House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The Budget
Oral Questions

June 13th, 2011 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, later today, Parliament will vote on approving budget 2011, the next phase of Canada's economic action plan. This is a positive, forward-looking plan to keep Canada's economy growing while helping Canadian families, seniors and communities.

Indeed, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said that the plan would support the economic recovery by helping Canadian businesses prosper, compete and create jobs.

Could the Minister of State please inform the House of the latest news on Canada's job marketing?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Minister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, once again we heard good numbers from Stats Canada: 22,000 more jobs in May. That brings us to a total of 560,000 jobs, as I have said, since July 2009.

However, if there is one Canadian still looking for a job, that is too many. We need to move forward with this budget because there are provisions in it that will help Canadians get back to work. It is important. It is urgent.

Canada Revenue Agency
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last fall, the Canada Revenue Agency gave itself top marks for its handling of requests for tax rulings. However, an audit revealed that CRA had cooked the books, left out some requests and did not start the clock when it got the others. It is easy to score top marks when an agency makes up the rules as it goes along.

What is the minister doing to clean up and bring more transparency to her department?

Canada Revenue Agency
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Egmont
P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, internal auditing is in place in order to keep the agency accountable and to ensure service to Canadians is constantly improving.

As a result of this internal audit, CRA has in place an action plan designed to continue to improve the ways Canadians can interact with CRA regarding their taxes and their benefits. Our government is committed to the fair and equitable tax treatment of all Canadians.

Canada Revenue Agency
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government in fact gets an “F” for failure.

Look at the issue of tax evasion. Business people allegedly even bribed employees of the Canada Revenue Agency in order to better defraud the tax system. What action was taken? Nine employees were dismissed, but still no action has been taken against the fraudsters. When will the public finally see action taken on the cases of tax fraud?

Canada Revenue Agency
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Egmont
P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, this government appreciates that this is a very serious issue and we will not tolerate the types of alleged activities that are being reported. The RCMP, of course, is investigating this case and our officials are working with the RCMP. To be clear, many of these allegations date back more than a decade.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the E. coli outbreak in Germany gives Canadians even more reasons to worry about the safety of Canada's food. In fact, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food patted himself on the back for the hiring of 170 people by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, but refused to say how many were hired as inspectors.

How many of these new employees will act as inspectors and protect Canadians?

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, I know the member has been paying close attention to the debate in the House on our budget. A colleague of mine mentioned that we will be voting on the budget this afternoon.

I would remind the member that in the budget there is an extra $100 million over five years to enhance food safety. In addition, we are providing CFIA with a net increase of 733 inspection staff.

I would ask that member to stand in his place this afternoon and vote in favour of our government's budget.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, actually, on page 110 we see $9 million and $8 million, which do not quite add up to $100 million.

The government does not get it. This is about the safety of the food that Canadians put on their families plates.

The results are in: CFIA is underfunded and we need more inspectors.

The Conservatives are failing. They brag about putting new money in the budget but they are actually taking it out.

When will the government stop playing shell games and making semantic arguments and get to the truly important work of ensuring food is safe for all Canadians?

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, I mentioned to that member last week that CFIA's first priority is the safety of Canadians. We are strengthening Canada's food safety system by ensuring the largest ever budgets for CFIA, which that member and his party consistently vote against.

We are continually reviewing costs to ensure efficiency.

I will finish up with a quote from a report on OECD countries that states:

Canada is one of the best-performing countries in the 2010 Food Safety Performance World Ranking study. Its overall grade was superior, earning it a place among the top-tier countries.

That is our track record.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's G8 report shows that $50 million was quietly scooped from the border infrastructure fund to pay for gazebos hundreds of kilometres from the border.

Border infrastructure funds must reduce congestion and enhance security to qualify. In 2003, the fund upgraded Knight Street in Vancouver, though it is not close to the border, because it reduced congestion on a major border route.

Could the government explain how a gazebo reduces border congestion or enhances security?

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have spoken of this before but I will reiterate.

I signed off on the estimates of the department and ultimately I am accountable. I am right here in Parliament being held accountable for them.

The professional public service recommended that this fund be used as a vehicle to get quick action with respect to projects that were important as Canada was hosting the G8, and that is exactly what we did.

The Auditor General has come forward and said that she would like greater transparency and greater accountability. We completely agree and have accepted all of her recommendations.

Treasury Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, we cannot say that the government leads by example. The President of the Treasury Board is demanding cuts, but cabinet offices have been going in the other direction. Since 2008, there has been a 14% increase in the budgets of ministers' offices.

What does one say to aboriginal chiefs who come to Ottawa to report that there are still houses that are not hooked up to water systems on their reserves? What does one say to low-income seniors who must settle for a $1.60 a day increase in the guaranteed income supplement?

Treasury Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, we ran on the principle that it is time to balance the budget. We put forward a clear plan to the people of Canada to balance the budget one year earlier than in our previous budgetary plan in 2014-15. We have a clear goal and we have a clear means to get there.

That is what the people of Canada have spoken to, that is why they elected this government and that is why we are moving with those plans.

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to doling out cash or smearing its opponents, the government does it better than anyone else. However, when it comes to consultations on important issues, it mysteriously loses its marketing edge.

For the government's secretive border deal with the U.S., a so-called publication process is a four point questionnaire put on a government website.

Why is the government hiding the process and not ensuring that Canadians are consulted on one of the most important issues for our country?