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 economy.

Topics

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the auto sector has greatly suffered from the government's poor management of the economy and chronic neglect.

Guelph's economy is dependent upon the good jobs that come from a prosperous automotive and auto parts industry. Under the Conservatives, tens of thousands of good jobs have been lost, a situation that could have been avoided if they had a plan.

While the minister is on the road without a plan, auto workers are on the streets without a job. When will we see some real action?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the global auto industry is facing unprecedented circumstances and the North American integrated automotive industry is no different.

The situation is changing daily. The minister is down in the U.S. right now talking to stakeholders. He has met with stakeholders here in Canada over the past couple of weeks.

The solution here needs to be a carefully considered one with a long-term view to the interests of Canadian consumers, Canadian workers, Canadian businesses and Canadian taxpayers. Any decision taken will be carefully considered in that regard.

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne proposes no changes to help the environment. Worse still, the Conservative government seems to want to retain its plan for greenhouse gas emissions, a plan that has been criticized.

Does the minister realize that he is going against a majority of Quebeckers who want the reference year to be 1990, as in the Kyoto protocol, not 2006, and that his Conservative ideology is hurting Quebec's economic development and its manufacturing sector, just so he can please the oil and gas companies?

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate all members. We are prepared to work with all members of the House of Commons.

We have reiterated our intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and President-elect Obama has already confirmed that he intends to do the same. I think the Bloc Québécois, the President-elect and the Government of Canada are all on the same page. I sincerely hope so.

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, as an Albertan, I was horrified to learn yesterday of the government's plans to destroy the very foundation of federal environmental protection. At the same time it is fast-tracking the extraction of fossil fuels, including in our fragile Arctic.

The government has been given no mandate to abandon the careful work to protect our environment. I ask the minister to explain to this House why he is embarking on this dangerous course.

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the hon. member to the House as an Albertan and as an Albertan I feel it is our responsibility in government to balance the environment and the economy.

In the time ahead there is the dynamic of a new president elected in the United States, one who has spoken with clarity and determination about environmental policies. In addition, in the coming year at Copenhagen, the world community will deal with an international protocol to supersede the Kyoto protocol.

I invite my hon. friend to work with us. If she has constructive ideas about this, I welcome them.

Democratic Reform
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State (Democratic Reform). Earlier this week, the government of Saskatchewan introduced legislation that would give the people of Saskatchewan a democratic voice in the upper chamber. Yesterday, during the throne speech, the government highlighted its commitment to Senate reform.

Could the minister indicate whether the federal government supports the initiative taken by Saskatchewan? Could he also indicate how the Conservative government intends to implement its commitments to reform in the upper chamber?

Democratic Reform
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia
Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, our government has congratulated the government of Saskatchewan for its historic step in allowing the people of Saskatchewan to take a proactive role in consulting the people of Saskatchewan in who should represent them.

We believe we should ensure that our institutions are in line with the 21st century. That is why we will introduce legislation to allow Canadians to have a say in who will represent them in the Senate. We will introduce legislation to limit the terms to eight years in the upper House and we will ensure that they—

Equalization
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Independent

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, less than a year ago the government legislated a second equalization formula for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, which includes a locked-in, guaranteed 3.5% annual increase for every year until 2020. However, the throne speech indicates that a cap may be applied to limit equalization increases.

Will the Minister of Finance assure Nova Scotia and Newfoundland that they will receive the full 3.5% guaranteed increase every year, even if the economy as a whole increases only 1% or even zero?

Equalization
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when I met with my provincial and territorial colleagues some weeks ago, we provided them with the equalization numbers for next year, including, regrettably, the province of Ontario. We made it clear that equalization itself, leaving aside other aspects of transfers to the provinces, would not grow faster than the rate of growth in the economy, that is nominal GDP. The ministers, while not welcoming that, understood that in a time of a financial crisis we cannot have a program like equalization growing on average at about 15% per annum.

Oral Questions
Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to deal with something that happened during question period. I would like to know if there was a problem with interpretation when my colleague and House Leader of the Bloc Québécois, the member for Joliette, asked a supplementary question. My colleague was directing a question to the Minister of Finance on retirees who are worried about their savings literally evaporating because of the economic crisis and it was the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development who gave us a canned answer about employment insurance. Her reply had nothing to do with the question about retirees' savings directed to the Minister of Finance.

Oral Questions
Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member, having been in the chamber for quite some time and being the opposition whip for the Bloc Québécois, is well aware of the Standing Orders. It is the government that decides who gets up to answer which questions.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

November 20th, 2008 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, this has to do with House business. I would be interested to have from the government House leader his forecast of the agenda going forward.

As I ask him this question, the first time I have had to ask the so-called Thursday question in this new Parliament, I want to congratulate the government House leader on his new appointment and hope that the relationship among House leaders is one that works well as we go forward.

Could he provide to the House the information that is usually given about the game plan for next week? I note that the Minister of Finance indicated a certain time for the economic statement next Thursday afternoon at four o'clock. I wonder if that means that what remains of the throne speech debate would carry over then into the Friday of next week. Could the House leader tell us if that is his intention?

Specifically, on the economic statement, could he indicate if a decision has been taken yet as to whether the statement will be delivered in a parliamentary committee, or in the House in committee of the whole, or as a statement by a minister or in some other venue altogether?

Could he also say whether there will be a briefing provided to members of the opposition before the presentation of the statement so it can be treated with the seriousness that it deserves, given the gravity of Canadian economic circumstances at the present time?

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I also congratulate the official opposition House leader for his reappointment to that position. I look forward to working with him and the House leaders of the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party in the days, weeks, months and hopefully years ahead as we work productively on the part of Canadians in this 40th Parliament.

I will get to quite a number of questions that the hon. member had in relation to the economic and fiscal update later on in my short statement.

First, Mr. Speaker I thank you and congratulate you on being re-elected to serve this House as our Speaker. I also congratulate all members of Parliament who were fortunate enough to be given the opportunity by their voters to serve their constituents in this 40th Parliament. I believe it is a great honour to be given that trust and we must be mindful of how we keep that trust and conduct ourselves accordingly.

I want to reassure you, Mr. Speaker, that you will have my co-operation in your efforts to run a smooth and productive House of Commons. I trust that all members will work together in an effort to bring more civility to our debates. I am greatly encouraged at the demeanour and the decorum that we witnessed today in the question period. I do not know whether it was evident to viewers watching the telecast at home, but the noise level was considerably lower than when we left last June.

Hopefully, and I mean this sincerely, all parties and all 308 members will work diligently to ensure that that continues to be the case. Perhaps we can even build on that and truly bring a new level and degree of civility to our chamber.

Today through next Thursday the government will be communicating its commitment to provide strong leadership during these difficult times through the debate on the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne.

Due to a special order adopted earlier today, we will be voting at the end of the day Monday on the subamendment to the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne. The plan would then be to vote on the amendment on Tuesday and dispose of the main question on Thursday, November 27.

Hopefully this will be accomplished by adopting the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne because this will be a confidence matter.

As the finance minister announced today, the economic fiscal update will be delivered on Thursday, November 27 at 4:00 p.m. It is our hope that the statement will be delivered in the House, but I would indicate for all my House leader colleagues that the details are open to negotiation.

I am very pleased with the relationship that we have developed so far and I will be looking for their co-operation to see that the finance minister could deliver this at the appropriate time in the chamber. I will be working with them to work out all the details to that.

The House resumed consideration of the motion for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.