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House of Commons Hansard #95 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain PaymentsGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain PaymentsGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Order, please. The hon. member has the floor. We would like to hear his answer.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain PaymentsGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, as I was trying to say, I am delighted that the member has reinforced the point I was trying to make through the budget debates over the last few months. We have been consistent with our platform and with the throne speech. We followed right through with the budget. We have kept our promises which is what Canadians want. We kept our promise to support seniors, wind energy, day care and education. We kept our promise to have the biggest environmental budget in history.

Related to agriculture, imagine the party opposite running the country when two of its members have just said that there was not a cent toward agriculture. Well, where were they several weeks ago when we announced $1 billion? If $1 billion is nothing to them, if they cannot keep track of that from two weeks ago, how could they possibly run the country?

What is embarrassing is that they support the budget and then the next week they do not support it and force us into an agreement with another party and now they are complaining. What do the people who supported the Conservatives in Calgary think when their member has forced us to make this deal with the NDP? What do their constituents think when they flip-flop and cause us to make this deal? As a matter of fact, I am proud of this deal.

What do the people of their ridings think about the fact that they have never asked any questions over the last few months? In fact, their finance critic was asked to resign yesterday. When have they asked any questions about anything of our ministers? It would be fascinating if the press did a tally of how many times our ministers have been asked about government departments over the last few weeks.

I know we are not allowed to comment on who is here and who is not, but in question period there are empty seats over there because our ministers have not been asked about health care, the poor, agriculture, education, foreign aid, and all the issues that are important to Canadians. If we are not being held accountable, how could they provide a government?

When they talk about transparency, why are they not allowed to talk about what their constituents are saying? They were all told not to speak about what their constituents said about the election. Why are the members for Newmarket—Aurora or Central Nova not been heard from in the last few days? We would like to hear from all the Conservatives. There are actually two or three progressive ones there, unfortunately for us. It would be great to hear what they had to say.

The saddest result of all this, as everyone knows by looking at the polls, is that an upcoming election would increase the strength of the separatist movement in Canada. The fact that any members in the House would put their party, to get a few more seats, above the interests of Canada to set an environment where the conditions would be ripe for a referendum is a very sad position for that party and for Canadians. It would lead to potential difficulties in unity in this country and an expensive election that no one wants. Canadians have told us that and yet the other side will not take that leadership just as it would not on Iraq.

When I asked their leader why the party that was based on grassroots Reform Alliance and used to listen to their constituents did not listen to them when it came to the war on Iraq, he said, “We need to have leadership. We cannot listen to constituents”. They are doing that again by forcing an election which will cost $250 million. They want to waste that. The polls show it will be another minority government which would waste another $250 million. That is what is concerning Canadians.

I would therefore encourage both parties in the opposition to support this budget, probably the most popular budget in history, that helps Canadians in so many ways, helps the economy, the poor and the sick, education and first nations people. If I am asked another question, I will get into the embarrassing record of the opposition on helping first nations people. We are attempting to make progress in this budget and with the aboriginal round table.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain PaymentsGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to take the member up on it. This morning we had a motion on a report on aboriginal cultural affairs. I was very concerned that the opposition did not want to put up people to debate the issues in the report nor to ask questions related to the report. I would simply ask the hon. member, could he make a comment on that and how important cultural matters are to the first nations?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain PaymentsGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I was never so shocked as I was yesterday in the House when Her Majesty's loyal opposition actually proposed in a member's statement that they would help first nations people after all the times they have voted against land claims agreements. Nothing has changed. We added money to the budget to help aboriginal people and we are making progress, but that party voted against that, and those members speak against it in their speeches.

This morning one of their members talked about our quiet member for Nunavut who was speaking up for the rural aboriginal people in northern Canada and who actually went against our party on a motion. They said this was procedural wrangling.

They originally supported and now are voting against our budget that has money for health care for aboriginal people, lifelong learning, housing, economic opportunities and land claims. The opposition has the absolute nerve to suggest, after all these attacks on the progress for aboriginal--

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain PaymentsGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

The hon. member for Portage—Lisgar.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain PaymentsGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the very exciting and prominent new member of the House of Commons, the member for Edmonton—Spruce Grove.

In my four minutes I would like to refer to a Toronto story. I know the Toronto Star is hardly a bastion of conservatism, but it has an article that says, “PM's spending spree smacks of desperation”. It certainly does, but it also should strike fear into the hearts of anyone who understands fundamental money management.

We are talking about $1.25 billion a day for the last three weeks that has been committed by the government opposite in contravention of the most fundamental principles of money management, without due regard for the process of evaluation, and without a plan. The Liberals are so desperate for ideas over there that they have gone to the NDP for help. It is pathetic. If Canadians wanted an NDP budget, they would have elected more than 19 members of Parliament for that party. They did not.

An article in the Globe and Mail today was entitled “Liberal spending blitz hits $19.5 billion”. It said:

Toronto-Dominion Bank chief economist Don Drummond said he believes the Liberals are obliged to table an economic update to tell Canadians how all this new spending fits in the fiscal plan.

It went on:

To tell you the truth, I would think everybody's sort of lost track.

The fact of the matter is that the government is desperate. It is corrupt. It is indecent and dangerous. It is selling this country's fiscal future down the river as it will do anything to cling to power. It is trying to cover up a vote buying scandal with another vote buying scandal. It is trying to buy its way out of trouble. One thing is absolutely for certain, Canadians are on to it. Canadians understand what got the Liberal Party into this mess and Canadians are not interested in being bought by their own money.

Here is another comment from another article today. This is interesting. This is from Michael Murphy, senior vice-president of policy for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. He said:

The government has clearly made a decision to spend its way to the next election. They've now basically said: “To heck with that budget, here's new stuff”.

It's back to the future for the Liberals. This is what got us into the massive deficit financing of the past, the whole principle of concentrating benefits, making promise after promise regardless of the legitimacy of the spending or regardless and disrespectful of a plan of any kind.

They threw it around in a one and a half page bill that the NDP members sold themselves out for. We knew that the NDP members would prostitute themselves, but they did it cheaply in this case because this is a one and a half page bill with no commitments on the part of the government other than to do orders in council in broad general categories.

For example, the Liberals claimed to care about aboriginal housing. They are going to address aboriginal housing, but without a plan, how can they possibly do that?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain PaymentsGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

It being 2 o'clock we will now proceed with statements by members.

Asian Heritage MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, May marks Asian Heritage Month, an occasion for Canadians across the country to reflect on the contributions of people of Asian heritage to the building of Canada.

Asian Heritage Month was first celebrated in Toronto in 1993, followed by celebrations in many cities across Canada. In December 2001 the government officially recognized the month of May as Asian Heritage Month. In schools, community centres and workplaces Canadians are invited and encouraged to improve their understanding and appreciation of the often neglected yet important contributions Asian Canadians have made to our country.

As elected representatives, we should take pride in the accomplishments of all the diverse citizens of this remarkable country.

Sutton FairStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, August 4 to 7 will herald the 150th Sutton Fair. The fair's historical roots as an agricultural exhibition of animals, crops and handicrafts continues today, but the Sutton Fair is much more now, offering midway flash, entertainment, contests, shopping and food, the Sutton Fair ambassador contest and the Georgina Idol talent competition. Today there is something for everyone, young and old, city or country, resident, cottager or visitor.

In the 1800s members of Parliament Conservative Richard Tyrwhitt and Liberal William Mulock displayed their animals at the fair. Even Prime Minister Mackenzie King, although he was twice rejected by local voters as MP, came to open the fair as prime minister in 1925. It is an event not to be missed.

This August I hope to see everyone at the fair.

Thunder Bay BombersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pride to rise today to congratulate the members of the Thunder Bay Bombers senior men's hockey team on their Allan Cup win. Two provinces and two time zones away from home, this team made the incredible and improbable a complete reality in a four to three overtime victory.

Thunder Bay has now claimed the Allan Cup a record 10 times. This remarkable win brings the national championship back to Thunder Bay and the province of Ontario for the first time in 16 years.

The Thunder Bay Bombers represent nearly every facet of hockey in the community of Thunder Bay. Team members include former Lakehead University Thunderwolves, pro players, alumni of the former Thunder Bay Junior Flyers, and minor hockey coaches.

Please join me in congratulating the Thunder Bay Bombers in another of a long series of Allan Cup victories.

Pay EquityStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 4, the women of the Pay Equity Network demonstrated on Parliament Hill calling on members of Parliament to pass proactive pay equity legislation.

On Saturday some 5,000 women, gathered in Quebec City to welcome the world march of women's global charter for humanity, called for pay equity, among other things.

Over a year ago, the federal pay equity task force published its report recommending passing new legislation. One year later, the Liberal government still has not tabled a bill to correct the present injustices. Under current legislation, the onus is on women to file complaints.

Need I remind the House that equal pay for work of equal value is a human right? What is the government waiting for to acknowledge this through appropriate legislation?

Family ExpoStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, this weekend there is a wonderful event occurring in my riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. Atlantic Canada's first family expo entitled “We Love Our Children” will be held this weekend, May 14 and 15, at the Dartmouth Sportsplex. It will feature three pavilions that will host parenting workshops, information on family travel, health, nutrition, education and much more.

There will be entertainment by top family entertainers, including Treehouse's Max and Ruby, Razzmatazz for Kids and CBC Party with Mark and Clifford. Featured speakers include former MuchMusic VJ and current TV host of Yummy Mummy , Erica Ehm, math specialist John Mighton and Daisy Rock guitar inventor, Tish Ciravolo.

This unique event for Atlantic Canada is dedicated to our most valuable resource, our children. Check out the website at familyexpo.ca.

This event would not have happened without the tremendous efforts of volunteers and in particular the hard work and dedication of Suzanne Morrison and Andree Gracie. I wish them all the best and look forward to being there.

LupusStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Conservative Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, today is World Lupus Day, an opportunity to increase awareness of this disease with a thousand faces.

Lupus is a disease in which the immune system attacks the body's own healthy cells causing tissue damage, organ failure, and in some cases, death. Lupus can strike any tissue or organ in the body, including the skin, muscles, blood vessels, lungs, heart, and brain. Over 50,000 Canadians are affected by lupus. It strikes men, women and children of all ages, but primarily women during the child-bearing years.

While new research brings promising findings each year, there remains no cure for lupus. Early detection and treatment can help to slow the debilitating effects of the disease. However, many physicians are unaware of the symptoms. As a result, many people suffer for years before obtaining the correct diagnosis and treatment.

There is an urgent need to increase lupus awareness. I would like to applaud organizations like Lupus Canada and the Lupus Erythematosus Society of Saskatchewan for providing support for those affected by this disease and raising awareness of lupus.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' lust for power hit new lows when their deputy leader compared his party's efforts to topple the government to what transpired in Ukraine last fall. It is particularly hypocritical since the Conservatives initially tried to scuttle my motion in the House last October for Canadian involvement in Ukraine's orange revolution.

In Ukraine it was the government that would not respect the will of the people. In Canada it is the opposition that does not respect the will of the people by trying to force an election that two-thirds of Canadians clearly do not want. In Ukraine it was the government that falsely tried innocent people. In Canada it is the Conservative-separatist alliance that falsely passes judgment prior to Justice Gomery's issuing his findings.

Just as former Ukrainian President Kuchma fanned the flames of separatism in Ukraine to retain power, in Canada the Conservative Party leader is willing to do the same to attain power.

The Conservatives trivialize the sacrifices of millions of Ukrainians. Clearly their leader is no Yushchenko.

Dominique ChevalierStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to acknowledge the commitment of a great citizen of Drummond to the cause of women.

Since 1986, Dominique Chevalier has been running Partance, an agency serving women in the regional municipality of Drummond who are seeking employment.

In addition to her involvement in women's groups, she participates in the Conférence régionale des élus de la région 17, the Conseil régional des partenaires du marché du travail, and the Corporation de développement communautaire in Drummond, and she chairs the board of the Femmes et production industrielle regions 4 and 17.

In its recent women of merit competition, the YMCA gave her an award for her social commitment. At the Réseau industriel Drummond awards gala, she won the 2005 award for best business coach.

On behalf of the people of Drummond and my colleagues, I congratulate Dominique Chevalier, a woman of distinction.

GrenadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, after almost eight months since hurricane Ivan devastated the island of Grenada, I wish to report to my colleagues that there are encouraging signs of recovery on the island state.

Grenadian Canadians, NGOs, and the Government of Canada responded to the emergency needs. They sent a tonne of relief materials and to date the Government of Canada has contributed $10.7 million.

As the Prime Minister's special adviser on Grenada, I visited Grenada to assess the status of the ongoing reconstruction efforts headed by the Agency for Reconstruction and Development.

Canadians have continued to show their desire to help, and I would like to thank all Canadians for their unrelenting support. There is still much work that needs to be done to rebuild the island to pre-Ivan conditions. I encourage all hon. members to help Grenadians “Build Back Better”, which is the theme of their rebuilding efforts.

Calgary International AirportStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lee Richardson Conservative Calgary South Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Calgary Airport Authority has set the standard for efficiency, convenience and consumer satisfaction. Travellers from around the globe praise the Calgary airport for its ingenuity and responsiveness to the needs of air travellers. It is an exciting, modern gateway to Calgary.

In just 13 years since its transfer from the bureaucratic rule of the federal government to a non-profit local authority, it has become the leading airport in Canada. No longer a drag on the federal treasury, the Calgary airport pays its way and contributes handsomely to the federal treasury.

The Liberal government has taken advantage of this success. In 2005 the airport will pay $25 million in excess rent to the federal government. This gouging is unfair to Calgary and to the air travelling public, reducing competitiveness and hindering growth.

When the previous Conservative government transferred the airport to a local authority, we never intended the airport to become a cash cow for the Liberal government. While the minister's announcement yesterday to avert an immediate crisis in federal airport rents is a positive first step, the ongoing punitive rents charged to the Calgary Airport Authority remain an unfair burden to the travelling public and a disincentive to further progress.

Cité étudiante de la Haute-GatineauStatements By Members

May 10th, 2005 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

David Smith Liberal Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw attention to the remarkable performance by the representatives of the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau at the 2005 Défi sportif held in Montreal from April 27 to May 1.

Thirteen young students from the Cité étudiante de la Haute-Gatineau in Maniwaki proudly took part in the various challenges at this international sports event for young people living with physical or intellectual disabilities.

Our dynamic delegation came away with two gold medals, no less, both won by Dany Langevin-Lajeunesse.

Congratulations to teachers and staff who made it possible for these 13 athletes to be part of this enriching and rewarding experience. My warmest congratulations once again to the practical training group from the Cité étudiante de la Haute-Gatineau.

Dairy IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again I rise in this House to ask the Liberal government why it refuses to take action to defend supply management at the international level. Last year Canadian farmers lost $171 million in market share from imports of modified milk products.

Under article 28 of the GATT we have the tools to protect supply management, but the government refuses to act. Time and time again, dairy farmers have asked the government to apply article 28 and all they get is evasion and denial. When I hear the agriculture minister say that he is exploring ways to position the industry, I hear Liberal doublespeak that tells Canadian farmers the government will take concerns that need action now and put them on the long slow train to Palookaville.

Canadian farmers deserve better. Other countries stand up and fight for their farmers. I am calling upon the government to stand up and defend supply management and apply article 28 now.

Prescription DrugsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, the health minister's inaction is putting Canada's prescription drug supply in jeopardy. For months he has promised to present options on the cross-border drug trade. He promised to bring options to the Commons health committee but to date we have seen nothing.

Developments in the U.S. are quickly overtaking the minister. City and state governments are passing laws to allow bulk imports of Canadian prescription drugs. A number of bills before Congress would give the go-ahead to this practice. Bulk sales could create shortages for Canadian patients and threaten our price controls. It is time for the ministers to stop talking and start acting.

Canadian Internet pharmacies, or at least most of them, are not interested in bulk sales to the U.S. Without some regulation, bulk exports could soon be a reality. When will the health minister start supporting the Conservative Party position and block bulk exports of prescription drugs?

Government of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is ignoring the wishes of most of the parliamentarians in this House.

It started in October, when the Bloc Québécois introduced a subamendment to the throne speech calling for the resolution of the fiscal imbalance. Although it received the unanimous support of Parliament, the Liberal government has ignored it.

The federal government's disdain has reached new heights with its insouciant approach to the majority decisions of this House, for example, the creation of a plan to help older workers, the creation of a trust account for the tainted money and the reversal of the decision to close nine RCMP detachments in Quebec.

Do we have to hire Earnscliffe or Groupaction to get our message across?

Since the start of the 38th Parliament, this government has been besmirching democracy. It will have to acknowledge the confidence vote and act accordingly.

Minister of Public Works and Government ServicesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works has a horrible habit. He says one thing when he means another, or is it that he means one thing and misquotes another? After all, he spends question period quoting from the day to day testimony of newspaper columnists.

Just take Lorne Gunter's Edmonton Journal column from Friday, which the minister used as proof positive that he was on the right side of the sponsorship scandal. But wait, as Mr. Gunter points out in his Sunday column, “Skippie the wonder puppet” took the reference out of context.

Let me correct the minister and tell him what Mr. Gunter really thinks about the Prime Minister's intrepid sock puppet: “Do you ever notice how he looks as guilty as a Liberal about it? He's been totally co-opted”.

I could almost feel sorry for Skippie, a man that the former lieutenant governor of Ontario, Hal Jackman, called “a disgrace to our political system” and “a sleaze of the worst order”. Then again, he would probably just misquote that and think it was a compliment.

VE DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Canada's veterans.

I had an opportunity this past weekend to participate in the Brant Liberation of the Netherlands parade. The parade, which took place in Brantford on Sunday, May 8, was an event which marked the liberation of the Netherlands and the end of the second world war.

It was an honour to welcome the Vice Consul of the Netherlands, Mr. Loek Felten, to Brantford to take part in such a significant event.

I would like to personally thank the organizers of this tremendous event and pay special tribute to the many veterans who gave so much of themselves for our rights and our freedoms. Our debt to them is beyond calculation.

I also wish to pay tribute to the Brant Naval Veterans Association for its weekend events marking the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in its deal with the NDP, the government claimed it would remove some tax relief measures from the budget, yet budget legislation before this House does not exclude any of these tax measures. Can the Prime Minister clarify whether the tax measures are in or out of the budget?