House of Commons Hansard #199 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was immigration.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it would help at the outset if the hon. member got her facts straight. In fact, debt on credit cards declined nearly 4% in the last year, with demand for new credit at its lowest level in five years, down 11% from 2007.

With respect to corporate taxes, I understand the CLC supports the NDP. I understand it supports the NDP high-tax agenda. However, our Conservative government is focused on leaving more money in the hands of investors and entrepreneurs and ultimately growing the workforce, at which we have been incredibly successful.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, talk about denial. It is unbelievable. The fact is that Conservative policies leave individual Canadians with higher debt and bearing more and more of Canada's tax burden, while corporate tax freedom day is now months before everyone else's. It is no wonder that the minister wants to turn the Parliamentary Budget Officer into his own personal cheerleader. So much for fiscal accountability.

We all know the minister just does not like criticism, so why would he not just admit his plan is to gut the role of the Parliamentary Budget Officer and turn the Conservatives' back on the Federal Accountability Act that they themselves brought in? When is he going to admit that?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, in the first place, it is this Minister of Finance, this Prime Minister and this government that cut the average tax for the average Canadian family by $3,000, and we are very proud of that.

When it comes to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, we created that office, we are committed to that office's continuing to exist and we want to ensure that in the future we have a Parliamentary Budget Officer who is non-partisan and credible.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about credibility. Every time the Parliamentary Budget Officer released a report and the Conservatives publicly contradicted him, they had to do an about-face and admit that he was right.

The Conservatives want to get rid of the Parliamentary Budget Officer so he will not shed light on some of the Conservatives' bad decisions. Take the example of the Conservatives' corporate tax policies. They have obviously not had the desired effect because the profits resulting from these tax cuts have not been reinvested in the economy.

Why do the Conservatives insist on staying the course to the detriment of our public services and infrastructure?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Canadian Labour Congress and the New Democrats say, business investment across Canada has actually rebounded since 2009. It is 6.2% higher than before the recession. No other country in the G7 can match that record.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that the Minister of Finance himself criticized businesses for failing to reinvest profits made as a result of lower corporate taxes.

The most recent economic news is troubling. Canadian household debt is much too high and that was a significant factor in the decision to downgrade the ratings of six major Canadian banks. The Conservatives' laissez-faire approach to public finances is hurting our economy.

Will the minister replace failed policies with new initiatives to respond to the challenges faced by our economy, or will he just repeat his same old attacks on the NDP?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are two aspects to personal indebtedness, and one is mortgage insurance. We have moved four times to tighten that market and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions also has in the past year. That has had a moderating effect on mortgage interest, which is important in Canada, and on the real estate market.

On the other hand, on credit cards, I have already explained. The facts are that credit card debt is going down in Canada. Canadians are getting the message to be careful about personal debt because interest rates are bound to rise inevitably.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, after being harshly criticized by the Auditor General for not having a management plan for National Defence's real property, now, the Conservatives are getting involved in a risky experiment: privatizing the management of the department's real property across the country. The Conservatives are taking a leap into the unknown without a business plan or an impact study.

Why are they still undertaking risky experiments at the Department of National Defence?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the significant investments we have made through the Canada first defence strategy to infrastructure on bases across the country. The Department of National Defence continues to ensure that members of the Canadian Forces and their families have the necessary infrastructure to train, to live, to do the important work that we ask of them. The department will leverage private sector capabilities with the realignment of internal resources to oversee the right mix of in-house and external delivery options.

We also continue to work with our partners, including the construction dialogue, in appropriate consultation forums with the employees' unions.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the poor management of buildings and infrastructure at National Defence is so bad that many locations do not even meet the national fire code.

Blindly giving up the management of military bases to the private sector with no clue on how it will affect military communities or the bottom line is not a plan. It looks more like an ideological solution, not sound management.

Could the minister tell Parliament what services will be transferred to the private sector and how much it will cost Canadians?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, ignoring the usual inflammatory and ignorant language of the member opposite, what I will do is ensure him that the investments that we have made have significantly improved the infrastructure across the country. This is a clear attempt to work with the private sector to ensure that we have the proper mix and the proper balance when it comes to the necessary needs of the Canadian Forces, the members and their families.

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the minister should know I was quoting the Auditor General and the national fire code.

Another case of blatant mismanagement by the Conservative government is the failure to improve search and rescue in Canada despite its claims to the contrary.

A year after the tragic death of young Burton Winters in Labrador there has been no improvement in search and rescue response times. In fact, the search and rescue role in Goose Bay has actually been downgraded. The Conservatives even defeated our common sense motion to improve the response times in line with other countries.

When will the government finally take action to fix search and rescue?

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I note, and the member opposite would know coming from Newfoundland and Labrador, this is the week of the anniversary of the death of young Burton Winters. Our thoughts are with his family and the community of Makkovik at this time.

In response to that particular incident and the necessity to make improvements, we did place another helicopter at the base in Goose Bay, Labrador. We have also changed the protocol. We are working much closer now with provinces and territories to coordinate ground search and rescue. We will continue to make necessary investments in improvements to search and rescue. Our SAR techs do a spectacular job in that regard.

The Economy
Oral Questions

January 29th, 2013 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, with the Finch report on the personal debt bubble in Canada, it is clear that Canadians are struggling just to get by and meet their obligations with $1.67 of personal debt for every $1 of annual income.

The minister just boasted of having tightened the rules recently. Will he admit that it was under his reign as Minister of Finance that the rules were loosened in the first place? It was under the present minister that 40-year mortgages with no down payment were brought in to Canada. Will he admit for the first time in the House his own personal responsibility for helping to create the personal debt bubble in Canada?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Canadians value their homes. They like to invest in their homes. It is the most important investment that most Canadians will ever make in their lives. With interest rates being where they are, we are pleased that they have been able to afford more in the way of housing.

Having said that, we have tightened the market with respect to residential insurance four times because of excessive demand and some price spirals that we saw in certain markets, particularly condo markets in Vancouver and Toronto.