House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the federal government's shares in General Motors, the Prime Minister has said that these would be sold at the appropriate time, and that is completely logical and reasonable. At the same time, he has announced that he wants to dispose of certain federal government assets immediately. As if the economic situation were not the same in both cases.

Are we to understand that the government would be prepared to sell off corporations such as VIA Rail and the Old Port of Montreal Corporation now, for purely ideological motives?

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

What is clear is what I said yesterday, Mr. Speaker, and that is we have identified certain departments for asset review this year and we will proceed with that.

What is odd is the position taken by the opposition, including the Bloc, when they say to the government, “Spend more, but be fiscally responsible and don't increase the deficit”. Part of being fiscally responsible is reviewing assets and making sure that those assets continue to perform in the best interests of the Canadian people.

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister.

The TD Bank's analysis shows that the government will add $170 billion of debt to ordinary Canadians over the next five years. The finance minister, in his fall economic statement, said that over the next five years he will be booking $2 billion from asset sales each year.

Will the minister inform Canadians across the country which specific assets, and from what departments, he intends to sell this year to fill a $2 billion hole in his balance sheet?

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, TD economists have presented one view. It is on the low side. There are other economists who are going to present other views. We are going to hear lots of views about the economy in an uncertain time.

With respect to asset review, it is prudent for any large organization to review its assets from time to time. In fact, that is the position of the Toronto-Dominion Bank's economists.

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have a hard time believing the minister, who a few years back was the architect of deficit in Ontario. He shut 26 hospitals, laid off 8,000 nurses and cut half of the water inspectors, leading to the Walkerton crisis. These institutions affect Canadian lives and Canadian identity.

Will the minister set aside his reform ideology and be honest with Canadians about what he intends to sell?

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

This is more hypocrisy on the other side, Mr. Speaker. They are the same Liberals who in the mid-1990s cut transfers to the provinces. They cut funding for schools. They cut funding for hospitals. They cut funding for universities. They cut funding for the elderly. They cut funding for children.

This is the hypocritical position of the Liberal Party of Canada: cutting spending on the weakest in our economy.

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has plunged Canada into a disastrous economic situation. Jobs are being lost, the deficit is growing, and the government is just making it up as it goes along.

Now the government has come up with a new idea. Some genius somewhere has decided to hold a fire sale of government assets—our institutions—and privatize them.

This includes CBC/Radio-Canada and the National Arts Centre. They have decided to sell some of the essential components of our very own culture.

Is the minister going to understand that our culture was not for sale yesterday, is not for sale today, and will never, ever be for sale?

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Let me try to understand the Liberal opposition, Mr. Speaker. Liberals voted for the budget, Canada's economic action plan. The asset review is set out in the budget. Now they are saying they do not like an asset review.

The Liberals are saying they want fiscal responsibility, but they are saying, “Do not review expenditures. Do not review assets.” They say they want to spend more on EI but they say not to increase spending. Who in Canada can take any of them seriously?

Arts and Culture
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that nobody believes him any more.

Loving culture means defending that culture. Loving culture means appreciating its importance. Loving culture means investing the necessary funds into it.

Today the government is imposing a strategic review, and thus cuts, to some of our national flagships, some of the most important programs for our artists and creative people.

The government is engaged in a full-scale attack on the NFB, the Canada Council, Telefilm Canada and CBC/Radio-Canada.

Why do they have such a hatred of culture?

Arts and Culture
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the member can yell and scream all he wants, but the facts in the budgets that we passed in this House of Commons, which the member voted for, are crystal clear. This Conservative government made promises in election campaigns to maintain or increase support for arts and culture. We have increased funding for the National Arts Centre. We have increased funding for the Canada Council for the Arts, up to a record amount, $181 million. Those are artists supporting artists for the future, to support our creative economy.

When the Liberals ran for office and were elected, they promised not to touch arts and culture. They gutted arts and culture, they cut CBC by a third, and now they are pointing fingers to us and saying that we are not doing our job. We kept our word. We have delivered. It is the Liberals who have failed.

Taxation
Oral Questions

June 3rd, 2009 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, this government reduced taxes on Canadian families by $20 billion, yet the leader of the Liberal opposition wants to reverse proactive tax measures. Can this be true? The Liberal leader wants to reduce the amount of money hard-working Canadian families have to spend. In fact it is true. It was proven when the leader of the opposition stated, “We will have to raise taxes” and that he was “not going to take a GST hike off the table”.

Canadians have a right to know. Does this government believe the Liberal leader's statements?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the words have meaning and the hon. leader of the opposition has said, “We will have to raise taxes”. He has described himself as a “tax-and-spend Liberal”.

Canadians want to know from the Liberal leader exactly what his plan is for the economy, which taxes he would like to raise, how much he would raise them, and who will have to pay. Does he have a serious plan for the economy, or is he just visiting?

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, CPP Investment Board members lost a staggering $24 billion, wiping out four years of CPP contributions. They will get millions in bonuses, while retirees will get on average a mere $500 a month. This is an unethical abuse of power.

What is the response from the government? A letter from the minister, asking them to respect a vague set of G20 rules. That simply is not good enough.

Will the minister finally find the courage to do the right thing and demand that the executives pay back these outrageous bonuses?

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is not a vague set of rules. These are very specific rules that were developed by the Financial Stability Forum of the G7, which have now been adopted by the G20, by all of the leaders when they met at the London summit. They are very specific.

We have asked the CPPIB and the others who are responsible to the Crown to report back with respect to those principles, whether they are in compliance, and to confirm steps they will take, if necessary, to be in compliance.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the G20 rules deal with fund managers, not with their innocent victims who are the Canadian pensioners.

The rules the minister is referring to are not specific enough, and simply writing a letter is not courageous enough. Canadians demand better and they deserve better. These executives need to be told in no uncertain terms that what they are doing is irresponsible, shameful and wrong.

Will the minister stop protecting his friends and hiding behind the G20 rules and stand up today to publicly denounce their actions and demand the money back?