House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are hearing more comments. I certainly encourage people to provide their comments. If they would like me to read them into the record, they could send them to me on Facebook or Twitter or send an email to an NDP MP. I must admit the vast majority of the comments we are getting are from Conservative-held ridings. People in Conservative ridings are saying they disagree with their Conservative MP. They may have sent this information to their Conservative MP as well, but very clearly they are saying they want to ensure the NDP brings forward these points of view, which is what we are doing. In the spirit of back and forth, that is members' right and I would not discourage them from doing that. However, since the vast majority of comments I am reading are from Conservative ridings, it behooves those members to listen to Canadians who are speaking out. These Canadians who live in Conservative-held ridings are saying that they think Canadian families deserve better than the budget the Conservatives delivered. Canadian families deserve better. That is what they are saying.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

I thank my colleagues. My goodness, what an enthusiastic bunch of NDP MPs we have at the House of Commons, despite some of us struggling with colds and flu.

A constituent from Elliott Lake, Ontario said that the budget demonstrates that the Conservatives are out of touch with the priorities of most Canadians.

Here is another comment from Surrey, British Columbia: “Our tax dollars are not being properly spent on the needs of average families. This budget does not address problems with the increasing gap between rich and poor”.

A constituent of my colleague for New Westminster—Coquitlam says: “I'm very disappointed that this government has chosen to make needless changes to old age security that will punish our most vulnerable seniors. I'm also appalled that they've done it in a way that will impact on future generations”.

From Vancouver, Mr. Lahay writes: “Born late '58. I'm fifty-three what about me?”

From a Liberal riding in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ms. Wade writes: “I was born in early 1958, but that doesn't make it any less wrong! It's wrong on many levels and wrong for us all.... [W]hat's next, work and pay into it until we're 90? Looks like they want their money and they hope we 'expire' before collecting. Shame on the [Prime Minister's] government!”

Another comment from Facebook is this: “They're cutting the pensions of my generation too”.

A person from British Columbia notes that “Attempting to force the northern pipeline through will cause larger concerns on the west coast. B.C. residents are unwilling to accept the risk of harm without proper environmental assessments”.

As members know, we have seen fundamental cutbacks in environmental assessments throughout the course of this budgetary process.

From a Liberal riding in Kingston, Ontario, a constituent states: “I am so disappointed with what's going on with this Conservative government”.

From Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mr. Chambers writes: “The Prime Minister is destroying what makes Canada unique in the world”.

These are the comments that are coming in. I could go on just with the Facebook comments alone, because there are pages and pages of them. People are posting on Facebook across the country. They are saying that they want to be heard on this. That is why we are getting so many Canadians writing, phoning, emailing and faxing us. They are providing feedback that the government should have heeded prior to putting forward and tabling this budget.

Each Canadian here is important and their voices are very important. That is why we are raising them in the House of Commons because that is our job. The member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing is absolutely right that we raise the voices of these families across the country because we believe their voices should be heard in the House of Commons. That is why we do it.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

I heard a question from my colleague across the way, which I think was about how long I was going to speak. Well, obviously I have a cold and I do not know how long my voice will hold out, but in my party our tradition has been to speak out until the job is done—

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

We feel very strongly that this fewer jobs, less growth, less prosperity budget needs to be exposed for what it is. Of course, it is not as if the government actually put front and centre what the impacts of the budget were. When we looked through it initially, we found that a lot of the figures were hidden, which is what we feared. Here I go back to the memo from the President of the Treasury Board a few weeks ago that basically directed civil servants to hide within the budget the actual cuts to services and jobs. That is something that was leaked to the press, which then exposed it. Not only would the government not put that information in the budget documents themselves but also not put it in the reports on plans and priorities that would come out in the month of May, thereby hiding from the Canadian public the truth about the budget.

After a couple of days of being able to go through the budget and rip it apart, we are actually seeing what the real impacts are. That is why we are raising these points in this House.

Just on the job front alone, the government's estimate of 19,000 job cuts in the budget has been exposed as not accurate. We are actually talking in both the public and private sectors now of a loss of over 50,000 jobs across this country. It is nothing short of irresponsible for the government to proceed with cuts in services and jobs that are then multiplied in the private sector. We are talking about tens of thousands of jobs that would be lost right across the country. That is something that I can get into a bit later on.

However, the reality is that this fewer jobs, less growth and less prosperity budget has a profound negative impact. That is why, as my colleague from Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing raised, we are going to continue to speak out on the budget. Canadians are speaking out as well.

From the Halifax area, where there are three terrific NDP MPs, the members for Halifax, Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, and Sackville—Eastern Shore, a Mr. Roger says: “Make no mistake.... This budget is not about fiscal prudence or a healthy economy, this is an ideology-driven budget. It's hard to believe they have made Canada more regressive with respect to the environment. Meanwhile, they have slashed 19,000 jobs in public service at the same as saying they are trying to create jobs. Orwellian double-think?”

A person from Ontario says: “Why do believers in free market continue to feel that oil companies need subsidies from their own government? Somehow, I don't think that environmental assessments are going to stop the oil companies from taking their equipment and going home. Let them work on their own dimes and make sure that they are responsible to the environment and there are adequate environmental assessments”.

Another Canadian says: “Sad to hear about Katimavik. As a participant, I was lucky enough to travel Canada as a full-time volunteer, working in community centres and for NGOs and gaining valuable life experience, strengthening communities, self-directed learning, sharing skills, environmental stewardship. That program taught me a lot about being a decent citizen”.

Just hot off the press is another comment: “Has the Prime Minister been reading 1984 too much? This government is becoming very Orwellian when they start to suppress information and facts going to the public”.

Obviously, when we raise the tweets and the Facebook postings, this indicates what is very clearly a trend right across the country: Canadians are concerned about what they are seeing in the budget.

As I mentioned earlier, I am going to be coming back to the tweets and Facebook comments a little later on. However, I also want to start reading out some of the emails that we have been getting from coast to coast from Canadians who believe, profoundly, that the government is simply doing the wrong thing in the budget.

My Conservative colleagues have asked if they can send in tweets and Facebook comments. I will just reiterate that if they want to send tweets or Facebook comments, if we have time, we will certainly read them.

My Conservative colleagues have asked if they can send in tweets and Facebook comments. I will just say again that if they want to send tweets or Facebook comments, we will certainly read them if we have time, but what we will say, and I want to be very clear about this, is that we will be putting Canadian families first.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

He doesn't trust any of the other members to speak. Is that a problem? Is he the only one with a brain over there?

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

If tweets, Facebook postings or emails come in from Canadian families, since we are putting Canadian families first, I will be reading those first before I read any of the concerns from my Conservative colleagues opposite.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

How many of you did they elect, Robert, 104 members? And only one of them can speak? So there are 103 bumps on a log. What an embarrassment.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

I will continue with some of the emails that we have received. I will read them by region because we have been getting them from across the country.

Because I mentioned B.C., the member opposite, who is from Ontario, seems less inclined to want to listen to the British Columbians who have written in to us, but what I would like to say is that British Columbian families are important and we hope that he would heed and listen to the British Columbian families that are—

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order. I would like to remind the hon. member from Burnaby—New Westminster that he is speaking to the Chair and I thought he asked me a question at that point. I know he has been on his feet awhile and he may have forgotten that point, but I would appreciate it if he were to direct his comments to the Chair.

I would also appreciate it if other hon. members would give respect to the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster. He does have the floor. There will be questions and comments following his speech. I am sure he will be glad to answer them at that time.

The hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour on a point of order.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

April 2nd, 2012 / 12:50 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I appreciate your clarifying that. I know that my colleague, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, certainly honours the rules and respects them very much and will certainly turn his attention to what you have said.

I just wanted to make the point that members opposite have been directing some fairly veiled and somewhat weighted comments toward him, which have been distracting him to some degree. Perhaps if those members wanted to have an opportunity to have the member for Burnaby—New Westminster say something, they would be comfortable tweeting @RobertNDP and I would be happy to—

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order. That is not a point of order.

The hon. parliamentary secretary on the same point of order.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, what we are saying on this side of the House is that the hon. member is basically admitting that the other 103 members of the NDP caucus actually have no voice and are not intelligent enough to speak on the budget. Therefore, we were hoping that he would actually give an opportunity to the other 103.