House of Commons Hansard #16 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was smugglers.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is focused on what actually matters to Canadians: creating jobs and economic growth. Just today the IMF forecasted that Canada's overall economic growth will lead the G7 over the next two years. This is another example of our economic leadership, which includes nearly 600,000 net new jobs since the end of the recession in July 2009, which is the strongest job record in the G7.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' economic action plan is simply not working. The unemployment rate went up last month. Canada is on the brink of another recession. The gap between the rich and the poor keeps growing. Yesterday the Prime Minister showed that he not only does not understand the principle of social justice, but he refuses to see the economic dangers on the horizon, as they were in 2008.

When will he open his eyes and take action?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, our economic action plan is working very well. Again, some 600,000 net new jobs have been created since the end of the recession. If that is a failure, then it is hard to say what plan would work better. The worst part is that the NDP voted against the plan.

We will stay the course. The state of our country's public finances is the most enviable of the G7 countries. This shows that our plan of keeping taxes low and emphasizing economic growth and job creation is a winning formula.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, inequality is not only a moral outrage in any democracy, but it also makes for a bad economic foundation. Inequality means lower family incomes, young people and workers not being given the opportunity to pursue their studies, consumers spending less, and fewer good jobs being created.

Why does this government refuse to take economic inequality seriously? Why does it refuse to act?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the most important equality plan for Canadians is a job. We have created more than 600,000 net new jobs in Canada since the end of the recession. Canadians gave us a strong mandate in the general election to protect and complete Canada's economic recovery.

The way to go is not what the member opposite suggests. It is not to run up more deficits and more debt. We see clearly around the world what that brings down on countries that follow that course, including the course recommended by the official opposition of a $10 billion tax hike in Canada.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, clearly Conservatives are out of touch. Canadian households have never been so deeply in debt, never. Scotiabank says Canada will likely be the first country to go back into a recession. Now the International Monetary Fund projects Canada's unemployment rate will keep rising and is downgrading Canada's economic prospects.

When will the Minister of Finance finally wake up to our economic reality, or is he happy just to watch from the sidelines as Canadians face another economic downturn?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there the member goes again, badmouthing our country and trying to reduce confidence in our economy. In fact, Canadian consumers have confidence in our economy and that is why we have economic growth.

If the member opposite bothered to read the report the IMF issued today, she would see that according to the IMF we are going to have the best economic growth in the G7 over the course of the next two years. That is because we have sound fiscal and economic fundamentals, but she would have us move away from that.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the warm applause from the Conservative Party.

The Minister of Finance has to face the harsh fact that the IMF report today, which he has quoted very selectively from, states very clearly that the IMF is changing its growth projections for Canada. He has to recognize very clearly that the IMF said something else quite significant at the end of its report and he said that it is precisely because Canada has the fiscal room to move that it is important for Canada to look hard at the need for flexibility in the face of changed circumstances. This is where we part company with the government. Will the minister not admit that the world is--

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I will have to stop the hon. member there.

The hon. Minister of Finance.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the IMF report set out the anticipated rates of growth in Canada at 2.1% in 2011 and 1.9% in 2012, which would be the best in the G7 over the course of the next two years. The IMF “Fiscal Monitor” also noted that Canada will continue to have by far the lowest total government net debt to GDP ratio in the entire G7: 33.3% in 2016 compared to--and I know the member opposite loves debt--the G7 average of 92.9%.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear the love in the minister's answer.

What I would like to say to the minister is very simple: circumstances have changed. The circumstances relevant to the minister's budget are no longer relevant today. That is the problem. That is the challenge facing Canada. Yes, we have some flexibility. We do have some leeway, but will the minister take advantage of that leeway? That is the important question we are asking him.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have indicated that if we are faced with a large external shock to our economy from Europe or elsewhere, we would, of course, be pragmatic and flexible. We have said that before, and I say it again here today. We would act as we have acted before.

What we would not do is run the Government of Canada like the member opposite ran the Government of Ontario between 1990 and 1995. He ran the Province of Ontario into massive debt and deficit from which that province is still trying to recover.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear the love in that response, but let us just look at the facts of what the government is doing.

It says that it is focusing on the economy and jobs. We have just been faced with two pieces of legislation that have already dramatically increased the size of the debt and deficit in Canada, and according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, they are going to increase Canada's debt by $15 billion over the next five years. That is the agenda is being foisted upon the country by a government that claims to be worried about the economy.

The government has to show some flexibility and leadership in the face of these changed circumstances.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are on track to balance the budget. We ran substantial deficits in 2009 and 2010. We have reduced that deficit by about half and we will continue to do that.

This is in stark contrast to what the hon. member opposite did in the Province of Ontario over five years. Year after year he was in denial and continued raising the deficit, accumulating a massive public debt in the Province of Ontario.

We are not going to go that route. We are going to stay the course and go back to a balanced budget.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reassure the President of the Treasury Board. I am not going to ask him a question about the G8 Summit today. I hope that this will motivate him to stand and speak.

A total of $20 million was granted to a private company to study the cuts to public services. That is $90,000 a day being wasted! The President of the Treasury Board is throwing taxpayers' money out the window while cutting jobs.

Why is the government paying contractors top dollar to do its dirty work?