House of Commons Hansard #149 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was gasoline.

Topics

Finance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, in budget 2007 the minister announced measures that almost everybody believes might cripple Canada's capacity to compete and grow overseas.

Faced with an uproar, he has now backed down and claims he was only trying to address questionable tax havens. This is just unbelievable incompetence.

When will the minister admit that he has made a $1 billion mistake and start helping Canadian businesses actually succeed in the global marketplace?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the member opposite to read page 223 of the budget and he will see that we have targeted tax havens. That is precisely the target that we have, just as it was the target on income trusts.

We on this side of the House believe in tax fairness. Ordinary Canadians work almost six months of the year and get their T-4 slips, and have to pay their full share of taxes. So should Canadian corporations, no matter how they operate. No double dipping; no tax havens.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, what I do not understand is the minister has already admitted publicly he is going to have to change what is in the budget. Why does he not come out and say so?

This government is doing nothing to prevent foreign takeovers of Canadian companies. The CEO of Manulife Financial has said that if takeovers continue at this rate, we will wake up one morning and realize that our country has lost control of its business activity.

Will the minister take action and do something to counter this threat?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again, the member opposite ought to have a look at the facts. We have one large Canadian corporation right now in negotiations to acquire a very large United Kingdom company. Is the member opposite saying that we should interfere in that transaction, when major Canadian corporations are making acquisitions abroad?

Does he realize that the level of activity by Canadian corporations abroad far exceeds what is happening the other way around? Does he want us to impose restrictions that are not reciprocal with other countries in the world? Is that what he suggests as a remedy in the Canadian corporate world for competitiveness? I think not.

The Environment
Oral Questions

May 8th, 2007 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we have proof that the government's so-called green plan was tailor made for the oil companies. An Environment Canada document reveals that the oil sands sector will be able to continue to increase its air pollution emissions, while all other industrial sectors will have to work to reduce them.

How can the Prime Minister justify this exemption, which, in fact, is a privilege he is granting exclusively to his friends in the oil sector?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for the first time in our history, the federal government is going to establish mandatory fixed targets for the reduction of air pollution in Canada. This will include not only other companies, but also companies in the oil sands sector. I would like to point out that there are no exemptions for companies in the energy sector, although I must say, the leader of the Bloc Québécois is looking rather full of energy today.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like him to follow my example and be more energetic when it comes to the oil companies.

He is asking the pulp and paper and manufacturing sectors to make an effort, while he proposes intensity targets that favour the oil companies. Does he realize that he is once again helping the poor Alberta oil companies to the detriment of the manufacturing sector, particularly in Quebec?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not at all the case. For the first time in the history of Canada, we have the highest targets in the world, targets to reduce air pollution by 50%. This is the first time that a government has been willing to tackle this serious problem for the health of Canadians.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at an information session, the department's officials were unable to justify this preferential treatment for tar sands and stated that it was a political decision. A Sierra Club representative said, “There are no technological reasons....this government is trying to defend an oil industry that just wants to continue polluting. That is favouritism”.

Can the Minister of the Environment explain why the tar sands is the only industrial sector that will be able to continue increasing its emissions of air pollutants?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not at all the case. We are prepared to take action to reduce air pollution. All major industries in Canada are covered by our regulatory plan. That is mandatory. With our plan, we will reduce tar sands pollution by 50%, if we do not follow in the Liberal Party footsteps and if we do not adopt the same policy. That is good news for those who wish to reduce air pollution and it is good news for all Canadians.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is evident today that the plan is just playing to the gallery. It requires that all sectors contribute, with the exception of oil companies and tar sands developments. They are still being allowed to deduct accelerated depreciation and, rather than having fixed targets, they are being offered intensity targets.

Can the government deny that the oil companies are so pleased with the plan that they might as well have written it themselves?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

No, Mr. Speaker.

Corporate Takeovers
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, our economic gems are being sold to foreign interests and the government is ignoring the issue. In every sector, businesses of various sizes are sold or taken over: Abitibi, Labatt, Dofasco, Ipsco, Seagram, The Bay, even the Montreal Canadiens are now owned by American interests.

Then there is Van Houtte and the imminent takeover of Alcan, by Alcoa. Our country is losing everything. When will the Prime Minister act to protect Canada?

Corporate Takeovers
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if there is such a takeover, a statutory review will be conducted to see if there is a net benefit to Canada. Of course, this government intends to assume its responsibilities.

Corporate Takeovers
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact is the rules in place are not adequate to protect Canadian jobs when these foreign takeovers take place. I invite the Prime Minister to come down and meet some of the workers at the factories that have been closed because of precisely this sort of practice.

When we start looking at the companies that are disappearing, one would think the Prime Minister would take some notice. Instead, the Conservatives are looking the other way, and people are losing their jobs.

Will the Prime Minister finally stand up for Canada, put his foot down, use the rules he has to put the brakes on this and bring new rules forward that will protect Canadian jobs and Canadian communities for once?