House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was recovery.

Topics

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I listened with some interest to the member. He talked about how he likes lower taxes and so forth, but that was not true in the last election campaign.

That member wholeheartedly supported the green shift massive tax increase on Canadians. That tax increase was why Canadians voted largely against the Liberals. The Liberal massive carbon tax was rejected by Canadians. Everyone remembers that. I do not believe that member has ever actually supported any of the tax cuts that we brought in that have brought tax freedom day 20 days sooner.

A lot of other jurisdictions in Europe, and even the United States under President Obama, have brought tax cuts in for families and individuals and seniors as a method of boosting their economies. The member does not understand that.

He said that he has lost faith in the government and in the finance minister. Euromoney magazine has not lost faith in our finance minister. It named him G7 finance minister of the year. Maybe the member would like to speak to that. It is quite an honour for our finance minister to be acknowledged in such a fashion.

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how the hon. member could spend so much time on finance committee and learn so little.

It is very interesting that the finance minister should be awarded anything by any magazine, however obscure. Apparently his competition is not all that serious. The United States has a runaway deficit, trillions of dollars worth of deficit. Relatively speaking, the finance minster is only incompetent as opposed to grossly incompetent.

The point of the hon. member's little intervention was that somehow or another tax freedom day is sooner. There are no free lunches in this world. Tax freedom day may be a day or two sooner, but debt freedom day certainly will be later.

We are going to start going back up that horrible path. We thought we had learned a lesson but apparently we have not. We thought our finances would not resemble those of a third world nation. Apparently that is the fiscal ability of the Conservative government.

Is it therefore any wonder that we in the Liberal Party do not have confidence in the government.

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, it is obviously a great opportunity to speak today in support of the economic recovery act, an important piece of legislation to enact key parts of Canada's economic action plan, along with other crucial initiatives.

I understand the Liberal Party will vote against this legislation, sight unseen, for no reason other than to force an unnecessary election which no Canadian wants. It is my hope in today's debate, along with colleagues on this side of the House, to show that now is not the time for that sort of self-serving opportunism.

The stakes for Canadians and their families are high. The member for Scarborough—Guildwood does not understand that the stakes for his constituents are high. He mentioned a moment ago that he is surprised I spent so much time on the finance committee and did not get it. He has been on the finance committee a lot longer than I have, in fact he is a former parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance, and he still does not get it. So I guess I still have some time by his scale to get it. Maybe I will catch up, I do not know.

We simply cannot play political games because we cannot jeopardize a recovery with an unnecessary election. Catherine Swift, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, warned recently:

We've got some good news.... [W]e've been seeing three months of good recovery...we got the highest confidence level in over two years.... All we need is a stupid election to put things right back in the tank. What we need is certainty. Elections do not produce certainty.

I am going to digress for a minute. I mentioned the Liberal green shift. The Liberal green shift means anything but certainty for business.

Catherine Swift said that what we need is certainty and that elections do not produce certainty. With the economy turning right now, this is a bad time to have it. She said that we are just seeing things come back, that we are just seeing confidence come back.

It is clear that we must stand together with our global partners and stay the course. We must keep our focus squarely on protecting our economy and building on the success of Canada's economic action plan and stabilizing our economy.

As declared in the G20 leaders' statement following the Pittsburgh summit:

Our forceful response helped stop the dangerous, sharp decline in global activity and stabilize financial markets.

A sense of normalcy should not lead to complacency.

The process of recovery and repair remains incomplete. In many countries, unemployment remains unacceptably high. The conditions for a recovery of private demand are not yet fully in place. We cannot rest until the global economy is restored to full health, and hard-working families all over the world can find decent jobs.

Clearly, Canada must stay on track by continuing to implement our economic action plan and its related components, like the economic recovery act. This is fundamental to securing Canada's success in the face of ongoing economic challenges.

As expected, to date, Canadians have risen to face these challenges head on and allowed our economy to outperform where others have struggled. This has lessened the recession's relative impact. A sentiment shared by private sector economists, CIBC World Markets forecast that Canada will lead all industrialized nations in economic growth next year, while RBC economists expect that Canada's recession will turn out to be the least severe of the past three.

Our Conservative government has supported the efforts of Canadians with an unprecedented and timely stimulus contained in Canada's economic action plan, representing $61 billion in effective targeted measures.

Only last week we confirmed in the third report to Canadians on the implementation of the action plan that 90% of its 2009-10 funding is now committed. Canadians will continue to benefit from what is proportionately the largest fiscal stimulus package among all G7 partners with a projected 220,000 jobs being created or maintained by the end of 2010.

As Scotia Capital economist Aron Gampel points out:

The substantial stimulus injected into the economy from both monetary and fiscal measures is beginning to show more signs that the economy is regaining traction, but the full impact will become more visible in the months ahead.

Contrary to the views of the doom and gloom Liberals, there are more encouraging signs that Canada is leading the recovery with our strong fundamentals intact. Indeed, last week the International Monetary Fund, IMF, forecast that Canada will be the least affected by the global downturn and that our recovery will be the strongest in the G7.

Contrast that with what we are hearing from the Liberal members. We are not hearing these things. They are talking down the Canadian recovery. They are talking down the Canadian economy. For whatever reason, they do not want to see things recover in Canada because they think that hurts their political fortunes. Canadians do not care about the Liberals' political fortunes. What they care about is their families and their jobs. They want Canada to work. They want parties working together provincially and federally. They want municipalities to be engaged. That is what our government is doing. It is not what the Liberal Party supports, by the way.

Nevertheless, Canada and the global economy will continue to be challenged. As noted in the G20 leaders' statement, we have yet to sustain a full private sector supported recovery. Likewise, as IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn conceded recently, even though we are seeing tentative signs of recovery it remains fragile. I quote, “I want to be crystal clear. Until unemployment will decrease, it is difficult to say the crisis is over. It is too early to crow victory”.

Without a doubt we are at a critical juncture. If we hope to stabilize our economy and secure this recovery, we must stay the course and stay focused on the economy. Parliamentarians of all stripes can accomplish that, not by throwing Canada into an unnecessary election, but by passing the economic recovery act into law on a timely basis.

The economic recovery act is a complex and multifaceted piece of legislation with many components that have been highlighted by previous speakers.

For the remainder of my allotted time, I would like to focus on the reforms to strengthen the Canada pension plan, or CPP, that are included in the economic recovery act. However, before continuing, I should point out that the CPP is a jointly managed federal-provincial plan. Neither the federal government nor provincial governments can unilaterally alter the CPP.

The reforms laid out in the legislation were unanimously agreed to by federal, provincial and territorial governments this past May as part of a mandated triennial review of the Canada pension plan. Moreover, these reforms were made public at that time, available for all to review.

Before these reforms can take place, they must be officially approved, not only by Parliament, but by two-thirds of the provinces with two-thirds of the population of Canada. Moreover, the approved changes will start to take effect in 2011 and will be gradually implemented with all the changes expected to be in effect fully by 2016.

In short, the reforms agreed to by federal, provincial and territorial governments are intended to modernize the CPP to better reflect the many different paths people take to retirement today.

As Patricia Lovett-Reid, host of Money Talk, a popular Canadian personal finance television show and senior vice-president with TD Waterhouse Canada, noted that the CPP reforms speak “to the fact that we are living healthier and longer”.

Increased flexibility will be offered through the removal of work cessation tests that require individuals who apply to take their CPP benefit early, i.e., before age 65, to either stop work or reduce their earnings. The economic recovery act will remove the work cessation test in 2012 so that individuals will be able to take their benefit as early as age 60 without any work interruption or reduction in hours worked or earnings. This change will benefit those who would like to take their CPP pension while continuing to work either full or part time and could help individuals to use income from their CPP to phase in retirement or supplement their earnings.

Such a proposed reform has been particularly welcomed, as an Edmonton Journal editorial applauding it noted:

--the prospect that thousands will be able to discern a horizon when they can not only choose to be gainfully employed but also collect on a pension they paid into for years must come as some relief....

Older Canadians are healthier than ever and getting even fitter. If they want or need to continue to make a material contribution to the nation's productivity, they mustn't be discouraged.

Increased CPP benefits for a number of Canadians will continue through an increase in general lowering dropout which currently allows for 15% of the years where earnings are low or nil for whatever reason, to be dropped from calculations used to determine an individual's CPP retirement pension amount. The economic recovery act will gradually enhance the retirement pension calculation to allow up to an additional year of low earnings to be dropped from the pension calculation. By 2014, it will allow a maximum of eight years to be dropped.

This will benefit virtually all CPP contributors and improve their basic retirement pensions. It will also increase the average CPP disability and survivor pensions, as a calculation of these benefits would be based on the retirement benefit calculation.

It would be particularly helpful to those whose careers suffer more work interruptions for a variety of reasons like those who pursue post-secondary studies or other educational opportunities, those who reduce their participation in the labour force to provide care to a family member, or those who immigrate to Canada as adults.

Respected Sun media financial advice columnist Alan Caplan approved this reform noting:

It's intended to smooth out the earnings history for each pensioner who stopped working. The reasons vary, but may include job loss, further education, illness or care giving and child rearing. Almost everyone benefits from the provision.

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

I must interrupt the hon. parliamentary secretary at this point. He will have nine minutes remaining when the House returns to this matter.

Calgary Northeast
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, in my Eid Milan meeting with the Muslim community in Calgary Northeast, the community informed me that the overwhelming majority of the people of Pakistan stand for peace, prosperity, human rights, the rule of law and democracy. I once again publicly wish Pakistani Canadians and our Muslim friends a happy Eid ul-Fitr.

The community also applauded the fact that the Prime Minister attended the meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan with President Obama, Prime Minister Brown and President Zardari.

I also wish to recognize and congratulate Calgary police constables Charanjit Meharu and Kevin Leard in the House today for achieving the life saving award. While responding to a late night domestic assault, through their quick actions they saved the life of a female victim who was no longer breathing.

I call on all sides of the House to commend these heroes and also to work with our Conservative government in placing a priority on the rights of Canadian victims, including victims of domestic violence.

La Francophonie Games
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the tremendous success of the Jeux de la Francophonie, which are wrapping up today in Lebanon, and to our many achievements there. The event was an opportunity for athletes from around the world who share the same values and the same language, namely, French, to get together for some friendly competition in the spirit of peace.

Canadian athletes and artists were grouped together on the following teams: Canada; Canada-Quebec; and Canada-New Brunswick. Their achievements have been outstanding. They are returning with gold medals in sporting events such as men's and women's judo and table tennis, discus and decathlon in men's track and field, 4x100-metre relay in women's track and field, as well as in artistic competitions such as stories and storytelling, photography and sculpture. They won over 50 medals and have given us many reasons to be proud.

I would like to offer my most sincere congratulations to all the athletes and artists representing Canada during these Games, and I wish them every success in their future endeavours.

Natural Disasters in Southeast Asia
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, Southeast Asia has been hard hit in the past few days by a series of weather disasters that have battered the region.

Many countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia, have been struck by typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis or floods that have left behind thousands of victims, including many children.

The major humanitarian NGOs have worked hard in order to help those affected, but their help alone is not enough. Much work lies ahead in order to provide access to food and drinking water, hygiene kits, makeshift shelters, and electricity.

I am calling on the federal government to step up its efforts to help the communities recover quickly from these storms. Like the thousands of Quebeckers who have joined forces for this cause and on behalf of all my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois, I want to tell the victims of these tragic events that they are in my thoughts.

Nobel Prize in Physics
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise in this honourable House to congratulate Willard Boyle of Halifax, co-winner of this year's Nobel prize in physics.

Mr. Boyle was notified earlier today that he will share the 2009 prize along with two Americans for their work on an imaging semiconductor circuit known as the CCD sensor, the eye of digital cameras and delicate surgical instruments.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences stated that CCD revolutionized photography, as light could now be captured electronically instead of on film. Without this technology, seeing the surface of Mars would not have been a possibility.

I am sure that all members of the House will join me in congratulating Mr. Boyle for this incredible achievement. It is a proud day for Halifax, a proud day for Nova Scotia, and a proud day for Canada.

Mental Illness Awareness Week
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind everyone that October 4 to 10 is Mental Illness Awareness Week.

With nearly one in five Canadians affected, most of us know someone who is struggling and we all need to work hard to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness through education and understanding. There is no health without mental health.

Tomorrow, here in Ottawa, the seventh annual champions of mental health awards will celebrate the contributions of influential Canadians who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment and leadership in advancing mental illness awareness and mental health policy, research, services or funding in Canada through activities and actions.

Mr. Speaker, I urge you to lend your support and encourage each member to take a few minutes to contact the fine folks at their local Canadian Mental Health Association.

For my constituents in Kelowna—Lake Country, a free public forum in the Knowledge is Power Series is being held this Thursday at our local Canadian Mental Health Association office at 504 Sutherland Avenue, from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Together we can help each other.

Nobel Prize in Physics
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I join my colleague from Halifax in honouring a Canadian who has done us all proud by winning this year's Nobel prize in physics. Willard S. Boyle, born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, will share the prize with two others for his groundbreaking achievements in developing the sensor that is widely used in digital cameras.

Although Mr. Boyle spent many years working in the U.S., he has deep roots in this country, starting in Nova Scotia and then moving to Quebec and Kingston, before making a name for himself at the Bell Labs in New Jersey. It was there that, among his many accomplishments, he and George E. Smith invented the sensor that is being honoured today.

After retiring in 1979, he returned home to Nova Scotia. Mr. Boyle is a great example of a Canadian contributing his unique talents to the world while remaining a proud and patriotic citizen of this country. Congratulations, Mr. Boyle.

Climate Change
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, climate change is one of the great threats facing humanity. The IPCC has said that the science is unequivocal and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that climate change is “the defining challenge of our age”.

Our government has made a strong commitment to reduce Canada's emissions by 20%, from 2006 levels, by 2020, only 10 short years from now. As the global set of climate change talks in Copenhagen approaches, I call on the international community to negotiate in good faith so that a new binding agreement on climate change can be achieved.

The issue is urgent. The time to act is now. The challenge of a warming planet is not only critical for the environment but also a judgment on whether global institutions like the United Nations can act collectively to solve the world's problems.

I ask all to support and encourage our government as it negotiates this new international agreement so that we can achieve change for our children and grandchildren.

Christopher Garneau
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Corporal Christopher Garneau, of Saint-Constant, who was awarded the medal of excellence by the Chief of Defence Staff, on September 10, for performing his duties with distinction.

Corporal Garneau is a military policeman and a member of the operational mentor and liaison team of the Kandahar provincial reconstruction team. This group is responsible for training Afghan police, strengthening local governance and is also fighting for access to education for the Afghan people.

It is clear to the Bloc Québécois that the Canadian mission in Afghanistan must show concern for the plight of the Afghan people all the while focusing more on humanitarian aid and reconstruction and development efforts. Corporal Garneau is doing just that.

For that reason, on behalf of the citizens of my riding, I congratulate Corporal Christopher Garneau.

British Columbia Assembly of First Nations
Statements By Members

October 6th, 2009 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, this month Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould was elected regional chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations. She replaces Mr. Shawn Atleo, who was elected to be the national chief of the AFN in July.

Raised in the Comox Valley, Ms. Wilson-Raybould is an elected councillor for the We Wai Kai Nation and is an elected commissioner on the B.C. Treaty Commission. She is a former provincial crown prosecutor with a bachelor of laws from the University of British Columbia and a bachelor of arts in political science and history from the University of Victoria.

She is a very accomplished young woman and all those who know her are very proud of her.

Congratulations, Jody. We all look forward to working with her in her new role.

Suzanne Bélanger
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pride to congratulate Suzanne Bélanger, a citizen of my riding of Madawaska—Restigouche, who has been awarded a Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education.

For over 10 years, Ms. Bélanger has been involved in educating the children under six who live on the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation reserve.

She makes an effort to instill in these children a sense of pride in their roots and in the achievements of their ancestors, while awakening their desire to discover the modern world in which we live.

Ms. Bélanger is well known for her energy, creativity and work ethic. We are fortunate to have someone so passionate caring for and educating this young generation.

On behalf of the citizens of Madawaska—Restigouche, I would like to congratulate and above all thank Ms. Bélanger for her contribution to our communities. We are all very proud of the work she does.

Congratulations, Ms. Bélanger.

Prime Minister of Canada
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister has more than one talent. First and foremost, he is a man of compassion and conviction, a man whose vision centres around the interests of the nation, which makes him a strong leader. We are not like the Liberal Party, which can only think of holding rallies to plunge Canada into an election, purely out of self-interest.

In these tough economic times, others are proposing cuts to government and higher taxes for Quebeckers and Canadians.

Our government is stimulating the economy and working with political, economic and social stakeholders to find solutions. It is important to us that ordinary people have their place in society and that, together, we contribute to our country's success.

To me, that is what we call a strong Quebec within a united Canada. I am proud to pay tribute to the leadership of our Prime Minister.