House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Questions

December 14th, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2008 in the middle of the worst recession that we have seen in a long, long time, the Prime Minister took to the airwaves to tell Canadians that they should take advantage of buying opportunities on the stock market.

Now, as Canadians are overwhelmed with debt, historic household debt, the Prime Minister waves his finger at Canadians and just tells them to stop borrowing.

Talk about being out of touch with the reality that Canadians are facing. But it is not too late to act. He can take one practical step today.

Will the Prime Minister agree to remove the federal tax off home heating?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course, the economy remains the number one priority of Canadians and of this government.

This government has taken a number of actions to encourage savings, such as the tax free savings account, and a number of measures to assure access to credit but also to encourage sound borrowing by consumers.

This government will continue to take actions where it is necessary to do so.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are drowning in debt, but the Prime Minister is blaming them, saying they must have gotten into debt because of the recession. That is unacceptable.

There are practical solutions for helping people. For example, home heating in Canada is not a luxury.

Why does the government not work with us to eliminate federal tax on home heating?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has lowered the tax by 2%, not just on heating, but on all consumer goods. Unfortunately, the New Democratic Party voted against lowering consumer taxes. I am sure the NDP will keep doing such things in future. This government will be lowering consumer taxes.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are living under a mountain of crushing debt right now.

People are borrowing money because they are out of work, and that is because the quality jobs that they need and that would allow them to get out of debt are not available.

Conservatives promised to make life more affordable, but instead they made decisions to put in payroll taxes and to impose an HST. Seniors, students and people out of work are not borrowing for fun; they are borrowing to get by.

When will the Prime Minister stop insulting Canadians and take—

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, the right hon. Prime Minister.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course it is the NDP and its opposition coalition colleagues who want to raise the GST back up two percentage points.

It is the NDP and its opposition friends who want to raise the taxes on employers in this country. It is the NDP and its opposition friends who want to have EI premiums raised 60% so people can work a 45-day work year.

This is the government that has cut taxes and cut costs for Canadians so they can cope with the recession. Canadians know that if they want their taxes lowered, it is the Conservative Party—

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, the hon. member for Kings—Hants.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Governor of the Bank of Canada has warned that today's record level of mortgage and household debt is threatening the Canadian economy.

But the finance minister is dithering, saying, “...the situation is not urgent...”.

Why will the minister not take the Governor of the Bank of Canada seriously? Does the minister now regret his decision in 2006 to bring in 40-year mortgages with no down payments?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we clearly do not want Canadians over-extended.

With respect to residential mortgages, which is what I think the member is referencing, twice we have tightened the rules for residential mortgages, insured mortgages, once in 2008 and earlier this year in 2010.

If the rules need to be tightened again, we will do so.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, that from the minister who loosened the rules to begin with.

The Economist magazine and the Bank of Canada are united in their warning that Canadian families are at risk because of serious debt and housing bubbles.

Can we trust this minister today when he says, “Don't worry; be happy”, when in fact he is the minister who helped cause the problem by loosening the rules to begin with? He is the minister who helped create not only a national deficit that is at record levels at $56 billion but also record high personal debt levels with his crazy mortgage rule changes.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite can trust the government to continue to take responsible action, as we have done.

We set up the financial literacy task force. We introduced credit card reform and a voluntary code of conduct with respect to credit cards. As I indicated, we have tightened the insured mortgage rules twice. Of course, we have encouraged Canadians to save through the tax-free savings accounts, and many thousands of Canadians have taken advantage of that.

Health
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 1997, the Prime Minister said, “It's past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act”.

In 2005, just before he took power, he said that two-tier health care “would be a good idea”.

The Conservatives deny the federal government's role and speak openly about transferring tax points to the provinces. That would kill the Canada Health Act. The Prime Minister has done nothing since 2006 except flow the 2004 accord dollars to the provinces.

Does the Prime Minister believe he has a role in standing up for public health in Canada?

Health
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, again, our government is committed to a universal public health care system. We support the law of the land, which is the Canada Health Act.

We will continue to work with the provinces and territories, and our government will continue to transfer budgets, increasing by 6% per year to an all time high of $25 billion so that they can continue to meet the health care needs of their residents.

Health
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, that means the government will do nothing more.

In his firewall letter in 2001, the Prime Minister wrote that each province should raise its own revenue for health care, replace Canada health and social transfer cash with tax points.

The tea party leader from Beauce advocated transferring the tax points to the provinces, and Brian Mulroney recently argued for some form of user fees. That would make it an open season for privatization and user fees.

Will the Prime Minister tell us what he really believes about the federal role in health care and his penchant for privatization?