House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question. It is strictly a matter of the government's political will. Does it truly want to attack the tax havens that so many companies, especially banks, benefit from? We do not have enough tax revenue. We do have enough, but we need more in order to support Quebeckers.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to speak to Bill C-47, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010 and other measures. The Bloc Québécois has a lot of concerns about this bill, and about the budget it implements.

The government will continue to treat stock options like capital gains for ordinary taxpayers. The Bloc Québécois deplores the fact that only half the income derived from stock options is subject to the federal Income Tax Act. The Conservative government could show fairness to the workers and collect $1 billion in tax by cutting off this gift. In addition, businesses are not being asked to pay their fair share to increase government revenue, except that they have to make source deductions to ensure that employees with stock options pay their taxes. That is something else that is missing.

This bill also attests to the Conservative government's inertia with respect to the environment and the fight against greenhouse gases. Only one environmental measure is included; it encourages the production of clean energy. A number of things could be put forward.

The government is ignoring the Bloc Québécois' urgent calls concerning equalization payments and increased transfers for education and social programs. $830 million in post-secondary education transfers are still not going to the Government of Quebec. The fiscal imbalance has not yet been resolved. The government is also ignoring recommendations concerning income security for pensioners. Large corporations are filing for bankruptcy and abandoning their employees who are entitled to pensions.

This budget implementation bill confirms the Conservative government's intention to spare rich taxpayers at all costs and have the workers and the middle class pay off the deficit. The ideology of the Conservative Party's neo-Liberal Reform government favours those who are well off. Just think of tax havens. When they were in opposition, the Conservatives were scandalized; now they fully support tax havens.

Yes to oil; no to forestry. It is just incredible what the economies of Quebec and all provinces have had to bear because of the Conservatives' abandonment of the forestry industry. To help the rich, they are refusing to implement a 2% surtax on incomes of more than $150,000 per year. The automotive industry, concentrated in Ontario, received $9.7 billion whereas the forestry industry, vital to the regions of Quebec and all of Canada, only received $170 million. That is incredible.

For all intents and purposes the environment was ignored in the budget. However, the Conservative government put $1 billion towards developing nuclear power, which benefits Ontario, Alberta and the oil companies. The latter already have generous tax benefits. In addition, no new funding was announced for the cultural sector, which is important to Quebec's economy. The neo-Liberal Reformers have refused to acknowledge the need to bolster employment insurance and the guaranteed income supplement for seniors, the most disadvantaged. They also refused to tackle the problems of affordable social housing and homelessness. These problems were completely ignored. The fact that women are the most affected by poverty has not been mentioned, either.

The current Minister of Finance's way of doing things reminds me of one of his predecessors. I hope that my Conservative friends feel somewhat shameful about the fact that it is 2010 and I am comparing their actions to something that happened a long time ago. Not a lot has changed. I am thinking about Alexander Tilloch Galt, who was the largest land owner in Canada in 1867, who also owned the largest textile plant at the time as well as the Grand Trunk Railway Company. He was closely involved with the Bank of Montreal and was the finance minister under John Alexander Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister. Who was he partial to? The wealthy.

He was loyal, a bit like our current Minister of Finance, to one of the sayings of John A. Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada. To paraphrase, Macdonald said that minorities needed to be protected. The rich being the minority, their protection needed to be guaranteed. And he did his utmost to protect them. Then there was the majority, which had difficulty just making ends meet.

We have a similar government here, and the tradition continues. It is shameful. This helps to explain much of the Conservatives' economic vision, the vision of the current Albertan leader. Oil yes; forestry no. Automobiles, yes; affordable and social housing, no. Tax havens, yes; the guaranteed income supplement for our least fortunate seniors, no. I could go on. It is scandalous.

And just to report how things turned out, before Confederation, Alexander Tilloch Galt realized that he could no longer do business with the Americans. As you must remember—perhaps you were there between 1861 and 1865—the Yankees and the people from Dixie were fighting the Civil War in the United States. And who did the British Empire support? It supported the South, slavery and Dixieland. England supported the South, which was secessionist, to the detriment of the Yankees, who were federalists. It was completely backwards. British subjects were not popular with the blue coats from the northern states.

Galt was in a serious bind. So what did he do? This is interesting. He drafted a document to develop the British colony along east-west trading lines because for obvious reasons he could not develop north-south trade. He wanted to join together three provinces: the united Canada—which was divided into Canada East and Canada West at the time—wealthy Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This document was called the British North America Act or BNA Act.

Galt was the father of this act. Why? To make sure it worked. In 1867, he became the first minister of finance of Canada. He had the newly minted Dominion of Canada borrow money from its bank, the Bank of Montreal, to build a railway across the country. What he did was a little like what the Conservatives are doing today. Know who your friends are; they will make you rich. Yes, yes, add to the campaign coffers. The Minister of Natural Resources could tell us something about that, seeing as how he is an expert in the field. So Galt had this big zipper, the railroad, built to pull Canada together. He even sold his own railroad, the Grand Trunk, to Canadian Pacific to further line his own pockets. Does that remind hon. members a bit of what we have been talking about this week?

For the Conservatives, it is useful to be both judge and judged. For the Conservatives, it is useful to favour the rich at the expense of the poor, and that is what we are seeing in this budget. There are things missing. There are some positive measures, but the poor are going to get poorer and the rich, richer. And that is very expensive.

Alexander Tilloch Galt was a member of the Conservative Party. And what was that party called at the time? Listen carefully. It was called the Liberal-Conservative Party. That way, people did not get confused; blue hat or red, it makes little difference, they have a good time and line their pockets. The current member for Pontiac should be happy with that title. He is being touted as the next leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec. It is not just the member for Bourassa. What is happening with the Conservatives makes no sense.

Coming back to Bill C-47, I will conclude on this note. We need to think about the workers at AbitibiBowater. Why does John Weaver get $27 million in bonuses, yet when the AbitibiBowater mill in Gatineau closes, the workers will not get $16 million in severance pay? That is what the Conservatives are doing, and their budget does nothing about this scandal.

They need to be put in their place, and that place is out of Parliament.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

When debate resumes, there will be five minutes remaining for questions and comments on the speech by the hon. member for Gatineau.

Thanksgiving
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, this weekend Canadian families and friends will join hands around dining room tables to count their many blessings.

On behalf of the Shory family, I wish all Calgary Northeast constituents from Coventry Hills, Harvest Hills, Saddle Ridge, Martindale, Castleridge, Westwinds, Whitehorn, Rundle and Vista Heights to Skyview Ranch, Taradale, Falconridge, Coral Springs, Parkridge Estates, Monterey Park, Pineridge and Temple a happy Thanksgiving.

Our blessings include the many veteran volunteers at the Indian Ex-servicemen Immigrant Association and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 286 in my riding.

This coming Remembrance Day, I ask all constituents to join me for my third year in a row at the Legion in Pineridge to honour those who have sacrificed so much for the same Canadian freedoms and blessings that we celebrate on Thanksgiving.

I also wish all Hindus around the globe a happy Navratri.

78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, for 29 years Bill Livingstone, the first North American to win the gold medal in piping at Inverness, was pipe-major of one of the world's most famous pipe bands, the 78th Fraser Highlanders. Under his direction, the Ontario pipe band won 13 North American championships and travelled to compete at the World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland for 27 consecutive years.

In 1987, the 78th Frasers won world championship and made the landmark “Live in Ireland” recording, events that are seen by many as seminal in piping.

Livingstone holds the distinction of being the only person in history to have led a Grade 1 band to a world championship and to have won a clasp for piobaireachd at the Northern Meeting, the two pinnacles of pipe band and solo competitive success.

His place in piping folklore is secure with hundreds of professional and solo triumphs. Congratulations on a brilliant, unmatched and unique piping career.

Louiseville Buckwheat Flat Cake Festival
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight the Festival de la galette de sarrasin de Louiseville, which is being held from October 1 to 10. The 32nd anniversary of this festival will be very successful, as thousands of people have already attended.

This festival is a true showcase of the regional municipality of Maskinongé. The festival helps us reclaim our ancient buckwheat culinary traditions, musical folklore, and locally grown products, as we discover local artists and a very welcoming community. This festival is a touchstone and an opportunity to honour our long-standing traditions in this francophone territory in North America. For these reasons, and many others, we call on the federal government to maintain funding and encourage—

Louiseville Buckwheat Flat Cake Festival
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Sackville—Eastern Shore.

Veterans Affairs
Statements By Members

October 8th, 2010 / 11 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, Sean Bruyea and his wife, as well as veterans across this country are owed an apology by the government and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Instead of being treated with the disdain that they were, they deserve to be treated with the highest of respect.

While I want that, I could not help but notice that the member for Nepean—Carleton decided to breach security at his own will. We have a Prime Minister who rides an ATV down a track. We have former member, Rahim Jaffer, who broke the law.

I just wonder if the Conservative Party of Canada would table in this House all the laws and regulations that do not apply to its members.

Maybe it is good idea the Conservatives are building new prisons, because just like Grant Devine's Conservatives, 17 of whom went to jail, these guys will be filling up the new prisons one day if they keep going on this route.

Status of Women
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, October is Women’s History Month in Canada. It is celebrated across Canada and by all Canadians. The Minister for Status of Women has announced this year's theme, “recognizing Canadian women in business”.

The economy remains on the minds of all Canadians, and this year's theme honours women's achievements, now and throughout history, in Canadian business and within the national economy.

Our government has taken significant action to improve women's economic security and prosperity. We have created new initiatives like the kick-start program that will help give entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their ideas and their businesses.

I therefore call on all members of the House to join with me in celebrating the important contributions of women who have made and who make our economy and our country—

Status of Women
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Laval—Les Îles.

Global Handwashing Day
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, October 15 marks Global Handwashing Day.

Here in Canada, handwashing is an effective way to protect one's health, but the situation in the developing world is similar to what it was here a century ago: some 3.5 million children under the age of five die of pneumonia and chronic diarrhea, deaths that could be prevented if people had access to clean water.

Handwashing is one of the most effective health interventions for women and children living in poverty. It reduces chronic diarrhea by 50% and respiratory diseases by 25%.

Yet the Conservative government dedicates less than 2% of CIDA's $5 billion budget to building basic sanitary facilities.

On behalf of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, I call on the federal government to abide by the 2005 Paris Declaration and increase Canadian investment in the Global Sanitation Fund.

Shipping Industry
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, on October 1, I had the opportunity to kick off the fall season with an announcement from our government for shipbuilding in Canada. The Minister of Finance and I announced tariff relief for new ships.

The new duty remission will lower costs for the industry by waiving the 25% tariff on imports of all general cargo vessels and tankers. Shipowners will be able to reinvest $25 million per year over the next decade. This will help the shipping industry save money, become more competitive and reduce its environmental footprint.

In St. Catharines, this announcement benefits Algoma Central Corporation directly, as it employs 300 people. Algoma Central Corporation is ready, and it is prepared to meet the needs of its industry, expand our economy and take the lead in the shipping industry when it comes to our environment.

The new duty remission framework will ensure a stronger Canadian economy and a brighter future for the marine transportation service sector. With a global competitive advantage, we can ensure Canada's recovery will mean success in the long term.

Nobel Peace Prize
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois would like to acknowledge the fact that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident and non-violent activist for human rights in China.

Mr. Xiaobo became a symbol of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, when he was sent to prison for 20 months without ever being charged. From 1996 to 1999, he served three years in a labour camp for co-signing a letter calling for the removal from office of the then Chinese president and for seeking the release of those jailed in the 1989 movement. In 2009, he was again sentenced to 11 years in prison for having signed Charter 08, which called for an extension of political freedom and the end of communist rule in China.

The Nobel prize committee decided to honour Mr. Xiaobo despite threats of reprisals by Chinese authorities. Because China has become a major economic power, “China's new status must entail increased responsibility”, said the Chair of the Nobel Committee.

The Bloc Québécois commends this courageous activist.

Opposition Coalition
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, unbelievably, this week we learned that the Liberal-NDP-Bloc Québécois coalition is alive and as strong as ever. The Liberal leader has long been in favour of the coalition and has said he is “prepared to form a coalition government and to lead that government”. Yet now, the leader of the Bloc brags that he is the “driving force” behind it.

The fact that the coalition's policies include introducing massive tax hikes to pay for a 45-day work year and other measures that would put our economy at risk is troubling, but most troubling of all is the fact that the admitted driving force of the coalition is led by a party dedicated to the breakup of Canada.

Thankfully our Conservative government, led by the Prime Minister, is committed to a united Canada and to policies that will protect, not kill, our fragile economic recovery.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to remind Canadians that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Canada and around the world.

Although much has been done to combat this dreaded disease, it is estimated that in this year alone more than 23,000 Canadian women and an estimated 180 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 5,000 will die from it.

As a breast cancer survivor, I know only too well the trauma faced by the patients and their families, and I understand the importance of early detection. With early detection, today there is a 98% chance of beating breast cancer. I encourage everybody to talk to their doctors about any concerns they may have and to have a mammogram regularly.

I am sure all members join me in wishing those suffering from the disease a speedy and full recovery, and in praying for the day when breast cancer will be completely eradicated and no longer an issue for women and men everywhere.