House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 40th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was speech.

Topics

Manufacturing Industry
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have acted, of course. We acted well over a year ago. The cumulative effect on the economy is 1.4% of GDP stimulus this year. Some of the provinces have joined us in reducing taxes on businesses. Next year the stimulus in the economy will be about 2%.

To put that in context, that is among the highest in the G-7 in terms of the stimulus we have already built into the economy structurally. This is very important for businesses. We will have the federal business tax rate to 15% by 2012. Many of the provinces will get to 10% by then. That is a 25% business tax rate. That is a great way to brand Canada, attract investment--

Manufacturing Industry
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

Manufacturing Industry
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the workers in St. Catharines and Oakville are very happy with that answer. Canada knows that the government's past decisions have put several nails in the coffin of the forestry industry and now the government's poor fiscal management has paralyzed it in the face of the problems and the challenges facing our manufacturers.

Today the U.S. senate is putting forward concrete proposals to help auto workers in that country. Why is it, what it is about the government and what will it take to make it finally act to protect manufacturers, jobs and workers in this country where that sector is even more important?

Manufacturing Industry
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Geography is important, too, Mr. Speaker. In fact, St. Catharines re-elected a Conservative member. Oakville, the home of Ford Motor Company, elected a Conservative member. The good people of Oshawa re-elected a Conservative member. We have acted with respect to the auto industry over the years, which is why there is a--

Manufacturing Industry
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The time has expired.

The hon. member for Honoré-Mercier.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the governments of France, Great Britain, the United States, and even China, did not waste any time when the current crisis began. They quickly took decisive action to safeguard their economy, in order to protect savings and workers. What did our government do? Absolutely nothing. They were asleep at the switch, so to speak.

In the spirit of openness and cooperation, we will give them another chance. Will they introduce a plan now?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

As I said a moment ago, Mr. Speaker, in the first two and a half years of our government we created a stimulus that this year alone in the Canadian economy is $21 billion, which is 1.4% of GDP. This is not a temporary stimulus as the Americans did. All that accomplished in the United States was one-quarter of significant real GDP growth and then it fell down badly in the next quarter.

We have not seen that in Canada. What we have seen is the influence in our real economy of those tax policies. This is not the time to increase the GST, as the Leader of the Opposition suggested this morning. This is not the time to raise taxes. We have lowered taxes and we are going to keep them low to encourage--

Finance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Honoré-Mercier.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the past is any indication, let us see where we stand. They started by betraying our forestry workers; they signed a sellout agreement that was a disaster; and members will remember when the Conservatives were boasting about the strength of the dollar, while our paper mills and manufacturing companies were shutting down. Then, they decided to cut subsidies for our artists. Now, shows are being cancelled and jobs have been lost.

So, the question is: what sectors of the economy will they go after now?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, of course the goal is to have increasing economic growth in Canada. I say to the member opposite, this is a serious situation. It is a serious situation in Canada, as well. If any members in the House have any constructive suggestions of ways in which the economy could be stimulated in addition to the tax reductions that we have already made, then I welcome them. Quite frankly, I think that is what Canadians expect of us when we come back after an election in a time of serious economic slowdown.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a time of economic uncertainty, in a time when Canadians are having to watch their pocketbooks closely and to manage their own household spending carefully, would the President of the Treasury Board tell the House what this Conservative government is doing to demonstrate leadership with respect to responsible spending practices and fiscal restraint?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we committed in budget 2007 to fundamentally change the way government operates. Over the last two years we have implemented a new approach to government spending to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent as carefully and as effectively as possible. In fact, we have reviewed 17 federal organizations over the last year resulting in $180 million of savings. A second round of reviews is now under way. These reviews ensure that government programs provide value for money and are focused on Canadians' priorities. Canadians expect no less.

Parliamentary Budget Officer
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, the Prime Minister stated loud and clear that the parliamentary budget officer is an independent position. However, there are some people here, in the highest circles, who want to silence him.

If the Prime Minister is sincere, is he ready to defend this institution by proposing legislative amendments to guarantee his independence, without interference?

Parliamentary Budget Officer
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we created an independent position. But this position was approved by Parliament, which is responsible for managing it.

Parliamentary Budget Officer
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike the Minister of Finance, Mr. Kevin Page, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, is here to tell Canadians the truth about the economy.

If the Prime Minister truly believes that an order-in-council appointee can be bossed around by other people, perhaps it is time for a change. Why, in that case, does the Prime Minister not help us fix the accountability act immediately by bringing forward legislation to guarantee his independence for the future?