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

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that is from a deputy leader of the opposition who has not been in Canada in 35 years. It is no wonder he does not understand that there is a fiscal imbalance in Canada that needs to be remedied.

There is no excuse for the Leader of the Opposition, who actually has been in the country the last 35 years, not to realize that there is a fiscal imbalance that had to be remedied, and it has been, on a principled, predictable, long term basis that will stand the test of time in Canada.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in spite of the fact that votes were split among the three parties represented in the National Assembly, Quebeckers still agree on some things. One of those things is the fiscal imbalance, which still has not been resolved. As recommended in the Séguin report, which everyone in Quebec supports, the permanent transfer of tax fields is the only thing that will really resolve the fiscal imbalance.

Now that the outcome of the election is known, will the Prime Minister resolve the fiscal imbalance permanently by transferring tax fields to Quebec?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government put forward a solution to the fiscal imbalance in the Minister of Finance's latest budget. This solution will transfer nearly $40 billion to the provinces over the next seven years. I think that is a good solution and I hope that Parliament will pass the budget this afternoon.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the budget puts forward a temporary financial solution, not a permanent fiscal solution.

The three parties in Quebec's National Assembly also agree that the federal government's spending power has to be limited. The Séguin report recommended limiting it.

Will the Prime Minister heed this consensus and introduce a bill to limit his spending power to his own areas of jurisdiction?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has already committed to limiting federal spending power. We have no intention of spending money in exclusively provincial areas of jurisdiction. That has been our policy since the beginning. We have a good solution to the fiscal imbalance. For example, the Government of Quebec got so much money that it can reduce taxes and income taxes for its citizens. I think this is a good budget and I hope that the Bloc will help us pass it this afternoon.

Securities
Oral Questions

March 27th, 2007 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is another point on which everyone agrees and that is the securities file. The Minister of Finance is determined to change a mechanism that is working just fine and that nobody is criticizing, apart from a few Bay Street stockbrokers who would like to see a possible future pan-Canadian securities commission located in Toronto.

Can the Minister of Finance explain to us how he squares his plan with his government's promises to respect the jurisdictions of the provinces and Quebec? I would like an explanation.

Securities
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have had quite constructive discussions with the finance ministers from various governments in Canada on this subject, and in those provinces where different ministers handle this subject, we have also been involved in that discussion.

We have 13 securities regulators in a country of 31.5 million people. It creates a remarkable paper burden and a delay in terms of investment in our country. I am glad to say that there has been some expression of positive interest from a number of other governments in Canada. I look forward to continuing these discussions in Quebec when we meet again in June as finance ministers.

Securities
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is playing with words when he says that he wants to create a pan-Canadian regulatory agency, but that the agency would not be federal.

How does the minister expect anyone to believe him, when the budget states: “A common securities regulator will create the opportunity to deliver this new approach”? If it is not a pan-Canadian commission that the minister wants to create, well, what is it?

Securities
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in a time of open federalism when we work well with the other governments in Canada we can certainly share our efforts with respect to securities regulation. The proposal that is being discussed is indeed that. It is for a common securities regulator, not a provincial securities regulator and not a federal securities regulator, around which all governments would be represented.

The whole purpose is to serve the people of Canada, including seniors in Canada with respect to their retirement investments, to make sure we have good capital markets in this country that are fluid and that work well for all people in the country.

National Revenue
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, for the past 10 years, the federal government has been able to accept tax returns electronically.

However, although the government provides paper forms free of charge, this is not the case for electronic forms. And why not?

Ordinary working people must spend tens of dollars when they choose to do what is right for the environment while paying their taxes, and this also saves the government some money.

Does the Prime Minister agree with the NDP that electronic tax forms should be available free of charge?

National Revenue
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Carol Skelton Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's suggestion. It would seem to me that he should have brought it forward before the budget was tabled if he takes it so seriously.

I would like to point out that there are already significant advantages in the speed with which taxpayers receive their returns. That is why we expect nearly 14 million individuals to file electronically this year. It is estimated that there will be a reduction of 15 million pieces of paper this filing season.

National Revenue
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, here is our question. Why not provide these forms for free to Canadians? After all, the government is charging them for doing the right thing. It is as if years ago the government would have sent out the envelopes for filing taxes but would have made people go down to Eaton's to buy the forms. It does not make any sense.

People are trying to do the right thing here. The fact is that only 16% of Canadians are filing electronically. A lot more would like to, but they are forced to pay a penalty by having to go out and buy these programs on the market.

Why will the federal government not simply get it right and make the electronic forms available to Canadians so they can get on board, do the right thing for the environment and save more money?

National Revenue
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Carol Skelton Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am really not sure why the hon. member believes that low income Canadians do not have the option of filing their taxes for free. CRA has made arrangements with software developers to ensure that free software is available to 60% of Canadian taxpayers. In addition, CRA does provide many other options for those individuals who wish to file their returns for free.

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on budget day we see what is and every day after what is not. The $2,000 child tax credit does not mean $2,000 but $310 maximum. The poorest get nothing.

The working income tax benefit does not even apply to single workers in Ontario working full time for minimum wage because they make too much.

For aboriginals, the environment and our competitive economic future, the closer we look the less there is, with all the opportunity but no ambition for Canada.

Political parties need tacticians, but countries need leaders. When will the Prime Minister start acting like a prime minister?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the member opposite is so grumpy.

This is good news. This is wonderful news for Canadian families with children under the age of 18 who have trouble paying their bills from time to time. It helps them with their children.

It is a tax credit that works out, and the member is right, to about $310 per child. That is enough to clothe a child for school in the fall. That is enough for a pair of skates--some skates, some not--and it is helpful to families all across this country.

So really, the member opposite should cheer up.