House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Madam Speaker, this is an interesting debate. Perhaps this is the time to re-ground it a bit. The government would like to create the perception among Canadians that this is about stopping the tax cut for all companies and all businesses. It is not.

Small and medium-sized businesses, which are the engine of growth of the economy of our country, will enjoy generous tax breaks supported by the Liberal Party of Canada. In the very title of this debate, this is about tax breaks for large multinational corporations at a time when the taxation rates for those large multinational corporations is at the lowest it has ever been, one of the lowest regimes anywhere in the G8, which the government itself points out.

This debate is a very timely one. We are also having it at a time when we are discussing the fact that Canada has a $56 billion annual deficit this year. According to the government's statistics, numbers and prophecies, it will have this deficit for the next six years. Every chamber of commerce I have ever spoken to always tells me that one of the greatest issues threatening the economic stability of its members and of the provinces those members represent, and of the country, is this massive national debt, which is accumulated through annual deficits year after year. The chambers of commerce always tell me that we must tackle the deficit. When I hear from chambers of commerce, that is their one primary piece of advice.

When we deal with the stimulus and when we talk about the recession, much of the stimulus money the government brought forward went to whom? It went to large multinational corporations, which the Conservatives feel are the genuine engine of the economy of Canada, not small and medium-size enterprises. They do not want to get the information out there that small and medium-size businesses deserve a tax cut and that it is supported by the Liberal Party of Canada. They want to reflect that it is all corporations.

The Conservative Party of Canada has earned, and earned well, the name “the party of big business”. Every time there has been an opportunity to serve the people of Canada, to serve consumers, to serve and to provide support to working class people the Conservatives have failed.

We try to bring in legislation and procedures to protect consumers who are airline passengers. Who makes sure that big business rules the day and consumers do not get a chance? It is the Conservative Party of Canada.

The Conservative Party says that it needs to protect people, that it needs to protect the food supply. Who ensures that does not happen? The Conservative Party of Canada. Who ensures that big business rules the day and controls the public agenda of the Conservative government? It is big business.

We are saying very clearly that we have a problem on our hands, created by the government. We have a $56 billion deficit this year. A lot of the reason why we have that deficit is because there was a lot of stimulus money that was given to big business. Why not ask it to pay back a reasonable portion of that money through reasonable taxation? The Conservatives say no. Why? Because they are the party of big business, not of people, not of small and medium-size businesses, not of working class people.

Let us be clear. When it comes to making a decision between people and the profits of large multinational corporations, the Conservatives are picking the large multinational corporations. It shows in the record time and again.

We have a $56 billion deficit this year. According to the government's own numbers, we are going to have a deficit for the next six years.

Picture this. We have been a confederation for over 144 years. In that entire period of 144 years, we fought two world wars. We sent our men and women to Korea to fight a war there. We sent peacekeepers all around the globe. We financed a chain of post offices right across the entire country. We built a transportation system right across the entire country. We built a railroad right across the entire country. We did big things.

The entire deficit, the debt of Canada over 140 years of Confederation, was $500 billion. It will be $56 billion in one year under the government. It is unbelievable the Conservatives would now say that it is the people who have to pay exclusively for that deficit.

What do the Conservatives do? There is an opportunity to ask large corporations to pay a reasonable amount of tax, to contribute a reasonable amount of money to pay off some of that deficit the Conservative government has dug us into.

However, no, the Conservatives government will cut the pensions of seniors. Because there is an opportunity to shave a few bucks off the pensions of seniors, the government will cancel their eligibility for the guaranteed income supplement and lower Canada pension plan benefits for those who want to retire at the age of 60. The government wants to ensure that those people pay for its expenses. That is the Conservative Government of Canada, that is the Conservative Party of Canada in action, the party of big multinational business. It is rightfully earning the title that it is the government, the party of big business exclusively.

Can the Conservatives defend themselves about it? No. They simply go on with a rant about how if they do not do this, the sky will fall.

If there were a real problem, the Conservatives should have said that they would cut corporate taxes to the level they were in 2008. However, they would not have done that because they denied there was a recession back in 2008 as well as denied they would be in deficit. They denied that the circumstances would ever change back in 2008.

They changed pretty abruptly because not only did the Conservatives then say that the country was in a massive deficit and recession, they spent $56 billion of hard-earned taxpayer money to try to get out of the situation they had denied two short years ago.

There is an alternative. The alternative is supported by the Liberal Party of Canada and many on this side of the House. We all have a responsibility to try to tackle this deficit, to provide reasonable services and programs to the people of Canada, to ensure stability of seniors' pensions, to ensure our children have a reasonable opportunity for an education. That comes from one place and one place only: reasonable taxation and reasonable expenditures of that taxation.

The government does not want large corporations to have to bear a reasonable burden the same as every other citizen of Canada must bear to provide those things. The Conservatives do not feel large corporations should have to bear any amount of responsibility to encourage the innovation agenda by actually contributing to national science and technology. They do not feel as though there is any need whatsoever to provide one modicum of stability to the pensions of our seniors.

What do the Conservatives do? They simply write off $25 billion in an income trust fiasco, a double-cross. They write off the pensions of seniors by secretly changing the rules to the GIS eligibility. Then they cut the pensions of those people who want to retire, based on the rules they understood would be there, at the age of 60. They reduce their pensions to just 64% of what they normally would have been. That is down considerably from what the rules were before.

When the Conservatives spend their $120 million a year on advertising, talking about programs of the Government of Canada, do we hear one word about that in the advertising? Do we hear that the Conservative action plan is to cut the Canada pension plan for those who receive benefits at the age of 60? Not one word.

That is why this has to be spoken about in the House. People have to be informed that the Conservative Party of Canada is the party of big business and that will not change any time soon.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to the comments from my colleague across the way. I kind of dispute his attitude on the effect that these tax cuts will have upon small business. Members do not have to believe us, they can believe other people. Bill Stirling, the Newfoundland and Labrador vice president of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, says:

While there are a very small number of very big businesses in Canada that would benefit from the tax cuts, there are hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses that would also benefit. [...] The reason is that small and medium-sized enterprises take the cash available from those tax savings and plow it back into the business. [...] They spend money on training. [...] The proposed tax cuts are good for the Canadian economy, good for Canadian workers, and good for the country.

That is from a representative from Newfoundland. I am wondering if the hon. member can explain the difference between his opinion on the effect these tax cuts will have and that of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters own vice president from Newfoundland.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Madam Speaker, again, small- and medium-sized businesses are scheduled for a tax cut and we support that tax cut.

We do not support it for the large corporations, the ones that have far more ability and flexibility to pay a reasonable portion of the national tax base. We do not feel it is the right time to actually make sure they pay one of the lowest tax rates anywhere on the planet. We feel they have a responsibility.

I will say this about the folks at the Newfoundland and Labrador Manufacturers & Exporters Association. Whenever I talk to them, they all say to me that one of the biggest issues we face as a country is a ballooning national deficit and a growing national debt. They tell me that one of the biggest threats to their members and to the economy of Canada is that the government is not dealing with that. One way to deal with it is by getting revenue from large multinational corporations to help pay that debt. It is pretty simple.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Madam Speaker, I have listened with interest to some of my colleagues on the opposite side who claim that their party does not raise taxes.

I want my colleague, the hon. member who just gave a terrific speech, to comment on this fallacy. We know that in 2006, the Conservatives raised taxes to 15.5% after the Liberals had lowered them to 15%. The Conservatives also taxed income trusts at 34%, which was a loss of $30 billion to many seniors who had investments in income trusts. The Conservatives put a tax on new travellers, the air travellers security tax. The Conservatives just hiked payroll taxes to $13 billion.

Well, no wonder the Parliamentary Budget Officer says that today we are in a structural deficit and that the government is not in a position to balance the books by 2015-16 as the Minister of Finance has promised.

I wonder if my hon. colleague might want to comment on some of that.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Madam Speaker, the party of big business, the Conservative Party of Canada, has indeed raised taxes, whether it be payroll taxes through increases in EI premiums or through actual, direct, straightforward, indisputable increases in the personal income tax rate.

The Conservatives brought the personal income tax rate in this country from 15% to 15.5% when they took office. The Conservatives did so by saying that they simply cancelled the tax cut and did not actually raise taxes. To use their logic, they are definitely raising taxes.

One of the biggest fallacies of this entire argument is what the Conservatives never ever want to talk about, what they will never spend government advertising talking about, and that is the fact that they are raising revenue on the backs of those who can least afford it.

Cutting seniors pensions the way the government has done time and time again, consistently showing contempt for Canada's seniors, is probably the worst thing to happen to this economy. Money is being taken away from those who earned it and who earned it through hard efforts over the course of a working lifetime. They are being told, as the Conservatives are doing it, that secretly, quietly, unabashedly their seniors pensions will be shaved off to help the government pay for its problems.

The Conservative government has a lot to answer for.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, from the outset I wish to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Chambly—Borduas.

We have before us a motion moved by the Liberal Party that reads:

That, in the opinion of the House, the Government’s decision to proceed with cuts to the tax rate for large corporations fails to address the economic needs of Canadian families, and this House urges the Government to reverse these corporate tax cuts and restore the tax rate for large corporations to 2010 levels in the upcoming Budget.

As the hon. member for Hochelaga, our finance critic, said this morning, the Bloc Québécois is in favour of this Liberal motion because we think that at a time when Canada has an extremely large deficit—to the tune of more than $50 billion—we have to ensure that the burden is shared equitably by all sectors of society. When corporate taxes are being cut, that necessarily means the government will get that money one way or another, either by increasing fees and taxes, which will essentially affect the middle class, or by cutting services, which will also affect the middle class and the less fortunate.

I want to point out as well that the Conservative Party, the government and the Minister of Finance have never told us how they will ever be able to return to a balanced budget. They say it will take five years, but they have never provided a real plan. The Bloc Québécois has quite a detailed plan, and I will get back to that later.

For a number of years now, even under the Liberals, the taxes on profits have been constantly reduced. It was Paul Martin who started these cuts, and it is obvious by now that they have not had the desired structural effect.

Productivity has remained a problem in Canada, in comparison with our competitors, and investment still lags. If tax cuts had had the magical effect the Conservatives expect, we would have seen it already. But that has not happened.

I want to draw the attention of the House to a study published in Austria in September, 2010. It is called Do higher tax ratios result in lower economic growth?. Five researchers studied the effect of taxation on economic growth across all the OECD countries and reached the following conclusion:

There is no statistical evidence to the negative relationship between the tax ratio and economic growth.

There is no automatic relationship, therefore, between tax cuts and economic growth, despite what the Conservatives claim. We think that corporations like banks and big oil companies should be required to help, given Canada’s current financial situation. That is why we oppose a general reduction in the tax rates on corporate profits.

The Bloc Québécois is not opposed, of course, to tax cuts for small and medium-sized businesses, which create so many jobs. These tax cuts were actually already implemented under the Conservatives’ so-called recovery plan, and the Liberal motion does not call them into question.

We have also noted all the gifts made to the oil companies in particular over the last few years. In addition, banks are still allowed to use loopholes in the law to send money to tax havens and thereby avoid paying their fair share of the tax burden we all share. The tax system is an expression of society's solidarity and makes it possible to provide services and support to those who need it. This can be in the form of family policies, policies to fight poverty or income support for people who lose their jobs.

We will be voting in favour of this motion because we are opposed to a general reduction in taxes for large corporations.

I will now come back to the oil companies. The government says that it does not directly subsidize oil companies. That is false. The International Institute for Sustainable Development has calculated the direct assistance given to companies in the oil and gas sector. It estimates that, in Canada, oil companies receive $1.3 billion in direct and indirect subsidies from the federal government every year. Moreover, the Conservative government, like the Liberal government before it, has changed how the amounts are calculated.

Previously, mining and oil companies received tax breaks based on their operations. The government decided to change this and to have companies deduct the royalties payable to the provinces from profits before applying federal taxes. In light of the difficulties experienced around the world by the mining sector at a certain point—although not as serious now, there was a crisis a few years ago—the provinces and Quebec significantly reduced the royalties paid by mining companies. However, royalties paid by oil companies have been substantially maintained. In the end, this tax reform gave an advantage to the oil sector and put the mining sector at a disadvantage. This was criticized because it resulted in taxation of the oil sector in Canada being even more advantageous than in the state of Texas. There is room for creating a new balance and a bit of fairness. We believe that oil companies can be taxed appropriately.

Overall, the benefit to the oil industry was estimated at $3.2 billion in 2010. This money should be recovered by the federal government in order to return to a balanced budget and to maintain programs that help Canadians, especially the middle class and the most disadvantaged.

The Bloc Québécois presented proposals to balance the budget, as announced by our finance critic a few weeks ago. I just spoke about what we should be looking for from the oil companies. We must also consider the banks, which resort to tax havens. We could go after a great deal of money. In 2009, the five major banks saved $1.3 billion in taxes by using these tax havens. Barbados is surely the ideal tax haven for Canadian banks.

I know that Scotiabank, for example, has shell companies scattered throughout the Caribbean to ensure that it does not have to pay its share. What is interesting is that, in their annual reports, banks are required to list their tax savings, savings achieved through the use of tax havens. This gives us an idea. There are also other companies, other big corporations, that are able to use these types of strategies to avoid paying their fair share to help the collective effort.

I would like to remind you that, a few years ago, the Auditor General was concerned about the erosion of the tax base because of the use of these tax havens.

In a period like the one we are experiencing today, we must therefore eliminate tax havens and gifts to oil companies and expect those who have had the chance to accumulate a bit more wealth to contribute more. For example, our proposal involves asking members of Parliament to help our. We propose that taxpayers who earn between $150,000 and $250,000 pay a 2% surtax—members of Parliament would not be exempt—and those who earn over $250,000 pay a 3% surtax until the deficit is eliminated. This would produce $4.8 billion.

I would like to close by speaking about two other proposals that are included in our plan, namely, the reduction of federal bureaucratic spending—there are many ways to reduce costs without affecting public servants or services—and the fight against contraband, which is very important. We feel that the Conservative government is still dragging its feet on this issue. As I said in a previous speech, the Conservatives are tough on crime but only on petty crime. Serious criminals are never affected.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Saint Boniface
Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member from the Bloc Québécois for his speech. However, I am a bit confused.

This morning, our Liberal colleague from Kings—Hants had the chance to read a press release and quote the leader of the Bloc Québécois. He said that the leader indicated he would support tax breaks for all companies. I am confused because the hon. member has just said that he is at odds with his leader—the leader of the Bloc Québécois.

I would like to read a quote by the Conseil du patronat du Québec.

Its representatives appeared at the finance committee just recently and stated:

[We] would like to see the government follow through on its plan to reduce corporate income tax to 15% for 2012. The corporate tax reduction would increase private investment, both domestic and foreign, which would enhance our productivity, create good jobs and improve living conditions for Canadians.

How does the hon. member explain this?

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, the thing we disagree with is the broad-based tax cuts. That is our position.

I have already said we are in favour of the tax cuts for small and medium-sized enterprises that have already been made. For some businesses like banks and oil companies, there is certainly a lot more groundwork to be done. We think that not only should these companies not have their taxes cut, but they should be contributing more to the collective effort.

Our position is clear: no to broad-based tax cuts, yes to tax cuts for SMEs and yes to increases for certain businesses that have the means to contribute to the collective effort, especially at a time when the deficit is as big as it is.

The member referred to the Conseil du patronat du Québec. At a caucus meeting with the Quebec chamber of commerce, I asked Ms. Bertrand why, despite the tax cuts, investments were not going up in Canada and Quebec. She said that it was a mystery. To anyone who tries to claim that lowering taxes automatically stimulates growth, I say that that is untrue. There is an old neoclassical, neo-liberal saying that today's tax cuts are tomorrow's profits and the day after's jobs. That is unfounded. Once again, I refer to the study that I mentioned earlier in my speech.

Our position is clear. The leader of the Bloc Québécois, the finance critic and I all agree that there should not be broad-based tax cuts for major corporations.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Madam Speaker, over the years I have sometimes spent time in the member's riding and have noticed the similarities between his riding and mine. A lot of industries in the area depend on national resources and the development of them.

In many cases, when we consider what they do and the larger the corporations are, tax cuts do not seem to be top of mind to them. Whenever I meet with them, tax cuts are certainly not part of the conversation when it comes to the immediate term, but issues such as currency exchange rates, the prices of inputs, labour and a diversified trained workforce. When it comes to the Government of Canada, it always seems that it is more interested in how we invest in the individuals who work within that industry.

I was wondering if the member could comment on that, as it certainly is pertinent to his area.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question. It gives me a chance to come back to this subject.

When the economic crisis hit, the Conservatives said that they would lower taxes to help businesses, but that did not help all businesses. In the forestry sector, for example, a sector that we have in my riding, the tax rate could go down to 15% and it would still not help Les entreprises TAG or the mill in Chertsey because they are not earning a profit.

What we are looking for, and what we have set out in our budget expectations—which were made public by the member for Hochelaga—is assistance that targets certain sectors, such as the forestry sector. Tax cuts will not help them. More often than not, tax cuts for major corporations simply go straight into the pockets of senior managers or stakeholders. They do not go into job creation or productive investments. The government must target much more than that.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend my colleagues from Hochelaga and Joliette on their excellent remarks. I think that they clearly set out the information that we have about the situation related to the motion before us.

For those who are watching, I would like to repeat the text of the motion that was introduced by the Liberal Party on this opposition day. It reads:

That, in the opinion of the House, the Government’s decision to proceed with cuts to the tax rate for large corporations fails to address the economic needs of Canadian families, and this House urges the Government to reverse these corporate tax cuts and restore the tax rate for large corporations to 2010 levels in the upcoming Budget.

This reference to large corporations clearly allows us to vote in favour of this motion since we are of the opinion that SMEs must be given room to breathe and that there is room to ease their tax burdens a little, especially given that, over the past few years, it has been mainly large corporations that have been benefiting from the situation.

We are currently dealing with a Conservative government that gives gifts to certain large corporations. These are large corporations that are making sometimes indecent profits, such as oil companies, banks and businesses with outrageous revenues and profits.

The actions of the Conservative government are indicative of its governance strategy. That is what I would like to speak about. The Conservatives' strategy involves taking every possible means away from the Canadian government so that they can then justify reneging on commitments related to the social safety net or social services. It started with the reduction of the GST from 8% to 6%, and now we are seeing it with the banks.

Let us talk about the Liberal government. They began lowering taxes in 2000. Corporate taxes were at 28%. Taxes were gradually lowered to 21% by 2006. Now the Conservatives want to cut them to 15% by 2012. Each percentage point costs Canada $1 billion in revenue. If this revenue were to go to help low income earners, those who are the worst off, it would be different. But that is not the case. We are talking about banks that have made approximately $46 billion in profits since 2007. That is huge. But the Conservatives still want to hand tax cuts to them and to oil companies that make billions in profits.

In the meantime, the Conservative government continues to apply a policy implemented by the Liberals, which consists in finding money to make up in some small way for the shortfall from people such as those who lose their jobs. We know that when the Liberal government was in power, it wanted to pay down the debt. It gradually complicated access to employment insurance to make as many people as possible ineligible. Earlier, my Liberal colleague said that the government is running a $56 billion deficit. But $57 billion was stolen from the employment insurance fund by the Liberals when they were in power.

If they want to redeem themselves and say otherwise, that is fine, but we need to look at the similarities in their policies.

The same goes for the Liberal Party. When a previous economic statement was tabled, the Liberal members had also voted to cut taxes for large corporations.

My two colleagues spoke earlier about the benefits granted to large corporations. I too would like to talk about the measures the Bloc Québécois has proposed to the Minister of Finance for the next budget.

First of all, we must not raise taxes for individuals or small and medium-sized businesses. Conversely, we must not cut taxes for large corporations. We need to stop giving these gifts to large multinationals, banks and oil companies.

The Bloc Québécois is proposing a series of measures. The wealthiest taxpayers should pay a surtax, specifically 2% for people who earn between $150,000 and $250,000 a year—some members of this House would likely have to pay up—and 3% for anyone who earns over $250,000. This measure alone would allow the government to bring in an additional $4.8 billion. My colleague, the hon. member for Hochelaga, has had the opportunity to present this measure to the Minister of Finance.

Another measure would be to impose a heavy tax on bonuses. In recent years, the public has been shocked to see companies closing or laying off many of their employees, only to turn around and hand out millions of dollars in bonuses.

We are also proposing a review of the federal military procurement policy. We believe that $470 billion over 20 years is excessive. We believe that a different measure is needed in order to support our soldiers, particularly in combat situations. Some of that money should be used to meet the needs of the people.

We must eliminate access to tax havens. At present, as surprising as it may be and despite the lofty commitments of successive Liberal and Conservative governments, it is still possible to put money in tax shelters by using offshore tax havens. Government operating expenditures also need to be reduced. Some of these measures have also been explained by my colleague from Hochelaga. Lastly, we also need to fight tobacco smuggling. Just those two measures alone would allow the government to save billions of dollars.

This morning, the Federation of Independent Business, which Canadian and Quebec businesses are a part of, said it did not want tax increases, and we concur. Where necessary, taxes could even be reduced. Small and medium-sized enterprises are what drive the local and regional economy. Tax cuts would ensure that the economy of proximity—those businesses that sustain communities and truly create jobs—is given priority in any strategy to support the economy.

Since there is a new Speaker in the chair, I will just remind the House that the Bloc Québécois will support the Liberal Party motion and continue to make suggestions for getting money where money is found. Let us stop allowing those who make profits to abuse the system.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large Corporations
Business of Supply
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

When debate resumes, the hon. member for Chambly—Borduas will have five minutes left for questions and comments.

Gananoque
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend my hometown of Gananoque, Ontario, in my riding of Leeds—Grenville, hosted the 1000 Islands Pond Hockey Tournament and the World Pond Curling Championship.

I had the pleasure on Sunday afternoon of playing in the celebrity hockey game which featured former NHL stars, politicians and local celebrities, along with well-known Canadian, Rick Mercer, who turns out to be a fairly decent goalie when he is not distracted by the camera.

Mr. Mercer taped the event and it can be watched on his show in the near future.

The weekend event brought teams to Gananoque from as far away as Texas and brought spectators to the beautiful waterfront in this 1000 islands community. It gave everyone a new perspective on winter fun in small-town Canada.

I want to congratulate the organizers and volunteers who began their work many months ago, with a special thanks to the hard work of Lori Higgs and Katherine Christensen.

Hopefully we will all be back next year.

Radio-Canada Acadie
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, Louise Imbeault announced that she was retiring as director of Radio-Canada Acadie.

I want to congratulate Ms. Imbeault on her hard work and on everything she has done to promote Acadian and francophone culture. She has been dedicated to this cause for a long time. Her career in the media has spanned 35 years, and, just like my father, she even had the opportunity to work for the newspaper Évangéline, which unfortunately no longer exists.

We are very sad to see Ms. Imbeault leave and we are profoundly grateful to her.

However, her replacement, Michel Cormier, will no doubt do an equally impressive job.

Michel Cormier has a great deal of experience with Radio-Canada. He has been a correspondent in Moscow, Paris and Beijing. He comes from Cocagne, a community near my own, and I know that he is very happy to be returning home to Acadia.

Alex Harvey
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to celebrate the extraordinary feat of a young man from my riding whose name is Alex Harvey.

This young skier is the son of athlete Pierre Harvey, who participated in the summer Olympics in cycling and in the winter Olympics in cross-country skiing. A native of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Alex, at the age of 22, has become the world champion after winning a 30 km race in Estonia at the U-23 Cross-Country World Championships.

This outstanding achievement has made him the first Quebecker and first Canadian to win at the Cross-Country World Championships. This skier has been collecting medals for a number of years and will continue to surprise us.

A student in law at Université Laval, Alex Harvey is a model for youth. Brave and determined, he excels in a high-performance sport while succeeding academically.

Again, congratulations on this historic success. On behalf of Quebec and all the people of Côte-de-Beaupré, good luck, Alex, and keep making us proud.