House of Commons Hansard #105 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
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Madam Speaker, I am curious. I heard what the NDP said in relation to the motion. Frankly, I know that many of the NDP members, from their talk over on the other side, must live in fantasy land. This is the proposal they are making. They are finding cuts that do not exist, suggesting there are cuts to certain programs.

The hon. member has left out discussion, in the last 15 hours of his predictable yet unimportant speech, on the penny. We know what will happen to the penny. He must have left it out for political reasons.

The rest of his speech was in fantasy land. However, will the hon. member not to get behind the government and support it on the elimination of the penny? Will he do that for us? We know it will be better for retailers and for Canadians. It went out of style some time ago. Will the hon. member support the elimination of the penny?

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, that is the difference between the Conservatives and us. They believe it is all about the penny. We believe it is all about governing and public policy, responding to Canadian needs.

We did mention the penny. In fact, the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre has been at the origin of abolishing the penny. I am glad the government is giving him full credit for the work he has done.

The reality is it is a penny-wise and pound foolish budget. It will hurt Canadians. That is why we are voting against it.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, it is interesting. There are over 34 million people across Canada. All those individuals are represented by 308 members of Parliament.

We recognize this is one of the most important motions we will debate inside this chamber. We are spending well in excess of $250 billion.

We all have concerns that we would like to be able to express in regard to the budget, issues such as increasing the OAS and GIS eligibility age from 65 to 67 and health care transfers. In Winnipeg hundreds of jobs have been lost through Aveos. In Manitoba people are concerned about the Wheat Board and the impact that will have.

There are literally hundreds of issues across this great nation of ours. We would hope that in recognition of how important this debate is, we would allow members to contribute to that debate. We all have stories at the constituency level. Constituents are talking to us, wanting us to bring forward those issues.

When the government brings in time allocation, opposition members jointly oppose it because we want members to be able to speak, even if we disagree with them.

We have witnessed a demonstration of the different type of leadership in the NDP. Is it the New Democratic Party's intention, on every bill that it opposes, to use as much time on the clock in order to prevent other members of Parliament from being able to contribute by representing their constituents, which we believe is ultimately in the best interest of all Canadians? We want MPs to be engaged in debate. Does the hon. member also acknowledge the importance of having engagement and debate from members or Parliament when we are talking about issues such as spending $250-plus billion?

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, I have been in the House since 2004 and the member is right to say that there is a different calibre of leadership in the NDP than there was in the Liberal Party. From 2006 until 2011, we saw Liberal members of Parliament, every time a budget was presented, paying lip service to what the Conservatives were doing as they vandalized the economy and the country. Then every NDP MP who was here prior to 2011 saw time after time, 114 consecutive times, Liberals voting to support the Conservative government. New Democrats are saying that when we think the direction is wrong, we are going to stand up to the government because it is the right thing to do.

The member of Parliament says that the hundreds of Canadians who have written to us and want their views expressed in the House of Commons are somehow wrong and that this should be just about the Liberal Party and politicians. We disagree. It is about Canadians. It is about the impact on Canadian families. That is why I delivered hundreds of messages in the House over the last few days.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I share some of what my colleague from Winnipeg North said. It is a shame that so far the only comments I have been able to make about climate in this debate was when the hon. member accidentally read out of my tweets, which was forwarded to him from a constituent of mine.

Agreeing with everything Canadians are saying from coast to coast about how bad this budget is, l would like the hon. member to speak more specifically about the ways in which this budget, ignoring the climate crisis as it does, does nothing but promote the rapid expansion of the fossil fuel industry from coast to coast, and I mean coasts. From the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Hecate Strait, this budget was written by the oil industry. It is time we have a separation of oil and state in our country. Fundamentally, this budget violates every notion of responsible government.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, I certainly agree with the member. I would ask the member this simple question. The choice on Friday morning was to allow for the Conservatives to dominate debate, as they have in so many other cases, where they get most of the speaking spots and Conservative MP after Conservative MP stands in the House and regurgitates the same Prime Minister office talking points, every one of them, with the same message. We could have had three days of that or three days of hearing from Canadians, and that is who we have heard from, hundreds of Canadians.

From one end of the country to the other, all across Canada, they have spoken out against this budget. That is what we need to know. Everyone agrees that this is a bad budget, that it has a negative impact on Canadian families. Canadian families deserve better than that. They deserve much better than that.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

April 3rd, 2012 / 4:45 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, over the last 13 hours, we listened to the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, during which we began a conversation with Canadians about this budget, why it was so wrong and why we were opposed to it. Canadians want to hear what we are going to do as the opposition. I would like the member to speak more clearly about the fact that this is just the beginning of the kind of opposition there is going to be from this official opposition. There will be a structured, responsible conversation in the chamber and outside of it from coast to coast to coast.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, first, I would like to pay tribute to the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, who has been at my side handing me tweets and Facebook postings throughout this entire day. He has been tireless. I do not think he has even taken any breaks.

Second, when my colleague talks about a structured, organized, energetic and strong opposition under the leadership of the member for Outremont, Canadians have not seen anything yet. We will fight hard for Canadian families on the floor of the House of Commons and right across the country.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak, albeit briefly, to this motion.

I would like to request unanimous consent to split my time with the member for Kings—Hants.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to split his time with the member for Kings—Hants?

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I have heard it said that this is a Liberal budget. I have heard it said by Andrew Coyne. I have heard it said by le chef du Bloc québécois, Daniel Paillé. I have heard it said by several Conservative members of Parliament. So, I want to devote the bulk of my very brief speech to the point that this is not a Liberal budget. There are several elements of the budget that a Liberal government would never have done.

On the question of old age security, a Liberal government would never have raised the age of eligibility from 65 to 67. When it comes to the transparency of budget cuts, a Liberal government would never have made cuts without transparency, as this Conservative government is doing. When it comes to the environment, a Liberal government would never have weakened the regulations and the environmental assessment process. And a Liberal government would never have cut Elections Canada’s budget just when Elections Canada needed those funds to conduct its investigations.

In more detail, the OAS going from 65 to 67 is utterly unnecessary because the thing is entirely stable and doable, according to the Chief Actuary. It is entirely unfair, it hits the most vulnerable seniors to the tune of some $30,000 over two years. It is generationally inequitable, it hits manual workers who are often unable to work beyond the age of 65. It places the burden on the provinces.

In terms of transparency, the budget contains weasel words, like they will “achieve efficiencies and savings through the consolidation and streamlining of administrative functions, program management”. These are words that mean nothing. When we were government, we did expenditure review and we produced detailed records of cuts in every single departmental program.

In terms of innovation, a Liberal government would never have cut the tax incentive to innovate. According to Andrew Dunn, a tax specialist at Deloitte Touche, “It's becoming more of a planned economy and less of a capitalist economy.” The Conservatives favour a planned economy where government picks winners by making transfers, rather than a capitalist economy based on tax incentives.

My time is short, so I will just close on the environment and Elections Canada. On the environment, we on the Liberal side would not oppose streamlining of environmental evaluation processes.

However, the problem is, one can tell that the Prime Minister clearly wants that pipeline to be built, come hell or high water, whatever the consequences for the environment and for aboriginal people. That is why we oppose it. He is not just streamlining environmental regulation, he is cutting it out so that he can get his favourite pipeline built. That is sufficient reason for us to oppose it.

Finally, on Elections Canada, clearly it is wrong to cut his budget by $7.5 million at a time when he needs the money to do this robocall investigation.

For all these reasons and for many more reasons, the Liberals will be voting against the budget.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Madam Speaker, I have a question for the Liberal member.

There was a Liberal government from 1993 to January 2006. Did the Liberal government not cut $400 million from the CBC? Did it not cut health spending to the point where the health care system became ill as a result, and still is today? Did the Liberal government take $57 billion away from working men and women? That was the theft of $57 billion from working men and women, a theft legalized by the Conservatives.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, the member should recall that in 1993, the Liberals had inherited a $42 billion deficit from the Conservatives. There was a budget crisis in the air. The IMF was going to come to Canada, and the Wall Street Journal said we were a third-world country. There was a crisis atmosphere. That is why the Liberals made significant cuts, as he says.

However, after balancing the budget in two years, we reinvested those funds in the economy, and in particular in the health accord and the agreement with the aboriginal people.

And if it had not been for the NDP bringing down the Liberal government in 2005, we would have enacted child care, we would have enacted Kelowna, and Canada would have been a much better place.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, BC

Just a little more time.