House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Quebec Nation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

Quebec Nation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, he himself said that the government had to give more meaning to recognizing the Quebec nation. He even talked about putting it into the Constitution. However, today, he is telling us that the fruit is not yet ripe. The Conservative Party has been here for 141 years, and now they are telling us that the fruit is not yet ripe. The problem is not with the fruit; the problem is that the tree itself is rotten.

We have some pretty simple suggestions that do not require constitutional change. For example, the government could recognize that French is Quebec's official language and should be the language of work in banking and telecommunications, even though those sectors fall under the federal code.

Quebec Nation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, our predecessor, the Liberal Party, was always unbending and not open to Quebec. Our vision is completely different. All Quebeckers dream of the day when these elements—the nation, UNESCO, issues about resolving the fiscal imbalance and restricting federal spending power—will be part of the Constitution. For that to happen, all of the provinces must agree; there must be consensus. For the time being, the fruit is not ripe.

Quebec Nation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, even though the Conservatives have been in this House for 141 years, the fruit is not yet ripe? The government can act right now. Recognizing Quebec as a nation has to be more than just a symbolic gesture. The Bloc Québécois has proposed a number of ways of giving tangible expression to the recognition of the Quebec nation, and it is open to other proposals and willing to consider other gestures.

The government can and must act now. It must move from talk to action. Does the government realize that it has no reason to wait and that it can recognize the Quebec nation in a tangible way now?

Quebec Nation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, every day in this House, the government is taking action to promote open federalism.

Hon. members will recall that the last time the Bloc Québécois had the opportunity to support a budget brought down by my colleague, the Minister of Finance—which was not so long ago—the Bloc decided to vote against that budget. And what did that budget do? It eliminated the millennium scholarships. How can people have confidence in the Bloc?

Quebec Nation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's finance minister, Ms. Jérôme-Forget, has criticized the federal budget. How can people have confidence in the Conservative members from Quebec?

Again yesterday, the Conservative government missed a perfect opportunity to show that it was working for Quebec by voting for the Bloc Québécois motion, which would have marked a step toward recognizing the Quebec nation by allowing the Charter of the French Language to apply to employees of federally regulated businesses.

Yesterday, by voting against our motion, the Conservatives showed that recognizing the Quebec nation was nothing but an election ploy, just like the proposal by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

Quebec Nation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is continuing to raise his voice, but that does not make him any more convincing.

In the end, people know that it is this government that is accomplishing things for Quebec. We corrected the fiscal imbalance, we increased transfers to Quebec and we gave Quebec a seat at UNESCO. We are taking action, while the eternal leader of the Bloc Québécois continues to gad about.

Quebec Nation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Quebec Nation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

Yes, he is the eternal leader of the Bloc, even though for 24 hours he did leave us for Quebec City.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we understand why the Prime Minister's Office interfered in the U.S. primaries. By damaging Obama's campaign and undermining his position on NAFTA, the government had hoped it could avoid reopening NAFTA.

We learn that instead of trying to seize the opportunity to improve environmental standards and working conditions, the Minister of International Trade is trying to prevent such improvements. Nonetheless, he said the opposite to the representative from Maine.

What is the government's position? Does it want to reopen NAFTA or not?

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, we understand that the leader of the NDP thinks that free trade has not been good for Canada. He apparently has not noticed the hundreds of thousands of new jobs that have been created as a result of that and the fact that our economy has prospered over the years. We understand that the NDP wants to go back to the old ways of fortresses against the rest of the world.

We believe Canadians can succeed. We have the best things to offer and our history and track record show that is, indeed, the case.

We intend to continue with NAFTA. We think it is providing great benefits for Canada, for the Americans, for the Mexicans. We have all become more prosperous and more secure and everyone's standard of living has risen as a result.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we want to hear a clear statement from the government on whether or not NAFTA will be renegotiated and whether it is willing to do the right thing for the environment and for the hard-working families in this country. We are dealing with a minister who is the same old, floor-crossing minister who signed the softwood sellout where hundreds of working families are losing their jobs, as we speak, across this country.

The fact is that there is a golden opportunity here to work with our friends across the border to fix a trade deal that is not working for working families. Will the government do it, yes or no?

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that NAFTA has been working very well for working families in Canada. We have no intention of scrapping that. We know there is a party in the House of Commons that said that it would scrap it if it ever got into power and that when it got into power, which is the only thing it is ever interested in doing, it did not bother to scrap it at all and kept it. The reason they kept it is that it is good for Canada.

Since we became the government, guess what, things have been getting even better on the economy. Since we became government, nearly 800,000 new jobs for Canadians, good, high paying, permanent and full time jobs almost all of them. The strong economy has allowed us to reduce the GST to 5% to help every individual in Canada, working families, everybody alike.

Immigration
Oral Questions

April 2nd, 2008 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister is trying to cut corners by introducing sweeping immigration changes through a budget implementation bill. She plans to fix an over 900,000 case backlog with a meagre 1% departmental increase in funding.

Why has the minister failed to convince her cabinet colleagues, the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister, that immigration is important to this country?

Will the minister admit in the House, as she did in committee, that she does not have enough resources to get her job done?

Immigration
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we are making real steps, real steps the Liberals certainly did not make, to cut the backlog, to get more people here faster, to get families here faster and to get skilled workers here sooner.

We are putting new resources toward this, $22 million over the first two years and up to $37 million the year after that. However, it is not enough just to throw money at it and put ourselves back into deficit, as the Liberals would have us do. We need to do it better and smarter, which is why I am so pleased that the Liberal Party is supporting the budget where these changes are coming forward.