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 #96 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Government of CanadaOral Question Period

May 11th, 2005 / 2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Darrel Stinson Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 1993, I was elected to come here fully believing that this was a democratic House. After the vote last night, for which some of us made extra effort to be here, I would like to know why the Prime Minister does not honour that. Why is he holding off on a vote? Is he hoping that some of us may not be able to make it?

Government of CanadaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a couple of points.

First, I will reiterate that the motion last night was not a matter of confidence. In your ruling, Mr. Speaker, as a result of the vote, you indicated that the motion would now proceed to committee. It is a procedural motion, not a confidence motion.

What I would really like to say is that the Leader of the Opposition has shown how low he is prepared to go by suggesting that anyone would take advantage of someone's illness. I would not wish illness on any anyone. I think there has to be a level of respect in the House. If Canadians did not know the kind of person the Leader of the Opposition was before today, they sure know now.

Government of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the majority of members voted in favour of a motion calling for this government to resign, but the Liberals are desperately clinging to power. The pressure is so strong that the Prime Minister, who wanted to wait until the end of the Gomery inquiry, is now proposing May 19 for a confidence vote.

In order to end the political crisis afflicting his government, can the Prime Minister commit to holding a vote of confidence today, rather than waiting?

Government of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what we are proposing is a vote on the budget, an important matter. If the opposition wants to defeat the government over the budget, it will have to admit to being opposed to Kyoto, to child care, to the cities and communities, and to a balanced budget. So let it do so, instead of using other excuses.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to confront the government on this budget, and to do so today. What I am offering the Prime Minister is to agree to speed up the procedures and to vote today on bills C-48 and C-43. Let us do that today, as we did yesterday for the veterans.

Is he prepared to take that challenge today and vote on that budget today, after the debate? If he has the slightest confidence in this House, let him take action instead of hiding and trying to buy some time, as he has done for too long already. Let him do something.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member must be aware that there is an election in British Columbia. Out of respect for the people of that province, I believe we need to wait. What is more, it is the centenary of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and again I feel we have a duty to respect the people of those two provinces.

Let's face it: the member is in such a rush to get back to Quebec that it is affecting his judgment.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister must understand that he himself has plunged his government into an unprecedented political crisis. That is so true that, in an effort to defuse the crisis, after sleeping on it, he decided today to call an election eight months earlier than planned.

He has no right keeping government in limbo all week long. A motion of non-confidence was voted on yesterday. If he wants to recognize it, now is the time, whether it deals with his budget or not.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister indicated, there is a reasonable proposal that has been put forward and allows a reasonable amount of time, frankly, for debate on the budget bills and also for other pieces of legislation that are in the House. It certainly respects the time, money and effort invested by both the people in the Governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta with respect to the Queen's visit. It does provide a legitimate test of confidence, which is what the opposition parties are suggesting should happen. In fact, it also has the agreement of constitutional expert, Patrick Monahan.

I do not understand what the rush is. In fact, there will be a test of confidence. It will happen next Thursday.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government's budget and add-ons are as great as the Liberals claim, we will offer them this deal. If they do not want the government to fall as a result of a motion of censure, we are proposing that the budget bill be debated today and voted on today, so that the government can resolve this crisis it has created for itself.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the budget bills are scheduled for debate today and tomorrow. A number of members wish to speak to them. I was hoping that the hon. members across the way would actually like to speak to them. That is how democracy works. Members of Parliament get to stand in their place and speak to the issues that are important.

If what the hon. member is asking for is a debate on the budget bills, that is what he will get.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister and it concerns the NDP's better balanced budget proposal.

As the Prime Minister and the House know, the NDP has always argued that the budget must be balanced. As yet, we have not seen the corporate tax changes removed from the budget so that it will be a balanced budget.

When can we expect these final and most important changes to be brought forward to the budget so that it can be truly balanced and then we can have a vote?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is a bit of confusion in terms of the timeline here. The spending investments proposed by the New Democratic Party are in fact in this fiscal year and the next fiscal year. The tax changes do not take effect until the year 2008. So they are not congruent in the timeframe.

It is our intention when the bill gets to committee to make the appropriate changes and to put those two tax measures into a separate piece of legislation so they can be considered on their own merit.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we do not expect games to be played on this. We want to see those changes tabled next week.

Those who would propose a vote today on confidence will break faith with the very veterans that the four leaders agreed we would work for just a couple of days ago. The view of the New Democratic Party is that we need to put political games behind us given the mess that happened around VE Day. The Senate approval and Governor General's sign-off on this bill is fundamental. We believe that has to happen before there is any such vote.

Could the Prime Minister give us his views on this question?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP is absolutely right. The four leaders got together on the plane on the way back from the Netherlands and we agreed that we wanted to see the veterans charter passed and passed immediately.

What has now happened is that the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the Bloc have broken faith with the veterans because what they are saying is that we should have a vote of confidence. They were hoping to see the government defeated. If the government were defeated, the veterans charter would not pass in the Senate.

House of CommonsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's confidence motion was the clearest expression of the will of the 38th Parliament. One thing that is clear is that the NDP is getting duped. The other thing that is clear is that this House has lost confidence in the Prime Minister and the government.

Which part of the message does the Prime Minister not get? If he cannot figure out the will of the House why does he not introduce another motion this afternoon and then maybe he will be able to figure out what the House is trying to say?

House of CommonsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think that last question just proves the Prime Minister's point that the Leader of the Opposition, along with his friend from the Bloc, have no interest in seeing the veterans charter pass.

What we have said is a quite reasonable proposal. As I have said, there are constitutional experts who have said that it is a reasonable proposal. We will have a vote on Thursday of next week. There will be time for debate. We will be able to respect both the investment of the people in the Governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta with respect to the Queen's visit. I do not understand why the Leader of the Opposition cannot take yes for an answer.

House of CommonsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, that group had 12 years to help veterans and they did not bother to do it until yesterday.

The Victoria Times Columnist this morning said:

It's plain that this government can't function without the confidence of the Commons. It would be wise to bring in its own motion to secure it instead of dancing on the razor's edge.

If the Prime Minister cannot live with yesterday's results, let us have another motion in the House this afternoon; or better yet, why not respect the will of the House and just resign? Either way, let him figure out that the jig is up.

House of CommonsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, that was another example of some hysteria coming from the members opposite and, in fact, their understanding of the rules of this House and how they operate.

It has been made very clear that the vote on yesterday's motion was not a matter of confidence. Experts from various parts of the country have also indicated that it was a procedural motion, and it was a referral back to committee itself.

There will be a legitimate confidence vote. It will be in the form of a budget vote. We have a proposal on the table that does respect a number of other interests that we need to respect. That vote will take place on Thursday.

House of CommonsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey Conservative North Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, in the last 20 days, the Liberals have made an incredible number of campaign promises at a rate of $36 million per hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

After the Liberals lost the vote last night the Globe and Mail said, “The government is testing their limits of legitimacy.”

Before they spend another dime, the Liberals must absolutely restore their legitimacy through a confidence vote. Will the Prime Minister call for a vote of confidence today?

House of CommonsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I cannot understand the position of the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues. They cannot take yes for an answer.

I would like to point out something. There are some fundamental inconsistencies in the position of the members opposite. Yesterday they agreed in the House that they wanted to pass the veterans charter. Today they are trying to end this Parliament, which would kill the veterans bill. Reasonable people would wonder what the opposition's commitment is worth.

Yesterday as well the justice critic stood in his place and wanted to get the DNA bill through the House. We are attempting to do that. Today they want to dissolve Parliament. They cannot keep their word.

House of CommonsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Chatters Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, Monday afternoon, out of respect for the traditions of the House, I made special arrangements with the Cross Cancer Institute, against the advice of my oncologist, to travel to Ottawa to participate in a confidence vote in the House against the government.

Why does the Prime Minister not live up to his responsibility and show the same respect for that democratic process by admitting that he has lost the confidence of the House and resign or call an election today?

House of CommonsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is really unfortunate that the Leader of the Opposition was mistaken in his conversation with the hon. member. I have all due respect for the hon. member. It is very unfortunate that he is suffering from his illness. I would not wish any illness on anyone. There has to be a level of respect here that we can exchange in the House in a proper way.

If the Leader of the Opposition informed the member that yesterday's vote was in fact a confidence vote, the Leader of the Opposition was mistaken.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has spoken of the bill on veterans. He will have to admit that I was the one who spoke to the leaders of the official opposition and the NDP to obtain their agreement. I also went to see the Prime Minister to ask him, at the embassy reception, to speed up the process and reach a consensus.

That is what I did. I am asking him to do the same thing in the Senate, where he has a majority. He should be taking action rather than spreading falsehoods.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there was an agreement among the four leaders, and no one has claimed credit for it. However, if credit is to go to anyone, I say it should go to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, who reached the agreement and worked so long for it. I would like therefore to congratulate her.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was the Prime Minister who tried to take credit for this matter. The minister came and thanked me for approaching the Prime Minister, after discussions with the leaders of the official opposition and the NDP. That is what happened.

Since the Prime Minister has a majority in the Senate, I would ask him to stand up for once. He should go and see his Liberal senators and tell them that it has to pass today. He should act rather than try to stall for time. That is his only quality, stalling for time—