House of Commons Hansard #103 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite the finance minister's effort to avoid the question and the fact that he has it backwards, in the first quarter of this year, the U.S. economy actually grew and Canada's shrank.

I will remind the finance minister that two quarters of shrinkage make a recession. Canada's economy is not okay. According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence has plummeted.

How can we trust anything the minister or the government says or does about the Canadian economy?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is regrettable to see a new member of Parliament so pessimistic about our country.

We have 120,000 new jobs, more than 19,000 new jobs in the month of April alone. The labour picture in Canada is strong. It is strong all across Canada. When I met with the finance ministers on Thursday and Friday, I heard about labour shortages from coast to coast in Canada.

The economy is strong. It will get stronger as we go forward. The economic fundamentals are strong in Canada.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, environmentalists, the business community and the premiers of Ontario and Quebec are all calling for the same thing: a carbon exchange based on fixed targets, with 1990 as the reference year. They are unanimously criticizing the Conservative plan, and Jean Charest is even asking Ottawa to change its approach.

Rather than attacking Quebec and Ontario, will the minister immediately respond favourably to their call?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear for the past year: we support fixed targets for greenhouse gases reductions.

Last year we were very proud to announce our plan of action to regulate major polluters. We were also pleased to announce, on March 10, the details of our plan. And we were very pleased, following the announcement of the details of our plan, that the carbon exchange opened on Friday in Montreal. I am very proud to have been invited to speak at that event.

We are taking action and we are finding real solutions for the environment.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister is turning a deaf ear to the requests and warnings from Luc Bertrand of the Montreal Exchange, who criticized the federal minister last Friday. The minister should listen to what the Exchange is saying.

The Conservatives are against the joint plan of Quebec and Ontario to implement an interprovincial greenhouse gas credit exchange. To the two premiers who speak on behalf of the fourth largest economy in North America and 60% of the Canadian economy, the federal Minister of the Environment said it would interfere with his party's green plan. That is totally absurd.

Will the minister of pollution stand up and tell us whether this plan was drafted by the oil companies?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we were very pleased to announce a plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 20%, which is a fixed target. If the provinces want to take additional measures, that is their right, but I have to be very clear that our targets are fixed. They are fixed in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.

We have found real solutions for our environment. This is the first time in Canadian history that we have a government with a real plan of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Federal Spending Power
Oral Questions

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

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec has indicated that it disagrees strongly with the Conservative approach and with the bill the federal government has concocted to limit the federal spending power in the jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces, because it resembles the agreement on social union that Quebec refused to sign in 1999.

Will the government admit that the only bill that could be acceptable would be one with the unconditional right to opt out, with full financial compensation, of any federal program that interferes in Quebec's areas of jurisdiction?

Federal Spending Power
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Secretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, we do not need any lectures from anyone in this House to deliver the goods or keep our promises. We have made commitments and will honour them. In fact, we have already begun to do so.

In budget 2008, we reformed the millennium scholarships, which everyone condemned and which had been invented by our centralizing Liberal predecessors. Now, there is a new program, which Quebec can opt out of. We respect provincial jurisdictions. We want federalism to work. We are giving Quebeckers and Canadians open federalism.

Federal Spending Power
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the Secretary of State (Agriculture) that I was talking about the position of the Government of Quebec.

Regarding the prospective bill on the federal spending power in the jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces, it is easier now to understand what the Minister of Labour meant when he said that no one should be expected to do the impossible. This is not impossible, but the Conservatives do not want to do it.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that his government has broken another promise?

Federal Spending Power
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Secretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that a party that wants to separate Quebec from the rest of Canada will grasp at anything to minimize the Conservative government's outstanding record of achievements. We have kept our promises, and not many governments have kept their word as much as we have.

Who gave Quebec a seat at UNESCO? Who corrected the fiscal imbalance? Who is going to address spending power? The Conservative government. Certainly not the Bloc Québécois, which has never kept a single promise here in the House of Commons.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, why do I feel I am listening to an audition?

My question is for the--

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. We have to be able to hear the audition. The hon. member for Toronto Centre has the floor and we will have some order.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the only problem with the review asked for by the former minister of foreign affairs is that we do not know who will do it, we do not know what questions will be asked, and we do not know which people will be asked questions.

My question quite simply is, how can the government possibly justify a process that is clearly designed to do only two things: to help a minister who had to resign and to help a government which is clearly avoiding its responsibilities?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 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, I thank the hon. member for his audition before this House. I know that on his previous audition the voters of Ontario watched for five years and then took a pass.