House of Commons Hansard #186 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Questions

November 27th, 2012 / 2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to point out for the member opposite that even today the OECD in its fall outlook continues to expect Canada to be among the fastest growing economies in the G7. In fact, Canada will have the second fastest growth among G7 countries over the next two years, only in comparison behind the United States, which is starting from a much lower base than Canada given our recovery.

We are doing very well in the world. We are not in need of a contingency plan because we are going to continue to grow.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is surprising to learn that there is no contingency plan.

The Conservatives—like the repeat offenders they are—imposed gag orders again and again in order to shove an error-filled bill down parliamentarians' throats. Now, six months later, the minister is coming back and asking us to revise it.

When the Minister of Finance was forced to use his latest budget implementation bill to correct errors in the spring budget bill, was it also at the request of the Prime Minister?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we are agreed, as we always intended, to balance the budget in the medium term during the course of the current Parliament.

Having said that, Canada has created over 800,000 new jobs. The IMF and the OECD both project Canada to have among the strongest growth rates in the G7. We have the best banking system in the world. We have the highest credit rating in the world by the three major credit agencies and the lowest overall tax rate. Canada is doing relatively well.

Health
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could ask the Prime Minister a question about health care.

As many as three million Canadians have no coverage at all with respect to the cost of pharmaceutical drugs and another three million only have coverage for the catastrophic cost. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research have identified inadequate drug coverage as the next issue that has to be dealt with by the first ministers.

Would the Prime Minister agree that in a health accord that needs to happen in 2014 the question of drug coverage will be front and centre in terms of the position of the Government of Canada?

Health
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said repeatedly, the federal government recognizes the jurisdiction of the provinces over much of the health care system. At the same time, we do continue to transfer money to the provinces for that health care system. In fact, in recent years we have been transferring money for health care to provinces much faster than their own budgets are growing. We will continue to uphold our responsibilities in this area.

Health
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the biggest challenges facing the system, as identified in the 2004 health accord, were the matter of pharmaceutical drugs and the fact that approximately 6,000,000 Canadians are not adequately covered by the provinces and the existing legislation.

If the Prime Minister believes in a universal system, as he claims, why not address this issue with the premiers in order to come up with a truly national program?

Health
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, on this side of the House, we recognize the jurisdiction of the provinces over much of the health care system. We are transferring a record amount of money to the provinces to help them fulfill their responsibilities. In fact, we have been transferring money for health care to the provinces much faster than their own budgets are growing. We will continue to support the provinces in this way.

Health
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, since 1985, the cost of drugs has grown from about 10% of the total cost of health care to now close to 17%. The simple reality is that this is the fastest growing area of health care costs. It is being borne increasingly by individuals, not simply by provinces.

Does the Prime Minister not understand that in taking this ideological watertight compartment view of the federation that he is in fact denying Canadians access to health care, something of which we are proud of as Canadians and want to protect and advance as Canadians?

Health
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it was previous Liberal governments that imposed certain health care requirements on the provinces, then turned around and cut the funding and refused to fund those very requirements.

The leader of the Liberal Party suggests that he wants to go down that path. This government is not going down there. We work co-operatively with the provinces and we have honoured our commitments on transfers.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and his Minister of Finance should get their stories straight.

The Minister of Finance is saying that there will be a deficit in 2014. The Prime Minister is saying the opposite. The finance minister is promising that there will not be any more cuts. The Prime Minister is saying the opposite.

Who is telling the truth about the government's intentions?

Why are the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister out of step on such fundamental issues?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Of course, the member opposite is incorrect, Mr. Speaker. Our intention has always been to balance the budget in the medium term. If the member opposite and her colleagues care to look at the fall economic update, they will see that the deficit in 2015-16 is within the adjustment for risk in the budget. Therefore, it is quite clear that the budget can be balanced during the current term of Parliament.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative platform promised a surplus of $2.8 billion in 2014, and yet the finance minister's most recent projection shows there will be a deficit of $8.6 billion. That is a difference of $11.4 billion.

The finance minister cannot get rid of this with a wave of a hand. The Prime Minister and the finance minister disagree about the size of the deficit and whether more cuts are coming. Why can they not keep their story straight?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

This is passing strange coming from the NDP, Mr. Speaker. This is a party that recommends more spending, more taxation, bigger deficits for our country. It is a party that voted against the economic stimulus in budget 2009, voted against creating more jobs for Canadians, voted against more infrastructure, voted against municipal infrastructure for provinces. It voted against all of that, all of which have worked.

Yes, there was a budget deficit. It has been reduced by half, and we are on track to a balanced budget.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, while the world gathers in Doha to fight climate change, the minister is merely reannouncing a made in the U.S.A. policy that will not come into effect for four years; yet climate change does not wait. The minister's failure to act is tarnishing Canada's reputation, which will also affect foreign investments.

What is the minister's plan for the Doha meeting—to sabotage another climate change agreement?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Canada actually took the lead in developing some of the tailpipe emissions, which I will have more to say about in a couple of minutes. Our government is balancing the need to lower GHG emissions with job creation and economic growth. Canada will continue working with our international partners in Doha to create a binding new agreement, which will include all major emitters.

Canada is halfway toward its Copenhagen target reductions. We have a plan and we are getting it done.