House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was veterans.

Topics

Securities Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the headquarters has not yet been chosen. The minister has been clear: the system will be decentralized. That is what the 10 jurisdictions that are participating expect.

Let me be very clear. Of course Quebec has the right not to participate, to run its own system. But the Bloc Québécois has no right to tell other provinces how to run their jurisdictions.

Harmonized Sales Tax
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the harmonization of sales taxes, which is depriving Quebec of $2.2 billion, is another example of the government's double standard. While Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland will receive $7 billion, the Government of Quebec, which harmonized its tax 18 years ago, has yet to be compensated.

Everyone else is being compensated, but the government is refusing to do the same for Quebec.

Is that what the government calls flexible federalism?

Harmonized Sales Tax
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are in talks with Quebec's finance minister. I spoke to the minister this week. Progress has been made, but there are still a number of important issues to resolve.

Harmonized Sales Tax
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of flexibility, Bruce Flexman, from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, citing Ontario's Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity, maintained that Quebec harmonized its sales tax with the federal sales tax a long time ago.

When will the Minister of Finance listen to the independent professional opinions of two major institutions that say Quebec harmonized its sales tax, and when will he pay the $2.2 billion Quebec has been owed for 18 years? If the government wants flexible federalism, it should start by paying its debts.

Harmonized Sales Tax
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have had continuing discussions with Quebec's minister of finance. I spoke to him, in fact, earlier this week on this subject and some other subjects.

Our negotiations are continuing. We are negotiating in good faith. It is a unique situation in Quebec, because the QST, a value-added tax, is completely separate and different from the GST. But we have made some progress, and I hope we will continue to make progress on the subject.

Potash Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, just a few days ago, the Prime Minister trivialized our questions regarding the takeover of the potash industry in Saskatchewan. In his response, he dismissed our questions, saying that it was the takeover of an American corporation by an Australian corporation. Following this callous answer, his MPs started cheering from the backbenches.

Does he still stand by those rash words, or has he actually listened to the people of Saskatchewan and to the majority of Canadians? Will he finally say no to the sellout of our potash industry?

Potash Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, one will evaluate such transactions on the facts. Facts are facts. The minister and the government have been listening to a range of views, as they are expected to do under the law.

The opposition chases one set of rumours one day and another set of rumours on another day. After due consideration, the Minister of Industry will make his position known later today. I am confident that this position will be in the best long-term interests of the Canadian economy.

Potash Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are a little misguided with respect to foreign takeovers. PotashCorp is one example. There is no transparency, and people are not getting a chance to be heard. The government cannot keep holding these fire sales.

Will the Prime Minister at least admit that the process is not working, that it is not good and that it should be changed? Will he admit it, yes or no?

Potash Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the process is set out in legislation. The member is saying that he wants to review this legislation. That is an interesting suggestion, but right now, the government must comply with the legislation. The NDP's position is to oppose any foreign investment. The government will evaluate this proposal in the best interests of the Canadian economy.

Potash Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, of course investment that brings jobs and innovation and that is good for Canada should be supported. We have done so, and we will continue to do so.

However, the toothless conditions established by the Liberal government once upon a time, and maintained by the Conservative government now, simply make us a laughingstock. They make us a sitting duck for hostile takeover bids. That is why many Canadian business people are speaking out against this sell-off.

Would Australia ever let Potash Corporation take over BHP? Would Brazil let Inco take over Vale? Of course not. When will we see some action?

Potash Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP makes an interesting observation, as I did earlier. Just as I remember that the Liberal government rubber-stamped all such transactions for 13 years, I cannot for the life of me remember an instance where the NDP every favoured a foreign investment.

Whether right or wrong, there is a process and the government is following the process. The government has listened to all interested parties. The government will not automatically say no or automatically say yes to every single investment, unlike the parties opposite. The government will make its evaluation in the best long-term interests of the Canadian economy.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

November 3rd, 2010 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, today the Parliamentary Budget Officer slammed the Conservatives' budget projections, saying there is only a 12% chance that the finance minister will actually meet his deficit targets.

In 2015, the PBO estimates an $11 billion deficit, while this finance minister is promising Canadians a $2.6 billion surplus. Do Canadians not deserve better than a finance minister who cannot count and a Prime Minister who can only divide?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we base our estimates and forecasts on the analyses of 15 private-sector forecasters. In fact, we took a risk for adjustment downward from their predictions. The PBO is in disagreement with all of them. Here is what he said in August, just a few months ago: “The sharp rebound from recession could put the federal government on the road to balancing its books a year ahead of schedule”.

All of a sudden, he is singing a different tune and disagreeing with the economists in this country.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the budget officer is also saying that the current minister is underestimating his deficit numbers by $32 billion over the next five years. It is little wonder, with all the waste on high-priced consultants, untendered stealth jets, U.S.-style megaprisons, and G20 photo ops.

The budget officer also complains that the minister will not provide him with a credible plan to balance the books.

Is it because this wasteful minister does not have a real plan to balance the books?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the plan is in the economic and fiscal update, as it was in the budget this year, as it was in the budget last year. We are on track and we are going to stay the course.

I know the Parliamentary Budget Officer thinks differently, but the IMF has something else to say. Just last week, not back in August, the IMF said that “the framework laid out in the Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections uses appropriately conservative adjustments to its near-term growth assumptions in light of uncertainties about the economic outlook”.

That is the IMF looking at Canada last week.