This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

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

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

You have an NDP budget now.

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

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Fontana Liberal London North Centre, ON

No, we did not change anything. It is because the opposition wanted to play politics and rescind its support that we obviously had some willing partners.

What is wrong with a political party that has embraced some of the things that we were going to do within our five year fiscal framework, which was the environment, housing, foreign aid and support for post- secondary education? What is wrong with supporting what the people of Canada want us to do? The NDP has put forward priorities in conjunction with us.

I know the Conservatives want to support this budget because they did one short month ago. Why not now? It is because the Conservatives want to play politics with this issue and with the budget.

The Conservatives think there is a political advantage in going to the polls and forcing Canadians to spend $300 million since the last election. It is not going over. Canadians are not believing it. Canadians do not want a party that is prepared to dismantle this country.

The federal government should not be an ATM machine to the provinces. This is a country greater than 10 provinces and 3 territories and when we are talking about housing, it is a national housing program. It is about education and training for all the children who will be our future workforce. It is about good health care and good child care. It is about supporting our seniors and our disabled in terms of housing and guaranteed income supplements. It is about a child care system that will give people an opportunity. We are talking about the people's business and about what matters.

Members on the other side have spoken to me about housing projects in their individual cities and towns. I want to be able to say yes to every one of them because I think we need to build houses for the 1.7 million people who are looking for an opportunity and a chance in life. If we were to do that then we would be sure not to fail them in any way. Housing is at the centre of it all.

All hon. members should just think about what our homes meant to us when we were growing up. Is it not conceivable that a budget should be able to give most Canadians what each of us have enjoyed: a place of security, a place that is our own; a place of dignity and respect? That is what family values are all about, what communities are all about and what building cities and communities is all about. The government has delivered big time over the past number of years.

The member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley said that the government was on a spending spree. I have made announcements about waiving premiums for the not for profit sector and the co-ops, fixing section 95, making it possible for new home buyers to pay less in premiums and making it possible to reinvest some of CMHC's surplus in ways that Canadians can afford and aspire to home ownership.

We signed agreements with Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, B.C., Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick just last week, and every province, every community, every not for profit organization, the private sector and the big unions, everyone in that partnership want to build homes for people.

I implore my colleagues on the other side that there will be a time and a place to have an election. The Prime Minister already gave that commitment to Canadians. Let us do the people's business. Let us work on the things that are important, such as housing, the environment, seniors, the disabled, child care, health care, equalization and the Atlantic accord.

The Liberal government has always spoken for every one of the regions, every part of our country and every person, regardless of where they are on the income scale. Why? It is because it matters. We have demonstrated around the world, in housing and in labour, that Canada really does believe in its citizens and that is what we are doing. We are building the greatest country on the face of this world.

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

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-48.

It is important to recognize that we have had a significant change in policy here because of what happened all within a matter of weeks. We were waiting for the Conservatives and the Bloc to bring down the government without a budget or decide whether they may or may not do so but we New Democrats did not wait to see what might happen.

Quite frankly, the Conservatives did not vote in the last budget and we did not want to sit around and wait for them to decide with the Bloc to bring down the government. That could have happened. We could have had a situation where we would be back in a vacuum. That is why we want to see the budget move really quickly through the House of Commons.

We have been very much at the forefront of the housing element and in calling for a program that would bring Canada more in line with other nations. In my area of Windsor, Ontario, there is a great housing need that has been pent up from the lack of action. This is the first time we will see something in modern times.

I would ask the minister to comment in terms of southern Ontario on what type of impact we expect to have on housing and how soon we can actually expect the projects to be unveiled. I know we are looking at a two year window of a commitment to move the projects along. I would ask him to see that the proper policies are in place so that we will not be delayed. People need housing right now, not just the homeless but also working Canadians. Working Canadians cannot find employment with sustainable incomes. I ask the minister how quickly we can expect to see some real results.

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

5 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Fontana Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me indicate that for every province we are ready and set to deliver the additional funds they might want once this budget passes. There are no impediments to delivering a renewal of the homelessness initiative through SCPI or the residential rehabilitation assistance program, RRAP, where seniors and people who want to stay in their own homes but are looking forward to renovating them can access the money as quickly as possible. There is a new affordable housing initiative, where in fact we will work with the provinces.

There are no impediments. In fact, the day this budget is passed and the moment that dollars can start to flow, we will work in every province, especially the province of Quebec because it is at the forefront. B.C. has already moved. Ontario is ready. Nova Scotia is ready and set to go. A number of provinces are ready. Let us not forget that this is 100% federal money. There is no cost sharing required from the provinces.

I will tell everyone here, and I hope everyone in turn will tell their communities, to start bringing forward projects to their municipalities. There is a pent-up demand and we will be able to deliver incredible numbers within two years. There will be thousands of units and we will be helping thousands and thousands of households. That is what the people of Canada have sent us here to do.

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

5 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, during his presentation the Minister of Labour asked why we did not continue to vote for the budget. The answer to that is very clear. It is a different from the budget we supported the first time. We now have an NDP budget.

I want to talk about the seeming hypocrisy of the government when it talks about the heart it has for families. This government has done everything it can to discourage the strong foundation of families, more than I have ever seen over the last 12 years. It has not recognized that the best direction for children in this country is in fact their parents.

By establishing a discriminating tax regime, it has made taxes easier on a two income family than a one income family. It has a tax regime which penalizes families that make the choice of sacrificing to have one parent earning money so the other can stay home and look after the children. The government has not fixed that, despite the pleas from my party.

When it comes to the child care program, the NDP members said earlier that they and the government want to give choices on child care. Let me tell the House what their choices are: that a family can take the kids to one state run child care institution or over to another state run child care institution. They do not have the choice under this program to receive monetary assistance to make a choice as to whether one parent will stay home to look after the kids or to take them to a child care facility of their choice.

This child care program forces Canadian parents, if they want to benefit from the program, into no other option than to put their kids in a state run child care institution run by a big bloated bureaucracy. That is not having a heart for families.

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

5 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Fontana Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, what I want to point out to the hon. member is this. If people were renewing their mortgages in 1993 under a Conservative government and are now renewing their mortgages under the Liberal government in 2005, we have probably put $4,000 to $5,000 in their pockets after taxes. Why? Because that is what we have been doing. We have had the lowest interest rates in the past 20 or 30 years.

More housing is being built this year. Why? Because of our small business and economic programs. In the past year, 250,000 homes were built and 450,000 homes were sold. Why? Because the economy is doing well.

I know that those members do not want to hear the good news, but Canada is on the move. I know they are a bunch of fearmongers, but the fact is that the country is doing well. There will continue to be tax cuts for small business, and there will be granny flats, secondary suites and more income for seniors. That is how we are going to help families: more income in terms of affordable housing. That is what we are going to do. That is why this budget is a people budget and that is why those members cannot stand it.

All you want to do is talk about big tax cuts to big corporations as opposed to speaking or thinking about the people of Canada, regardless of their income.

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

5:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

I will remind the hon. minister that his comments are to be made through the Chair.

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

5:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Simard Bloc Beauport, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour and Housing reminds me of a bad preacher. The kind who says, if you ask me today to prove that God exists, I will, and if you ask me tomorrow to prove that God does not exist, I will do that too. This is exactly what he has done. On February 24, in answer to my questions, he said that there were sufficient funds for housing without needing to set aside additional amounts in the budget, and that things were perfect as they were.

Suddenly, for purely electoral reasons, this minister is making yet another new election promise. The problem is that he no longer has any credibility. Currently, CMHC has a $3.4 billion surplus. Could the minister not have used this money over the past year to help the homeless, who are urgently calling for investments? But no, instead, he is resorting to a little blackmail to win an election by telling the people that if they vote for him, and the bogus agreement with the NDP, he will get them this money. This is disgraceful.

The Minister of Labour and Housing went to Montreal, to the Old Brewery Mission, to make the same announcement three times in the past year and a half. I am not the one saying this: this comes from Pierre Gaudreau, from the organization, RAPSIM, for Montreal's homeless. He said that the homeless were being treated like roads. This is cynical and underhanded.

So, old investments are being announced, while all the homeless groups know that, in March 2006, it will all be gone and even if there were a budget, it is too late for planning. Services to the homeless will be interrupted because of cynicism and this minister's bad salesmanship. He is trying to use bright lights and lots of noise to prove that he is interested in housing.

I am challenging him right now to take the CMHC surplus, to help the homeless and to not use blackmail in this election.

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

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Fontana Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, if I am a poor preacher then you are a Judas to the housing cause--

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

5:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

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

5:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Order, please. I will remind the minister to make his comments through the Chair, please.

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

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Fontana Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was suggesting to the member that if he could call me a poor preacher then I could call him a Judas to the housing cause, because as a member and a leader in Quebec on cooperative housing, I have indicated over the past seven months that we have introduced a number of different instruments, a number of different programs, that have helped people across the country, especially in Quebec, including using some of the surpluses of the CMHC.

What does the Bloc say about housing? Absolutely nothing. In fact, when I was in his leader's constituency I had a homeless person plead with me that we do more for the homeless people in Quebec, in Montreal and in the riding of his leader.

I implore the member to support the people of Quebec, the homeless, and the people who want to buy homes, to support the people, including Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain, FRAPRU, which wants us to build more social housing in Quebec.

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

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I found the speech by my colleague across the way very interesting. Frankly, I find it just astonishing that the government members are actually justifying this budgetary process, this ad hoc budgetary process that has been put together. We have the budget introduced on February 23, full of all of their priorities, and we have the budgetary implementation bill, Bill C-43.

I would remind members of this House, because now they are criticizing the Conservative Party for not being a responsible opposition, that on the initial budget we abstained as a caucus because we felt that we should allow the budget to go through and then review the items item by item. In fact, even on Bill C-43 we had agreed that the budget implementation bill should go to committee. We asked that the CEPA amendments be removed. Our understanding was that the government was going to remove the CEPA amendments and allow it to go to committee and we would deal with it there.

There, hopefully, we would have taken on things like the Atlantic accord and we would have been able to implement them right away. On issues or items where we disagree, we could have disagreed. That is the way a responsible opposition party works.

What happened is that then the Prime Minister got together with the leader of the NDP, and now here we have the budget bill, here we have Bill C-43 and here we have $4.6 billion in spending on two sheets of paper. That is $4.6 billion in spending, with the finance minister completely reversing his earlier position, something unprecedented in the history of this country. It is so unprecedented that I would like to quote the finance minister's warning back to him. This is from the Saskatoon StarPhoenix . The finance minister himself stated:

You can't go on stripping away piece by piece by piece of the budget....

You can't, after the fact, begin to cherry pick: “We'll throw that out and we'll put that in, we'll stir this around and mix it all up again”. That's not the way you maintain a coherent fiscal framework.

If you engage in that exercise, it is an absolute, sure formula for the creation of a deficit.

The finance minister and the Prime Minister did exactly what the finance minister said he was not going to do on this. Somehow the Liberal members are standing up and justifying this in the face of what their own finance minister said. The fact is that the finance minister, after this embarrassment of a budgetary process, should have to step down.

I would also caution the NDP members, because they signed this agreement. The leader of the NDP signed this agreement with the Prime Minister. Today our leader asked about the corporate tax cuts that are supposed to be removed. I would like to ask the members of the NDP to watch very carefully the responses from the finance minister and the Prime Minister about how “in the future” they are going to be removed.

I would also like the NDP members to be sure about any of these supposed spending increases they have asked for in this coalition. I do not think they are going to get them, because the finance minister has put in a hedge that it will not fall below a certain number before these spending increases take effect. Frankly, the NDP should talk to the members of the Liberal Party and talk to the finance minister and get it on paper, because I do not think that commitment is worth what it is written on.

Beyond the whole ad hoc process here, here is what this has done. Frankly, as finance minister, the Prime Minister, and I will even admit this, actually had somewhat of a reputation in the business community as someone who seemed to be a prudent fiscal planner. He had two year rolling projections.

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

5:05 p.m.

An hon. member

Look at his record.

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

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

What has he done? Frankly, he has demolished his own reputation with the business communities, small and large, across this country. He is committing to spending five to ten years down the road when he used to commit to two year budgetary projections. He is signing deals at midnight in his office, going from premier to premier across the country. It is just an ad hoc budgetary process that is frankly embarrassing.

I want to touch upon two reasons in particular why we should oppose this budget. First, this new budget does nothing whatsoever to address our competitiveness, our productivity gap with the United States and other emerging nations like Brazil, India and China. It does nothing to help our companies or our industries. Second, it does nothing to address what Don Drummond pointed out in his report months ago, which was the fact that the disposable income of average Canadians has not gone up over a 15 year period.

These two very serious things need to be addressed. I will address the competitiveness issue first. The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and small businesses have all talked about the need to improve our competitiveness.

What could the government have done to do that? It could have done things in terms of addressing capital depreciation rates. I thought the government was going to do that. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance knows that the Liberals did not do this in this budget.

The capital depreciation rates are 20 years in Canada and they are eight years in the United States. It is a very abstract thing, but it allows companies to write off their equipment faster. It makes companies more efficient and more productive so that they are better able to compete in a global economy. Also, it allows them to turn over their equipment at a quicker pace which is better for the environment, which should fulfill the goal of this nation in terms of being more environmentally friendly. That is one thing the Liberals could have done.

The second is to actually implement the capital tax reductions. I see members across gawping at this. This has actually been suggested and recommended by finance committee report after finance committee report, apparently agreed to by Liberals and Conservatives alike. This should have been done a long time ago. Instead it is delayed and the ad hoc deal is done with the leader of the NDP.

We have waited years for the government to act on its own External Advisory Committee on Smart Regulation so industries such as the auto industry can actually compete on an international level across the border. They need this type of regulatory change, regulatory harmonization to ensure that they can compete as well as they do.

There are issues such as the infrastructure challenges. Look at how many billions of dollars of trade go across the Windsor border each year. Government members keep saying they are addressing that. The Liberals have been in power since 1993. The back-up is still as bad, in fact it is even worse than it ever was. Members such as the member for Windsor West and the member from Essex have brought this up. This should have been addressed in this budget. Infrastructure needs should have been addressed. In fact it is not being addressed in the budget and the members across the way know that.

Let me address the issue of disposable income. I want to quote the Toronto-Dominion report that was done by Don Drummond whom members of the House know. He is a very well-respected economist. He worked for the finance department under the Prime Minister when he was the finance minister. He found that for the past 15 years average Canadians received little or no increase in their take home pay.

On page 2 of his report he said, “The inflation adjusted GDP after tax incomes on a per worker basis real GDP per worker rose by 22% while real after tax incomes per worker squeaked out a cumulative 3.6% gain over the entire 15 year period. That is completely unacceptable and needs to be addressed”.

Members across the way may not understand this but average Canadians work very hard and pour their life energy into their work. The fact is that 15 years later, the Liberal government having been in office since 1993, the average take home pay of teachers and nurses and so on has not increased, and the government stands proudly and does not think that is a shame. It is a shame that for average people in this country their take home pay has not increased in 15 years. The government should admit that and take steps to address it. It should start to reduce its surpluses and actually leave more money in people's hands.

The other issue that needs to be addressed is the whole issue of actually creating jobs and creating wealth. Government members love to talk about redistributing wealth because it is all they can do. They do not actually reward the people who, through their risk and entrepreneurship, actually create jobs in this country.

A C.D. Howe Institute report found that corporate taxes were actually destructive to the long term growth of Canada and that productivity needed to be addressed. We can read the headlines, in fact productivity between us and our major trading partners has increased. Recently I met with members of the forestry sector. They talked about the nations that stepped ahead of us in terms of the competitiveness index. They are all Nordic nations: Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Ireland. They have stepped ahead of us because they have invested in human capital prudently but they have also reduced their tax rates. They have also realized that it does not pay in the long term to punish those who create the jobs, who create the wealth. The wealth has to be created in the first place if it is going to be redistributed.

The fact is that individuals and businesses alike have suffered under the government's inability to address these major economic issues such as high personal and corporate income tax rates. Individuals and corporations have been struggling under the Liberal government.

I want to look again at personal income tax rates of average Canadians. Again I want to refer to the Don Drummond report which I encourage members opposite to actually read. He says:

The tax burden on individuals must also be reduced. The top marginal federal-provincial personal income tax rate is over 45% which is nearly equivalent to sending half of a worker's income to the government, not to mention that it kicks in at relatively modest income levels--

At this point I want to make the point that one of the problems in Canada is that our marginal tax rates kick in at a level that is much too low. We tax Canadians at a level that is too low. The marginal tax rates should be pushed up so that lower or middle income Canadians who are struggling to make a living have the ability to improve their own lives and improve the lives of their families before they have a bigger tax clawback.

I want to further quote from Don Drummond's report:

And, more modest income levels get hit with a combination of taxes and clawbacks in benefit payments that can raise the effective marginal tax rate to 80%. It simply does not create sufficient incentives to work, save and invest.

That is very well said. The fact is we need to reduce personal income taxes. We would hope that the government would actually do that. Canadians should be able to put something away, for instance pay $5,000, pay the tax up front in a prepaid tax plan, put it away and let it grow into a nest egg for them.

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

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Fontana Liberal London North Centre, ON

That sounds like George Bush's plan.

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

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour is being ridiculous right now. The suggestion is that average Canadians could take $5,000 of their own money, pay the tax up front, put that away in a nest egg on a year to year basis and allow it to grow so that they could actually have it when they retired. He compares that to the George Bush plan. In fact it is a Conservative plan that allows Canadians to provide for their own retirements. The plans that the Liberals have are not sufficient enough to provide for people's retirements when they do retire.

There is also something they could actually make changes on. With respect to the changes the Liberals proposed to the RRSP, people tell me that the biggest problem is that the Liberals may have made it more flexible and that is great, but people need more flexibility so they can have money at the end of the year to put away. They want their tax burdens lowered so they can actually put the money into a plan.

Let us also look at investment tax credit regimes. One of the biggest problems facing this country is that we invest in companies through R and D. Here I will be fair and credit the former industry minister, John Manley. He showed a lot of leadership with things such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canada research chairs and investments through the research councils. I will give credit where credit is due. However, one of the big challenges that companies face is they rely on this R and D and they get to a certain level. One example is Iogen Corporation here in Ottawa. Then they have a period where they need access to capital in order to grow to where they can become a fair sized manufacturer or whatever. They need that access to capital.

The government has proposed certain things, technology partnerships Canada and other programs. We are hearing from company after company that this is not the way to do it. Companies such as Ballard in British Columbia would like flow-through shares. They have proposed it so that the investor would be allowed to write off that loss, direct money into companies such as Ballard, so that we do not have an American company coming up here and saying, “Ballard has this wonderful technology. The Canadian government has invested money in R and D. We are going to scoop it up and take it down to the United States”.

Iogen right here in the city of Ottawa is producing ethanol. It is an excellent plant. It is concerned about moving to Iowa because it has become productive and is at the point where it needs access to a sufficient amount of capital so it can stay here in Canada, and that is not happening. We need to look at the whole issue of commercialization and look at allowing these companies to access a big amount of capital, which is not available through a program like technology partnerships Canada. It just does not work that way.

I would also like the government to look seriously at our venture capital policies. The reality is we need not only to increase the size of venture capital in Canada but also to increase the managerial expertise at seeing these young start-up companies that do need venture capital and ensuring that it gets to them, so that the money gets to the companies that need it.

What has really gone out the window as well with this budget plan is any sort of debt repayment plan. We would think the government would actually come forward with an updated fiscal statement for the next two years to five years as to what the budget is rolling out. The government has made so many announcements over the past few months I think it has actually lost track of the amount of money that it has promised. What we are asking is that it present an updated fiscal plan. A lot of the outside economists, whether it is the C.D. Howe Institute or people like Don Drummond, have said it is incumbent upon the government to do that.

I would like to talk about the whole Kyoto process. There was $5 billion allocated in the budget. Then the Minister of the Environment three weeks later, or even later than that said, “Oops, sorry, I was off by $5 billion” and said he thought they would have to put in $10 billion. The government has allocated about $2 billion to Kyoto and emissions have actually gone up. Here is $2 billion to increase emissions so the Liberals are going to spend $10 billion and hopefully decrease emissions.

The reality is there are ways to reduce emissions of all types, the CO

2

, SO

2

and NO

2

emissions, that can be done by investing in technology, by allowing companies to invest in technology. One way would be to reduce the capital cost allowance as was recommended by the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. This should be done on a broad based level. The member said it was done in the budget. It was not done in the budget. It was done only for a certain number of specific cases. It was not done on a broad based level as was suggested by the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. This would allow companies to invest in the new technology that we desperately need.

What this comes down to in the budget is a different vision. It is a different vision of Canada. It is one which says we cannot just allocate endless spending without knowing where it is going. We have to have a prudent fiscal approach to the way we treat taxpayer dollars. I think the difference comes down to that.

It is interesting in question period to hear the government respond to questions. It is always, “Our money is going here. Our money is going there”. It is not the government's money. The fact is it is taxpayers' money. It is taxpayers' money that is held in trust to be spent on the priorities that they want it spent on. That is one thing the Liberals and NDP members will never understand. It is taxpayers' money that should be held in trust to be spent on their priorities.

With the size of the surpluses we have had, it is time to give individual Canadians, average Canadians, a substantive tax break so that they can keep some of the life energy that they pour into their work. It is time to allow them to keep some of their own money for their own priorities, for their own families and their own needs.

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

5:25 p.m.

Trinity—Spadina Ontario

Liberal

Tony Ianno LiberalMinister of State (Families and Caregivers)

Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting to listen to the member who forgets a lot of the facts about his party. When we first took government in 1993 there was 11.4% unemployment and the interest rates were extremely high. In the last 12 years there have been three million new jobs. Twenty-five per cent more Canadians are working today than 12 years ago. It is because of good fiscal policy.

What one finds is that 85% of all new jobs are from SMEs, the small business sector. The government has instituted many policies to ensure that the small business community, the entrepreneurs of Canada, use their creative juices to put Canadians back to work. That is the reason we have been able to have the eight consecutive budgets. We have bypassed two American recessions even though we continue to supply many of our goods and services to them, because our entrepreneurs have become extremely efficient. With our fiscal policies, with the opportunities through the EDC and many other tools, they have been able to expand the horizons for all Canadians across the country and around the world.

It is very interesting that the member does not understand that this budget is a people budget. It ensures that all Canadians can have the standard of living that we all want for our own families and all Canadians. I know that the hon. member on the other side may be interested more in terms of tax cuts to large corporations as he was referring to the Americans but I know that this side of the House is very much interested in all Canadians sharing in wealth and being able to have for their children and their families all that we want for all of our own. I wonder when he is going to read the books that explain how this country has been doing extremely well because of the sensible policies we have been putting forward to ensure clean air and clean water, and security and safety for all of our citizens.

It is a pleasure to see the member for Abbotsford over there. The only shame is that he will not be running again.

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

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, it would be helpful to review some of the policies, especially the monetary policies, which were the result of a lot of the work that people like John Crow did. The number of exports that went up in Canada over the last 15 years has been dramatic, particularly to the largest consumer nation in the world, the United States. Therefore, perhaps I should credit the government for implementing the United States-Canada free trade agreement and NAFTA agreement. However, the Liberals did not do that. They promised to reverse that. Then they got into office and relied on a Conservative government initiative to balance the books. They know that is how they did it.

The House resumed from May 6 consideration of the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-12, an act to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.

Quarantine ActGovernment Orders

May 10th, 2005 / 5:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Pursuant to the order made on May 6, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-12.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion which was agreed to on the following division:)

Quarantine ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Amendments read the second time and concurred in)

The House resumed from May 9 consideration of the motion that Bill C-9, an act to establish the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, as amended, be concurred in.

Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at report stage of Bill C-9.

(The House divided on the motion which was agreed to on the following division:)

Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec ActGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.