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House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was competition.

Topics

Armed ForcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I pay tribute to our soldiers in Afghanistan. I am sure that the opposition will be pleased to hear what I have to say.

We had a report that on Thursday night Canadian troops came to the rescue of U.S. soldiers stranded with their two Chinook helicopters that were forced down in hostile territory by poor visibility and a dwindling fuel supply during a sandstorm.

Our Canadian military led a nighttime mission across a heavily mined desert near Kandahar in their high tech armoured vehicles. The six troopers from the Lord Strathcona's Horse regiment of Edmonton, using their nighttime vision equipment, located and rescued the Americans. The rescue mission by our Canadian soldiers is proof of the expertise of our military personnel and the capabilities of their equipment.

I am sure that members of the opposition will join us in sending our best wishes to our Canadian troops who are doing an excellent job in their mission in Afghanistan. This kind of mission proves once again that the Canadian armed forces have never been more combat ready.

CurlingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I too congratulate both the men's and women's Olympic hockey teams whose skills and determination earned them gold medals as well as the adulation of all Canadians. These teams, along with all Canadian Olympians, showed their Olympic spirit during the games and have done more to bring Canadians together than anything we could do in the House.

Now it is time to focus on another one of Canada's premier sporting events. In Brandon, Manitoba today the Canadian women's curling championship, the Scott Tournament of Hearts, takes place. The Tournament of Hearts will attract teams from every province and territory and showcase the finest curlers in Canada. Brandon, the curling capital of Canada, will host over 80,000 spectators and 70 athletes competing to be the best in women's curling.

I thank Lois Fowler, the chair of the Brandon host committee, and the 605 volunteers who have done a tremendous job in working long hours to put the event together. These volunteers have brought credit to their community and their province.

On behalf of Manitobans I thank them and the Scott Tournament of Hearts.

International Co-operationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise the House of an unprecedented meeting of 24 inspirational Afghan women currently living in Canada that is proceeding in the West Block today with the help of the Minister for International Cooperation and CIDA officials.

These Afghan Canadian women, including high school students, have arrived from Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Guelph, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal to meet officials and parliamentarians to press us to ensure that our troops and other Canadian representatives are all committed to increasing safety for women and children in Afghanistan so Afghan women in Canada have the genuine option of returning to their country of origin to give their expertise to rehabilitation and reconstruction as soon as possible.

I give special thanks to Senator Jaffer, Adeena Niazi and Marilou McPhedran for their leadership in this program.

2002 Winter OlympicsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Salt Lake Winter Olympics have come to a close and the residents of my riding of St. Albert have much to celebrate.

First, we had Jennifer Heil from Spruce Grove. Jennifer, a first time Olympian, clearly has a bright future in freestyle skiing ahead of her. She placed fourth in the women's moguls competition.

Next, Ken Tralnberg from St. Albert and Don Bartlett from Spruce Grove helped bring home the silver medal in men's curling.

Finally, Jarome Iginla, a native of St. Albert, had an amazing hockey game yesterday, scoring two of Canada's goals in a 5-2 win over the United States, helping to bring hockey gold home to Canada.

Canadians can be truly proud of all our Olympic athletes, and the people of the St. Albert constituency can take pride in knowing their very own athletes performed so well in front of millions not just in Canada but all around the world. I congratulate them all.

Father Joseph MeeùsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend the community of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, honoured Father Joseph Meeùs. On Sunday, February 24, 2002, he celebrated a milestone anniversary, his 50th year of priesthood in the Roman Catholic church.

Ataata Jusipi, as he is affectionately known, was born in Belgium, arrived in Canada in 1952 and has since then devoted his life to the Arctic, serving in the diocese of Churchill-Hudson Bay since 1968.

Father Meeùs has earned the respect of all, including the clergy of different denominations. Devoted to the cause of the people, he serves the community, elders and youth alike with wisdom and great humility.

We thank Ataata Jusipi for his kindness, generosity and devotion to the Arctic and its people. On behalf of my constituents we wish him well.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is nice to welcome the Prime Minister back from his trip. I am sure the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Industry were there to meet him when he got off the plane.

The Canadian Alliance has repeatedly raised concerns about the government's failure to address the country's international competitiveness.

Further, the government has also failed to grapple with the problems of defence. Yesterday team Canada showed us all what international competitiveness and a strong defence were all about.

My question for the Prime Minister: How about that Joe Sakic?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy the Leader of the Opposition mentioned that. It was a fabulous afternoon yesterday. We were all cheering. However it was not only yesterday. The last two weeks have been very good. We are all very proud. It is a sign that we started to invest a little bit more money in sports a few years ago. We have the results at this time.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, our hockey team may have the gold but under the government our economy is still finishing out of the medals.

One of Canada's leading economists has just produced a study that has found the federal tax burden has not fallen in seven years, despite the government's so-called tax cuts.

Canadians still face paying over 40% of their GDP in taxes, while in the United States it is only 30%, and it is our biggest competitor and our trading partner.

How can the government claim to have offered tax relief when the tax burden for hard-working Canadians has not budged at all?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is a good example of the opposition always being late and not being aware of what is going on.

He has referred to 1999 statistics. Since that time we have had a budget that reduced the taxes paid by Canadians and have reduced corporate taxes to five points below the Americans. Capital gains taxes in Canada are five points below the American capital gains. I could go on and on.

Despite all these reductions, we still have a good social system that applies to all the citizens of Canada.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we only have to look at our TR4 slips this month versus last year to find out that those figures are just not accurate.

Another study shows that because of the government's rising taxes the underground economy has risen from 3% to 16%, and that is just not last year, that is right now.

The co-author of the study said:

--cutting taxes is still the...most important thing governments can do to...reverse the growth in the underground economy

Why has the government not offered real tax relief to Canadian citizens this year?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government reduced taxes for the Canadian people by $100 billion over the period of five years. It is reflected to everybody.

If the hon. member would read the budget he would see that lower and middle income Canadians are paying hundreds and thousands of dollars less taxes today than they were paying two years ago.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is not true.

Last Friday, the econometric firm DRI-WEFA confirmed that the government's supposed tax reduction was no more than a mirage. We learned that there has been no change to the tax burden since 1996, and it remains a huge 40% of the GDP.

Clearly, this Minister of Finance is more concerned about image than reality. How can he continue to mislead people by saying that he has lessened the tax burden, when this is false?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has pointed out, these statistics do not tell the full story.

The fact of the matter is that this year alone we had $20 billion in tax relief. The fact is that by 2004 income tax will be down by 21% on average, 27% for families. The fact of the matter is that we are giving our companies a Canadian advantage with a lower corporate tax rate as of a couple of years and a substantially lower rate of tax on capital gains as we speak.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, those are not facts, those are ridiculous Liberal talking points.

The studies produced by the Canadian Tax Foundation and DRI-WEFA make it absolutely clear that we are losing $44 billion to the underground economy because of overtaxation and that the federal tax burden today is exactly where it was six years ago.

How can the government claim that it is reducing taxes when Canadians are in fact paying more in taxes this year than they did at this time last year?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a wonderful economic story to tell in London, New York and around the world. However, the Canadian Alliance, with its spurious statistics, its non-stop negativity and its non-stop trashing of the Canadian economy, it is sad to say, is part of the problem not part of the solution.

Highway InfrastructureOral Question Period

February 25th, 2002 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance announced the creation of a $2 billion foundation for strategic infrastructures.

On February 5, he changed his tune and said that only the savings made on the service of the debt would be invested in infrastructures, that is a significantly smaller amount of $350 million over two years, according to the minister's own officials.

In spite of this correction, the Deputy Prime Minister continues to say that there is an amount of $2 billion available right now.

Since the establishment of this fund has yes to be approved by parliament, that its budget is fluctuating and that timetables are changing, could the Prime Minister tell us how much money will be available, in the end, for strategic infrastructures and when?

Highway InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the $2 billion for strategic infrastructures will be available as soon as the bill has been approved by the House of Commons.

Highway InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport told the House that the $2 billion for the strategic infrastructure fund was only, and I quote an initial payment.

Given the magnitude of the Liberals' promises, which total $3.5 billion for Quebec highways alone, could the Deputy Prime Minister confirm the comments of the parliamentary secretary and tell Quebecers whether the $2 billion strategic infrastructure fund is renewable or not?

Highway InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the $2 billion for strategic infrastructures is not just for highways. In the budget delivered in December by the Minister of Finance, an amount of $600 million is specifically earmarked for highways, in addition to the $2 billion for strategic infrastructures, which could of course be used for projects other than highways.

Highway InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the promises made by Liberal ministers and members regarding highways during the election campaign go well beyond the moneys currently available for this purpose.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister say what percentage of the $2 billion infrastructure fund will be allocated to the construction of the highways promised by his colleagues during the election? What portion of the $2 billion will be spent on the highways?

Highway InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, 100% of the money will be spent on strategic projects. We will define the projects. But we know, as we heard on Friday afternoon, that it was not in the interest of the Bloc Quebecois or the Parti Quebecois before the election, but only when the Liberal candidates raised the issue about highways in Quebec.

Highway InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport said in the House that there would be no interprovincial cost-sharing of the funds available in the infrastructure program, implying that this would allow the government to fulfill its promises made in Quebec during the election campaign.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister confirm the comments made by the member for Chicoutimi--Le Fjord, to the effect that there would be no interprovincial cost-sharing in connection with the infrastructure fund?

Highway InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, there seems to be some confusion on the other side of the House.

Other funds already exist for highways. The Minister of Transport is trying to conclude an agreement with the Province of Quebec in this regard.

There is also the strategic infrastructure fund. As I mentioned, it is a program for strategic infrastructure for the 21st century, including, possibly, highways.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, who in the name of heaven is running the Export Development Corporation? Certainly no one concerned with securing softwood lumber jobs for Canadians who have been seeking EDC support.

Today we learned that the Export Development Corporation is bankrolling an American firm so it can purchase locomotives being built in Mexico.

Why is it not a condition of receiving EDC funds that they be invested in creating Canadian jobs instead of Mexican jobs?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear that in the North American economy, the EDC has the mandate to promote Canadian exports, and that is exactly what it did in the particular contract to which the NDP leader is referring.

GM has been in the position to save 850 jobs in Canada because it had Bombardier help deliver on that contract in the United States.