House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 40th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economic.

Topics

Economic and Fiscal Statement
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot of talk about supporting people with RRIFs. I wonder if the members opposite could tell us why people who are on old age supplements could not be helped. We were told the other day that $100 a month for seniors on the old age supplement would eliminate about 80% to 85% of the poverty among seniors in the country.

Why did we not hear that from the government in its economic update and not just about people who have retirement savings?

Economic and Fiscal Statement
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, as a government we have done many things that address the retirement age group of people. The splitting of an income has created better opportunities. We have increased the level at which they can become tax free, and that continues to go up. We have actually increased seniors' ability to withdraw their RRIFs from 69 to 71, which was necessary at the time to help address some of the issues.

Not everyone has an answer in a day but what we have proposed to Canadians is very positive. I think that when they see our budget in January, Canadians will understand what we are trying to do and will support it.

Economic and Fiscal Statement
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, may I say that I will be sharing my time with...

Economic and Fiscal Statement
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

An hon. member

Stéphane Dion?

Economic and Fiscal Statement
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

I will be sharing my time with the member for Terrebonne—Blainville, and certainly not with the stranger across.

We have just come from an election; it was only 48 days ago. An election represents not only an opportunity but also a responsibility for members and candidates to go into their ridings; to talk with the people, to meet with social and economic groups, and all the different institutions. It is necessary to find out the real needs of the people; to learn about their hopes, but, above all, we must be able to identify solutions and take action to apply those solutions.

Of course, considering the election results; in the light of the government’s Speech from the Throne, and also the economic statement, it is obvious that the necessary and indeed essential work of talking to the people has not been done. I should allow for a caveat. If the work was done, the Conservatives did not listen. If, in fact, they did pay attention to the needs of their residents; if they did actually listen, their leader probably spoke louder than their own voters. If none of these things happened and they came forward with solutions other than the solutions proposed by the Bloc Québécois, it must be because they do not have any ridings like those in Quebec. Those are ridings that have Teflon protection, so that they are not affected by reality. However, I am sure the financial, economic and social problems affecting Quebec must also affect all of Canada.

Why then are they acting this way? Clearly, what they have presented to us is not an economic statement. It is really an ideological statement. It is an ideology that finds its roots in the tar sands. One can imagine what would grow there, what would come out of it and what the Conservatives are feeding on. That must really fog up their glasses, because we must recognize that the vision of this government is very, very short.

We have gone from one minority government to another. It is true that during the last election the Conservatives insisted it was their intention to elect a majority government. That was the reason they called the election. Now, having been denied that result, and frustrated at the fact that the great majority of voters said no to them—however, I should not exaggerate; there are limits to everything—they bring forward an economic statement that clearly shows how blind the government is to the need for urgent action. While all the governments in the world are taking action against the crisis, this Conservative Reform government—or Reform Conservative government, whatever you call it, it is the same thing—does exactly the opposite.

Economic and Fiscal Statement
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Economic and Fiscal Statement
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Let us talk about that, since I heard an echo from the distant prairies, by way of Quebec. Take the example of the person who did not go to talk to the people, or if he did go, did not listen to them. He is not aware of the needs of the people in his riding. He only repeats the policies of the Conservative reformers that he has been spreading throughout Quebec and he never stops hitting the people of Quebec over the head.

Instead of tabling a plan for economic recovery, rather than providing oxygen, the Prime Minister has chosen to suffocate the economy.

The Conservative leader decided to ignore businesses, regions and people. We cannot accept that. Instead of tackling the economic crisis, the Reform-Conservative government decided to provoke a democratic crisis for strictly partisan reasons by eliminating political party funding. The Prime Minister also decided to attack workers by suspending their right to strike, and to attack women by making the right to pay equity negotiable. It is easy to conclude that, in an attempt to more easily impose his ideology, the Prime Minister wants to suppress political parties, unions, women and all forms of opposition, including, primarily, the voice of the people.

See you later, Mr. Speaker.

Economic and Fiscal Statement
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

After question period, the hon. member will have four minutes to complete his remarks. Moving on to members' statements. The hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc.

Ted Rogers
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to a great Canadian icon who passed away today, Ted Rogers, founder and CEO of Rogers Communications.

Ted Rogers was one of a kind, a communications visionary, a business icon, an entrepreneur without equal, a philanthropist and a proud Canadian who was respected near and far.

Our nation's geography presents natural barriers to us as a people. The work of Ted Rogers in radio, cable and wireless helped bring us closer together. We must also remember his commitment to his community and to future generations, as exemplified by the School of Management at Ryerson University.

Ted Rogers was also a devoted family man. On behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada, we send our deepest condolences to his wife, Loretta, and his children, Edward, Lisa, Melinda and Martha.

At a difficult time such as this, it is especially important to remember Ted's enduring rallying call, “The best is yet to come”.

Conservative Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are witness to the spectacle of a Conservative Party doing everything it can to cling to power.

The Conservatives introduced an economic statement last Thursday. Since then, they have scrambled, panicked and raced away from it, with one cabinet minister topping the next in their rush to disavow, drop and abandon the proposals they claimed were vital to the interests of our country.

Canadians see the Conservative Party laid bare in its desperate quest to cling to power, so desperate that it has resorted to secretly taping the meetings of other parties. To the Conservatives, no policy is so important, no principle so sacrosanct, no law so unbreakable that it cannot be tossed on the trash heap as the Prime Minister digs his fingernails into the door frames of 24 Sussex Drive, trying to hold on when it is clear he can no longer govern.

When he was opposition leader, he used to claim that a government had to be able to face the House of Commons on a vote every day. Will the Conservatives face the House today?

Manufacturing Sector
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, in light of the recent economic statement, we are forced to admit that the Conservative government remains totally indifferent to the demands of the Bloc Québécois, which is calling for concrete actions to be taken to help the manufacturing sector.

The automotive industry is one of the hardest hit by the economic crisis. A number of companies will have no choice but to close down, and this is the case for a company in my riding. Dana, a car parts manufacturer in Magog, and one of the few still operating in Quebec, will have to cease operations and lay off 130 workers.

The government steadfastly refuses to do anything to help the workers who have fallen victim to the crisis in manufacturing. It ought to have broadened access to employment insurance and done away with the waiting period. As for assistance to companies, it ought, most definitely, to have offered incentives to purchase equipment, for example.

This House and the public have every reason to have lost confidence in this government.

Opposition Coalition Proposal
Statements By Members

December 2nd, 2008 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, on October 14, Canadians spoke with their votes. This government under this Prime Minister was re-elected with a clear and stronger mandate to address the global economic crisis.

Canadians rejected the Liberals, handing them their worst share of the vote since Confederation. Canadians rejected the NDP and its job-killing economics. Both the NDP and the Liberals rejected a coalition on the campaign trail.

Now they want to connive, aided and abetted by the separatist Bloc, to overturn the results of an election held only seven weeks ago. They want to impose a prime minister rejected by the people four to one and a coalition for which nobody voted. Worse still, the Liberals and the NDP will give the Bloc a separatist veto on all spending and national decisions.

We will use every legal means possible to keep the separatists out of power and keep Canada moving forward. This Conservative government is standing up for Canada.

Robert Jones
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, November 9, beloved Windsor Constable Robert Jones passed away after a difficult battle with liver disease.

A police officer for more than 20 years, he was best known for his work as a community service officer. He ran the force's VIP program, which brings officers to local schools to speak to grade six students and to organize police weeks. He was very popular with teachers and students throughout the city.

Under his leadership and initiative, the program was expanded beyond traditional public and separate schools to other private institutions for the first time. His involvement in the community included coaching basketball at the South West Francophone Basketball Association and L'Essor High School, where his son Xavier is on the team. His daughter, Bienka, attends Royal Military College on a basketball scholarship.

He will be missed by his wife, Nathalie, his children, siblings and the entire community. He was a true leader and police officer that inspired many children and guided others to more hopeful choices, a significant loss to all of us, but an example we shall always remember and aspire to be.

Conservative Party
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are witnessing the spectacle of the Conservative Party's efforts to keep power within its grasp.

The government has had its chance. All parties in the House have promised to work together for the good of the Canadian economy. The Prime Minister had the opportunity, a unique opportunity in the history of this country, to proceed with measures that would have had the support of every party in this House. Instead, the Prime Minister has used the economic crisis as a pretext to impose right-wing policies, policies he did not have the courage to present during the last election campaign.

Everywhere in the country workers are losing their jobs, particularly in manufacturing and forestry. Yet the Prime Minister's main concern has been to wonder how he could use the situation to the advantage of the Conservative Party and its ideology. That was his main concern.

The country needed someone to deal with the economy, but thePrime Minister is preoccupied with politics. That is why he has lost the moral authority to govern, and that is also why he has lost the confidence of Canadians.

Opposition Coalition Proposal
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, on September 9, 2004, the three opposition leaders wrote to Her Excellency, stating that if the House failed to support the government, she should consult the opposition before dissolving the House. However, that is where the parallel with today's situation ends.

The September 9 letter was issued almost a month prior to the recall of the House and served to successfully pressure Paul Martin to amend the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne rather than to lose office to a coalition. All talk of coalition vanished from the moment the Address in Reply had been approved.

At the start of 2005, when the opposition again threatened to bring down the government, everyone understood that the only possible result would have been a dissolution.

The timeline in 2004-05 was only marginally longer than the one facing us today. Thus, as yesterday, I submit that if the House votes no confidence in the government, it will be against precedent for the opposition coalition to take power and, thus, new elections will be the only constitutionally permissible outcome.