House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was afghanistan.

Topics

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, in the throne speech the government was absolutely clear on its targets for greenhouse gas reductions, a reduction of 20% going forward to 2020, and 60% to 70% until 2050. The government has been very clear and is now developing the details of its plan in that regard.

The Leader of the Opposition should be aware of those targets and aware of that plan because it was he who assisted the passage of the throne speech.

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
Oral Questions

February 25th, 2008 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have tried to work with the government on Afghanistan. We have also tried to work with it to restart the Chalk River reactor, and it was not such a happy experience.

The government promised to guarantee the authority of Canada's nuclear regulator, but no sooner had we passed the legislation than the regulator was fired. Now we begin to understand why.

Will the minister admit that he fired Ms. Keen in order to pave the way for the privatization of AECL?

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands
B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. With respect to Ms. Keen, I will not comment on that. It is before the court.

Our government launched a review of AECL well before any of these events took place.

What is interesting is members opposite cannot make up their minds. One day they say that they want us to act sooner. The next day they say that we should not have acted at all. They do not know what they stand for. They change their minds from one week to the next.

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has to tell Canadians the truth about its plans for Atomic Energy of Canada. The minister must answer—and truly answer this time—a very simple question.

Will he admit that he bent the nuclear safety rules to make Atomic Energy of Canada appear more attractive to private investors?

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands
B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, that is absolute nonsense coming from the other side. When we were faced with a situation in early December, the government took reasonable steps, and ultimately had the support of every political party, to ensure the health and safety of all Canadians by resuming the production of medical isotopes.

The hon. member and the party opposite do not know what they stand for. One day they say that we should not have acted. The next day they say that we did not act soon enough. They say that they support Bill C-38. The following week they change their minds. They say that they are not sure if they should have done so. They do not know where they stand.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, regardless of tomorrow's budget, there is a $10.6 billion surplus for this fiscal year. A report published by the Desjardins movement last week concluded that not all of the surplus should be put toward the debt and that some of it should be used to stimulate the economy. A few days later, the Bank of Montreal came to the same conclusion.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, although it is important to pay down the debt, it is also important to meet the needs of the people, especially during an economic slowdown?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has already done significant spending and investing in a number of areas. We have also cut taxes for businesses and individuals. Furthermore, we have targets for the national debt. It is important to maintain a balanced approach and that is what the government intends to do.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, cutting taxes for companies that are not making a profit is not balanced: this helps the oil companies and does nothing for the manufacturing and forestry industries, absolutely nothing.

With a $10.6 billion surplus for this fiscal year, the Prime Minister has room to manoeuvre without creating a deficit, we are talking about a surplus. If this surplus is not used by March 31, the whole thing will be put toward the debt.

Would it not be better to use that money not just for the debt, but also for addressing the problem in the manufacturing and forestry industries and for helping the workers affected by this crisis?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc leader is absolutely wrong. In reality, this government has cut taxes for everyone, not just for certain companies, but for every company in the country, for families and for individuals.

Quebeckers supported the GST reduction and the personal income tax reductions. Exporters and manufacturers in Quebec supported the reductions offered to companies. There will be an $8 billion cut for the manufacturers, including $2 billion for Quebec manufacturers.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, by talking about the deficit and a balanced approach to the surplus in the same sentence, the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister are trying to hide their obsession with paying off the debt at the expense of the needs of the economy. With a $10.6 billion surplus, it is ridiculous to even mention the deficit. Instead, the minister should listen to the CSN, the FTQ, the manufacturers and financial institutions, which are calling for real balance that will allow the debt to be repaid as well as allow improvements to the assistance plan for the manufacturing and forestry sectors.

Will the minister act responsibly and respond to the Quebec consensus?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting question coming from my friend across the way.

I am not one who wants to pass on to my children and grandchildren the kind of debt that the Liberals passed on to us. That is not the way this government will go forward.

We are balancing a budget. I am looking forward to tomorrow when we will once again have the finance minister table a balanced budget in this House that will act upon reducing the debt and will support communities.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the last thing we need is such a vaudeville act between the Liberals and the Conservatives. What we need is action for the economy.

Quebec has lost nearly 150,000 jobs in the manufacturing and forestry sectors in five years, half of which have been lost under this Conservative government.

Will the minister take the only responsible action he can under such circumstances, that is, concrete action to address the crisis in the manufacturing and forestry sectors? Tomorrow is budget day and we must know as soon as possible.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I might remind the hon. member that in January alone there were 7,200 new jobs created in Quebec. I know he is concerned about job losses as we all are, but 7,200 new jobs have been created. These are high value jobs.

That is because this government took steps last fall in our economic statement to provide incentive for industries to keep hiring, to grow jobs, and to grow the economy.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the representatives of the government say, if we go to cities across this country and spend time with the people who work in the economy to build it, we will find that thousands of them are being thrown out of work by the policies of the government. They have absolutely no hope.

Why? It is because the government has already picked the winners: the big banks, the oil companies. They are getting all the help. Meanwhile, manufacturing, forestry and the middle class are getting squeezed.

Why do we not see some action from the Prime Minister that would be focused on helping the people in this country who really need it, instead of those who have so much already?