniors by providing a decent pension, it has the obligation and the responsibility to do so.

When will the government tackle the poverty of seniors and review the guaranteed income supplement in order to, among other things, improve this benefit substantially?

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the plight of seniors and anyone who is struggling to get by and that is why we have moved to put in place a minister in charge of seniors, the hon. Marjorie LeBreton.

We have also put in place a seniors' panel that will look at seniors' issues and make recommendations to the government. We also have an expert panel on older workers that will provide us with insights on how to help older workers so they can have enough income to allow them to get through their senior years.

However, the one thing we will never do is cut $25 billion out of the social safety net like the Liberal government did.

Summer Career Placement Program
Oral Questions

October 23rd, 2007 / 3 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development stated that he made changes to the summer career placement program because he did not want American multinationals such as Wal-Mart benefiting from the program. He is right. Some Wal-Marts did take advantage of the program, but not in Quebec.

Having denounced this state of affairs, can he explain the fact that at least one of the Wal-Marts that benefited from this program is located in his riding?

Summer Career Placement Program
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, it is precisely because large companies around the country got this kind of funding that we moved to end that sort of support.

Our concern is to ensure that not for profits and the public sector benefit, and we want to ensure it is done in a transparent manner, which is why we put some conditions in place so that MPs could not unduly influence where that funding went.

However, I can assure all members that the one thing we will never do is allow individuals to funnel money to their friends, which is what happened under the previous government. We will not do that.

Border Security
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, this government has learned nothing from the Maher Arar fiasco.

Retired U.S. colonel, Ann Wright, and CodePink co-founder, Medea Benjamin, were blocked at Canada's border because they appeared on an FBI watch list. Their crime was peaceful protest, time-honoured civil disobedience, in opposition to the Iraqi war.

Why is the Prime Minister hiding behind the FBI to ban respected U.S. citizens from entering our country?

Border Security
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, in the exercise of our sovereign rights, we have very distinct guidelines in terms of who may come into the country and who may not. We exercise those vigorously for the protection and for the interests of Canada, and we will continue to do that.

Board of Internal Economy
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I have the honour to inform the House that Michael Ignatieff, the hon. member for the electoral district of Etobicoke—Lakeshore, has been appointed to the Board of Internal Economy to replace Lucienne Robillard, the hon. member for the electoral district of Westmount—Ville-Marie, for the purposes and under the provisions of the act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act, Chapter 32, Statutes of Canada, 1997.

Alleged Leak of the Speech from the Throne
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. House leader for the official opposition on October 16, 2007, concerning disclosure to the media of details of the Speech from the Throne prior to its reading by Her Excellency the Governor General to both Houses of Parliament.

I would like to thank the House Leader for the Official Opposition for bringing this matter to the attention of the House, as well as the hon. government House leader for his contribution on this question.

The House leader for the official opposition, in raising the matter, pointed out that copies of the Speech from the Throne were made available to the media before Her Excellency read the speech in the Senate chamber. The government House leader also expressed his concern about this situation, which he described as troubling.

I, too, view such matters seriously, as I know all honourable members do. The premature release of important documents, such as the Speech from the Throne or the Budget, runs contrary to our practices.

In this particular situation, however, there seems to be some disagreement about the responsibility for this leak. I must add, too, that even if undisputed facts were provided in this specific case, the Chair can find no procedural authority for the claim that the premature disclosure of the Speech from the Throne constitutes a breach of the privileges of the members of this House.

In reference to the secrecy of the budget, House of Commons Procedure and Practice states at page 753: “Speakers of the Canadian House have maintained that secrecy is a matter of parliamentary convention, rather than one of privilege”.

I would suggest to the House that the same is true with regard to throne speeches. I therefore must rule that no breach of privilege has occurred in the present case.

Once again, I would like to thank the hon. opposition House leader for going to the trouble of raising this matter.

The House resumed consideration of the motion for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Resuming debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. The hon. member for Trois-Rivières has five minutes to finish her remarks. She has the floor.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, when we left off before question period, I was talking about one of the Bloc Québécois' suggestions, which was to implement a program of loans and loan guarantees to help fund investments in production equipment. During the lengthy softwood lumber crisis, the Bloc Québécois repeatedly asked the government to give loan guarantees. But the government never helped the softwood lumber companies. Today we can see the sad results.

Since April 1, 2005, 21,000 workers who depended on forestry for their livelihood—including plant workers, forestry workers, machinists and truckers—have lost their jobs and 156 plants have closed. Our regions in Quebec have been very hard hit. It is unbelievable.

During this time, many companies have not been able to invest the money they need to upgrade their machinery and perform on par with their competitors. The government must abandon its laissez-faire approach and help fund investments in production equipment.

We are also suggesting numerous labour-related measures. For example, we are proposing that the government provide incentives for skilled workers to settle in the regions by offering, as the Government of Quebec does, a refundable tax credit of up to $8,000 to any young graduate who settles in a resource region and takes a job in this field. Another measure promotes job creation in resource regions and gives secondary and tertiary processing companies in these regions a tax credit equivalent to 30% of the increase in their payroll.

Another measure promotes the development of SME manufacturers in resource regions by offering them a tax break equivalent to 50% of their income tax. It is essential that the government use tax measures to stimulate the creation and development of processing businesses in resource regions. Measures such as this would make it more attractive for skilled workers to settle in areas affected by the forestry crisis.

The federal government must follow the example of the Government of Quebec and promote the labour market to these future workers. Populations are dwindling in our regions and urgent action is needed. Federal corporate income tax is twice as high as the Quebec tax rate and there is no such measure at the federal level. Support from Quebec cannot achieve the maximum effect until Ottawa adapts its taxation to the needs of the forestry industry.

Yet, the government did not announce any specific tax measures in the throne speech. It simply repeats that tax cuts will solve everything. However, tax cuts for businesses that have no profits are completely useless. There is nothing concrete in the throne speech.

As a final point, I would like to talk about research and development. Tax credits for research and development must be improved by transferring them into refundable tax credits, which would be beneficial for all companies that engage in research and development activities, including those that are not earning any profits, as I was saying earlier.

The budget for the industrial research assistance program, or IRAP, must be increased significantly. IRAP is managed by the National Research Council Canada. It is receiving money, but not nearly enough. Through that program, Ottawa must invest in the development of new products, in order to later reap the benefits of the royalties when the product is put on the market.

We must also ensure that the future Canadian wood fibre centre, a new federal research centre announced during the last budget, is established in a forestry region in Quebec.

The government is responsible for stimulating the research and development of new products. Tax credits alone will not do it. There is not enough support for research and development within businesses. Quebec, in particular, is suffering.

We believe it is important for the government to make a commitment and to invest, and we saw no indication of this in the throne speech. It must bring back a fund to diversify the forestry economy, to be managed by local players. However, it must also adapt federal taxation in order to stimulate job creation.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I will discuss my new responsibilities—