Budget Implementation Act, 2007

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in October 2007.

Sponsor

Jim Flaherty  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

Part 1 implements income tax measures proposed or referenced in Budget 2007 to

(a) introduce a tax on distributions from certain publicly traded income trusts and limited partnerships, effective beginning with the 2007 taxation year;

(b) reduce the general corporate income tax rate by one half of a percentage point, effective January 1, 2011;

(c) increase the age credit amount by $1,000 from $4,066 to $5,066, effective January 1, 2006;

(d) permit income splitting for pensioners, effective beginning in 2007;

(e) introduce a new child tax credit of $2,000 multiplied by the appropriate percentage for a taxation year, effective beginning in 2007;

(f) increase the spousal and other amounts to equal the basic personal amount, effective beginning in 2007;

(g) increase the age limit for maturing registered retirement savings plans, registered pension plans and deferred profit sharing plans to 71 years of age, effective beginning in 2007;

(h) expand the types of investments eligible for registered retirement savings plans and other deferred income plans, effective March 19, 2007; and

(i) increase the contribution limits for registered education savings plans and expand eligible payments for part-time studies, effective beginning in 2007.

Part 1 also amends the Canada Education Savings Act to increase the maximum annual grant payable on contributions made to a registered education savings plan after 2006.

Part 2 amends the Excise Tax Act to clarify the legislative authority that allows the Canada Revenue Agency to pay refunds of excise tax directly to end-users, where fuel subject to excise has been used in tax-exempt circumstances. It also amends that Act to repeal the excise tax on heavy vehicles and to implement the Green Levy on vehicles with fuel consumption of 13 litres or more per 100 kilometres. It also provides an authority for the Canada Revenue Agency to pay a refund of the Green Levy for vans equipped for wheelchair access.

Part 3 implements goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) measures proposed or referenced in Budget 2007. It amends the Excise Tax Act to exempt midwifery services from the GST/HST and to zero-rate certain supplies of intangible personal property made to non-GST/HST registered non-residents. It also amends that Act to repeal the GST/HST Visitor Rebate Program and to implement a new Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program, which provides rebates of tax in respect of certain property and services used in the course of conventions held in Canada and the accommodation portion of tour packages for non-residents, and establishes new information requirements in the case where rebates are credited by the vendor.

Part 4 implements other measures relating to taxation. It amends the Customs Tariff to increase the duty-free exemption for returning Canadian residents, from $200 to $400, for absences from Canada of not less than 48 hours. It amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to clarify that when a federal corporation listed in Schedule I to that Act pays provincial taxes or fees, wholly-owned subsidiaries of that corporation also pay provincial taxes or fees. It also authorizes the Minister of Finance to make payments totaling $400 million out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Province of Ontario to assist the province in the transition to a single corporate tax administration. This last measure is consequential to the October 6, 2006 Canada-Ontario Memorandum of Agreement Concerning a Single Administration of Ontario Corporate Tax.

Part 5 enacts the Tax-back Guarantee Act, which legislates the Government’s commitment to dedicate all effective interest savings from federal debt reduction each year to ongoing personal income tax reductions. That Part also commits the Minister of Finance to report publicly at least once a year on personal income tax relief provided under the Guarantee to Canadians.

Part 6 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to set out the amounts of the fiscal equalization payments to the provinces and the territorial formula financing payments to the territories for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2007 and to provide for the method by which those amounts will be calculated for subsequent fiscal years. It also authorizes certain deductions from those amounts that would otherwise be payable under that Act. In addition, it makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 6 also amends that Act to provide increased funding for the Canada Social Transfer beginning on April 1, 2007, and to provide for the method by which the Canada Social Transfer and the Canada Health Transfer amounts will be calculated for subsequent fiscal years, including per capita cash allocations. It also provides for transition protection.

Part 7 amends the Financial Administration Act to modernize Crown borrowing authorities.

Part 8 amends the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act to permit the Minister of Finance to lend money to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Part 9 amends the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act, the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act and the Winding-up and Restructuring Act to allow the Governor in Council to prescribe the meaning of “eligible financial contract”. Those Acts are also amended to provide that, after an insolvency event occurs, a party to an eligible financial contract can deal with supporting collateral in accordance with the terms of the contract despite any stay of proceedings or court order to the contrary. This Part also includes amendments to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Winding-up and Restructuring Act to provide that collateral transactions executed in accordance with the terms of an eligible financial contract are not void only because they occurred in the prescribed pre-insolvency or winding-up period.

Part 10 authorizes payments to provinces and territories.

Part 11 authorizes payments to certain entities.

Part 12 extends the sunset provisions of financial institutions statutes by six months from April 24, 2007 to October 24, 2007.

Part 13 amends the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act to provide the Minister of Public Works and Government Services with the power to authorize another minister, to whom he or she has delegated powers under that Act, to subdelegate those powers to the chief executive of the relevant department. That Act is also amended with respect to the application of section 9 to certain departments.

Part 14 amends the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act to allow the Minister of Finance to provide funding to the Agency for activities related to financial education.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 12, 2007 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
June 12, 2007 Passed That this question be now put.
June 12, 2007 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Business on the day allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
June 5, 2007 Passed That Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007, as amended, be concurred in at report stage with further amendments.
June 5, 2007 Passed That Bill C-52 be amended by deleting Clause 45.
May 15, 2007 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
May 15, 2007 Passed That the question be now put.

Bill C-52--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

June 12th, 2007 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, my questions have to do with the use of a very blunt instrument to achieve the government's agenda when it had many other avenues available to it to ensure that the budget was passed on a reasonable basis.

Today we are faced with a government that has chosen to bring in the heavy hand of closure on democracy and debate in this place. It is a measure that we regret. We know it was used hundreds of times by the Liberals but we thought the Conservatives were different. They said that they were different. They said that they believed in an open and democratic process. They said that they would not resort to these heavy-handed tactics and yet today they did so without having used all available means at their fingertips to move the process along.

My questions are threefold.

First, why did the government miss 11 days of opportunity to advance this bill through second reading? We know that between April 17 and May 11 there were 11 days when Bill C-52 could have been called for second reading debate. The government chose not to that and put us back on a schedule so we are at this point today.

Why did the government not use every opportunity, and the will of this House, to have a thorough and reasonable debate on Bill C-52, the budget implementation bill? Does the government have something to hide? Is it afraid of the developments that we are seeing today with respect to the Atlantic accord and Saskatchewan? Did they prevent the government from having the open debate back then? Was the government afraid that it would get out in the open? If that is the case, the government really hoisted on its own petard because it just created the circumstances for a much greater outcry from across this country.

Second, why is the government now using closure when the finance committee did its job in a very expeditious way? We took only five sittings to deal with this bill in terms of all of its ramifications, to have hearings and to do clause by clause. We were very responsible in that way and yet the government still brings in closure.

Third, why did the government not take advantage of our Standing Orders for consulting around the use of closure? The government has avenues for consulting with all parties, for seeking opinions and advice. Instead, the government chose to go immediately to the last resort measure in the Standing Orders, which is to unilaterally impose this motion on Parliament.

Bill C-52--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

June 12th, 2007 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Jim Flaherty Conservative Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member wants me to answer the questions but he continues talking. I will try to answer the question. What he does not want to hear is that the budgets that we have brought in reduced taxes by more than four times what was done in the previous budgets by the Liberal Party opposite.

A tax reduction is important, which is why Bill C-52 going forward is important for Canadians.

The question was about consultations among House leaders. I understand that there was an agreement to report the bill to the Senate by June 6 but, obviously, that has gone by. There was a comment about there being an attempt to move forward today by the opposition House leader. If he wants to move forward today, that is exactly what we are proposing to do, to move forward with Bill C-52 to third reading today. I am sure the opposition House leader will support that since he says that is something he wanted to do, which is to move forward today with Bill C-52 to a vote.

In terms of the timing of Bill C-52, which has been debated here at some length, there were discussions between the House leaders about the number of speakers. I am told that the Liberal opposition kept adding more speakers after saying that they would only have so many speakers. This elongates debate, which is a good thing.

As to whether there were other bills being debated in this place, yes, important bills about democratic reform of the unelected Senate that is dominated by Liberal senators who are, as I say, unelected. We are trying to reduce their terms somewhat from a lifetime appointment to age 75 without them ever being elected.

The other legislation that is in this House, which has been opposed and delayed repeatedly by the Liberal opposition, relates to crime. I come from the greater Toronto area and crime is an important issue for us. One would think that the Liberal opposition would have been anxious to pass a bill that would have a minimum sentence for the use of a gun in a criminal offence, particularly given what we live through in urban areas of Canada, particularly the greater Toronto area. However, the Liberals were not. Those bills needed to be brought to this place for debate so we could get them passed and we could strengthen anti-crime measures in the country, which does not seem to be of interest to the members opposite.

Another question had to do with what went on in the finance committee but I would leave that to the members of the finance committee to debate.

The last point raised by the member opposite had to do with the Atlantic accords and the sort of discussions that have been taking place. It is always interesting to hear these questions from the opposition Liberals because they are led by a leader who says that there is no fiscal imbalance between governments in Canada. In fact, he goes further and says, “Fiscal imbalance is a myth”. Therefore, if the Liberals were the government they would do nothing on this subject, led by the current leader of the Liberals, and yet they want to ask questions about the Atlantic accords.

If we go back and look at the history--

Bill C-52--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

June 12th, 2007 / 10:20 a.m.
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Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-52 is, of course, the first budget implementation bill. As a new government, I am very pleased that our budget 2006 had the usual spring implementation bill and the fall implementation bill and, together with this budget, reduces taxes for Canadians by $40 billion or so over three years. It is a very substantial tax reduction and in fact four times higher--

Bill C-52--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

June 12th, 2007 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have four or five questions that I would like to address to the government House leader and I will attempt to put them all together at once and, hopefully, the answers could be forthcoming.

First, Standing Order 78 contemplates consultations to achieve an agreement on time allocation among all or, failing that, a majority of the parties in the House. I would like to ask the government why the government House leader did not consult with the official opposition on this particular matter.

I would point out to the government House leader that yesterday, in a debate about Bill C-52, I specifically indicated to him and to the House that from the perspective of the official opposition, we expected Bill C-52 to be disposed of today. I made that comment before the notice was given with respect to the minister's intention under Standing Order 78.

That being the case, having given that very clear overture, I would ask the government why there was no effort to consult about this matter and why there was no attempt to reach an agreement in advance of the minister taking the action that he has today.

Second, in the flow of events around Bill C-52 the government itself only got to its 2007 budget very late in this sitting, about the middle of March, and then the government only pursued debate on Bill C-52 sporadically. At one point there was a full, unexplained three week hiatus in the debate at second reading. Why did the government deliberately delay and avoid its own budget bill at several stages during its course through Parliament before we got to the situation that we are in today? What was the government's strategy in delaying its own legislation?

Third, in the committee proceedings on Bill C-52, the government first tried to avoid any scrutiny whatsoever by avoiding all witnesses being called to the committee. The opposition insisted on basic decent hearings and extracted a commitment from the government to hear at least some witnesses in a serious and dignified manner, especially those who believed that the government had not told them the truth. I am thinking here particularly of people who had invested in income trusts and a number of the provinces which believed they had been betrayed on equalization and the Atlantic accords.

The format for these committee hearings to hear these witnesses was unilaterally changed at the last minute by the Conservative committee chair, thus breaking the all party agreement on how to dispose of Bill C-52. Why did the government violate the agreement that was in place on how to hear these committee witnesses, especially any provincial premiers and especially Premier Calvert?

Fourth, and my final question, the Prime Minister and the government have defended Bill C-52 in blanket terms. They deny, for example, that this bill affects and changes the Atlantic accords but still they admit that discussions are indeed underway to fix the problem that Bill C-52 poses for the Atlantic accords. Either there is something that needs fixing or there is not. If Bill C-52 does not negatively affect the Atlantic accords, then what is being discussed with Premier MacDonald of Nova Scotia and will the same flexibility be shown toward Premier Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador and Premier Calvert of Saskatchewan?

Bill C-52--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

June 12th, 2007 / 10:15 a.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

moved:

That in relation to Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the Bill;

and fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day designated for the consideration of the said stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007, be read the third time and passed, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Bill C-52--Notice of time allocation motionBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

June 11th, 2007 / 5:55 p.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Order 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to third reading of Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of the proceedings at the said stage.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

June 11th, 2007 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Yes, as my colleague from Ottawa Centre said, there is much here. We could talk for days. All we wanted in this whole parliamentary process was the ability to put on record the concerns of Canadians.

Indeed, there are many concerns across the country about the federal Conservative budget. We are not trying to hold up the process. We are not trying to be difficult. We are not trying to use any of the rules available to us to hurt democracy and to deny the need for the bill to be passed at some point, but we do want the opportunity to speak.

In fact, if we look at this whole process, as has been said many times in the debate, the Conservatives have had days and weeks to advance the bill and get it through the House.

Is it not interesting that today there is this panic? There is this need to create a crisis in order to get Bill C-52 through, but in fact the Conservatives had 11 days between April 17 and May 11 to actually advance the debate. They had 11 chances to bring this bill forward to debate, so that we could proceed and get it through committee, to report stage and back here for third reading.

Obviously, yes, as my colleague from Ottawa Centre said, it was not important enough at the time. They wanted to hide it as I am told by the member for Windsor--Tecumseh. Yes, there is clearly an attempt on the part of the Conservatives to hide, to bury, and to get rid of any avenues for discussing this budget.

First they tried not calling it, now they are hoisted on their own petard, and are forced to actually hear us out as we thoroughly debate Bill C-52 on third reading.

The developments of the last week have certainly given us a focus for debate and discussion. There is the realization on the part of the premiers of Newfoundland and the premier of Nova Scotia as well as the premier of Saskatchewan that the government in fact has no intention of keeping true to its word of keeping the promise that it made to honour the Atlantic accord and the Saskatchewan agreement.

The debate has now become, out of necessity, one that is dealing with the principle of governments keeping their word.

For too long political parties that have formed government break their promises the first chance they get. It is obvious that when a government breaks its word on something as fundamental as resources, an economic lifeline to regions such as Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, we cannot sit back and ignore it. We simply cannot let the Conservatives make up some justification for breaking their word and giving them the go ahead.

Obviously, the Conservatives who are waving their hands at me are embarrassed by this situation. They should be embarrassed. They ought to give some thought to the cries from people in the Atlantic region and Saskatchewan who want them to reconsider their position and keep their word with respect to the Atlantic accord and the Saskatchewan deal.

There are eons of writings on this issue and a multitude of quotes from members on the Conservative benches in support of the Atlantic accord and the Saskatchewan agreement. Let me quote the Prime Minister from November 16, 2005. He said:

The Prime Minister is also failing Saskatchewan on equalization. The government promised to reform the equalization program in 2004 for Saskatchewan. The government now says it will not get to that until at least 2006, costing Saskatchewan over $750 million in lost revenue. When will the Prime Minister overrule his finance minister and make the changes necessary, so Saskatchewan does not lose this money?

He went on to say on January 12, 2006:

A Conservative government would also support changes to the equalization program to ensure that all provinces and territories have the opportunity to develop their economies and sustain important core social services.

I could go on at great length making reference to all kinds of previous commitments, words, and promises by Conservative members in the context of the issue of fiscal balance and fairness in terms of distribution of wealth in this country.

However, the point has been made amply by the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley. It has certainly been made in the news today by the premier of Nova Scotia, Rodney MacDonald. It has been made very well at the finance committee by the premier of Saskatchewan, Lorne Calvert.

It is time for the Conservative government to begin to listen. We offered a solution. We said from the very beginning that this issue could not be ignored. We said from the beginning that previous promises and commitments could not be ignored. We cannot go back on our word when it comes to economic lifelines.

We asked the Conservatives to honour the agreements and view these accords in terms of ensuring that the provinces have the wherewithal and the means to pursue their provincial economies as they develop their energy resources. It does not mean for all time we must ignore a formula that would look at some variation of what amount of revenue is included from natural resource revenue. It is to say honour the accords and then begin to look at how we move forward in the future.

There is no question that the Conservatives inherited an absolute mess from the Liberal Party. The Liberal government had years to sort out this problem. It refused, as happened with the income trust file. On both counts, they had the evidence and they would not bite the bullet and deal with them.

The Conservatives inherited an absolute mess and that is certainly the case with income trusts. On that issue, the government clearly recognized that it had to act or we would see more tax evasion on the part of corporations and more loss of revenue that would provide important programs for seniors and others.

With respect to fiscal balance and equalization, the case is equally so with the government, and I quote from the Edmonton Sun of a couple of months ago: “Grits Left 'Utter Mess' Books in Disarray After Deals With Provinces, Says Tory Minister”. I agree with that. It was an absolute mess.

There was a chance back in 2004 for the government of the day to build on a consensus achieved by the provinces to put in place a formula that would hold us in good stead for years to come, but the government refused. It refused, out of political expediency and out of a totally messed up sense of priorities in terms of fiscal balance. We have a government that cares more about putting money aside for a rainy day even though it is raining today.

We had a past Liberal government that has a $80 billion of surplus because of unanticipated surpluses caused by lowballing and refusal to forecast accurately. The government accumulated over $80 billion on a most unethical and immoral basis and then decided to put it all against the debt as opposed to deal with the priorities of Canadians.

This is the strange part. The Conservatives are following that pattern, not dealing with this trend line, this pattern of broken promises. Clearly, what is needed is for the Conservatives to have learned from the mistakes of the Liberals and not repeat them.

First, that means not to break its promise when it comes to the Atlantic accord and the Saskatchewan deal. Second, it means to stop the lowballing so we do not have all this unexplained surplus or a surplus that has no demands on it and then allow that to go against the debt without looking at the priorities of the country. Stop playing games with Canadians. That is what we are saying today. Start to put the issues on the table and hear the voices of Canadians.

That would mean, for example, talk about seniors and ensure they are able to live with integrity, decency and security as a reward for having built our country. Do not nickel and dime them. Do not take away the $200 per union it would cost the government to deal with an error by Statistics Canada in the consumer price index.

My colleague, the member for Hamilton Mountain has been saying this for days and weeks. She has been tabling hundreds and hundreds of petitions from seniors who are asking why, when they make a mistake and do not pay government what it is owed, it comes after them in a flash expecting them to pay right away? However, when the government owes them money, why do they have to sit back and take excuses? Why do they have to sign petitions? Why do they have to sue the government? Why is there no justice when it comes to government error in calculations that cause people to lose money that is rightfully theirs?

In this case the money owed to seniors, because of that mistake, is about $1 billion. Why did the government not say it was important to pay the people who built our country that money as opposed to putting $22 billion and more against the debt for a rainy day, when it is raining now on the heads of seniors, when the house is leaking, when many seniors are having a heck of a time trying to make ends meet, trying to find decent accommodation, trying to pay for their drugs, trying to provide for themselves, not having to resort to turning down the heat in winter or skipping medication just to save money?

Is it not raining now? What is wrong with the Conservatives? Do they not see that when there is any kind of despair in the country, any kind of destitution because of government inaction and government callousness, is that not enough for them to put some of that money toward the people who built the country? After all, they are not in poverty because of something they did or did not do. They are in poverty because of either deliberate policies to hurt them, like the failure to acknowledge the error in Statistics Canada and the consumer price index, or errors caused by lack of foresight, vision and planning, like we see with respect to the national pharmacare program or national housing.

Is it not time that we started to put money into those areas that will help ensure people have security now and can contribute to this economy and build for a better future?

That is just one example. Here is another one. Why does the budget refuse to collect $300 million from big oil and gas companies that are getting this subsidy from government to develop the oil sands? Why are we giving subsidies to these giant corporations, which are developing and extracting our natural resources from the ground, including the water, and making huge profits?

That $300 million could have gone some distance to deal with some of the issues we see in our own communities, with concerns coming from seniors, from aboriginal people, from parents trying to find child care. That money could have gone into the economy. It could have built the economy and helped bring down the debt in the long run, and at just as fast a rate as will happen from putting it directly against the debt, $80 billion under the Liberals and $22 billion under the Conservatives, with some foolish little catchy program called a tax back guarantee, which does not mean a hill of beans for Canadians.

It will not mean anything to people struggling, but it would have meant a lot if they had taken at least some of those billions of dollars and invested them in programs that would guarantee some reasonable access to job opportunities in the country. It would guarantee some reasonable means of transportation. We might have put some money against the infrastructure deficit and some money into child care and other programs that support parents trying to juggle work and family responsibilities.

The government says that it has to get this budget bill through immediately. Otherwise it cannot spend money on a number of programs. First, that is nonsense. It knows and Canadians know that when money is in the budget and the budget is passed, it does come to fruition and people can count on that money. That is certainly a given. It is also interesting that the government chose to list a number of initiatives that it felt might not get the money on time as an excuse for ramming the bill through and bringing in rare Standing Orders, like the one I talked about, which has not been used more than twice in the last 30 or 40 years.

The government says that it must have the bill through so it can spend the $1.5 billion for the Canada ecotrust for clean air and climate change. Perhaps it is not such a bad idea that we hold off on expenditures in this area when it does so little to help ordinary people refit or restore their housing so they have heating or other services on a more sustainable basis. Perhaps it would give the government a moment to consider the fact that this program now does not provide any means to low income Canadians to retrofit their houses. Perhaps the government might want to take seriously the proposals for redefining this so-called green energy program to allow for low income households to take advantage of it.

Why do we keep getting from the government programs, tax credits and a scattering and smattering of initiatives that always benefit those at the top end and do nothing to help those at the bottom end? Why do we keep allowing the prosperity gap to widen when it is the role of government to close that gap?

Surely the way to do that is through progressive measures, not things like child tax credits, which give rich families more than low income families, not envirofit programs, which exclude low income Canadians, and not credits for manufacturers, which are meaningless when in fact all the jobs are gone and the plants are closed.

It is time for the government to reconsider its direction and realize it is squandering an important moment and a great opportunity that will build a wonderful country. However, it takes leadership and it takes vision. It takes a government that says that it will balance our fiscal priorities to ensure some money goes against the debt, some money for tax relief for Canadians and some money for those important programs that build a country.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007, be read the third time and passed, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

June 11th, 2007 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

As my colleague from Acadie--Bathurst has said, this is about slashing the court challenges program and any number of really good programs that the government has taken an axe to, both in this budget and in previous policy decisions.

We started hearing last week that the government members were in a panic, that they had to get Bill C-52 through the House. Wait a minute, we said, the government has had well over three months to work this through. My colleague from Vancouver, our House leader, has detailed this. The government has had a number of opportunities to bring the bill forward for full debate at second reading, report stage and third reading. This is the budget. This is the biggest item for any Parliament to deal with.

What did the Conservatives do? They just kept putting it off. They brought forward other bills. This was completely within their control. They brought forward 11 other bills and said the House would deal with them first. Now we are going to deal with this one, they said, and then we are going to deal with that one. They brought forward 11 different items on 11 different days when they could have brought forward Bill C-52. Now it is panic time for the Conservatives and they are saying they have to get the bill through.

I want to address what seems to be a suggestion that somehow these programs are all going to collapse, along with this new funding, if the bill does not get passed in the next 24 hours. That is just not true. This money will be spent when Bill C-52 finally gets through the House. The flow of that money may be postponed by several days or several weeks, but it will get spent because obviously both the government and the Bloc Québécois have indicated that they are going to support the bill and they have the numbers in the House to get it passed.

Constitutionally, the government again putting around the panic that the Senate somehow is going to block this bill. That is not going to happen. It may be delayed a bit, but the Senate does not have the constitutional authority to block a money bill. Specifically, it has no authority to turn down a budget. That is not going to happen either.

What this is really about is the fact that the Conservative government is tired, it does not have a program, and it wants to get out of here. If they can get away with it, Conservative members are going to move adjournment of this House as soon as they get Bill C-52 through.

We do not have a problem with debating Bill C-52. I have here about 20 items that I would just love to be able to get into. If I did, I could be here for many hours showing the flaws in this budget. That is not what this is about. This is not about this opposition party or, quite frankly, the other opposition parties being shy about debating the contents of Bill C-52 and all that it lacks.

What this is about is the government's unwillingness to face, in a realistic fashion, what is going on in the country. It continuously gets beat up, whether it is on the climate change file or whether it is on Afghanistan. We can go down the list. The government is just tired of being here.

I could not help but think of the hypocrisy of some of the statements coming out of the mouth of the House leader when he addressed this motion earlier this afternoon. He said that we should believe the Conservatives because they did not intend to have an election. Of course he did not address the fact that their airplane was lined up, with a contract for it, and their campaign office was open and substantially staffed. They were ready to go to an election. Quite frankly, if the Canadian people and the opinion polls had not made it clear what was going to happen if they took the country to an election at that time, we would have been in an election now.

What has happened is that the Conservatives did not have a fallback position. They did not know what they were going to do if they did not have an election. They do not have an agenda as to how they are going to deal with it. They want to get out of here so they can regroup and see what they might do when we come back in the fall. They want to get out of here as fast as possible. That is what the motion is really about.

I want to say very clearly on the record that the NDP has no problems whatsoever with staying here until June 22, which is what is scheduled. Quite frankly, we have no problem with extended hours. What my party and I are concerned about is that Standing Order 56.1 will get used probably as early as Wednesday and the House will adjourn.

I know that most Canadians do not fully appreciate the amount of important work that happens outside this chamber and particularly in committee. Again, in many incompetent ways, the government kept pushing crime bills through the justice committee, through the two special legislative committees it set up, and also in some work that we have been doing in the public safety and national security committee. There is a lot of work going on, both in terms of bills that have come from the government itself and in terms of a large number of private members' bills on specific crime issues, which we have been dealing with.

A number of those, probably three, four or five, and both private members' bills and government bills, would be dealt with and completed if we stayed sitting in committee until June 22. If in fact we adjourn earlier than that, all of this work will be postponed into the fall. As well, depending on whether the government actually prorogues sometime through the early fall and comes back with a new session of Parliament, which is the rumour is floating around, some of those bills may be ended completely and never will see the light of day.

Thus, it is quite important for the House to continue to sit. We in the NDP understand that. We as the NDP are quite prepared to sit here. We as the NDP will do whatever we can to thwart the government's attempt to adjourn the House early.

The motion, though, is misleading for the public when it tries to let the public know that the government really wants to work longer hours. That is not what it is about. We believe very clearly that if we do not stop the Conservatives the House will adjourn in the next few days.

Specifically with regard to Bill C-30, it is one of the bills that badly needs to get in front of the House. All three opposition parties are supportive. They have gone to great lengths and have done a great amount of very good work in amending the bill into a form that in fact will allow the country to deal with the crisis we are confronted with as far as global warming and climate change are concerned.

In that respect, we would very much like the government to commit this week or next week to bring that bill forward for a fulsome debate at report stage and third reading. It is ready to go. All the background work has been done. In that regard I am proposing at this time to move an amendment to the motion before the House which would read as follows: “That the motion be amended to add immediately after 10 p.m. the following: 'and if the government calls Bill C-30 at any time, the House shall continue to sit until the bill has been decided at all stages'”.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

June 11th, 2007 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the 11 days in which the government could have brought forward Bill C-52, the budget implementation bill, does not include the opposition supply days. The fact is the government makes its own choice and its own priorities. I totally agree those bills were debated.

However, today we are now hearing, and we heard it on Friday, that the government wants to take these extraordinary measures to get through its budget bill, but it has left it to the 11th hour. If it were such a priority, why did it not take precedence over other bills? I can think of one bill that dealt with the exotic dancers. Why on earth did that have to be debated?

It is the government's decision in what is or is not called. It clearly made a decision not to call its budget bill, to leave it very late in the day and then come in with this little tactic of it being urgent and that the hours of the House would have to be extended. It is absolute nonsense. Clearly, if it were a priority, it had ample opportunity to manage its agenda.

It is either deliberate or it is incompetence. One can take a pick.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

June 11th, 2007 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was happy to allow the House leader for the Bloc to go ahead of me in the usual order.

I will be sharing my time with the member for Windsor—Tecumseh.

I want to spend a few minutes laying out what is going on here.

First, we are all aware, as members of the House, that we receive a calendar every year. The calendar is very clear in that the House is intended to sit until June 22. We all agreed to this, all parties, through the whips. It is something with which we are all familiar.

We also are aware that on this day the government can, as it has done, move a motion for the extension of hours. We are debating a motion now as to whether the hours should be extended from June 13 to June 21 to 10 p.m. every night. The question that is really before us is this. Is this a warranted measure? After hearing the government House leader, this is a crisis that the government has manufactured.

Let us be very clear about what has taken place. This is happening because of the incompetence of the government in the management of its legislative agenda, its lack of consultation with opposition parties and its lack of calling its own bills. For example, we heard the government House leader talk about the budget bill, Bill C-52. He has said that he wants to get it through. There were 11 days when the Conservatives could have called the bill for second reading and they failed to do so. Instead they brought in all kinds of other bills that were quite inconsequential. If the budget were so important, they had ample opportunity to bring the bill forward for second reading.

I point out on the record that once it went through second reading, when the Conservatives finally brought it forward into the House and it went to the finance committee, the finance committee met for four sessions only to hear witnesses. It in effect fast-tracked that bill. It heard witnesses very quickly on a budget bill, which is core to our whole reason for being here. Then it was brought back to the House. We had one day of debate on the report stage. Now we are now debating third reading.

When we look at what has happened, it is clearly a manipulation by the government itself on its own agenda. I think what is happening is the Conservatives have brought forward this motion today for extension, even though they are saying the extended hours would go to June 21, so they can cut a deal to get out of here early. If we get out of here early and they get their budget bill, which we know they want, there will be no committees, no question period and no debate on other bills. That clearly needs to be put on the record.

In terms of management of other business, we have heard the government House leader say today that all these justice bills have to come forward. If we look at the agenda of the justice committee, the government made it a priority to deal with private members' business. It has taken up the valuable time of the committee to deal with private members' bills. Now we are being told it has all these other bills that it wants to get through. It really does not cut it. It does not make sense.

I really appreciate the position you took on Friday, Mr. Speaker. At the very last moment on Friday, the government tried to bring in a very rare Standing Order, used for emergency debates, to deal with Bill C-52 and extend the hours to rush the bill through. To your credit, you listened to what members in the House had to say and you made the correct decision in the end. I want to thank you for that. These things are really important. We have to play in a way that is open and transparent, and I do not believe the government is doing that at this point. Therefore, we are very suspicious and skeptical about the agenda.

Again, another irony is the Conservatives are saying that they want to extend the hours of debate. Yet we have never seen the light of day for Bill C-30, the clean air and climate change bill that came out of committee. The bill was amended by the opposition. It is a bill that would work, and it has the support of the majority of members in the House. However, the government itself is refusing to call it forward. We will stay here for as long as it takes to debate that bill. We consider it is an urgent matter that Canadians want us to address.

We will stay here for as long as it takes to debate that bill. We consider it is an urgent matter, which Canadians want us to address. It is a priority that goes beyond all partisanship, but I did not hear the government House leader mention that bill.

The Conservatives would rather get out of here, not having to bear the public scrutiny in question period and committees and not debate all the other bills. They just want to get the budget through. I fear they have made a deal with the official opposition. I do not know that, but I can almost guarantee, even though these extended hours will be approved, in a couple of days, maybe Wednesday, they will find a way to adjourn the House. That is really their agenda.

As the Bloc House leader has mentioned, one bill that we believe must be brought forward is the ways and means motion. It used to be called Bill C-55, which was the wage earner protection bill protecting workers from bankruptcy. This has been an outstanding matter.

The government, again, has not engaged in adequate consultation with the opposition parties, which want to get this bill through. It was passed in a previous Parliament, but was never given royal assent. It is an absolute injustice that today workers still do not have protection from bankruptcy. Millions of dollars have been lost, legitimately earned and deserved wages of workers because they have not had the protection of that bill.

I want to put on the record today that this attempt by the government to bring in extended hours is really about adjourning the House. It wants to get a very bad budget bill through. It looks like the official opposition is now complicit in getting through a budget bill, which, as we have seen, is a disaster in Atlantic Canada in that it has broken the accord. It is a disaster in terms of so many other areas, whether it is housing and homelessness, student summer programs or the environment.

We know the government wants to get the budget passed and that is all it cares about. I am very concerned we are facilitating its agenda under the guise of extending hours when really what it will do is rush to adjourn the House. We know it does not want to be accountable or go through question period.

Let us not forget that the Conservatives were filibustering in the committees. The Conservative members were making the committees dysfunctional. Why? Because they did not want business to go ahead in committees.

We found out about their 200 page playbook, a handbook for all the tactics that its members and chairs could use in the committees. This is further evidence that the Conservatives real game plan is not to deal with all the legislation about which the government House leader spoke. They want to rush through a bad budget bill that has barely been debated.

Nobody is holding up the budget bill, by the way. There are no tactics being employed by the opposition to hold it up. We want to have an adequate debate. We want to ensure that people can say, on the record, what they think about the budget because we have a lot of criticisms about it.

Let us be very clear. The motion today is under the guise that government members are ready to work and extend the hours of the House until 10 p.m. every night. Really it is about getting out of here, for the Conservatives to get beyond public scrutiny, to shut down the House, committees and question period once the budget bill is passed. That is what we will see happen.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

June 11th, 2007 / 4 p.m.
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Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have before us a motion which asks, pursuant to Standing Order 27(1), that commencing on Wednesday June 13, 2007, and concluding on Thursday June 21, 2007, the House shall continue to sit until 10 p.m.

The Bloc Québécois will support this motion because we are determined to see Bill C-52, the budget implementation bill, passed before we adjourn for the summer. As you know, this bill contains some significant transfers for Quebec. They do not correct the fiscal imbalance, but they will make it possible to relieve the fiscal and financial pressures Quebec is experiencing.

The Bloc Québécois set the bar at $3.9 billion in additional transfers to Quebec, the third year, to be satisfied with the budget. As you know, there is $3.3 billion. More remains to be done, especially when it comes to post-secondary education, but we think that with $3.3 billion for Quebec in the third year, an important step has been taken to relieve Quebec's financial pressures.

Once again, this does not correct the fiscal imbalance. A solution to the fiscal imbalance will take negotiations to transfer tax points equivalent to the transfers for post-secondary education and health care to Quebec, to prevent Quebec from being at the mercy of unilateral decisions by the federal government. In the mid-1990s, for example, when the former finance minister and former Prime Minister decided unilaterally to cut transfers to the provinces in order to solve the government's problems, this created problems for the provinces. It is therefore extremely important to us that the budget be adopted before the summer recess.

In addition, I do not completely share the opinion of the House leader of the official opposition that we are referring to 2006-07 when we are talking about closing the books. It is true that when the books are closed in September, they will be the books for 2006-07. But if we have not disposed of the budget surplus, if we have not decided how the surplus is to be used before the books are closed, that money could well be used simply to pay down the debt.

I have an opinion here from the Library of Parliament that supports what I am saying. I would like to read a short excerpt from it:

If the budget were adopted before the end of the fiscal year but the Budget Implementation Act creating the trust [we are talking here about the Canada ecotrust] were adopted later in the 2007-08 fiscal year but before the government's books were closed, for reasons related to the parliamentary calendar, a portion of the 2006-07 surplus could no doubt be deposited in the trust.

It is very clear, then, that if we do not dispose of the budget before the House rises for the summer, that money will no longer be available for the Canada ecotrust, because the books will be closed in mid-September. This is also true of certain amounts for the health trusts.

We cannot take that risk. That said, the Bloc Québécois had another extremely serious concern. When the government talked to us about the possibility of introducing this motion, we indicated that what was important to us was the budget—and we are going to work to get it adopted as soon as possible—but that we also wanted an amendment to the notice of ways and means motion concerning the Bankruptcy Act and protection for workers' salaries when their employer goes bankrupt. We told the government that this was imperative for us.

As I was saying, we will support this request for extended hours. It is a priority not only to ensure that the notice of ways and means is tabled and corrected by taking into account the unanimous motion of the National Assembly, but also that the government agrees to fast tracking this bill to amend the Bankruptcy Act so that wage earners are protected—which is what all parties in this House now want—and that the laws of Quebec and the Civil Code of Quebec are respected.

Earlier, in response to a question that the Bloc Québécois asked and that I myself asked the Minister of Labour, we were assured that sometime tomorrow an amended notice of ways and means, taking into account the unanimous motion of the National Assembly, would be tabled with a bill. I think we will have the unanimous consent of all the parties in this House. I do not see why the New Democratic Party or the Liberal Party would oppose the will expressed so many times by the government and the Bloc Québécois

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate my colleague for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, who worked so hard on this and who never stopped hounding the entire Conservative government—especially the Minister of Labour—to achieve today's result. With these two guarantees, we feel comfortable knowing that Bill C-52 will be adopted before the summer break. This will ensure that Quebec receives the transfers it needs even though this bill does not close the debate on the fiscal imbalance. This will also put workers in Canada and Quebec on the list of preferred creditors, thereby giving them new protection when businesses go bankrupt. The creation of a wage protection fund will give them a chance to be compensated should their employers be unable to pay their wages. We think that this is extremely important.

As my colleague mentioned earlier, one of our priorities is Bill C-51, which would cede certain islands that are currently the property of the federal government back to Inuit nations. This is a request that dates back a long time, and it seems that everyone is in agreement. That is also the case for Bill S-6, An Act to amend the First Nations Land Management Act. We think it is very important that this bill be passed to bring justice to the first nations of Quebec. There is also Bill C-59, which would make using digital cameras to make unautorized recordings of movies a new offence under the Criminal Code. Unfortunately, Canada, Quebec and even Montreal have become hotbeds of this kind of piracy, which is a threat to the development of the Montreal region's very prosperous film industry.

This idea has already been raised in committee by the hon. member for Hochelaga. If my memory serves correctly, he also introduced a motion adopted by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. We feel it is important that this bill is passed before we break for the summer, which, incidentally, is not all vacation time. We have many appearances and meetings planned in our ridings. It is, however, a time for festivals, and we have many in the Lanaudière region. I invite all members to come and enjoy them. Furthermore, I would like to take this opportunity to once again ask the government and the Minister of Canadian Heritage to unfreeze the money, to ensure that these festivals can continue to provide relevant programming, not only this year, but also for years to come. She does not seem to be conscious of this. If, for financial reasons, one festival or another shows a deficit, that would jeopardize the survival, the development and the future success of that festival or those festivals. In that regard, it is very important that the government unfreeze the money immediately. I also think that common sense dictates that we focus our attention on bills, such as Bill C-47, for instance.

The Olympic Games will be held in my former riding of Vancouver. I think it is important to cover all aspects dealing with the legitimacy of all trademarks surrounding these Olympic Games.

For all these reasons, we support the government motion to extend the sitting hours to 10 p.m., beginning on Wednesday until Thursday, June 21.

I will close on another note, because I have not often had the opportunity to speak in this House, since I became the House Leader of the Bloc Québécois. Indeed, I had more occasions to address this House when I was the Bloc Québécois finance critic.

I would like to thank Catherine Lacroix, who works in the whip's office, here behind the scenes. She will be leaving us a few days from now, after working here with us for many years. All the members of the Bloc Québécois—and I am sure this is also true for many members of all the parties—have appreciated her finesse and her ability to work well under pressure, while always keeping a smile on her face. She plans to travel for a few months, in Europe, particularly.

Like Ulysses in Homer's The Odyssey, I hope she gains wisdom and fulfillment from her travels. I have no doubt that she will always be successful in all areas of her life. I would like to thank her and wish her all the best.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

June 11th, 2007 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the government, in proposing this motion today, has chosen once again to maintain its habitual lack of consultation and reluctance to attempt a collaborative approach to organizing the business of the House.

On more than one occasion, as I think the Chair will remember, I asked directly whether the government intended to make use of Standing Order 27. As other House leaders can confirm, the reply was, “probably not”. I do not think we would be off base in the opposition in expecting that if that were no longer the case, if the government had in fact changed its mind, that it would have decently given us a heads-up that it was going to propose this motion today, at least given us that notice some time earlier than around one o'clock this afternoon.

Frankly, as we saw the government House leader making his travels across the floor of the House, I will not say where he went, the heckling and yelling as he departed the chamber obviously indicates the kind of demeanour of which we have to deal.

I do not see what there is on the order paper at present that this motion will get through the House any more quickly than would have otherwise been the case. I presume, judging by the government House leader's remarks, that the government is principally concerned with Bill C-52, the budget bill.

It has represented to the House and to the public that the government is now extremely concerned the bill will not receive royal assent in time for certain expenditures to be booked in the appropriate fiscal year. Let us be clear. The fiscal year the Conservatives are talking about is 2006-07, and that is the point.

The issue is retroactive fiscal bookings for the last fiscal year, not the future fiscal year, as members would have gathered from the remarks of the government House leader. If there is concern about the lateness of the date, the government really has only itself to blame.

Usually federal budgets are delivered in or about the third week of February, which then permits the introduction of a budget implementation bill by the end of that month. If things are properly managed, this would permit the bill to be in committee before the end of March and to be passed at all stages by the end of May or, at the very latest, the beginning of June.

This year the government chose, for its own partisan reasons, to delay the budget until the third week of March. We did not even see it until then. Then it unilaterally interrupted the budget debate. Then having finished that, belatedly, it interrupted, again, the second reading debate on the budget implementation Bill C-52. That interruption lasted for three full weeks, getting the bill to committee only in the middle of May.

As a consequence, the government then bulldozed the bill through the committee, breaking procedural agreements, denying many interested and informed citizens and groups the right to testify on the bill. Let it be clearly understood that any procedural issue on Bill C-52 is a direct result of government breaking the agreement on the process, which had been fully settled by members of the committee.

Nevertheless, the bill is now only in its third day of debate at third reading and there is every indication that the third reading and final stage would come to an end in debate in the House by the end of business tomorrow at the latest.

It is important to underscore what these dates are with respect to the budget. Remember that the House resumed in the final week of January. The budget was not presented to the House until March 19, fully eight weeks into the parliamentary sitting. That was followed by a ways and means motion and the introduction of the budget bill, but that was delayed because the government interrupted its own budget debate on the financial principles of the government.

Its budget was late, the budget debate was unilaterally delayed by itself and then it finally got around to introducing the budget bill on March 29, which was debated at second reading for the first time on March 30. It was then debated in a haphazard, sporadic fashion, brought forward to the floor by the government, until April 23, and then it was hoisted altogether. The House did not see it again until May 14, full three weeks later.

Finally, it went to the committee, not as a result of any filibuster by the opposition or any party in the opposition. The delay was entirely the procedural mismanagement of the government. It was there for less than two weeks and one of those weeks was a break week when Parliament was not even sitting.

It finally passed through the committee, rather expeditiously, thanks to the cooperation of the opposition, and it was brought back to be debated at report stage on June 4. For how long? One day, that is all the report stage took. Now it is at third reading where there have been three days of debate, and probably a conclusion could have been arrived at very easily by the end of the day tomorrow.

This is why I made the point at the beginning of my remarks that there really is nothing on this order paper that could not be dealt with in the ordinary course of business without the measure the government House leader has introduced. Obviously it is a tactic to blame the opposition for the delays that lie entirely within the control of the government.

What is it then? If it is not Bill C-52, what is it that causes the government to move the motion today? Despite frequent requests for the government to outline its realistic legislative priorities before the summer, all we have heard repeatedly from the government House leader and from others on the government's side is a flow of partisan rhetoric. Legislation has in fact been moving along through the House and through committees, despite the government's erratic management of its agenda.

In fact, the most controversial bill on the order paper, and this is what gives me perhaps a little hope here, is probably Bill C-30, the clean air act, as it has been revised by members of Parliament. Significantly, only the government has been stalling it up to now. However, now we will have some extra time, some extra hours of sitting every day beginning on Wednesday.

Can we then conclude that the extra time the government is seeking is to facilitate the work of the House in consideration of Bill C-30? I certainly hope so. It is in this fervent hope that I indicate to the House that my party, the official Liberal opposition, will support the minister's motion for the extension of hours.

In the time available, in addition to Bill C-52, which will probably be done tomorrow, and in addition to Bill C-30, which I hope the government has the courage to recall and put before the House once again, the official opposition also looks forward to making progress on Bill C-11, lowering freight rates for farmers, on Bill C-14, dealing with foreign adoptions, on Bill C-23, dealing with criminal procedure, on Bill C-29, dealing with Air Canada and the use of official languages, on Bill C-35, dealing with bail reform, on Bill C-47, dealing with the Olympic, on Bill S-6 and Bill C-51, dealing with land claims and on Bill C-40, the private member's legislation that would provide free postage for mail from Canada to our troops in Afghanistan.

Then there is an item that was referred to in question period today. This is the bill we are anxiously awaiting to see, the one dealing with wage earner protection. I hope the government will follow through on the commitment given in question period, that it will table the bill in amended form so it can be passed at all stages and brought into law before Parliament adjourns for the summer recess.

Let me mention one other matter, which is outstanding and which should be dealt with by the House, or at least dealt with by the government when the House is sitting. This is the examination undertaken a few weeks ago by Mr. Brown in connection with the matters that have been of great concern to Canadians in respect of the RCMP pension fund.

As we understand it, there is a report due from Mr. Brown on June 15. That was the original undertaking given by the Minister of Public Safety. It would be very important for us to know that the examination is on time, that we will hear from Mr. Brown on time, and that the Minister of Public Safety will take the step that he promised to take and make that report public immediately.

Perhaps the government might also consider, in whatever time that remains before the summer recess, reforming its approach to the mood in the House. The mood could be improved if the government would refrain from certain of its more hostile practices. For example: no more gratuitous attack ads, no more broken agreements on how witnesses will be heard, no more manuals about dirty tricks for disrupting parliamentary business, and no more devious games to misuse Standing Orders of the House. A little good old fashioned good faith could change the mood for the better.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

June 11th, 2007 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member had looked in the notice paper, he could have found last week's responses. That is exactly what we intend to do, but first Bill C-52, Budget Implementation Act, 2007, needs to be passed. That is the priority. Then I truly hope for the passage of Bill C-51.