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

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. Just because the member for Kings—Hants used the name does not mean that everybody has to use it at the same time. We need to have some order so we can hear the Minister of Finance in his reply.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

It is difficult, Mr. Speaker, to take this sort of suggestion from that particular member.

Under the Liberal government, spending grew an average of 8.3% annually over its last five years. In fact, in the Liberal government's last year, spending grew by 14.8% and then it had the so-called surprise surpluses at the end of every year which it would treat as if it were Liberal money and not taxpayer money every year with its March madness spending.

It is not surprising that the Liberals confuse taxpayer money with Liberal Party moneys. It has happened before.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Bank of Canada has now confirmed that the likelihood of Canada being in a recession is around the corner. With consumer prices plummetting in the United States at record rates, deflation is also looming. Yesterday, however, the minister suggested that his economic statement coming next week would include no new stimulus action plan.

At a time when we need real action, when will we hear and when will Canadians hear from the minister what his plan actually is?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, surely it is passing strange when one member of the official opposition gets up and says that we spend too much and then the next member gets up and says that we are not spending enough.

I know there is an economic team over there that will get together and talk about this and come up with a theme and some suggestions. When they do, and I mean this in a cooperative way, I would love to hear their suggestions about the manner in which we can stimulate the economy.

The G-20 leaders and the G-20 finance ministers agreed on that.

This is a serious situation and we welcome their suggestions.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the last time I checked that was the government and we need to hear its action plan.

The fact is that there was a 25% increase in spending over four years and look at where we are. We are about to walk into a deficit.

The Speech from the Throne does not mention any plans to protect retirees or any help for seniors who will be forced to withdraw up to 40% of their RRIFs to be able to pay their taxes.

Where is the minister's plan to protect retirees and help seniors get through this crisis?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I will respond to the specific question about seniors. One specific concern that has been raised is the obligation that people have to move money from RRSPs to RRIFs at age 71. We moved the age from 69 to 71. It is true that the transfer can be made in kind. One does not have to sell the asset. However, it is also true that some of our financial institutions have not been making that crystal clear to their customers.

I am writing to them today asking them to clarify that and to ensure those transfers in kind can be made within those financial institutions at no cost to the customers.

Securities Commission
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to understand why the Minister of Finance would insist on setting up a single securities commission even though the National Assembly of Quebec unanimously opposed the plan and an OECD analysis showed the existing regime to be among the best in the world.

Why does the Minister of Finance want to dismantle a system that is working well? Is he making up excuses to further concentrate financial power in Toronto?

Securities Commission
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we believe that the constitutional jurisdictions of each level of government must be respected. Setting up a panel of experts to advise the government on how to proceed is a necessary measure that will lay the foundation for future dialogue. We expect to receive Mr. Hockin's report in January.

Securities Commission
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the OECD considers Canada's existing passport system for securities to be one of the most secure in the world, and the European Union even has a similar system.

Instead of making things up to justify changing a system that works well, will the minister admit that what he really wants to do is concentrate what is left of Quebec and the provinces' financial autonomy in Toronto?

Securities Commission
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, any new system would respect regional differences in Canada.

In the course of the past year, we have had to deal with the non-bank backed, asset backed commercial paper issue. It is not yet finalized. This is a serious issue involving $32 billion or $33 billion of Canadians' money.

The regulation was the responsibility largely of the provinces and the territories, not the Government of Canada, but who gets called upon in crises is the Government of Canada to deal with these issues on behalf of Canadians. This is a gap in our system of regulation that the crisis that we are going through points out it is necessary to fill.

Culture
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, faced with the outcry prompted by the cuts to cultural programs, the former Minister of Heritage made a clumsy attempt to smooth things over by promising that the programs that had been eliminated would be replaced. Now the new Minister of Heritage is saying that those programs will not be replaced. And on top of that, the Speech from the Throne speaks volumes in its silence on this subject.

Can the Prime Minister explain why he is continuing to deny the arts and cultural communities the resources they need, when this is a dynamic industry and one that is essential to the economy?

Culture
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the accusation made by the member opposite is completely false. In the past, during our first term, our government increased spending on arts and culture by 8%. We spend $3.2 billion on arts and culture in this country. In the past, the Bloc Québécois voted against those increases. They were the ones who voted against them. We have increased them in the past. We are accountable to the taxpayers and it was the Bloc who voted against artists, not us.

Culture
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the increases in heritage spending went to sports, and cultural industries actually got a $45 million cut.

When you attack culture and artists in this way, you attack the very foundations of the Quebec nation. Culture is certainly not negligible in economic terms. It provides 314,000 jobs in Quebec, and it produces nearly $85 billion in economic benefits in Canada, accounting for 7.4% of GDP.

Once again, why this attack on an industry that is so important to the economy?

Culture
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we are not attacking anything. We have increased spending by 8%. Her statement that we gave that money to sports is false. That is false. We gave that money to the torch relay so that francophone communities outside Quebec could be involved in the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. That is because we understand that there are francophones outside Quebec. We, a national party, are the ones who understand Quebec, who understand Canada, and who understand francophones in all regions of this country.

Manufacturing Industry
Oral Questions

November 20th, 2008 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's persistent lack of urgency in coming to the aid of our manufacturers is yet another example of its poor management of our economy. Many of the 160,000 lost jobs could have been avoided if only the government were not so stubborn in its refusal to act on the workers' behalf.

What is it about the government, those members and the Prime Minister that makes them refuse to act to help families and workers when their jobs are in jeopardy?