House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was animals.

Topics

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I will take this opportunity to remind all members that we are at third reading. There is less latitude and members should speak more specifically to the bill, although this is not a point of order as the member raised it after the speech.

The hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Madam Speaker, it is rather amusing. I do not know how the hon. member will go back to his riding. I know where it is and it is a wonderful part of the country, although it is poorly represented.

He will have to tell his constituents that the Conservative Party of Canada has run up the debt to $175 billion. That is pretty impressive. He will tell them that the government cannot really tell them where the stimulus has helped the economy and it cannot tell them because it either has not analyzed it, or it will not tell the Parliamentary Budget Officer or it will not give the Parliamentary Budget Officer any information to make an intelligent analysis.

Then, when all the unemployed folks start traipsing into his office, he is going to say that the Conservatives are really good at managing the economy, that they have taken it from a Liberal surplus and have run it right into the ditch. It is brilliant.

If I do not express the greatest confidence in the government, please forgive me.

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to focus a bit on the home renovation tax credit.

During the last campaign, New Democrats travelled across the country and advocated very strongly for a program that would allow Canadians to retrofit their homes in an energy efficient way. It is our belief that not only will this help create the green jobs of tomorrow, but it will also help Canadians improve their single biggest assets, their homes, and save energy at the same time.

I am very pleased to see the government brought in the home renovation tax credit because it allows Canadians to pursue this laudable goal. What does my hon. colleague think about the benefit of this program in helping Canadians make their homes more energy efficient and does he think it is a good idea?

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member asks a good question. On the face of it, the home renovation tax credit enjoys a lot of support among Canadian, certainly among contractors, who love it.

The problem is nobody knows whether it works. The idea of the home renovation tax credit as part of the stimulus package was to get shovels in the ground. On the face of it, that is a good idea. The trouble is the government will not tell us whether it works. There is a significant component of taxpayer-funded dollars in that program.

The government should let the Parliamentary Budget Officer find out whether it works. The point of stimulus, the point of the member's party sometimes support and sometimes opposition was the stimulus money would be timely, in the ground and effective. It may be, but nobody really knows.

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Manicouagan, QC

Madam Speaker, as the member who just spoke said, in 1984 when the Conservatives were in power under Brian Mulroney, Canada's debt was $150 billion. By 1993, when the Liberals took over, the debt had risen to $750 billion. The Conservatives incurred that debt over a period of nine years. They took the $150 billion debt and grew it to $750 billion.

In his speech, the member who just spoke also pointed out that when the Liberals took power in 1993, with Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, they had trouble keeping their majority in 1997. Why? Because the Liberals chose to reduce transfer payments to the provinces to pay down the debt that the Conservatives had accumulated at a rate of $54 billion per year. That affected the provinces, including Quebec. Funding for education and health was slashed. They also appropriated $6 billion in surplus cash from the employment insurance fund.

Was taking money that should have been transferred to the provinces, money that went along with the transfer of certain responsibilities to provinces and municipalities, a good way to manage the nation's finances? Was cutting funding to the provinces and taking $6 billion from the employment insurance fund the right thing to do?

The Auditor General said that when the previous Liberal government was in power, annual contributions in excess of $58 billion from employees and employers produced a $58 billion surplus. Unemployed and seasonal workers have been denied access to that money.

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member will recollect that in 1993 the Wall Street Journal designated Canada as an honourary member of the third world because it did not control its finances. Therefore, it was with some great difficulty that cuts were made to programs, transfers, et cetera, and that did have an impact on people.

However, we cannot have it both ways. We either have a financial system that is coherent, a financial framework that works, or we do what the current government has done, which is let it run and run and go into chronic deficit.

I actually addressed this question with the finance minister when he came to committee. He has said that he will not raise taxes, that he will not to cut transfers and that he will not to cut pensions. That only leaves programs. His program spending is running at 7% or 8% on an annualized basis. He has said that maybe the government could get $100 billion of it to 3% on an annualized basis.

If we parse that answer, we will have deficits for the foreseeable future, as far as the eye can see. That is what we get with a Conservative government, no fiscal discipline. The fiscal framework for the country is a wreck. We are at the edge and we are about to go over.

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, members know there was a worldwide recession last year at this time. In fact, Iceland actually declared bankruptcy.

However, while all this was happening, the Conservative government was totally oblivious to the state of the economy. During the election, the Prime Minister was saying that the land was strong and that the stock market crash was creating buying opportunities.

It was not until January, under the combined pressure of the opposition parties, that the Conservatives in fact introduced a stimulus package.

However, he is right that the Americans have a better reporting system—

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I have to give the hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood equal time to respond.

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Madam Speaker, very briefly, the member's point is well taken on the stimulus disclosure. The Conservatives have it. We do not. They can do it. They will not.

On the issue of the Prime Minister and his fantasy life, this time last year, during that “necessary” election, the land was strong, we were free and only the stupid ran deficits. Here we are, 12 months later. Who is running the deficit?

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska may begin his speech.

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, like last Friday, I see that I am coming just before question period. I would not want this to become a habit, but question period is obviously very, very important. I will be back after question period to finish my speech on Bill C-51, which the Bloc Québécois supports. It is An Act to Implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and to implement other measures.

I would like to preface my remarks by explaining a bit about what Bill C-51 entails. As I said, this bill implements the renovation tax credit. We in the Bloc Québécois had come up with similar proposals in our two recovery plans. When Parliament resumed, the House talked about the economic recovery plan, which contained provisions about implementing a renovation tax credit. Our actions are always consistent with our demands.

When the government introduced this bill, we supported it. Often, our adversaries say that the Bloc Québécois is all about blocking legislation and is opposed to all measures. We hear that regularly, especially during election campaigns, but it is totally false. When a measure is good for Quebec, as this bill is, of course the Bloc Québécois will support it.

However, when Parliament resumed in the fall, there was this election psychosis. The leader of the Liberal Party decided that Canadians and Quebeckers suddenly wanted an election, even though he himself had said not long before that Canadians needed an election like they needed a hole in the head.

Journalists, who always get a bit excited at such times, asked the Bloc what it was going to do in response to the economic measures that had been put forward. The Bloc did what it has always done: it voted in favour of the measure, because it was good for Quebec. A bit later, when the Liberal Party introduced a motion saying that the House had lost confidence in this government, we supported it, at the risk of triggering an election, because we could not say that we had confidence in this government.

We are guided by consistency, and we acted accordingly. Now, there is less election panic, because the Liberal leader realized that people did not want an election. I believe that the public felt the same way a month earlier. In any case, let us look at Bill C-51, which implements a tax credit.

I will come back to this later, Madam Speaker.

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus)
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member will have approximately 17 minutes remaining when debate on this bill is resumed.

Peacekeeping
Statements by Members

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, dating back as far as the late 1940s, Canada has had a proud tradition of peacekeeping. Canada's armed forces, Canadian diplomats, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, provincial and municipal police forces, as well as civilians have all taken part in peacekeeping efforts.

Last year, August 9 was declared National Peacekeepers' Day. This past summer, I had the privilege to celebrate with peacekeeping veterans in my riding of Oshawa. From this point on, every August 9, Canadian peacekeepers past and present will be honoured through events and activities held across Canada.

However, our recognition of their service does not stop there. We as a nation owe these men and women an everlasting debt of gratitude. The significant contributions made by our peacekeepers have helped shape Canada's identity. This year, during Veterans' Week, I ask all Canadians to remember and honour our peacekeepers, our veterans and the members of our Canadian armed forces, with whom the tradition of service continues.

Lest we forget.

Laval Newspaper
Statements by Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Madam Speaker, I am delighted to announce the arrival of Mon Laval, a new French-language newspaper in Laval. It is the French counterpart to Laval News, an English-language publication that has been an excellent source of news for several years.

As the Liberal critic for la Francophonie, I fully appreciate the importance of this new newspaper, which will bring greater visibility to the French fact. It also exemplifies the linguistic diversity of Laval, a city where French and English coexist in a multicultural context.

I would like to congratulate the Mon Laval team for the important contribution it will surely make to the world of news, and I wish the newspaper every success.

Françoise Maurice
Statements by Members

November 6th, 2009 / 11 a.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

Madam Speaker, today I would like to pay a final tribute to a remarkable woman from my riding, Françoise Maurice, who died on September 11, at the age of 93.

Referred to as the grande dame of culture, she played such a pivotal role in developing and promoting culture in Coaticook that the municipal library was named after her a few years ago.

Françoise Maurice sat on every committee. She was a volunteer at the library that would bear her name and an archivist at the Beaulne museum. She was also very active at the arts and culture pavilion and was an extraordinary reference for the Coaticook historical society for many years.

Like other women before her, Françoise Maurice was a pioneer and a visionary, an exceptional woman whose contribution deserved a special mention in the House today.