House of Commons Hansard #16 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was arctic.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, first, it was the unemployment numbers, then record bankruptcies, collapsing housing starts, and soaring trade deficit figures. Now, it is retail sales. They fell 5.4% in December, the largest drop in 15 years. Bad news seems to be overwhelming the government's strategy.

So, the question is, is it going to revise this strategy as the situation worsens? The Prime Minister said one thing; the Minister of Finance said another. What is the government's position?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and I have been clear that what needs to happen is that Canada's economic action plan, the major stimulus to our economy that is contained in budget 2009, needs to be implemented. To be implemented, of course, it has to be passed by this House and go to the Senate. It is good news that some members on the finance committee, including some members of the official opposition on the committee, have expressed the view that the bill should be passed as soon as possible. I look forward to appearing before the committee this afternoon.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the minister did not answer the question. Everybody on this side of the House wants these measures to be passed rapidly. The question is whether the situation is changing in such a way that the minister already has additional measures in view.

Will he answer that question?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in the budget, we were very conservative in our fiscal estimates for this year. In fact, our prognostications are below the predictions by the private sector forecasters.

Unfortunately, we are seeing continuing economic deterioration in the United States and around the world. We are in the midst of a synchronized global recession. Regrettably, we were obliged to plan on that basis, which we have. Let us get the stimulus out and working in the Canadian economy.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, not just in Ontario but across this country Canadians are losing their jobs in the automotive industry. The Minister of Industry said that if companies in this industry went bankrupt, the Canadian government would not be providing bail outs for workers' pensions and benefits.

What will the government say if these companies do tumble into bankruptcy? Tough luck?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the hon. member is professing, the doomsaying scenario which he seems to luxuriate in, I can tell the House that we are working very closely with the sector, of course, with Premier McGuinty and the Government of Ontario, and with the Obama administration, to ensure that we have a vibrant car industry, not only for the present but for the future as well. That is what we are focused on, on this side of the House.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Quebec, retail sales plummeted 4.4% in December alone. Three years with this Conservative government have meant three years with decreases in this sector, and we are expecting another decrease in 2009.

Can the Prime Minister explain why, despite his so-called expertise in economics, the numbers show that his policies are failing one after the other?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member opposite will know, President Obama visited last week and praised the efforts that had been made by Canada, by the Canadian government, with respect to our economic stimulus. Canada, quite frankly, is a leading light in the world and is being used as a model in the G20, with respect to the way to handle the financial system and the way to regulate. Canadians can be proud of our financial sector.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, what we are talking about here, what really matters, are the people those numbers represent. Decreased retail sales in December mean people out of work in January. As we know, women will be particularly hard hit as they are overrepresented in the retail sector, they are overrepresented in part-time jobs, and they are underrepresented as EI recipients.

What will the Conservatives do now to make up for their pathetic paralysis since the crisis first hit months ago?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member has been. Four weeks ago tomorrow, we introduced Canada's economic action plan in this very House.

The budget implementation act is before the House. It contains massive stimulus to the Canadian economy and major innovations with respect to employment insurance, including extending it, and work-sharing, all of the measures that are necessary to help Canadians who are losing their jobs.

I hope the hon. member will help expedite the legislation.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his joint press conference with the U.S. president, the Prime Minister said, “You say we have intensity, they have absolute -- but the truth is these are just two different ways of measuring the same thing.” But with intensity targets, there is no guarantee that greenhouse gases will be reduced globally, while with absolute targets come real greenhouse gas reductions.

With such comments, is the Prime Minister not engaging in a dialogue with the U.S. president on the wrong basis, by allowing big oil to continue polluting?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is incorrect. We disagree with the hon. member. Our plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, which is a much more stringent target than that of the U.S.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is very clear. Absolute greenhouse gas reduction targets are based on the polluter-pay principle, whereas intensity targets are based on a polluter-paid approach. Worse yet, intensity targets would cast aside Quebec's GHG reduction efforts while allowing Alberta and Saskatchewan to continue polluting.

Will the Prime Minister recognize that his so-called green policies are nothing more than window dressing and that his government is continuing to serve big oil?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we disagree. The Bloc Québécois has to put partisanship aside and work with the government.

We are working with the United States on a North American approach based on new technologies and the development of clean energy sources like hydroelectricity, for instance.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in an Obama-Biden document entitled “New Energy for America”, the American president's position on combating greenhouse gases is now clear: establishing absolute targets and using 1990 as the reference year.

Will the government acknowledge that any productive discussion or partnership with the United States to fight global warming depends on those two factors?