House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The Budget
Statements By Members

February 27th, 2008 / 2:15 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in their budget, the Conservatives decided to put all their extra cash towards the debt. They increased military spending, maintained help to western oil companies and promoted nuclear development while entire sectors of Quebec's economy, hit by crises in the manufacturing and forestry sectors, are suffering because of Ottawa's laissez-faire attitude.

Workers have also been abandoned and many organizations were counting on this budget for a little help. It is true the Conservatives established a reserve for the employment insurance fund but they are endorsing pillage of the fund by refusing to return the $54 billion already drawn. This money belongs to workers and employers. The government must return it. Unemployed workers would also like to see the EI system improved.

Quebeckers want a change in direction and major gains for Quebec. Today they are disappointed and this budget does not come anywhere near reflecting their interests and values.

International Mother Language Day
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, on February 21 I was proud to celebrate International Mother Language Day with my constituents from all around the globe.

Mother languages are a powerful way to preserve and develop our heritage. Canada is proud of its diversity with so many mother languages, including those of our first nations.

International Mother Language Day is celebrated around the world but is not officially observed in Canada. We should work together to recognize this important part of our heritage and make Canada a world leader.

Rabi Alam, of my riding, helped me with Bill C-407, which I presented to recognize this day. I urge champions from all parties to come forward to show their support. Dhanwad.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Finance tabled one of the most fiscally responsible budgets in Canadian history.

It included an unprecedented incentive for Canadians to save with a tax-free savings account. This is the most important federally driven personal finance innovation since the introduction of RRSPs.

RRSPs are intended for retirement, but the tax-free savings account is like an RRSP for everything else in our lives. Canadians can save for anything from a first car or a home renovation to a family vacation.

Even Manitoba's NDP government likes it, so much so that it already announced that it will not apply provincial tax to the new federal government savings plan. To quote Manitoba's NDP finance minister, “these new accounts should be especially helpful in encouraging lower income Manitobans to save”.

There we have it. The federal Minister of Finance has demonstrated that his innovative management of the country's finances is not only great for Canadians but is something that all Canadians can appreciate.

Budget
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, thanks to a decade of hard work by Canadians and healthy Liberal management, this Conservative government inherited a solid financial situation, which it has squandered in two years.

Does the Prime Minister realize that the budget he delivered yesterday would not have been so modest if he had shown some leadership, vision and prudence in managing public funds and in the governance of Canada?

Budget
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the budget presented by the Minister of Finance is a prudent and focused budget.

What is more, there are a number of different things in our measures: we have increased spending in certain areas; we have cut taxes for Canadians, and we have also reduced the national debt.

I assume that is why the leader of the Liberal Party intends to allow this budget to pass.

Budget
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Alain Dubuc wrote in La Presse this morning that there is something missing in this budget and that something is a vision for the future and a firm grasp of economic issues. He said it lacks leadership.

The Globe and Mail this morning states, “After two years of free spending and big tax cuts”, the finance minister “is facing the consequences of almost emptying his own cupboard”.

Does the Prime Minister realize that this would not have been the case if he had shown vision, leadership and prudence in the management of the public purse and the governance of Canada?

Budget
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the budget demonstrates a focused and prudent approach in a period of economic difficulty. We have made important investments in some areas of spending. We have reduced taxes for Canadians and Canadian companies. We are paying down debt.

I want to talk about leadership, vision and credibility. Let me just say for the Leader of the Opposition that when he makes ferocious attacks on a budget that he has every intention of allowing to pass, he simply has no credibility in those attacks.

Budget
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in talking about a lack of credibility, the lack of credibility of the Prime Minister goes well over just the economy and permeates everything.

Let us look at the so-called climate change plan. The C.D. Howe Institute has said, “The government is likely to miss its 2020 emissions target by almost 200 megatonnes”.

Why does the Prime Minister not simply adopt a real plan, a plan that will work, the Liberal plan, Bill C-30, the climate change and clean air act that the government shamefully killed last fall?

Budget
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I could talk not just about the budget and the important environmental measures in the budget but also the Speech from the Throne. The government has been very clear about its plans and targets for the environment. Not only would I urge the leader of the Liberal Party to adopt them, but I would note that he already has, in fact, by endorsing the Speech from the Throne.

Once again, I would say for the leader of the Liberal Party that he should watch the Rick Mercer Report from last night. If he wants to have credibility, he should come out with a balanced assessment rather than making ferocious attacks on matters that he in fact intends to support.

Budget
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, in yesterday's budget, the government snuck in the cancellation of its disastrous ecoAuto rebate program. Canadians need to know just how disastrous it was.

It failed to incentivize the purchase of green vehicles. It had the perverse effect of increasing the market share for gas guzzlers. It burdened Canadian auto manufacturers with a competitive disadvantage.

Will the government now admit that the program was an egregious policy mistake that hurt both the environment and the auto industry?

Budget
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in budget 2007 the government committed $160 million over two years to provide incentives to Canadians to purchase and lease more fuel efficient vehicles. This was the government's commitment. In response to the program, manufacturers increased their offerings of fuel efficient vehicles in Canada.

The rebate program has served its purpose in raising consumer awareness of fuel efficient models and encouraging the purchase of new types of vehicles.

Budget
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is odd; he is praising a program that he is the process of cancelling. That makes no sense.

In 2005, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy found that the feebate program was not effective. But as always, the government ignored the experts. One year later, after losing time and wasting money, the government has just cancelled that ill-fated program.

Will the government now acknowledge that it was wrong and the experts were right?

Budget
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I will do no such thing. Our initiative helped change consumer behaviour. Furthermore, my hon. colleague seems to forget that in the budget that his party is going to support, $500 million will be allocated to a public transit trust and $250 million will help in the development of new technologies for the automobile sector.

Finally, let us not forget that this is the first government to implement a regulation for—

Budget
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

Budget
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec finance minister stated that the federal budget tabled yesterday “did not reflect Quebec’s priorities”. However, as Ms. Jérôme-Forget pointed out several times, the federal government has the financial latitude to help out the manufacturing and forestry sectors, as it did for the automobile industry in Ontario.

In view of the fact that the budget surplus for the current year will be $10.2 billion, will the Prime Minister finally decide to use some of this surplus to come to the assistance of the working people and companies affected by the crisis in manufacturing and forestry? He still has time to act and he certainly has the means.