House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-12.

Topics

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative deficit has reached a record high. Consultants, ministers and lobbyists have benefited and the middle class will be stuck with the bill. We already saw it with seniors, we saw it with artists and now we are seeing it with the homeless.

The Conservatives say that family care and the demands of the forestry industry cost too much. But what about moving a military base over a question of ego and purchasing jets without an open competition? They claim that is no big deal because they will borrow.

Where do they think their deficit comes from?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the Liberals on deficits, because we all know in the House how the Liberals offloaded their deficit in the 1990s on the backs of provinces. They offloaded the debt onto the poor people and those who needed medical care. We have promised Canadians that we will not repeat the mistakes that the Liberals made in the 1990s.

St. Lawrence Shoreline Protection
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is being incredibly insensitive to flood victims when he says that financial assistance from the federal government would be limited to what is covered by existing agreements. The government can take action over and above the Canada-Quebec agreement. For example, it could restore the shoreline protection program and take the extraordinary measure of using the Canada Economic Development fund as it has done in the past.

With Christmas fast approaching, will the Prime Minister agree to do more than the bare minimum by restoring the shoreline protection program and providing financial assistance out of the Canada Economic Development fund to help the victims?

St. Lawrence Shoreline Protection
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I offer our condolences to the families and businesses affected by the flooding. The first responders have done a good job. If the Government of Quebec needs help, we are always ready to respond. However, there are programs in place to provide financial assistance in such situations. This government will ensure that those measures apply in this case.

St. Lawrence Shoreline Protection
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not understand or is pretending he does not understand. Over and above the Canada-Quebec agreement, there are programs the federal government has used in the past to help people in situations like this one. People do not need condolences; they need action. For example, the government could restore the shoreline protection program that was abolished in 1997. The problem people are experiencing is affecting the shorelines. The government should restore this program instead of pretending not to understand.

St. Lawrence Shoreline Protection
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is not a political issue; it is a problem that is affecting certain regions, families and communities. I can assure the House that the government will help them in every way possible, in accordance with its programs and legislation.

Flooding in Eastern Quebec
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Guimond Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government could go beyond the Canada-Quebec agreement and immediately help the people in eastern Quebec who are dealing with terrible weather. For example, the government could fully assume its responsibilities in terms of marine infrastructure. The Rimouski wharf needs a new breakwater, and the wharf in Carleton-sur-Mer was seriously damaged in the recent storms.

Will the government do its duty and reinforce wharves in eastern Quebec?

Flooding in Eastern Quebec
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Egmont
P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, we certainly extend our sympathies to the families and businesses along the St. Lawrence that have been affected by this disaster. At DFO, we are currently reviewing and cleaning up damage at all our small craft harbour facilities and will be responding accordingly.

As I mentioned yesterday, under Canada's economic action plan, our government has invested significant funds in small craft harbours across this country.

Flooding in Eastern Quebec
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Guimond Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, when floods hit Rivière-au-Renard in 2007, in addition to the help provided under the Canada-Quebec agreement, Canada Economic Development provided special financial aid to businesses and non-profit organizations through a special temporary initiative.

Given the scale of this catastrophe, does Canada Economic Development intend, as in 2007, to provide financial help to the businesses and non-profit organizations that were hit by these terrible floods?

Flooding in Eastern Quebec
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, again this morning I spoke with the mayors, the regional officials we are currently working with. The Minister of Public Safety and his department are in direct contact with the Government of Quebec. As we all know, the provincial government is responsible for taking the lead. Of course, we congratulate everyone who has helped so far, but the Bloc is in no position to teach us anything about how to treat the regions of Quebec.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, on this last day of the session, the Conservatives have nothing better to do than quietly announce something that will affect the lives of all Canadians. The Conservatives are preventing Canadians from saving more by refusing to increase Quebec and Canada pension plan contributions and benefits. Pension plans have proven their worth. The private sector is risky and expensive.

Why are the Conservatives putting the interests of the financial industry ahead of improving the public system?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Canada pension plan is managed under agreements between the federal government and the provinces. Discussions are under way to improve this program in the long term. These discussions are continuing, but the federal government will negotiate these things with its partners in the system.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are being gouged. They are paying as much as $25 billion in annual fees to the private sector managers of RRSPs. Fees on mutual funds can eat up 35% of an RRSP over its lifetime. The CPP management costs are a tenth of those of the private sector. This deal is great for the captains of finance, but it is a bad deal for Canadians who are trying to save for their retirement.

Which financial sector lobbyist got to the government to convince it that banks and fund managers needed help more than Canadians who are trying to save?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the leader of the NDP is talking about, but there is a discussion between the federal government and the provinces concerning the creation of pooled pension arrangements for small business owners and for individual Canadians.

This is a vehicle that a lot of small business owners are interested in, and which the provinces I know are interested in exploring. This is an extremely positive development for all who are concerned about the future of the Canadian retirement income system.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister seemed to be rather clear earlier today in saying that the government was not moving forward with the improvements to the Canada pension plan, something that we need right now because Canadians are at record levels of household debt.

Only 25% of people working in the private sector even have a company pension plan. RRSPs overwhelmingly benefit those who have a lot of money to save, but the squeezed middle class families are having a tougher and tougher time ensuring that they are going to be able to live with some kind of retirement security.

Why does the government not deal with the Canada pension plan now? Most provinces are behind it. The government should show some leadership and help out the middle class.