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 tax.

Topics

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, prior to question period I had provided a copy of a letter to the Minister of Justice and the President of the Treasury Board.

During question period, the President of the Treasury Board commented on this letter and dismissed some of the points that I had raised, that they were not in fact in compliance with Treasury Board guidelines.

I would seek unanimous consent of the House to table the letter, so that all hon. members could see the breaches of the Treasury Board guidelines with regard to this communication.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Mississauga South have the unanimous consent of the House to table this letter?

Oral Questions
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Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

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3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

There is no consent.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-51, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and to implement other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
Government Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Before question period, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage had the floor. There are nine minutes remaining in the time allotted for his remarks.

I therefore call upon the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
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3:05 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure once again to rise and speak to Canada's economic recovery legislation.

Members may recall that just before the break I was talking about important provisions to improve the Canada pension plan. As I said earlier, the Liberals have already indicated that they are going to vote against this. If they do not support improvements to the CPP, just going along with their direction in question period, if not, why not? Who could stand against improvements to the CPP? These recommended reforms are incredibly important.

Mr. Finn Poschmann, a significant individual from the C.D. Howe Institute, has given these adjustments high marks. He said:

The proposed adjustments mark an important sea change in government pension policy approach to dealing with population aging and, in particular, making it easier for those people who want to work later in life to do so.

TD Bank's chief economist, Don Drummond, also said that this is a “positive development as it provides further options for Canadians in the tail end of their working careers”.

These are the things people are saying about the reforms to CPP that our government has brought forward. These reforms are in our economic recovery legislation. This is what Bill C-51 is about.

The Liberal Party has indicated that it is not too concerned with economic recovery. The Liberals are not too concerned with supporting Bill C-51 because they are more concerned about forcing an election that nobody wants. That is reprehensible.

I am quite surprised with the number of things the Liberal Party has voted against. The Liberals voted last week against the implementation of the home renovation tax credit. Thousands of Canadians from coast to coast--

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
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3:05 p.m.

An hon. member

Hundreds of thousands.

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
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3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague corrects me that it is hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have taken advantage of the home renovation tax credit. That is providing jobs in Canada's forestry sector and is supporting the construction industry at a time when it is needed. People are reinvesting in their homes because of this stimulus. The Liberal Party voted against it. Who could vote against this? It is unbelievable. The Liberals are voting against things that only a number of months ago they supported.

Post-secondary education leaders from Ontario's community colleges were here last week. The president of Sault College said to our finance minister, the G7 economic leader award winner as indicated in question period and the best of the best according to Euromoney magazine, that this is the first money the college has received in decades for upgrades. Furthermore, he said that the morale at Sault College could not be higher. It has broken ground. It is creating jobs. Sault College is being improved. These improvements will lead to a better educated workforce and a stronger Sault Ste. Marie.

That is what we are doing. This is all part of Canada's economic recovery plan. Who could stand against Canada's economic recovery? The Liberal Party could stand against economic recovery. While we are fighting the recession, the Liberals are fighting the recovery.

I can say with clarity that there is nobody in my home riding of Peterborough who does not want economic recovery. There is nobody who does not want pension certainty. The reforms to the Canada pension plan that I mentioned are things the people in Peterborough want.

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
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3:05 p.m.

Jason Kenney

Do they want an election?

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
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3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, they do not want the bill on OAS put forward by the Liberal member for Brampton—Springdale and they do not want an election.

The measures in Canada's economic recovery bill are important. We have broken ground on so many public investments over the last number of months and we are going to break ground on many more.

We have been working in partnership with the provinces and municipalities at a time when Canadians are demanding that their representatives work together in their interests, not in politicians' interests. At a time when Canadians are asking us to work for them, the Liberal leader is saying, “It's about me”. That is wrong. It is the wrong time for that type of thing to be happening.

When I go out and meet with Canadians, not just in my riding but broadly, they say to stay the course.

We are working together. We are working to build a Canada that is better, safer and stronger. We are taking these economic head winds head on. They are rising to the challenge once again, as Canadians always do when they face adversity. Canadians are meeting the challenge. They are saying to the Liberal Party to get behind the recovery. The Liberals are missing the message: get behind the recovery. They should not stand in the way of Canada's economic action plan.

Daily we hear the Liberal Party say that the government is promoting itself. No, we are not. We are working for Canadians. When we tell people about the home renovation tax credit, that is to make sure that people know they can take advantage of the tax credits that are available to them. When we tell them about Canada's economic action plan, we are making sure they know the measures the government has put in place during this difficult time to rebuild the Canadian economy. This type of awareness is critical. It is critical for consumer confidence.

I come from small business. The driver in small business is consumer confidence. There are a lot of factors that come into play, but frankly when consumers are confident that things are good or that things will get better, they will spend money. They will invest. They will invest in their homes. They will invest in cars. They will invest in so many of the things that drive our economy.

That is why the government has a role in making sure that Canadians know that we are working, that we are focused on the situation and that we have a plan that will make it better. As I said earlier, that plan is getting international recognition. That plan is going to do Canada well in the future. That plan is going to put Canada in a position where we come out of this economic recession stronger than when we went into it.

That is what the IMF said last week, was it not, Mr. Speaker? I am sure the Speaker follows everything in the news, just as many good representatives do. He would have seen last week when the IMF specifically indicated that Canada will lead the G7 out of this economic recession, that we were the last to go in and we will be the first to come out. We will lead the G7 in economic recovery.

That is exciting because that is what we have been fighting for in this chamber. On this side of the House that is what we have been fighting for. That is what we have been working for. That is what we believe in.

We are determined to get Canada through this in a better position than any nation we compete with. That is our commitment. That is why we must focus on the economy. We must focus on the economic recovery bill that is before the House and people should not be looking for an opportunity to bring the House down just because they think the opportunity is there to do so.

The Liberal leader spoke last week, I believe, at the Economic Club of Toronto. We looked for some kind of alternative plan since he is trying to bring the government down, some kind of alternative or credible economic plan. What we saw was a dusting off of the 1993 red book, billions and billions and billions and billions of dollars of new spending promises and no idea of how we would pay for them, but apparently he is not going to raise taxes. If he is on one side saying we have to do everything we can to get rid of a deficit and on the other side saying we are going to spend billions and billions and billions of dollars and in the middle is saying that we have creative accountants that will be able to do that without raising taxes, forgive me but just about everyone in the country knows that is not on. Certainly the people in the electric city of Peterborough, Ontario know that.

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3:15 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague had some interesting comments to say about an earlier tax freedom day for Canadians. We notice he did not say anything about tax freedom day for corporations because he would not want it to interfere with New Year's Day celebrations.

I would like to ask the member a question about small business. He talked about recovery. If he were to follow the NDP plan to reduce small business taxes to zero, in other words move some of those large corporate tax breaks for those most profitable corporations in Canada over to small business, which I am sure the hon. member would agree is the engine for growth in this country, I am wondering if that is something he might consider.

He talked about bolstering the CPP and recovery. It seems to me that helping small business would be a perfect way to help with this recovery.

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
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3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, although I am of a diminutive age, I do understand that big business is very important to Canada's overall economic strength. I look at my own riding where there are companies like General Electric, which the member would like to tax at a higher level, and Quaker Oats, which the member would like to tax at a higher level. They both employ several thousand CAW workers. By reducing their taxes, we are making them more competitive so the workers can continue to hold those jobs.

I would like to point to a very significant company that recently returned to Canada, which had expanded abroad and moved its corporate head office. It is called Tim Hortons. It came back to Canada because we have put Canada on a competitive footing so that we can compete for business investment.

These large corporate entities employ hundreds of thousands of Canadians and further drive the small business economy in this country. Small entrepreneurs cannot do it on their own. They need investment. We need global investment in this country. That is what will make Canada stronger.

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
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3:20 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the hon. member used the Tim Hortons card. It always comes out.

I just want to change my tack a little bit. We have businesses in my riding. In particular, the member may have heard of the Persian Man. Of course Thunder Bay is very famous for Persians, in direct competition with the company he just mentioned. The government's support of HST in Ontario will cause hardship for many, many small businesses and for the consumers in my riding.

The hon. member talked about recovery, which in his books really means consumer purchasing, I wonder how he thinks the HST will help that.

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus)
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3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I took a lot of economics courses at university, on top of finance, accounting and a couple of political science courses, and I would like to go back to the professors and tell them how politics really works. That said, one of the things I did study was economics.

One of the problems with a PST, the way it is currently administered, is the cascading effect of taxes. It becomes a surtax on business, because when businesses buy inputs, they have to pay tax on them. It discourages investments in Canadian business.

I will not get into the politics of the HST. I will say though that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was the gentleman who made the decision. He is the leader of the government in Ontario. He made the decision in Ontario, as did Premier Gordon Campbell in British Columbia. Nobody is forcing them to move toward an HST.

That said, be under no illusion, they are reducing the input tax into investment into Canadian jobs. That is why they did it, to make Canada more competitive, not less competitive.