House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was impaired.

Topics

Government Policies
Oral Questions

February 6th, 2007 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is the minority government's record in this first year? No financing for child care, cuts to the court challenges program, $5 billion slashed from environmental programs.

Given the government's record, can the Conservatives not understand that Canadians would like to choose another government?

Government Policies
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member would like to talk about the record. We are speaking loud and clear about our record.

We are very proud of having adopted the accountability act, legislation that was needed in view of the scandals of the previous government.

We are also proud of our national child care program to create child care spaces. Above all, we are very proud of having made it possible for Canadian families to choose how they wish to look after their children.

Government Policies
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has spent a year slashing environmental programs, cutting programs for women and failing to deliver on promised child care spaces.

How can the Prime Minister get up and claim a record of results in today's speech when his government's actions so completely contradict his claim?

Government Policies
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, for my friend from Etobicoke—Lakeshore, in the last 12 months the government has accomplished more than the previous Liberal government accomplished in 13 long years.

We passed the federal accountability act, the toughest anti-corruption legislation in Canadian history. We have placed a significant amount of trust on Canadian families to decide what is best for them in terms of child care. Finally, we have put more tax cuts in the recent budget than the Liberal government gave in the last five budgets.

That is a big step forward for the Canadian people.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his lunchtime speech to the Canadian Club of Ottawa today, the Prime Minister missed another opportunity to explain how he plans to make good on the promise he made during the last election campaign to correct the fiscal imbalance. Yet the provincial premiers are holding a teleconference tomorrow to discuss the new equalization formula, an important issue related to correcting the fiscal imbalance.

Can the Minister of Finance at least tell us whether he plans to include all 10 provinces and 100% of natural resources revenues in the new equalization formula, as Quebec and the Bloc Québécois have called for?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite will have to await the budget and the announcements in it, as will all members of the House.

We are precisely on track. We said in budget 2006 that we would consult with the provinces and territories. We have done that at great length. We have done it intensely. The Prime Minister has, various ministers have and I have with the ministers of finance of all governments in Canada, including Quebec.

I look forward to announcing the changes that we will be proposing, having acknowledged the fiscal imbalance, at budget time.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the rumours about correcting the fiscal imbalance, there is also the matter of limiting federal spending power in provincial jurisdictions.

Will the Minister of Finance also give the provinces the means to meet their needs, in their areas of jurisdiction, by transferring tax room, as the Bloc Québécois and the Séguin report have called for?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are two points with respect to which Canada's new government is very different from the government that was here for 13 years.

One is that we respect provincial jurisdiction. We believe the federal government should concentrate on its areas of constitutional jurisdiction. It is not the role of the federal government, unlike the previous government, to constantly and persistently interfere in areas of provincial jurisdiction.

Second, we are the first government in Canada, unlike the member's government, unlike the Leader of the Opposition, to acknowledge that there is a fiscal imbalance between the Government of Canada and other governments within Canada.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised to correct the fiscal imbalance, and he has an obligation to do so.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that the fiscal imbalance recurs year after year and that the federal government must transfer the necessary tax room so that Quebec and the provinces can correct the fiscal imbalance once and for all?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member advocates for the transfer of tax points, which is one way of resolving the fiscal imbalance and moving toward fiscal balance. That certainly has been discussed at many meetings between the governments of the provinces, the territories and the federal government.

Many suggestions have been made. There are a number of studies out there that have been reviewed and studied by, I hope, most members of the House.

We will be in a position to announce our proposed changes, from fiscal imbalance to fiscal balance, at budget time.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has spoken about the need to limit federal spending power in areas that are not its own.

Can the Minister of Finance assure us that he will not use the limitation of federal spending power as a pretext to slash funding for the governments of Quebec and the provinces without first bringing in an offset mechanism for money already allocated to certain sectors?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no intention to reduce transfers to the provinces. In fact, I already wrote to all the ministers of finance in the other governments in Canada recently, outlining the floor, the minimum equalization and the statutory authority that I have now as Minister of Finance, so that all the other governments know what the floor is.

However, there will be more and that will come at budget time.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the very first day the House convened last year, we asked for an emergency debate on the treatment of Afghan prisoners because of a deal that had been signed by the Chief of the Defence Staff during the middle of the last election, with the backing of the Liberals. It is a flawed agreement. It does not live up to the standards that Canada sets for human rights.

Today very serious allegations of abuse have been made against the Canadian Forces. Could the government tell us that the investigation by the Military Police Complaints Commission will not be interfered with and that it will be a public investigation?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, members of the Canadian Forces are professional and well disciplined and they live by the best values of society. The alleged incident reported in the media today is under investigation and those investigations will determine the facts, whatever they are.

I assure the member that I do not interfere with, nor will ever interfere with, any investigative process.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does talk about openness and transparency frequently, but his government has introduced Bill C-7, a bill that would gut the powers of the Military Police Complaints Commission. The forces have been through enough with what happened in Somalia and the allegations and the cover-ups.

Can the Prime Minister and the government not see that this time we have to set things right? We have to be above reproach here. What will be the timeline of the commission? Will it be a public investigation, and can we be sure that National Defence will disclose what really happened here?