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House of Commons Hansard #134 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to two petitions.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-423, an act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (unpaid wages to rank first in priority in distribution).

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today. I thank the member for South Shore for seconding this important bill.

The bill seeks to amend the Bankruptcy Act so that in the event of a company going bankrupt, unpaid wages to workers would have first priority in the distribution of the assets of the bankrupt company.

It is a timely and topical issue. There are 10,000 bankruptcies every year in Canada. In many cases back wages, back contributions to pension plans, severance pay, et cetera, are only left to workers when other more secured creditors divide the assets of the company. The working people are left holding the bag and left wanting.

We look forward to debating the issue and voting on it in the House of Commons on behalf of all workers who are negatively impacted by bankruptcies.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That the membership of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be modified as follows:

Gary Breitkreuz for Richard Harris,

Randy White for John Reynolds

and that Richard Harris and John Reynolds be added to the list of associate members.

(Motion agreed to)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

January 29th, 2002 / 10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul MacKlin Liberal Northumberland, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to present a petition on behalf of some of the constituents in my riding concerning VIA Rail.

They wish to bring to the attention of Parliament the fact that there is a review going on within the area of the Port Hope station. They are extremely concerned about the future of the station and the services it provides. As a result they have taken up a petition to ask parliament to continue to maintain the VIA stop in Port Hope.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 90, 91, 93, 96 and 98.

Question No. 90—Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

With regard to an agreement between the Vancouver Port Commission and the City of Vancouver and 326754BC (Lafarge) to construct a concrete batch plant and subsequent arrangements to build the project on another site, the Sterling site, made by the Vancouver Port Authority: ( a ) was the Minister of Transport made aware of possible liabilities arising out of the subsequent changes; and ( b ) if not, what steps will the Minister take so as to be informed, not only as to potential liabilities, but also as to why the Minister was not informed?

Question No. 90—Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Transport Canada: The Vancouver Port Authority, VPA, was established in 1999, under the Canada Marine Act, to manage the port of Vancouver. The port authority is required to comply with the act and its letters patent.

As part of the management arrangements that have been established between Canada Port Authorities and the federal goverment, the VPA is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the port and for making commercial decisions that are in the best interest of the port authority.

With regard to an agreement between the Vancouver Port Authority, the City of Vancouver and Lafarge, and subsequent changes to that agreement, the port authority has advised that there are no liabilities to the VPA or the federal government.

Question No. 91—Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

With regard to a site acquired by the Vancouver Port Authority (VPA), the Sterling site, on which it proposes to construct a concrete batch plant: ( a ) what assurances has the Minister of Transport obtained that the project review process will fairly and independently review the application to build a concrete batch plant on this site; ( b ) what steps will the Minister take to ensure that the VPA adheres to both federal and provincial environmental legislation; and ( c ) what action will the Minister take to require the VPA to remediate the contaminated site in the spirit of the Canada Marine Act?

Question No. 91—Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Transport Canada: The Vancouver Port Authority, VPA, is required to comply with its letters patent, regulations and bylaws, as well as all other applicable statutes and regulations.

The VPA has indicated that the application by Lafarge to construct a ready mix concrete plant on land held in the name of the Vancouver Port Authority remains under review by the port authority and that no determination has yet been made with regard to this.

The VPA has indicated that it is conducting an open and comprehensive process that involves input from VPA staff, independent expert consultants, external environmental agencies, the City of Vancouver and the general public. Under the management arrangements that have been established with Canada Port Authorities, the VPA's board of directors has the obligation to properly discharge its responsibility for the management of the application process.

The VPA, its directors and officers, are mandated to properly discharge their responsibilities to comply with applicable federal and provincial enviromental legislation.

Under the Canada Marine Act, remediation of the land is not required, although section 61 requires the VPA to take appropriate measures for the maintenance of safety within the port, and the VPA's directors and officers are to comply with applicable federal and provincial regulations when warranted.

Question No. 93—Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

With regard to the Sterling site on which the Vancouver Port Authority (VPA) proposes to construct a concrete batch plant: ( a ) is the site exempt from provincial legislation; ( b ) has the VPA or the Minister sought a legal opinion for that exemption; and ( c ) is the Minister aware of any legal basis under which the VPA may allow construction of a concrete batch plant on “Other Real Property”, as defined by the Federal Real Property Act, owned by the VPA?

Question No. 93—Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Transport Canada: The site in question is non-federal land held by the Vancouver Port Authorithy VPA, rather than the federal crown, and, as such, it is possible that provincial and municipal legislation applies to some extent. Whether there is an exemption depends on the nature of the specific activity and whether the activity is being conducted by the VPA or a private sector entity. If the VPA is conducting the activity, it depends on whether or not the VPA is acting as an agent of the crown in respect of the activity. It also depends on the nature of the use and the nature of the provincial or municipal legislation and its impact on the use.

Transport Canada is not aware of the VPA requesting a legal opinion on this issue, and while appropriate officials, including those of the Department of Justice have been consulted on this matter, the department has not requested an opinion on this issue.

The Federal Real Property and Immovables Act does not define “Other Real Property”, but the Canada Marine Act does permit theVPA to hold property other than federal real property , provided that property is set out in the VPA's letters patent. There are several provisions of the letters patent which suggest that the VPA is authorized to construct the proposed plant.

Question No. 96—Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

With regard to audits performed by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA): ( a ) how many audits are performed yearly on: (i) personal income tax returns, (ii) small business tax returns; ( b ) of these audits, for each of the said items, how many find money owing to CCRA as a result of the audit; ( c ) what percentage of these audits is appealed; and ( d ) what is the total number of audits performed annually by CCRA?

Question No. 96—Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

The following information from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, CCRA, is for the year 2000-01.

Explanatory Notes:

  1. With respect to question (a) (i) and (ii): (A) Personal Income Tax Returns: The data includes audit actions by Compliance Programs Branch on T1 returns only. See (C) below for a list of included programs. A T1 return is an Income tax Return for Individuals. Income to be included on T1 returns includes, but is not limited to: employment income, self-employed income, professional income, commission income, farming income, fishing income, rental income, partnership income and taxable capital gains.

(B) Small Business Tax Returns: The data includes audit actions by Compliance Programs Branch on T2 returns only, excluding audit actions performed on the large and basic Corporations. Small Business tax returns also includes all GST audit actions whether the GST registrant is a corporation or a self-employed individual. See (C) below for a list of included programs. A T2 return is an Income tax return for corporations. All incorporated businesses are required to complete a T2 income tax return detailing their taxable income for the taxation year.

(C) Number of audits: The data indicates the count of files audited/reviewed in the following Program areas:

Business audit--Tax and goods and services tax, GST; Tax avoidance; Office audit; International audits; Non-resident audits; Competent authority; Tax incentive audits; Benefit employment income audits, BEIA; Post review; Refund examination.

  1. With respect to question (b):

Number of audits finding money owing to the CCRA: The data includes audits where federal tax payable has been increased or tax refunds have been reduced as a result of CCRA's audit presence.

  1. With respect to question (c):

Percentage of audits appealed: This data was provided by the Appeals Branch. It represents the number of audit files appealed from April 1, 2000 to March 31, 2001. These numbers do not take into consideration any timing differences that may occur as a result of a 90 day appeal period. A taxpayer has 90 days from the date of notification of CCRA's audit adjustment(s) to file an appeal. Therefore, some appeals relating to audits completed in the year ending 2001, may not be received until 2002. Conversely, some appeals received in 2001 may relate to audits completed in 2000.

  1. With respect to question (d):

Total number of audits: The total number of audits includes all audit actions reported in the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency's 2000-2001 Annual Report. It includes the programs listed in note 1(C) above. In addition, it includes return types associated with the large file program and other tax returns audited aside from personal and business returns, such as trusts, charities, et cetera.

Excluded from this count are the number of files reviewed and/or processed in the following areas:

Non-filers; GST domestic rebates processed; non-resident returns processed; International tax other; Investigations.

Question No. 98—Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Concerning the implementation of the Canadian Firearms Program: ( a ) what is the projected cost to fully implement and operate the program and enforce the legislation; and ( b ) what is the cost to the Canadian economy including the projected impact on: (1) the number of firearms owners; (2) the number of hunters; (3) the number of visitors to Canada; (4) tourism and outfitting operations; (5) wildlife populations; (6) aboriginal people, communities, business and employment; (7) international trade; (8) shooting sports; (9) Olympic and international shooting competitions; (10) firearms and ammunition manufacturing, sales and service; (11) sporting goods sales and manufacturing; (12) recreational vehicle sales and manufacturing; (13) gun shows; (14) gun clubs and shooting ranges; (15) firearms collectors and museums; (16) movie and television production; (17) heritage and historical re-enactments; (18) employment in all impacted industries and activities?

Question No. 98—Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

I am informed by the Departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Justice as follows: a ) The firearms program is a national investment in public safety that is supported by the vast majority of Canadians. Over the first six years of operation, $487 million was invested in this program. Even when adding in the estimated investment of $139 million for this year, the total for seven years would still represent less than $3 per Canadian, per year of operation.

This investment comes with the public safety benefits of a licensing and registration system that helps keep firearms from those who should not have them. Since December 1, 1998, over 4,000 firearms licences have been refused or revoked by public safety officials. To date, there have been 32 times more revocations than over the last five years under the old program. b ) As to the projected impact of this program on the economy:

(1) While certain members of the recreational firearms community suggest that active firearms owners are leaving the shooting sports as a consequence of the individual licensing and firearms registration requirements included in the Firearms Act, there is no indication that this is true.

There are some indications that individuals who owned firearms but no longer use them have chosen to dispose of their unused firearms rather than apply for a licence and register firearms they no longer want, use or need.

(2) Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes Canadians or non-residents from hunting in Canada. Any decline in hunting participation rates may reflect changing Canadian demographics and increased opportunities for Canadians to actively participate in other recreational activities that were not broadly available in the past.

Many hunting and outdoor organizations understand that cultural attitudes towards hunting and the shooting sports have changed significantly and are expending significant resources to attempt to bring new entrants into the hunting and shooting sports.

(3)-(5) This question is not in the purview of the Department of Justice and should be directed to tourism and natural resources authorities. Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes law abiding Canadians or non-residents from participating in hunting and shooting sports in Canada.

(6) Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes aboriginal Canadians from participating in their traditional lifestyles. Nothing in the Firearms Act, other than licensing requirements to meet public safety requirements, limits the business opportunities for any Canadian to offer any service to any hunter or shooter in Canada.

(7) The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade presently controls the export and import of firearms and ammunition. When the export and import provisions of the Firearms Act come into force DFAIT export permits will be deemed as authorizations to export under the Firearms Act, while authorizations to import will subsume DFAIT import permits. There should therefore be no extra cost to international trade arising from implementation of the Firearms Act.

(8)-(9) Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes Canadians or non-residents from participating in shooting sports in Canada. Any decline in shooting sport participation rates may reflect changing Canadian demographics and increased opportunities for Canadians to actively participate in other recreational activities that were not broadly available in the past.

(10) The Firearms Act provides for the licensing of firearms businesses. Nothing in the Act precludes a business from operating within the terms of its licence.

(11)-(12) The Firearms Act does not regulate the sales of such materials in any manner.

(13) The Firearms Act gun show regulations are not yet in force. The changing demographics of firearms ownership may be reflected in the participation rate at gun shows. However, it should be noted that these changes may just reflect the result of other recreational opportunities being available to all Canadians in all seasons.

(14) The changing demographics of firearm ownership may be reflected in the participation rate at gun clubs and shooting ranges. However, it should be noted that these changes may just reflect the result of other recreational opportunities being available to all Canadians in all seasons.

Nothing in the Firearms Act prevents Canadians from participating in the shooting sports. In fact, the Firearms Act requires that long gun ranges be inspected and certified by a chief firearms officer to ensure that they meet safety standards. This is the first time that long gun ranges have had to meet any safety standard whatsoever.

(15) The Firearms Act provides that Canadians can continue to maintain their firearms collections and that new entrants may begin firearms collecting. Museums may be licensed to maintain firearms in their collection.

(16) The Firearms Act provides a framework to regulate movie supply companies. Nothing in the Firearms Act prevents licensed production supply houses from porviding materials to productions.

(17) Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes Canadians or non-residents from participating in historical re-enactments.

(18) Nothing in the Firearms Act precludes Canadians from participating in activities in which they participated in before the coming into force of the Firearms Act. While the forces of demographic change and the free choice of other recreational activities may have resulted in a decline in active participation in hunting and shooting sports, there is nothing to indicate that any decrease was the direct result of the introduction, passage, coming into force or implementation of the Firearms Act.

Question No. 98—Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Question No. 98—Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Question No. 98—Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from January 28 consideration of the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to address the budget once again in the House. I congratulate my colleagues on this side of the House for articulating a number of issues we wanted changed in the budget. In many cases we did not achieve the changes but in any event we brought the issues to the focus of the nation.

I will talk a bit about a number of things that were not provided for in the budget. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the commitment of the Liberal government to a national sex offender registry, a commitment it did not undertake at all. It misled the whole country into believing we would have a national sex offender registry. A motion was placed before the House last May indicating unanimous consent by all opposition parties and the government that we would have a national sex offender registry. It is important for people to know that the government said it would complete a national sex offender registry by January 30, 2002. That is tomorrow.

The disheartening thing about this is that out of frustration with the federal government's failure to work on a national sex offender registry the government of Ontario implemented one of its own. Ontario is the first government with a 90% compliance rate on that. The other 10% consists of people who have left Ontario for other regions. The province almost has a virtual compliance rate. Some charges and convictions will occur for one or two people who have not complied.

Here we go once again with commitments. What does a commitment mean to a government that says it has all these things in the budget and will fix us up? That is not the case at all. The whole national sex offender registry was an important issue to the House last year. We have not said much about it because we thought it would be developed. However the government has reneged on its position.

It takes legislation to implement such a registry. This government has neither drafted legislation nor talked about it in any of its committees. On May 12, knowing full well that all it had to do was lie to the country and to members of parliament and get away with it, that is exactly what the government did. Anyone who believes the things the government puts in the budget will actually happen is not facing reality. The government does not intend to fulfill its promises.

There have been things in the budget about immigration. The country's immigration problems go far beyond what the government is portraying to the people of Canada.

I have been involved with a number of deportations of criminals from Canada. Recently three individuals were a case in point for the failure of the government in its refugee system. One individual I had been trying to get out of the country was ordered removed from Canada on May 25, 1999. The government ordered him removed in 1999. He is still here. Another individual was denied refugee status by the Immigration and Refugee Board on September 25, 2000. He did not exercise his right to appeal but is still here in Canada. Another individual whose case I had been working on was denied refugee status by the Immigration and Refugee Board in Calgary in March 2000. It was his second attempt to get refugee status in Canada. The file has apparently been transferred back to Vancouver for enforcement.

Why do I bring these cases up? The three individuals are unwanted in the country. They have failed in their refugee claims but are still in Canada. I asked the Immigration and Refugee Board for information. I asked what it had done and when it would remove them. The board would not tell me even though I was an intervener in all three cases. The reason the government gives for not telling me about the three individuals is that there is no evidence that disclosure in the public interest outweighs the obligation to respect the privacy of clients. It says disclosure in cases of this nature could set an inappropriate precedent.

What is not mentioned in the budget about immigration and refugee issues is that the government gives much more standing to the privacy of undesirable individuals ordered out of the country than to an intervener's right to know whether they have been removed.

Let us think about that for a minute. I know more about these people than I think they know about themselves. Each of them is undesirable in the country. I have fought the cases by myself in refugee boards. All I get from the bureaucracy is that it cannot tell me what happens after I have fought a case. It can only tell me if someone has failed a claim. It says it cannot tell me if someone has been removed from the country because it would violate the individual's privacy.

I have never heard such an absurd bunch of rubbish in all my life. This is from a country that proposes to look after the security of the nation as one of its highest priorities. It is rubbish. These people should not be in Canada. All the information I have says they are in Canada but the department of immigration will not tell me because it sees it as a violation of the rights of individuals who do not deserve to be in the country anyway.

Not much has been said in the budget about the prison system. I have been speaking about the prison system for nine years to the point where I am getting sick and tired of it. It is boondoggle after boondoggle. It is high time we had a public inquiry about how to fix the system.

I could go on and talk about a litany of errors in the prison system. I will explain a few of them, many of which I have been involved with. They go back from the golf courses at Ferndale prison to bringing in Colin Thatcher's horse to prison so he can ride it. They go into the latest foolish and irresponsible move to satisfy prisoners in Saskatchewan on New Year's Eve by giving them pizza and porno movies. Letting inmates, sex offenders, in a prison in Saskatchewan--

The BudgetGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

An hon. member

What is wrong with pizza?

The BudgetGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

What is wrong with pizza he says? What is wrong with porno he says?

The BudgetGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

An hon. member

I did not say that.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

What is wrong with these people? The problem is there are many sex offenders in prison. Here is a government and even a warden that sanctions showing porno movies to inmates on New Year's Eve. Can hon. members tell me how that in any way, shape or form is called rehabilitation of our prison system?

I have run out of time but I will be back in the House on this issue and the issue of refugee determination until someone over there listens.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Winnipeg South.

Since taking office in 1993, the Liberal government, with the help of the Canadian people, worked hard to strengthen the fundamentals of the Canadian economy. With the 2001 budget we brought down our fifth balanced budget, a first in 50 years. We have had four consecutive surpluses including a record $17.1 billion surplus in 2000-01.

These surpluses will allow us to reduce the national debt by almost $36 billion, save $2.5 billion per year in interest payments, and to make $100 billion in broad based tax cuts over a five year period.

This prudent fiscal management will allow us to invest some $23.4 billion into health care and early childhood development. It will also allow us to weather the storm that we began to experience prior to September 11, 2001.

Budget 2001 is a balanced budget. The government expects to balance the next two budgets. However, because of the exceptional fiscal pressures our economy is faced with today, the government has decided to use part of the $3 billion contingency reserve this year and the next two years to meet some of our commitments. Any surplus in the 2001-02 fiscal year will be used to support programs like the strategic infrastucture foundation that will invest in communities across Canada.

The government's sound fiscal management has resulted in a falling debt to GDP ratio. Next year, for the first time in 17 years, it would fall below the 50% mark. At the same time the government increased program spending for 2001-02 with 75% of that program spending earmarked for health care, security, employment insurance and benefits for the elderly.

Prudent fiscal planning over the last eight years has prepared us to weather the current economic downturn and our long-term outlook is good. In fact we are faring better than any other G-8 nation at this time. Our economy would also benefit from the positive effect of the decline in interest rates announced by the Bank of Canada since the beginning of 2001. Canadians have taken advantage of low interest rates by buying cars and homes. In my riding, both the automotive and housing industries have benefited.

Budget 2001 would not only maintain existing programs and our $23.4 billion commitment to health care and early childhood development, it would commit significant new resources to initiatives that would benefit all Canadians and would protect our personal security. These initiatives would include: $6.5 billion over five years to enhance personal and economic security; $1.2 billion to make our borders more fluid and secure; $2 billion for strategic infrastructure projects; and $1.1 billion over three years to support skills, learning and research.

Overall, our government's investments, combined with tax cuts already made, will provide $26 billion economic stimulus equivalent to 2.4% of GDP. This will boost the economy and help Canadians get through these challenging times.

I would like to highlight some of the initiatives that will benefit our nation. Strong and sound infrastructure is an important foundation for any productive country. The maintenance and construction of bridges, highways and transit systems all contribute to a healthy and industrious economy.

Investments in infrastructure not only stimulate job creation and confidence in the short term but make our economy more productive and competitive. The Liberal government recognizes this and has announced $3 billion in infrastructure investment in budget 2001. This investment will go to four major areas: strategic infrastructure, affordable housing, government capital and border infrastructure.

A significant investment will be made into the strategic infrastructure foundation. Two billion dollars will go to the foundation for the construction of large infrastructure projects like highways, urban transportation and convention centres. This is a cost share initiative between the foundation and provincial and municipal governments.

There is a serious shortage of affordable housing in many cities across Canada. As urban populations grow, vacancy rates drop. This drives up the cost of rental housing reaching levels out of reach for many Canadians. My own community of Cambridge is a prime example of how a growing city finds itself in desperate need of more affordable accommodation.

I am pleased that the government will address this problem with the contribution of $680 million over the next five years to capital grants programs. Under this program funding for affordable housing will be provided for provinces and territories that could match federal contributions.

Another $256 million will help alleviate concerns about the health and safety of existing federal government infrastructure like government laboratories, veteran hospitals and fishing harbours.

Budget 2001 would allocate money for infrastructure projects along the longest undefended border in the world, the Canada-U.S. border. These projects would include processing centres that would speed up border clearance times and improving highway access to border crossings. These are very important measures for businesses in my riding that rely on cross border trade.

Budget 2001 would fully protect the government's tax reduction plan that would continue to unfold in 2002 and beyond. Corporate income tax installments for small, incorporated businesses would be deferred for six months, a measure that would impact significantly on the cashflows of many small businesses trying to ride out this current economic slowdown.

I am pleased that apprentice vehicle mechanics will now be able to deduct from their income the cost of new tools. My caucus colleagues and I have worked hard for several years to push for this change and I thank the finance minister for listening and acting on our recommendation.

Budget 2001 is a good budget. It is the budget to build confidence in our economy and personal security. It is a budget for a time when many of us are feeling anxious as a result of the events of September 11. The budget will help Canadians through the current slowdown and will position us to take full advantage of the recovery that is just around the corner. Had it not been for prudent fiscal management, we would be at a significant disadvantage.

Canadians remember the hard choices of the 1990s. The government will not play fast and loose with the finances of the nation but will ensure that all Canadians are taken care of.