House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was conservative.

Topics

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

Good grief, Mr. Speaker, I would have a hard time putting myself in the mind of a Conservative. I do not think I could do it.

If they are afraid to give this information, it is because they are lying. They fear the truth. They are afraid to tell it the way it is. When I watch them, I have the feeling I am in Texas where cowboys walk around pretending they are the greatest. That is their attitude. They despise democracy. They despise the Access to Information Act. It is obvious. They have been in government for five years and they have become champions of underhand dealings. Why are they not revealing this information? Because that is part of their culture. They need to conceal everything. I think lack of transparency is part of their DNA.

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Saint Boniface
Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

I am rising today to address the motion moved by the hon. member for Joliette. Given the wide-ranging and far-fetched scope of this ridiculous motion, let me begin by addressing the first item.

As the Prime Minister and his parliamentary secretary have recently said in the House regarding election spending, this is an administrative dispute with Elections Canada that has been going on for five years. The dispute is whether certain expenses should be counted as local or national. There is a difference of opinion on this.

The Conservative Party of Canada acted under the law as it understood it at the time. When it was clear that Elections Canada had changed its interpretation of the law, the Conservative Party had already adjusted its practices in the 2008 election campaign. These were Conservative-raised dollars used for Conservative ads by Conservative candidates.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister also read into the record an email from the Ottawa Citizen of July 18, 2008 and I would like to read it into the record again. It stated:

Hi Phyllis, We are told by communications folks in BC that these were radio ads with the Candidate's personal tag on the end—therefore a local expense to be reported under the Candidate's expense ceiling, regardless of who pays. For rebate purposes, we were asked to bill each campaign—in the case of VanEast, $2,612.00. The good news is that the Federal Party will transfer $2,600 to the Federal Riding Association as we agreed to pay for the ads. We hope that you are able to squeeze this in under the ceiling. Some expenses are not considered election expenses subject to spending limits, such as fundraising costs. Please have a look at the totals and get back to us if you think we have a problem.

That was signed by the federal party bookkeeper. That was not an email from the Conservative Party, but an internal email from the New Democratic Party. The Phyllis referred to in the email was Phyllis Loke, the official agent to the NDP MP for Vancouver East. They were both involved in a transfer of funds that mirrored the practice in question that the Conservative Party engaged in for advertising purposes.

The email I read is one from the NDP national party bookkeeper, one Lucy Ladouceur. She sent it. It meets all the same characteristics that the Conservative transactions did. It was in fact filed with Elections Canada and we obtained it from Elections Canada through the Access to Information Act.

As John Robson from the Ottawa Citizen said at the time:

The more I watch this stuff...the more convinced I am that if there's a scandal here, it doesn't involve the Tories. But nobody seems to care. The opposition want a scandal, the press want a scandal...let's not bore ourselves with details...

Let us also see what another supporter of the opposition said. Robin Sears, a long-time adviser to the Liberal MP for Toronto Centre, also a long-time New Democrat, had this to say on CTV News Channel on February 25:

It's a load of nonsense--the guys at Elections Canada have a few bricks short of a load. Every party plays games with moving money around, have always done, will always do. What's a national ad, what's a local ad? It's nonsense. It's time we got back to things Canadians care about.

I am surprised to find myself in agreement with a staunch NDPer like Robin Sears, but he has hit the nail on the head with his comments and it is proof that this motion by the Bloc Québécois is absolutely ridiculous. This government is prioritizing the interests of Canadians while the Bloc is playing partisan politics on the taxpayers' dime.

While the Bloc is using its precious time in the House to launch partisan attacks on the government, we remain focused on the priorities of Canadians.

Even though there are many encouraging signs that the global economy is recovering, that recovery remains very fragile. That is why our government continues to focus on employment and various other measures to ensure that our economy comes out of the recession stronger than ever. This is not the time to trigger a useless, opportunistic and expensive election.

Canadians expect and deserve to have us focus on their priorities, the economy. The economic upturn in Canada is driven by growth in consumer spending and residential investment which is primarily stimulated by fiscal and monetary policies as well as an improved labour market with a strong revival in consumer confidence. This means sound fiscal management and creating high-quality jobs.

As announced in budget 2010, which I note the Bloc Québécois did not support, our government has a three point strategy designed to return to a budgetary balance. First, we are committed to following through on the second year of the economic action plan. Second, we will build jobs and growth for tomorrow's economy through targeted measures. Finally, we will bring Canada's finances back to balance over the medium term.

This government is getting the job done for Canadians. We are creating jobs and encouraging growth by successfully completing the second year of our economic action plan. The 2010 budget offers more than $19 billion to stimulate the economy during the second year of our economic action plan. Of that amount, approximately $1.6 billion will improve benefits to unemployed Canadians, including long-tenured workers who are unemployed. We also invested $1 billion to increase training opportunities for all Canadian workers because we believe in creating highly skilled jobs.

We are making sure unemployed workers have benefits for them and their families until they find jobs again. We are investing time and money into creating jobs for these workers. We are helping them develop skills so they can latch onto future career opportunities.

We are not making up outrageous, misleading, partisan motions like the Bloc Québécois is, which wants to ignore the priority of Canadians and Quebeckers, which is, of course, the economy. The Bloc's goal is a costly, unnecessary and opportunistic election. We will not be sidetracked by its games.

This government understands the difficult economic times that Canadians are facing and we are standing by, ready to help. We are doing all this while those in the Liberal-led coalition are worrying about their own jobs and trying to force an election.

Let us not forget that early in the recession we provided an extra five weeks of EI regular benefits to all workers across the country and in regions with high unemployment we increased the maximum number of weeks of benefits from 45 to 50 weeks.

Our government also allows long-tenured workers who are unemployed to receive additional regular employment insurance benefits. Since these men and women often only held one type of employment for many years, they now need more time to transition to a new job during this period of economic recovery. The payment of regular employment insurance benefits to long-tenured workers has been extended from 5 to 20 weeks. This additional support gives long-tenured workers more time to find employment during this period of economic recovery.

Our government also put in place the Fairness for the Self-Employed Act, which extends special employment insurance benefits to the self-employed on a voluntary basis. In January 2011, 2.6 million self-employed Canadians became eligible for special employment insurance benefits. Increasing access to these benefits is a good sound family policy that shows our government's commitment to helping families and making their needs a priority.

The government is also helping older workers who have been laid off to transition to new jobs. We have allocated an additional $60 million to the targeted initiative for older workers, which is designed to help unemployed workers between the ages of 55 and 64.

With regard to young Canadians, we have invested $60 million for the year ahead to help them during this period of economic recovery.

While the Bloc Québécois wishes that we would just forget about all of these Quebec needs, it is wasting valuable time in this place putting forward this ridiculous motion.

The Bloc has used today as an opportunistic occasion to make reckless, irresponsible and unsubstantiated partisan attacks toward a government that has done nothing but successfully respond to the needs of everyday Canadians over the past five years.

Employment and economic growth remain this government's main priority and we want to stay on course. Our economic action plan is achieving positive results and providing support measures that are key to our economy. As we said before, the economic action plan has allowed us to create close to 460,000 new jobs since July 2009.

We are focused on jobs for Canadians while the opposition is focused on their own jobs and calling an unnecessary costly election.

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, concerned about the astonishing number of 80,000 seniors living under the poverty line in Quebec, the Canadian Labour Congress and the Quebec Federation of Labour—the FTQ—have launched their worry-free retirement campaign, aimed at providing a secure retirement for everyone. The elderly are in a vulnerable position and are too often left to their fate. The government should take some real measures to help them.

The government should make it a priority to help the elderly, increase old age security and guaranteed income supplement benefits, and provide better protection for pensioners in order to improve the conditions in which seniors live.

The hon. member who spoke before me delivered a fine speech. She spoke about several classes in society, but she forgot the elderly. They were our builders, our pioneers. On the north shore, whether in Sept-Îles, Baie-Comeau, Havre-Saint-Pierre or communities all over the lower north shore, government assistance is needed to increase old age security and the guaranteed income supplement.

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from the Bloc Québécois was not listening to my speech. I spoke a lot about the seniors we have helped with our economic action plan. I also wonder whether he is really up to date on what the Conservative government has done for Quebec.

I would like to take advantage of this opportunity, therefore, to tell him about some good things that have happened thanks to our commitment to Canadian and Quebec families. We gave Quebec a seat at UNESCO. We recognized that Quebeckers form a nation within a united Canada. We have been supportive of the infrastructure priorities of the towns and cities of Quebec and have celebrated its history and culture, including the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Quebec City.

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh!

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, you can see she is speaking quite loudly. I hope she will keep quiet—

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. Questions and comments.

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, when a member of another party says that someone is lying in this House, I would expect that the member would be given an opportunity to correct what he or she said and that the member would apologize.

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh!

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

This is just dishonourable behaviour. I would ask that the Speaker ask the member--

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. There is a lot of discussion and comments going back and forth.

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

An. hon. member

I never heard it.

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. There is a lot of talking and heckling both when the parliamentary secretary is speaking and when the Speaker is speaking.

I will give the floor briefly to the hon. member for Terrebonne-Blainville to clarify what she said, because the hon. parliamentary secretary heard something. I did not hear anything.

Opposition motion—Conduct of the Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

March 10th, 2011 / 4:25 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary said that the government had created 400,000 jobs with its recovery plan, while the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the government had protected 135,000 jobs. That is not the same thing.