House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cuts.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, sadly, that is pretty thin gruel for people who are not working. In fact, this is a pattern of incompetence by the minister and his predecessors.

In the last three years, the Conservatives have failed to use over $3 billion in approved funds for infrastructure spending. If it had actually invested the money, over 150,000 jobs could have been created across the country.

Will the government today apologize to Canadians for how poorly it has done in creating jobs and for making the recession worse? Will the minister agree that he is responsible so that Canadians know exactly who it is that failed them?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, many times the lapse will be rolled over. Quite often, when we identify and commit to funding support for a given project, such as the subway extension at Spadina in the city of Toronto, it does take a period of time before the shovels can go into the ground.

For new funds that we announced as part of our economic action plan, we have agreed to fast-track them and only support projects where that can begin and be completed in the next 24 months.

We are cutting red tape to ensure that this stimulus can be of benefit to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We are committed to working hard and getting the job done.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2007-08 the Conservatives let $7.6 billion in Parliament-approved spending vanish into thin air, just to increase their surpluses. For example, $1.2 billion for defence was not spent. We have now come to the last day of the 2008-09 fiscal year.

What amounts approved by this Parliament have still not been spent because the Conservatives are trying to reduce their deficit at workers’ expense?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I absolutely reject the premise of that question. If we are talking about cutting budgets on the backs of other folks, we all remember in the 1990s when the Liberals cut transfer payments to the provinces. In our prebudget consultations we talked to some of those finance ministers in the provinces who were absolutely devastated that any federal government would push that onto the backs of the provinces. We refuse to do that.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is wrong when hard-working citizens of Markham need to work twice as long as other Canadians to be eligible for employment insurance. Everyone except the government agrees, including the OECD, which today projected a 10.8% unemployment rate and called on the government to do more to help the unemployed.

Do we need millions of unemployed Canadians roaming the streets before this uncaring government will do the right thing and fix employment insurance?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I remind the member for Markham—Unionville that the EI system we now have, with the variable rate, was instituted in 1997 when his government was in power. The unemployment rate then was 8.4%, a full 0.7% higher than what we have today.

What we have done is add a number of initiatives, calculated at over $4 billion, to help those who need help most when the economy is going the way it is today.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is true that the two week waiting period has existed since 1971. However, what the Minister of National Revenue, another token Quebecker, does not say is that workers did not pay premiums if they did not qualify for the plan, something which was changed by the Liberals in January 1997. Since then, premiums have been paid from the first hour worked, but the waiting period has not been eliminated.

Instead of coming to the defence of the Liberals, should not the token Quebecker for revenue instead be working for justice, to get rid of the waiting period?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, in this time of economic difficulty, it is important to protect those who lose their jobs. Therefore we organized consultations, at which people asked us for more protection during this period. We feel it is better to offer them five more weeks of employment insurance, at a time when they could devote much more time to finding work, than to eliminate the waiting period.

I am also pleased to hear the hon. member acknowledge that this waiting period has existed for a long time, namely 38 years.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the OECD says that Canada is not doing enough. It says that unemployment will increase dramatically between 2010 and 2011. Therefore the social safety net has to be improved and reinforced.

Does the government not think that eliminating the waiting period might be a good way to provide assistance to the unemployed, and also to jump start the economy?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the hon. member is also thinking not only about protecting those who lose their jobs, but also about what we are putting in place in our action plan to support economic activity. We will be investing $12 billion in the building Canada program to create vast work sites in Canada and in Quebec.

In addition, we are providing a tax credit of $1,350 for people who want to renovate their houses. This will enable manufacturers to offer job opportunities to their workers and to stimulate economic activity within their companies. These are two measures we are introducing to support economic activity in Canada.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of countries, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, have condemned tax havens and reaffirmed their commitment, at the G20 summit, to tighten financial controls and crack down on tax evasion. Oddly enough, Canada has taken the opposite stand by reinstating a tax loophole.

Can the government explain why it is helping billionaire companies and abandoning those in need?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, anyone who earns income must report it, whether it is earned abroad or here, in Canada. Rules require individuals to report income. Naturally, it is a concern when tax owing in Canada is not paid through the use of tax havens. Our efforts are focused on protecting the tax base and being fair to those who pay their share of taxes compared to those who try to evade taxes.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the double deduction is a tax loophole that facilitates the unwarranted export of capital. The government likes to say that this provision makes Canadian businesses more competitive. However, its main trading partner, the United States, has rejected the double deduction.

Can the government tell us how exporting capital in these times is good for jobs, investments and the economy in Canada?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we established a panel of experts to bring us a report on that. We have acted on that report. The report told us that we needed to do everything to ensure that Canadian companies could remain competitive.

We are aligning with other countries in the world so we do not put our Canadian companies at a disadvantage. We took the recommendation of that expert panel.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

March 31st, 2009 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Safety. Ms. Napolitano, the U.S. homeland security secretary, recently stated that, “One of the things that we need to be sensitive to is the very real feelings... that if things are being done on the Mexican border, they should also be done on the Canadian border.”

What is the minister doing to change these positively dangerous thoughts in the mind of the U.S. Secretary of State?