House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was lenses.

Topics

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker Mr. Bruce Stanton

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker Mr. Bruce Stanton

Is that agreed?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from April 3 consideration of the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Financial statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to share my time in this budget debate with the hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

The budget that the Conservatives recently tabled is an austerity budget. It will result in major job losses and scaled-back services to the public, and it will make seniors, women and children more vulnerable. This budget even attacks our health care system.

Let us stop beating around the bush. The Conservatives' budget is an austerity budget. We will be dealing with fallout from this budget for years. To justify their choice, because it is certainly a choice, the Conservatives are trying to convince us that the sky is falling, that there is an urgent need to scale back services to the public, to limit environmental studies, and to make seniors in need work two years longer before collecting old age security.

The Conservatives are basing their arguments on fear, not facts. As many economists have said over and over again, our system is viable; it is not in trouble.

After tabling their budget, the Conservatives were all over the place explaining that their budget cuts were based on their commitment to manage public moneys responsibly, to save money and cut costs. That may be, but I must say that, coming from the Conservatives, such arguments do not hold much water.

This government has proven over and over again that it has a special talent for misusing public funds. When the Minister of National Defence uses a military helicopter to go to a fishing camp, is that responsible? Is that trying to save money?

When the government authorizes over a billion dollars—yes, a billion—in spending on the G8 and G20 summit festivities—

Financial statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order. The hon. Minister of National Defence on a point of order.

Financial statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

April 4th, 2012 / 3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member has just said is patently false.

I on no occasion took a military asset to a fishing lodge. I left that lodge early to go back to work. I would like the hon. member to correct the record on that point.

Financial statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The Minister of National Defence will know that on these points of debate, the Chair is not in a position to question the statements of hon. members. There are other opportunities, of course, for members to raise these issues when there are disagreements as to the facts. We would encourage the minister and others, if they wish, to use those opportunities as they may.

The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.

Financial statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will continue.

Would it be responsible to spend $25 billion to buy F-35s? Does the Prime Minister project the image of a responsible fiscal manager when his own office's budget has increased by 32%? The answer is no.

On the one hand, the Prime Minister has asked the departments that provide services to the public to cut up to 10% from their budgets. On the other hand, he is inflating his own budget by 32%. The Prime Minister is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He is asking families to tighten their belts and asking older people, who are already struggling, to work two years more before qualifying for old age security. But when it comes to expenditures in his own office, there is a free lunch.

It takes some nerve to stand up in front of Canadians and ask them to make sacrifices that he is not willing to make himself. It also takes some nerve to ask Canadians to tighten their belts when the Conservatives' rich friends have it easy, thanks to the tax breaks they get from this government.

Canadians are hungry for social justice. They are prepared to do their part, as long as those who earn millions do the same. But with this Conservative budget, nothing has changed: families have to pay, while the very rich get richer.

Budget 2012 will have painful consequences for the economy in the Outaouais region and my riding of Hull—Aylmer. Tens of thousands of public servants, who are also fathers and mothers, have already lost or will lose their jobs and therefore their families' main source of income.

When a company lays off 1,000 people, the economy of the region where operates is harshly affected. Imagine what happens when that number is multiplied by 10 or 20. The people who are going to lose or have already lost their jobs are going to spend a lot less money at local businesses. What happens when less money is spent at those businesses? They lay off all their staff or completely close their books.

In my region and elsewhere in Canada, a number of small and medium-sized businesses depend on the federal public sector for their contracts. Some 40% of federal contracts go to small and medium-sized businesses. When $5.2 billion in cuts are made to various government departments, that threatens the existence of many small and medium-sized businesses. It is a vicious circle.

I hope no one tries to tell me that the Conservatives' cuts are modest. The impact on my region's economy will be anything but modest. The Prime Minister promised Canadians to create jobs, not to create more unemployment. All Canadians, not just those in my region, are going to pay for this budget.

Take, for example, the cuts to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, which will primarily affect such services as food inspection. This service is provided to all Canadians. The Conservatives' decision to cut Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's budget will definitely have repercussions on the quality of this service, and that will create fear throughout Canada.

Raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 is another measure that will affect all Canadians. The main victims of this measure are those who depend on old age security to live with a minimum of dignity. Women in particular will be affected because 50% of Canadian women depend on government transfers to supplement their income. The same is true of health transfers.

The Conservatives' pigheadedness and their refusal to talk to the provinces mean that health transfers to the provinces will be reduced by $31 billion by 2024. By making changes to health transfers, the Conservatives are directly attacking Canada's primary health care system.

What impact will this decision have? Fewer doctors and nurses for Canadians and longer wait times in emergency rooms. The Prime Minister had promised that he would not touch health transfers. Why are the Conservatives attacking our health system?

There is still a very long list of unacceptable measures in this budget. One of them is particularly odd, and that is the $7.5 million in cuts to Elections Canada. What a coincidence. Elections Canada is currently investigating one of the biggest scandals in Canada's political history, and now part of its budget is being cut. Really.

I would also like to draw Canadians' attention to the fact that the Auditor General, who just released a report that is not very sympathetic to the Conservatives, will have his budget cut by $6.7 million.

In my opinion, the Conservatives' priorities leave much to be desired, to say the least.

They forgot to include things in the budget. One would have to look long and hard to find measures to combat poverty or to improve access to affordable housing. That is because there are no such measures. The Conservatives have also done away with the national pharmaceutical strategy.

Developing a budget is first and foremost about making choices. The Conservatives have chosen to turn their backs on Canadian families, single people, seniors and the entire middle class.

The middle class is tired of footing the bill. Canadians deserve better.

Financial statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by saying how deplorable a number of the comments the member just made were. The comments she made about the Minister of National Defence are beneath the House and she should have withdrawn them when she was given the opportunity to do so. However, she decided not to. which speaks to character.

However, I want to correct the record on a number of things the member just said. For instance, she indicated that spending in the PMO was up and that spending in ministers' offices was up. I would like to give her the opportunity to respond, especially where numbers are concerned. The NDP often gets very lost in numbers because it does not understand numbers, but Canadians feel it is important that we do.

The budget in the PMO was down 13.7% over 2010. That is more than the overall spending decreases that we are asking from the rest of government. The budget for ministers' offices is down 16% compared to the last year the Liberals were in office. That is seven years ago and we are 16% beneath that. We are running an efficient, effective government. We make no apologies for seeking to run the government as efficiently and effectively as possible. She would drive taxes up and investment would fall in this country. She should withdraw the inaccuracies and the deplorable things that she said about the Minister of National Defence because they were beneath the House.

Financial statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that money was spent on the G8 and the G20. It is very clear that we still have no answers to questions about the F-35s and that we still do not know how much the planes will cost. We know that the government cut spending in areas where the provinces will have to make up the shortfall. That is what we know, and that is the truth.

We can tell the Conservatives that there are expenditures that are not targeted appropriately and priorities that are not in line with Canadians' priorities.

Financial statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it has been an interesting process going into the whole budget debate. There are a number of concerns that all members of Parliament have with regard to the budget. It is fairly well established that not only will the Liberals be voting against the budget but I understand that the New Democrats will also be voting against it.

Some of the concerns we have are related to the lack of commitment to jobs and increasing the retirement age from 65 to 67. I wonder if the member might be able to provide some input as to why she believes it is important that all members be afforded the opportunity to address the budget debate, given the fact that we will be spending over $250 billion in this fiscal year.

Financial statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would agree that we should have a real debate on the budget to talk about job creation, to talk about the need in the field for social housing and to ensure the people in Canada have a decent retirement. Those are the things we should be debating and not about creating more work and expenses for the provinces in different avenues.