House of Commons Hansard #151 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I just gave an explanation a few minutes ago in response to the previous question and I will repeat it for the Bloc Québécois. The Bloc has been here in the House for 13 years and in all that time it has never understood how the free market economy works. It is my pleasure to explain it to them.

It is quite simple. The price of gas is set by world markets and depends on a number of factors: supply and demand, a basic economic principle. We are currently experiencing a supply problem.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the minister that we are not talking about the price of gas as set by the world market. We are talking about the refining margin. The study found that oil companies used hurricane Katrina as an excuse to increase their refining margin from between 5¢ and 7¢ to more than 20¢.

How can the Prime Minister tolerate this laissez-faire attitude and what is he waiting for to rein in the oil companies by giving the Competition Bureau more power to conduct a thorough investigation into the price of gas?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Competition Bureau is an independent agency and if the Bloc Québécois wants to bring this matter before the Competition Bureau I invite it to go there and file a complaint.

That said, it is important for Quebeckers to realize that the Bloc Québécois and the Liberal Party are in favour of Bill C-288, which will increase the price of gas for Canadians and Quebeckers. That is the position of the Bloc Québécois. It is a position that does not respect market forces and goes against the interests of Quebeckers and Canadians.

Ministerial Expenses
Oral Questions

May 10th, 2007 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, something has changed for the better here in the House today. The government has decided to stop calling people names who call for negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan. Let us hope it stays on that track.

On another subject, after the Minister of Labour, the NDP has learned that the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has regularly used a private jet but has not disclosed his travelling expenses. These ministers have been caught in a flagrant cover-up and lack of transparency.

Can the Prime Minister tell us who else among his ministers is not complying with the Treasury Board rules on transparency?

Ministerial Expenses
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP has some problems with the facts.

The fact is that all the expenses of ministers do get disclosed in accordance with government policy.

What I like about these questions is that they give me the chance to compare the record of Conservative ministers with their predecessors in the Liberal government. In fact, members will find that the Minister of Transport has been very mindful of taxpayer dollars and spends a lot less. For example, on hospitality in his first year he spent $965. His Liberal predecessor spent $15,000 on wining and dining. Who is being responsible? It is the Conservative minister.

Ministerial Expenses
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite all the bravado, the facts are rather clear, and that is that it took the NDP to uncover these expenses.

The labour minister and the transport minister have tried to fly under the radar when it comes to revealing the expenses of their travel. It is pretty clear.

Arthur Shafer, director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba asked a very good question and I would like to ask the Prime Minister the same question.

If they are spending money in legitimate, appropriate and proper ways, they have nothing to fear from disclosing it. However, if it is appropriate, why are they not disclosing it? Why are they hiding it?

Ministerial Expenses
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, as I said, all these expenditures are disclosed in accordance with government policy. The leader of the NDP simply has his facts wrong.

However, I will stop picking on the Liberals for a change because this was a question from the NDP.

I did talk a few days earlier about his habit when he was at city council, even though he lived downtown, to use that chauffeur driven limousine 194 times in one year instead of his bicycle to get a few blocks to city hall, but I left one thing out. That was despite the fact that he had a free public transit pass at the same time. He was using a gas-guzzling limo instead of public transit. I cannot believe it.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, today five experts at the Standing Committee on Finance were unanimous about three things: the Minister of Finance should abandon his deductibility plan; he should also create a working group as recommended today by the Liberals; and he should focus on dumping the debt and not on double-dipping.

Will the Minister adopt the Liberal plan that was unanimously endorsed yesterday by five experts?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary—Nose Hill
Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, what the government has done is endorse recommendations from this House, from the public accounts committee, from the finance committee, from the Jack Mintz committee on business taxation and from the Auditor General to get rid of a loophole whereby the same expense can be deducted twice.

I do not know why the Liberals are against that, as far as the committee goes, to examine taxation. In fact, the Liberal Party is behind the curve because the government committed to do that in the budget two months ago.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the hon. member who is behind the curve. She should update herself from seven years ago.

Jack Mintz has abandoned the government and is opposing the government. The co-author with Jack Mintz is Allan Lanthier. Do members know what he said about the government plan? He said that it was the worst thing to come “out of Ottawa in 35 years”.

It is time she got her facts straight. Does she not understand? Everybody out there understands that the minister is out of his depth and that he is creating uncertainty and chaos. It is time to adopt the Liberal plan.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary—Nose Hill
Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, a great deal was left out in that torqued rhetoric. The fact is that many experts are saying that it is completely inconceivable that the Liberals would support a plan whereby the same deduction is claimed by a taxpaying corporation twice. The member knows that very well; in fact he himself said that these kinds of loopholes should be shut down.

I thought that was the Liberal plan. Why does the so-called plan keep changing every day?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to hear the member name one expert who endorses this plan. The finance minister is in the process of doing a reverse takeover on himself.

First he says that he is against all deductibility and then he says that he is not really against all deductibility, only if it is two years from now. He then changes his mind again and says “after 10 years but not a minute more”. Now that is really decisive.

Now he is saying that we should forget all interest deductibility, that he is against double-dipping. What the minister knows about double-dipping could be learned at the Dairy Queen.

Before the minister changes his mind again, and because this is a budget measure, will he table before the House a precise ways and means motion on what he means?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary—Nose Hill
Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would urge my friend opposite to read the budget in which the minister said very clearly that our government would make the tax system more fair so that we could reduce taxes for everyone, and that included double-dipping, double taxation reductions, claiming the same deduction twice for the same expense.

The minister also said that we would form a panel to advise on going after more loopholes and more tax havens, which is exactly what we are doing.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is the problem. We actually have read the budget, as have the witnesses at the finance committee today who were unanimous. They were all appalled by the budget provisions.

Amending the Income Tax Act, which was 14 years in the making, and amending 81 bilateral treaties without consultation, is unheard of and unthinkable.

Before the minister does more damage to the nation's finances and before he embarrasses himself further, will he table a precise ways and means motion in the House?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary—Nose Hill
Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member is well aware that the minister has made his intention with respect to this provision of the budget abundantly clear and will continue to do so until even the members opposite will finally get it.