House of Commons Hansard #107 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was devco.


Budget Implementation Act, 2000Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is important to recognize that at least the New Democrats, on the issue of the GST, have been consistent. They did not like the GST in 1993 nor do they like it now. Of course the Liberals were completely and diametrically opposed to the GST and have since embraced it, with the Prime Minister on foreign travels in fact taking credit for it.

While I disagree with New Democrats quite frequently, I do respect that in terms of principles they are consistent, as opposed to the patron saints of hypocrisy opposite who campaigned on one agenda and then embraced another.

The only thing worse than the Liberal government stealing policies from the Tories and taking credit for the results would be if it were to implement its own. I am glad it has not been terribly original in that area.

Relative to the GST, I would urge the hon. member to look at the tax that the GST replaced, the manufacturer's sales tax which actually, from a trade perspective, penalized Canadian manufacturers. It made it more difficult for them to achieve competitiveness and reduced the opportunities for Canadian companies to create jobs and opportunities here in Canada. If we compare the GST to other taxes in terms of its impact on job growth and opportunities in Canada, it is probably one of the more sensible taxes we have. If we reduce our personal and corporate income taxes and capital gains tax in some of these other areas, there will be a shift to a greater level of dependency on a consumption tax base. There is a significant consensus among economists around the world that most countries should move in the direction of a greater dependency on consumption taxes and less on income taxes in the long term.

There are certainly some issues on collection that need to be addressed and there is an underground economy that has grown significantly. That is because the government has refused to do what is necessary on the income tax side of the equation. I do not think it is fair to blame that on the GST.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000Government Orders

1:40 p.m.


Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the finance critic for the Conservative Party.

I remember reading some of the recent claims and statements made by the Progressive Conservative Party at a recent rally talking about increasing the spending on health care and other things. They talked about reducing taxes and eliminating the capital gains tax completely. They then talked about $25 billion a year in debt retirement. Those all sound nice and the themes are consistent with the Canadian Alliance Party, but in an effort to attract some sort of public support they go over the top.

I wish they would follow the lead of our finance critic who has submitted his plan to the academic community and economic forecasters who say that our plan has integrity because it balances out. Our plan actually works with the numbers. It balances and it makes sense.

I wonder why the member opposite does not consider adopting a plan and moving in a direction that has integrity, where the plan balances as opposed to what we have heard from his party in the past making wild promises that do not balance. Canadians see that and will never embrace it. Canadians are embracing our plan because it has been tested by academics and proven to be workable and real.

I would invite the member to comment on that and to consider supporting the Canadian Alliance approach to tax reform in Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

I appreciate the hon. member's invitation. I will put it with the other invitations I have received from his party and consider it with the same level of seriousness as I have in the past.

The hon. member pointed to a policy conference that my party recently held in Quebec City. I thank him for mentioning it in the Chamber today. Eleven hundred Canadians from all walks of life gathered in Quebec City to discuss the types of policies that our party, at the very grassroots level, would like to see implemented by a Progressive Conservative government and, prior to that, as part of our platform in the next election.

One of the impediments we have as a party is the fact that we are one of the most grassroots parties in the country. That top down party, the Canadian Alliance, may develop its policies in smoke filled boardrooms and backrooms but my party develops its policies openly on the floor of convention halls, church halls and school basements. It may take a little longer to develop our policies but I think we will be favourably rewarded because our tax proposals are not based on greed. They are based on growth. I wish that party—

Budget Implementation Act, 2000Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am sure that members would like to hear the hon. member from Kings—Hants at length but time rules do apply to the member as well and he has run out of time.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000Government Orders

1:40 p.m.


Rob Anders Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, today we are talking about the budget. I think it is important for everybody to know that the Liberals have increased taxes 62 times since they formed the government in 1993. Corporate taxes have increased 27 times. Personal tax increases have gone up 22 times. Bracket creep has increased six times. The Canada pension plan has increased seven times.

We must ask what we are getting for the 62 Liberal tax increases since 1993. That is the question. I have done some research. I would like to report to the House and to the world what types of things the Liberal government has done with those 62 tax increases since it came into power in 1993.

In my riding the Liberal government is subsidizing Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is a pretty successful firm. Yet the government has gone ahead and increased taxes on Canadians and is subsidizing an extremely profitable company like Wal-Mart in my riding.

It gets richer. The research goes on. Not only is the Liberal government subsidizing Wal-Mart but it is subsidizing Canada Safeway. How is it fair that IGA, Calgary Co-op or any of the other grocery stores are subsidizing Canada Safeway? That is what the Liberal government is doing. It is raising taxes on everyone to give to the few.

The Liberal government is also subsidizing Shoppers Drug Mart. All these companies are profitable. It has raised taxes 62 times. What is it doing with all this tax money? It is subsidizing all sorts of profitable corporations. Shame on the Liberals for doing these things.

It is not only corporate welfare that the Liberals are subsidizing with their 62 tax increases since 1993. They are funding studies too. They have done research just like I am doing research, but what are they doing research on? What are the Liberals spending our money on?

They want to have studies on lawn ornaments. The Liberals actually had a study done on pink flamingos that are stuck into lawns with our tax dollars. It actually happened. Can we believe that the Liberals would give money to Bombardier? In some respects that almost makes sense because Bombardier is a big funder of the Liberal Party. I will deal with that at greater length in a little while. Why is it that we are subsidizing profitable companies and spending money to study lawn ornaments? It does not make any sense. Why have there been 62 tax increases for taxpayers since 1993 to do such things?

I will go through the individual tax increases and ask whether it makes sense what the Liberals have spent money on. In 1994 the Liberal government increased the tax on energy conservation and pollution abatement equipment, something that would reduce emissions and somehow help the environment as it likes to claim. It brought in $45 million of revenue. On the flip side, what was the government putting the money into? It took the money from one side, and what was it spent on?

The Liberals gave $33,800 to examine major league baseball in Detroit. The last time I checked Detroit was in the United States, but taxpayers in Canada were paying for 62 tax increases to the government since 1993 so that it could give their money away to study baseball outside Canada. The next time people write their tax cheques to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency I want them to think about that.

The Liberal government continued its studies. It spent $100,670, which a lot of tax money for the average taxpayer. As a matter of fact it would take 21 average taxpayers to pay their taxes the whole year in order to fund the interactive study of video games.

Why have the Liberals raised taxes 62 times since they took office in 1993 so that they could spend over $100,000 in 21 taxpayer years to study interactive video games? That does not make any sense. It is totally ridiculous.

Let us look at another infamous Liberal tax increase. In 1995 they brought in a 1.5 cent per litre increase on gasoline, which resulted in a whopping $500 million. What did taxpayers get for putting $500 million more into the Liberal coffers? What did the Liberals wisely invest that $500 million in?

It did not go into roads. Once again, some of the studies show that $44,000 of it went to the social construction of feminist meanings. A lot of tax money came in, but I am guessing the average person who paid the 1.5 cent per litre tax on gasoline did not expect his or her tax money would go to a study on the social construction of feminist meanings. Is it fair for those people to pay those taxes and see them go toward such things? It does not make sense.

Let us look at another of the 62 Liberal tax increases which they have brought in since 1993. In 1995 the Liberals had an additional tax on investment income from private corporations which brought an increased tax burden to Canadians of $120 million. What did the Liberals put all that extra money into? What did the Liberals do with the extra money they were bringing in as a result of all the tax increases in 1995?

They gave $33,000 to promote and develop music in alternative spaces. I ask the average taxpayer to think about that. Is $33,000 for music in alternative spaces something that average taxpayers, if they were the finance minister or the minister responsible, would have thought was a wise investment of taxpayer dollars? Would they have thought it was worthy of a 1.5% per litre increase on gasoline so that Canadians were paying $500 million more into the Liberal coffers? Is that what they were paying their tax increases for? I do not think so.

It goes on, because 62 tax increases takes a while. In 1995 the Liberals increased the corporate surtax which brought in $120 million. They brought the the additional tax on investment income which I have just mentioned. That was another $120 million. They eliminated the deferral of tax on business income for $300 million.

For all these hundreds of millions of dollars what more could the taxpayers possibly expect from the Liberal government? Some 161 different groups, associations and unions received $4,059,235 in grants. For average taxpayers paying more money in income tax and paying more money at the gas pumps for their gasoline when they have seen prices go up dramatically recently was it really wise for the government to spend $24,000 for a film entitled “Indians of Czechoslovakia: Interaction of Indigenous People With Mother Earth?” Was that a wise expenditure of taxpayer dollars?

How about a tax cut? That sounds a lot better to me and I bet that is what my constituents would vote for. As a matter of fact I know that is what they would vote for.

The story goes on. In 1996 the tax increases just kept on coming from the Liberals. They increased the taxes on Canadian pensioners abroad. In Kingston, which is in the Speaker's riding, there may be people who were affected by this. I know it is even worse in Windsor. The taxes on Canadian pensioners living abroad brought in $10 million.

When these pensioners paid the extra $10 million the Liberals levied on them in 1996, what did they get in return? Some $28,000 were spent on a video tracing the history of Chilean poets in Montreal. Was the reason the government went ahead and gouged $10 million from pensioners to fund a video on Chilean poets in Montreal? Was that the rationale?

It goes on. Additionally in 1996 the Liberals froze the contribution limits for RRSPs. More than that, they broke their own promise when they did that. For what good reason did the Liberals break an election promise on RRSP contribution limits? For what good reason did they break the pact that they made with taxpayers when they were elected? They went ahead and gave the Secretary of State for the Status of Women and the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women over $34 million.

Would the average taxpayer say that was a wise expenditure of funds? I think it is pretty questionable? The Liberals went on. In 1996 they forced seniors to begin early withdrawals from their RRSPs. For what reason?

Budget Implementation Act, 2000Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It always pains me to interrupt the hon. member. He has seven minutes plus remaining when we return to the debate.

EducationStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate over 1,000 students from Vancouver Charles Tupper and the Killarney high schools who graduated last week.

I was impressed with their dedication, intelligence and warmth. I can say without a doubt that the students from Vancouver Kingsway represent the leaders of tomorrow. I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Sri LankansStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, over the past seven days my office has been inundated with copies of e-mail messages sent to the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance by Sri Lankan born Canadian citizens.

In addition, I have received messages from as far away as Melbourne, Australia. Virtually all those messages criticize the finance minister for his attendance at the FACT function and congratulate me for bringing to the attention of parliament the CSIS reports about that organization. Here are a few words from one of those e-mail messages to the minister.

What could be more un-Canadian than overtly supporting a well documented terrorist group, looking the other way when such groups collect money for war, and ignoring the statements of the Canadian, U.S., and Israeli intelligence services?

In his misguided attempt to garner votes the Minister of Finance has embarrassed the government and alienated peace loving Sri Lankans throughout the world.

National Cancer Survivors DayStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Sunday, June 4, marked the 13th anniversary of National Cancer Survivors Day. Cancer touches all of us either directly or indirectly since approximately one in three Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer during his or her lifetime.

On Sunday survivors were honoured, those who are living with and beyond cancer. We also recognize the important role that family members and friends play in the life of the many survivors. We also want to thank the many health care professionals and researchers who devote their lives to finding a cure or to making life more comfortable for people faced with this disease.

Last year over 700 communities across North America celebrated National Cancer Survivors Day. On Sunday several of us participated in the events taking place in our communities to ensure the ongoing success of this very important day.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

June 5th, 2000 / 2 p.m.


Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, June 4 to 10 is Environment Week 2000 and today is World Environment Day.

Since 1971 environment week has been celebrated around the world. Each year Canadians are challenged to demonstrate their commitment to creating a cleaner and healthier environment. The theme for this year is community action on clean air and climate change.

In my riding of Kitchener Centre, the city is hosting the 13th annual energy and environment forum. This event brings together experts and community members to discuss how we can best work together to meet our environmental challenges.

Let there be no doubt that the government is committed to improving the environment. The $125 million investment in the green municipal enabling fund and the green municipal investment fund is a clear indication of our support.

These initiatives are being undertaken in partnership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to help address air quality, water quality and the transportation needs of our citizens.

I encourage all members of the House—

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Peterborough.

National Infrastructure ProgramStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the government for establishing another national infrastructure program and on committing up front the federal share of the funds.

The municipalities of Canada are enthusiastic participants in this program. We are currently negotiating with the provinces.

I urge that the definition of infrastructure be left to the municipalities. They know where the need is greatest. They know where funds are best allocated.

The government conducted an excellent national infrastructure program involving the provinces and municipalities in 1994. It worked well with the municipalities selecting projects subject to clearly defined criteria and control.

Let us build on the experience of that excellent program. The municipalities need help soon with their infrastructure projects.

National Cancer Survivors DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Canadian Cancer Society assisted in celebrating the 13th annual National Cancer Survivors Day. This day honours survivors who are living with and beyond cancer. This day is so important as it also recognizes the role that family and friends play in the lives of cancer survivors, as well as health care professionals and researchers who devote their lives to helping those faced with this disease.

Cancer touches us all either directly or indirectly. Approximately one in three Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer during his or her lifetime.

Today improved detection methods, increased availability of information and enhanced treatments allow for more people to achieve a full recovery.

This day demonstrates that a diagnosis of cancer is not an automatic death sentence. Now observed in over 700 communities throughout North America, National Cancer Survivors Day is a powerful tribute to everyone whose lives have been touched by cancer. It is a day to celebrate courage and hope.

LebanonStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 23 and 24, 2000, the Israeli troops occupying Lebanon left it, thus implementing, after many years, UN resolution 425.

This is a big step towards sovereignty for the Lebanese people. Now it is up to the Syrian troops to negotiate their departure so the Lebanese government may exercise complete sovereignty over its territory.

For many, many years Lebanon was the home of refugees, for Armenians and for Palestinians. No country has had to play as humanitarian a role as Lebanon, welcoming all those who were oppressed.

Today its borders have to be secure. I hope and believe that Canada with the international community will safeguard the borders of Lebanon. Let there be a viable democracy—

LebanonStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik.

Gasoline PricingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the president of the Fédération des travailleurs du Québec, Henri Massé, said last week “The big oil companies are going too far. I am concerned about these increases in the price of gasoline, which are adding to inflation. The problem is of concern to the regions of Quebec”.

I agree with Mr. Massé, but we must approach the problem as a whole with the governments of Canada, Quebec, the provinces and the territories, with the major oil companies and the regional stakeholders in Quebec.

Together, we need to arrange for a two day summit in an effort to find a real solution for consumers.

Fight Against PovertyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the late Fernand Dumont used to say “Collective problems do not vanish because we have talked too much about them: they persist because we did not solve them”.

We can never say often enough that the persisting gap between the health of our economy and the increase in poverty is a real shame for our society. That gap directly impacts not only on the physical and psychological health of individuals, but also on the chances of success, in their adult life, of children living in poverty.

Even though the Prime Minister feels that Canada is among the best positioned countries in the world to make other rich nations aware of the need of less fortunate people, the fact is that since he took office in 1993 we have had seven years of social deficit.

This is why the Bloc Quebecois solemnly pledges to make the necessary representations to the federal government, asking that it alleviate the harm it has caused to hundreds of thousands of women, men and children, by making the fight against poverty a priority.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister went to Germany to say that people who advocate tax relief have an agenda of greed. He could not be more wrong.

Greed is when one takes more than one is entitled to, more than one has actually earned. If that describes anyone, it describes the Prime Minister and the Liberal government. It is the Prime Minister and his government who are guilty of greed when they force people earning less than $20,000 a year to pay $7 billion a year in income taxes. It is the Prime Minister and his government who are guilty of greed when they tax people so heavily that investments, jobs and young people are driven out of the country.

The government is guilty of greed when it taxes people so heavily that both parents are forced to go out into the workforce, one just to pay the taxes. It is greed when the government uses its power to overtax, to hand grants to its friends and to pour money into Liberal ridings in a transparent attempt to lever themselves back into power.

Canadians deserve to keep a lot more of the money they work so hard for and honestly earn. That is not greed; that is justice. I urge Canadians to join with the Canadian Alliance in the next election and let us throw those—

Ron LenykStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Steve Mahoney Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the first business person of the year award in the new millennium in Mississauga was recently given to Ron Lenyk. The Mississauga Board of Trade announced the honour last week at a dinner celebrating its annual awards night.

Ron Lenyk is more than just a businessman; he is totally committed to the city and the community. He recently reached the milestone of 30 years with the Mississauga News . Ron started as a cub reporter and worked through the ranks to become the business leader of that company.

The best part of this recognition of Ron Lenyk is that much of what Ron has done and continues to do is done in anonymity. He is well known for just getting the job done, inspiring those who work with him and spending countless hours helping people. He is a great choice for the business award and is quick to give everyone around him the credit for his success. Maybe that is the secret.

Congratulations to Ron Lenyk.

TradeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the secrecy, deception and lack of transparency associated with free trade negotiations seems to be getting worse over time under the Liberals.

Last week the Deputy Prime Minister said that the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement would not be on the table at the OAS meeting in Windsor. Yet we know the OAS is part of the secretariat for the FTAA and when the Prime Minister spoke to the OAS, he could hardly talk about anything else but trade. Why the dodge about the relationship between the OAS and the FTAA?

A few weeks ago we found out that the Business Council on National Issues had been quietly negotiating a free trade deal with Japan. As CAW president Buzz Hargrove rightly observed, big business has decided to eliminate the middle man, that is government, and negotiate these deals itself. No more is there to be even the charade of democracy.

The OAS event in Windsor and the BCNI in Japan are all part of the same pathology. Pro free trade politicians meet behind barricades to protect themselves from the people because they are now openly and shamelessly taking their orders from the corporate sector. The Liberals should either build the metal fences even higher or reclaim their role as representatives of the people, one or the other.

Enrico And Joseph MancinelliStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I pay tribute to two outstanding Canadians, Enrico Mancinelli, who came to Canada from Italy in 1952, and his son Joseph.

Enrico is the Canadian director of the Labourers' International Union of North America, while his son is a vice-president. LIUNA is a multifaceted union representing over 65,000 members in Canada mainly in the construction industry.

Under the Mancinellis' direction, LIUNA has contributed to the well-being of Hamilton through the building of affordable housing, scholarship programs, participation in community activities and initiatives such as the Canadian Labour Hall of Fame.

Their contributions have included the revitalization of Hamilton's downtown core, including the redevelopment of a local hotel and the construction of long term care facilities. More recently they bought the old CN station in Hamilton and restored it to its original grandeur.

I am sure all hon. members will be happy to join me in congratulating Joseph and Enrico Mancinelli and thank them for all they have done to make Canada a better place to live.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday in the House two hon. members of the Canadian Alliance confidently outlined their party's immigration policy.

In referring to the type of immigration system, the hon. member for Souris—Moose Mountain said, “We want the system we had in the last century that brought people into the country. We had no immigration problems with law. We had no immigration problems with unemployment”.

Here is the immigration system we had in place in the last century. A head tax was placed on Chinese nationals. Parliament passed legislation which prohibited all Chinese from voting even if they were Canadian citizens. Finally, restrictions were placed on the number of Chinese and East Indians coming to Canada.

These were not the only such remarks made. The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands said that the real problem in the immigration department is the refugees who arrive in Canada. He further stated that we were doing these refugees a service by sending them back.

I would like to thank the hon. members for clearly explaining the Canadian Alliance's racist and discriminatory policy on immigration and refugees.

Persons With DisabilitiesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to congratulate three New Brunswickers who have been recognized for the positive differences they are making in the lives of persons with disabilities.

The New Brunswick Easter Seals March of Dimes provincial award of merit has been presented to Bill Wallace of Fredericton in recognition of leadership in the development of services to persons with disabilities in New Brunswick.

An award was presented posthumously to Kevin O'Connell in recognition of outstanding volunteer support of the New Brunswick Easter Seals March of Dimes.

Finally, an award of merit in recognition of distinguished leadership in support of the organization's fundraising efforts was presented to another of my constituents, Andy Wilson. Andy has been involved as honorary chair of the March of Dimes since 1998.

I would like to extend my congratulations to each of these award winners for the good work they have done for this important organization which provides services to persons with physical disabilities. Their efforts are much appreciated.

Grain TransportationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Rick Casson Reform Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week the government introduced legislation to modernize Canada's grain handling system but instead of looking to the future and capitalizing on its opportunity to leave $300 million in the pockets of producers with a commercially accountable contract driven system, the Liberal government has chosen to look to the past.

Despite giving producers short term relief for freight costs, the so-called reforms in Bill C-34 will only entrench the inefficiencies and incompetence that have dominated western Canada's grain transportation since the turn of the century.

Studies by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business have shown that excessive government red tape is a serious impediment to improving productivity in the agriculture sector.

By refusing to reduce the role of the Canadian Wheat Board, the government has ignored the advice of experts such as Mr. Kroeger and Justice Estey. It is perpetuating a bureaucratic culture of excessive government interference and overregulation that will continue to cost Canadian farmers millions of dollars each year.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, recently CBC management announced that all of the CBC regional supper hour news programs will be cut back from one hour to half an hour. Here and Now in Newfoundland has a 64% market share. It has a viewing audience of 157,000 people. In comparison, in Toronto CBC's supper hour newscast has a market share of 2% and an audience of 36,000 people. The show with ratings closest to Here and Now is the one on Prince Edward Island with a 76% market share and 44,000 viewers.

Obviously the local CBC news shows in P.E.I. and Newfoundland are in a category all to themselves, and on their own merits they deserve not to be cut back.

It is time for the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Newfoundland Liberal MPs, who are taking very little interest in this subject, to show a little courage and tell the CBC that whatever they do in the rest of the country, Here & Now is here to stay.