House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, while the member was on her feet, I was hoping she would explain to Canadians why her government in 13 years did nothing on those issues. However, she did not see fit to address that so I will try to answer that for her.

In 13 months in government, we are moving forward with a foreign credential referral office so that those people who are foreign trained, whether they are in the medical profession or any of the other profession, have a pathway to having their credentials recognized through the professional bodies that are responsible for that or a pathway toward getting the upgrading they need so they can practise in their field in Canada. We are moving forward on that.

We are also moving forward on other initiatives that provide training so people can work across Canada in their appropriate field. In the budget we talked about the importance of knocking down interprovincial barriers so people can move across the country.

We also announced in the budget that we are working toward providing a pathway to permanent residence for temporary workers who come to Canada temporarily to fill the skills shortages that we have here because we see that as an important way to ensure we attract the best and brightest to this country, something the Liberals never saw fit to do in 13 years.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to participate in the debate on budget 2007. The document we have before us is further evidence that Canada's new government is listening and responding to the real concerns of British Columbians.

For more than a decade my constituents have had to endure the empty rhetoric and broken promises of Liberal prime ministers. Those days are now behind us.

Budget 2007 is a budget for all Canadians regardless of where they come from. Budget 2007 is a balanced budget that cuts taxes for working families, invests in important priorities like health care, the environment, infrastructure, and moves to restore the fiscal balance. In short, this is a great budget for B.C. and a great budget for Canada.

This year's federal budget is good news for people concerned about infrastructure in B.C. For years Lower Mainland residents have sought federal aid for their transportation problems. Liberal neglect has exacted a heavy toll on commuters. Travel times in the Lower Mainland have increased by 30% in the last decade. Traffic delays are costing the trucking industry over $500 million a year.

With the region's population expected to grow by another one million by 2021, severe traffic congestion will only get worse.

Last fall, at my invitation, the transport minister visited Surrey and met with people in my riding to listen to their concerns. Those concerns are now being addressed.

Budget 2007 makes the largest investment in infrastructure in Canadian history, with more than $16 billion over seven years to fix our roads, highways, bridges and ports. This brings total federal support under a new long term plan for infrastructure to $33 billion.

British Columbia is the single biggest winner on the infrastructure front. There is an additional $400 million for the Pacific Gateway initiative, bringing total federal funding to $1 billion; over $275 million for other Gateway and border crossing projects; more than $2 billion for B.C. municipalities in the form of gas tax funding and GST rebates; and an additional $25 million per year for the province to support investments in national priorities. As told, budget 2007 will invest nearly $5 billion in B.C. infrastructure over the next seven years.

Previous Liberal governments knew of our glaring needs, but did nothing. It has taken a Conservative government to produce results.

In Fleetwood—Port Kells parents struggle daily with the challenge of raising a family. While the economy is booming and unemployment is at a 30 year low, the cost of living is dramatically higher than in other regions.

As a government we need to make it more affordable for people to have children and to raise them. That is why in budget 2007 we are creating a working families tax plan. This plan has three components.

First, for families with children it includes a brand new $2,000 per child tax credit for children under 18 that will help families to get ahead.

Second, we are ending the marriage penalty through an increase of the spousal and dependent amounts to the same level as the basic personal amount.

Third, we are helping parents save for their children's education by strengthening the RESP program. For B.C. families this plan will result in significant tax savings totalling more than $300 million annually.

We are also taking action to ensure that our seniors can live in dignity. In budget 2007 we are helping seniors by raising the age limit for RRSPs to 71 from 69 years, increasing the age credit by $1,000 and permitting pension income splitting. These measures are great news for hard-working families and seniors in Fleetwood--Port Kells.

Budget 2007 helps to ensure that we continue to live in a country where hard work and sacrifice lead to economic success and security.

Our government has provided British Columbians with a budget that recognizes their struggles and delivers fairness.

British Columbia is blessed with one of the most remarkable natural environments found anywhere in Canada. It should therefore come as no surprise to members that people in my province consider preserving the environment to be a top government priority. That is one reason why Canada's new government is moving forward with a positive environment agenda that will curb our production of greenhouse gases and reduce water, land and air pollutants.

We are replacing empty Liberal talk with an approach that is responsible and realistic. Budget 2007 invests $4.5 billion in measures to protect our natural environment. This includes, among other things, $1.5 billion for cleaner energy and energy efficiency. Through the Canada ecotrust for clean air and climate change, B.C.'s share of this funding is almost $200 million.

There is also $2.2 billion for measures to support cleaner transportation, including a new rebate for fuel efficient vehicles, a new green levy to discourage fuel inefficient vehicles, and programs to get older, high pollution vehicles off our roads.

We are introducing a $93 million national water strategy and there is $30 million to protect B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest.

Combined with a $4.6 billion investment in 2006, Canada's new government has invested more than $9 billion in preserving and protecting the environment with programs that deliver results.

British Columbians are fed up with the empty rhetoric and broken promises of previous Liberal governments. That is why we are delivering real action to protect our natural environment for all Canadians.

In conclusion, with this budget, we are restoring fiscal balance by bringing federal support for B.C. to $4.7 billion this fiscal year, making $76.4 million available to the B.C. government through the patient wait times guarantee trust, and making another $39.9 million available to B.C. to implement an HPV immunization program to combat cervical cancer.

There is $9 million in corporate income tax relief for changes in capital cost allowances for buildings; $57 million in additional corporate income tax relief for the temporary two-year write-off for manufacturing equipment over the next two years; approximately $10.2 million in tax savings for farmers, fishers and small business owners through an increased lifetime capital gains tax exemption to $750,000; approximately $60 million in other assistance for B.C. farmers; and $15 million for the Brain Research Centre at the University of British Columbia. All of this funding is specifically for British Columbia.

Managing Canada's $1.5 trillion economy means making choices and striking the right balance. In budget 2007 we have achieved this by balancing the budget, cutting taxes for working families, investing in priorities, and giving provinces the resources they need to deliver the front line services that matter to all Canadians.

Our actions today will create a Canada that we will be proud to pass on to our children and grandchildren, a Canada with a standard of living and quality of life that is second to none. Canada's new government is working for all Canadians, building a stronger, safer and better Canada.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I note on page 98 of the budget document there is a page entitled--

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I apologize to the hon. member for Parkdale--High Park. I notice that it is two o'clock, so we will have to move on to statements by members. She can ask her question or make her comment immediately after question period.

National Research Council
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, the National Research Council of Canada has had a tremendous impact not only on the lives of Canadians but on people around the world since 1916.

Radar, electric wheelchair, heart pacemaker, canola, the Canadarm, and a vaccine for infant meningitis are only a fraction of the made in Canada life changing technologies that the NRC has developed with its partners in its labs over the last 90 years.

Today, work is underway with industry and other partners developing low emission jet engines, on hydrogen energy and biofuels, and on advance treatment technologies for chronic disease, to name but a few.

In addition NRC's IRAP program this year alone has worked with close to 10,000 Canadian small businesses helping them gain a competitive edge through new technology. The National Research Council is Canada's flag ship R and D agency and is making a difference for Canada and for Canadians.

I encourage the members of the House to visit NRC's display today in the Commonwealth Room to see firsthand how it is putting science to work in Canada.

Mel Swart
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, on February 27 Niagara lost a long time political icon. Since 1947 Mel Swart served on Thorold City Council as Reeve, as Warden of Welland County Council, as a Niagara Regional Councillor, and finally as the Member of the Provincial Parliament from 1975 to 1988.

It was when his doctor told him that he must cut back on his 16 hour days that he retired from politics believing that he could no longer serve his constituency if he could not give the 110% that he always gave.

Originally a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and later with the New Democratic Party, Mel was a fine gentleman, respected by all and who worked tirelessly for his fellow man. He was a champion for social justice, the environment and consumer rights.

In recent years Mel was always still active on the campaign trail for his favoured candidate. In between campaigns Mel was often at community events in Thorold always advocating for his preferred projects.

Predeceased by his wife Thelma in 2001, Mel died at the age of 87. I extend my condolences to the children, Melva and Orlen and their families. Mel was a political legend and will be very much missed in Niagara.

Quebec Bridge
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, residents in the Quebec City and Lévis area have been waiting several years for Canadian National to repaint the Quebec Bridge.

In a question to his colleague, the Minister of Transport, the member for Lévis—Bellechasse brought up the former Liberal government's failure to act on this issue.

Now, just like the Liberals before them, the Conservatives are powerless in this situation, and are showing their inability to negotiate. This is why they are giving up and calling on the courts to force CN to fulfill its obligations and responsibilities. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Seniors
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the recent Conservative budget disappointed seniors once again.

In my riding of Nanaimo--Cowichan, 16% of our neighbours are seniors and that number is rising. They depend on the OAS and GIS for part of their income, but there was no increase for them in the budget.

They had hoped to see a reduction in the tax rate for the lowest income bracket. More importantly, seniors had hoped to be reimbursed for the full amount the government had short changed them as a result of a Statistics Canada mistake in calculating the consumer price index, but the Conservatives ignored this clear opportunity to be accountable to older Canadians.

Instead of supporting their retirement with dignity, the Conservatives are asking seniors to work longer. This is at a time of record surpluses which could have improved the life of seniors. Seniors cannot wait forever.

Although the government supported the NDP seniors charter in June of last year, it has failed to deliver real change for older Canadians.

Democratic Republic of Congo
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, on October 29, 2006, the Democratic Republic of Congo went through its first democratic election in more than 40 years with President Kabila winning this milestone event.

The presence of UN forces, MUNOC, in the DRC was instrumental in ensuring that the election was peaceful.

Canada played an important role in this election. Therefore, the Government of Canada was alarmed to learn of the violent confrontations that started in Kinshasa on March 22 between the forces loyal to Senator Jean-Pierre Bemba, the loser in the 2006 presidential election, and the national army and the police in the capital city. Congolese authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Bemba.

During the Great Lakes Conference in Nairobi this past December, all countries pledged to uphold the transition to democracy in Congo. I also met with President Kabila.

Canada condemns this violence and calls on all responsible Congolese leaders to respect and advance the peaceful democratic processes.

Louis-René Beaudoin
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, 2007 marks 50 years since the culmination of the historic and raucous pipeline debate in this very House, a debate that was presided over by Speaker Louis-René Beaudoin. The House was so moved by debate that it witnessed members pouring into the aisle and saw one hon. member climb the Speaker's dais while shaking his fist at Speaker Beaudoin.

As Speaker Beaudoin carried out his difficult duties with grace and aplomb, he was assailed by all sides of the House. When he made an unpopular ruling, the harassment from all sides was so great that he tabled his resignation. Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, respecting him so, refused to accept it.

Even though his reputation was seriously affected, he won re-election. After his political career ended, he was unable to find fulfilling work. He drifted from job to job and eventually died unheralded at the age of 57.

On reflection of Louis-René Beaudoin's distinguished career, we should all strive for more civility in our debates and a higher degree of respect for each other. We should always remember those like Louis-René Beaudoin who have stood before us in the House and have so ably served Canada.

Order of the Knights of Columbus
Statements By Members

March 27th, 2007 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, this year, on March 29, the Knights of Columbus will be celebrating their 125th anniversary. The Order of the Knights of Columbus was founded by Father Michael J. McGivney with a group of parishioners in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut in 1882.

The Knights of Columbus is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity, and fraternity 125 years later. It renders financial aid to members and their families. In addition, mutual aid and assistance are offered to the sick, the disabled and the needy.

The small founding group has grown to become the world's largest lay Catholic organization, with more than 1.7 million members around the world.

I wish a happy anniversary and long life to the Order of the Knights of Columbus, so that it can continue the good work.

Germaine Morin-Proulx
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, on January 29, a great cultural figure was inducted into the Temple de la renommée des affaires in Drummondville. Germaine Morin-Proulx is the 18th person to be honoured by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Drummond for her important contribution to building the economic life of the community.

She founded a ballet school in Drummondville in 1946, seven years before the creation of the Grands Ballets canadiens, as well as a folk troupe in 1947, and the Boutique du danseur in 1976.

Her contribution to the economic, cultural and artistic life of her community, for all the arts, has been considerable. In addition, she has always fought to have the role of women in society recognized.

I am pleased to honour her today and to join the thousands of residents of Drummondville who thank her for her extraordinary contribution to our community.

Congratulations, Mrs. Morin-Proulx.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative budget is getting things done, so much help for so many Canadians, yet the Liberals and NDP oppose our tax relief for hard-working families.

In fact, last week, the Liberal leader was asked on TV whether there was anything in our budget that he could support. He refused to answer the question. What is his secret agenda? Why will he not tell Canadians what he is really thinking? Is it because he does not support a $2,000 tax credit for families with children? Is it because he is against poor families getting over the welfare wall? Or is it because he opposes support for university students?

What does the NDP have against families who want financial security for their disabled children?

By voting against our budget, the Liberals and NDP are voting against helping our seniors. They are voting against tax relief for truck drivers. Above all, they are voting against improved financial support for the brave men and women of our armed forces.

Shame on the Liberals, shame on the NDP.

Public Safety
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to express my disappointment, disappointment because the government forgot Canada's most vulnerable communities in its budget.

Some Canadian communities face a disproportionate risk of being attacked by terrorist organizations or racist groups. For example, every synagogue, community centre, Jewish school and community festival requires continual security presence. Mosques and gurdwaras have been targeted.

The financial implications of this unprecedented level of security are great and the federal government's first priority is to protect Canadians. Members on our side have called on the government to establish a fund to help these communities pay for security costs when Canadian law enforcement agrees that a disproportionate risk exists.

This party's leader endorsed this idea. That government did not. We have a crime prevention action fund. Why do we not have a security fund for at risk communities?

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, by refusing to support the budget, the Liberals and the NDP have once again put their partisan games ahead of hard-working Canadian families.

I will outline just some of the things the Liberals and the NDP seem to be opposed to: the new working income tax benefit that will benefit families up to $1,000; a $2,000 tax credit for children under the age of 18; improvements to the flexibility of the RESP program that will ensure parents can raise money for their children's education; an end to the marriage penalty to help single income families; and a new long term savings plan for parents of children with severe disabilities.

Unlike the elite groups for which the opposition likes to speak, this government is getting real results for real Canadians. The Liberals and the NDP should put aside their partisan politics and do what is right for Canadian families.