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House of Commons Hansard #100 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ndp.

Topics

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2005 / 3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Discussions have taken place between all parties concerning the debate that is scheduled to take place later today on a motion to concur in a committee report. The motion is from the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île concerning the second report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

I believe that you would find unanimous consent to deem this debate to have taken place, the question deemed to have been put, and the vote requested and deferred to the end of government orders on Wednesday, May 18.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. chief government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to proceed in this fashion?

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-43, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 23, 2005, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague's comments about some of the economic statements he was making and in particular the interest rates.

I remind my colleague that when his party was in power and there are people in the House who do not recall interest rates being at 24% although I believe my friend does recall that, and he recalls the deficit being at $43 billion a year and unemployment at 11%.

When the member's party was in power, I never really heard a reason why the central government lost control of the fiscal and monetary levers to allow that to happen and allow the deficit to get to $43 billion and allow interest rates to get to 24%.

I have been watching the Canadian dollar fluctuate this week. The Leader of the Opposition is adamant that he is going to vote against the budget. He has made an alliance with the Bloc Québécois and he is going to throw the country into an election. That has caused the Canadian dollar to drop substantially. Today there seems to be a development that it may not be absolutely certain that the Leader of the Opposition will get his own way and the Canadian dollar is rising.

Can the member explain those two developments? Why did things go so astray when his party was in power and can he explain the recent movements of the Canadian dollar in the last five days?

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of issues, particularly on the interest rate. I was referring to the interest rate on credit card debt. It is a fact that whether one is in the agricultural community trying to raise a family or in a business, the accumulated debt in this country has gone right through the roof since the government took over, and it knows it.

Last year the entire agriculture industry in this country lost money as a whole. That is a damning statistic that the government will have to live with because it drove that industry right into the ground. Members stand in the House everyday and say they are going to support farmers and this or that aspect of it. The truth of the matter is that as a whole the industry that feeds this country lost money last year.

The accumulated debt in the agriculture community has multiplied tenfold or twentyfold since the government took power. Every credit card that farmers have are at the maximum. Their fuel bills are at the maximum, including grain bills, fertilizer bills, chemical bills, whatever. Everything is maxed out. They cannot even service the interest on the debt, never mind the debt. It is out of control.

For a Liberal member to stand up with some smartass remark about what happened today is out of line, in my mind. The parliamentary secretary is supposed to be showing some direction on how this country is going to progress through the next five or ten years. To degrade the debate like he is doing here is absolutely unacceptable.

The finance minister and the Prime Minister made a deal with the NDP. That will cost us $4.6 billion on top of the $1 billion a day the Prime Minister has been running all over the place promising people. It is still not enough to get the job done that he bought the NDP off for. He buys a party with $4.6 billion hoping to have enough votes to pass the budget knowing that he does not. I do not understand why that was even entered into. Some of the things missed in that extra $4.6 billion are pretty glaring.

I will go back to agriculture again because that seems to be where I end up most times. I want to talk about the court case in Montana that has been brought forward by R-CALF that the government did not seek intervenor status to defend our producers against a protectionist bunch of yahoos in Montana who do not know what they are talking about and are spreading lies and smears about our Canadian industry. The government did not even apply to be an intervenor in that courtroom.

The official opposition sought intervenor status and it is in court right now. We are hoping the judge will allow us to go there to defend our industry. Somebody has to do it because the Liberal government has not done it and has no intention of doing it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate today on the budget which is to be adopted, or not, this Thursday. Truly, the future of the government is at stake with this motion.

I have been in politics pretty close to 30 years. In 1975 I was about to become the MNA for Champlain, and since then I have worked with a number of premiers and Prime Ministers, both in Quebec City and here on the Hill. Despite all those years in politics, this is the first time I have seen discussions on a budget that, in my opinion, is not a budget at all.

We, both the party in power and the opposition, held rounds of consultations to find out what people hoped to see in the budget presented to us. I know we consulted numerous people before making our suggestions to the government on the budget as we wanted to see it.

This is one of the first times in my career that I have seen a budget spread over five years. We do not have any clear idea of what amounts are going to be committed. We know, for example, that promises have been made for the next two, three or four years, and the public is being led to think that this money is going to be spent right away. Take the business of seniors for instance.

There is talk of increasing the guaranteed income supplement, of billions of dollars to be invested in this program, but they neglect to say that this amount is over the next five years. It will start in 2006, and the supplement will gradually increase. By the end of the next five years, if they keep their word—which, as far as this government is concerned, is not a sure thing—people will have recovered some $2 billion in guaranteed income supplement. They also neglect to mention the fact that some people have been deprived of the GIS for the past 12 years. That amount is twice what they will get back over the next 5. Knowing that makes all the difference.

The government calls itself a good administrator. It is relatively easy to manage things the way they do. Take money out and 15 years later, return less than the full amount. They come across as generous, but they are not. The guaranteed income supplement will be increased in the coming years, but it is the seniors—many of whom, unfortunately, will no longer be here—who will have paid for it.

We see this is many areas. For example—this may be a pre-election period; we will know for sure on Thursday—in exchange for its vote, the NDP demanded a number of things. Among other things, it demanded $1 billion for social housing.

Nonetheless, this government acts with forethought. It has done nothing for social housing. In my riding, there are people suffering because of a desperate shortage in housing. In Wemotaci, there is 15-member family living in a single, unsanitary, barely livable house. The government has not done what it should have, if it had any respect for these people. It has not built social housing.

The NDP says it is pleased to have succeeded in obtaining an increase. However, it should be noted that CMHC has a $3.7 billion surplus for social housing. This amount could have been spent. Adding a billion dollars for social housing will not change much if there is no intention of spending it.

I think the NDP could have required the government to draft a quick policy to spend the money already accumulated for social housing.

It would have made more sense, in my view, to say that we will build housing for Aboriginals over the next year and at affordable prices for the people who need it.

I was one of those who consulted people, along with our colleague here. He went around Quebec, while I went around my riding. It is unbelievable to see the needs we have on all sides. There is talk about a budget increase, but there is no information about how the money will be spent and whether there will be surpluses at CMHC. I can tell you that an increase does not result in much and does not meet the needs of the people who are waiting impatiently for suitable housing.

The member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot and the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier went around the various municipalities to see what people thought about the fiscal imbalance. People in Quebec are unanimous that the fiscal imbalance is nonsensical. We absolutely have to get back to common sense. We have to ensure that the money stops going to federal coffers when the needs are in the provinces.

Everyone rails against the fiscal imbalance: the Liberal party in Quebec City, the Parti Québécois in Quebec City, and all the political parties. In the provinces, everyone involved in finance decries the fiscal imbalance. The only one who fails to acknowledge it is the party currently in power, the minority Liberal party.

And yet this fiscal imbalance is extremely serious because, in a few years, the provinces will be unable to cope any more with their health problems and education problems. They are already having tremendous difficulty, but no one in the government thought about fixing the fiscal imbalance problem, and they do not even acknowledge it. They are the only ones who fail to see it. They give this situation all sorts of names, anything to ensure that they do not have to adjust the funding for the provinces and the federal government.

We consulted like never before and there was unanimity. But they do not want to recognize the situation, which results in the incredible overlap that we have now. People are talking about it. I do not know how many speeches I have heard here about the fiscal imbalance, but it does not seem obvious to the people opposite, they do not want to recognize it.

Some provinces, as I mentioned, are hurting from the lack of funding. Their needs are enormous. The federal government is wasting money and does not want to acknowledge the needs of the provinces—and this is true in all sectors.

I think that this is a good time to talk about wasting money with the Liberal government, in fact, anytime is a good time for that. We need only follow the Gomery commission inquiry into the sponsorship scandal, and every day the revelations get bigger and more unbelievable.

When taxpayers' money is being wasted and wonderful programs have to be cut, we must realize that, of all the taxpayers, the poor are paying the highest price.

I want to tell the House a story. In an Amerindian community north of La Tuque, Wemotaci, alcohol and drugs are a problem, not just for the residents, but for first nations in general. Anyone who wants to can check into a treatment facility. When they check out, they are supposed to be sent to a rehab centre, because if they go back to the reserve, they will immediately see the person supplying the drugs or alcohol and it starts all over again. They went to rehab for nothing.

We want our own homes. We are prepared to build in La Tuque, but we do not have $20,000. No one will give us the money. When I look at the sponsorship scandal, I can tell you that many Liberal organizers had that $20,000 in their pockets. It should be used to help people, but this is not going to happen because this money was wasted.

I could talk so much more about this, but the time allotted me is running out. Every time a problem arises in my riding and my constituents come to see me, I have to tell them I can do nothing for them.

If I had leave, I would like to continue my speech. I have a few facts to relate. I therefore request leave of the House to continue my speech.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

These sorts of things are important in human terms. I have no qualms asking people to tell me where the money is that is being denied them. It is easy enough. A person need only follow some of the proceedings of the Gomery commission. The people in the Liberal Party have lined their pockets. This money belongs to the taxpayers, and they are having problems, but we are having to say no to them, because this money was wasted.

When I am asked to approve a budget like this one, I cannot. It is not my aim to precipitate an election. Whether or not we had joined forces with the Conservative Party, we would have opposed the budget, because it makes no sense. The government must return to a modicum of honesty and compassion for the public and begin distributing and spending money as it ought.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Don Bell Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the questions the hon. member had with respect to the issue of fiscal imbalance, is he aware that the parliamentary finance committee, of which I am a member, has a subcommittee, of which I am also a member, that has been travelling around the country looking into the issue of fiscal imbalance?

Is he also aware that we have had witnesses before that committee, largely political, who have argued that there is a fiscal imbalance? We also had witnesses, largely academic and in some cases business people, who have indicated to us that they believe there is a fiscal gap but they do not describe it as a fiscal imbalance.

Is the member aware that some provinces, while lowering their tax rates and boasting about having been able to reduce their taxes, are at the same time complaining about the alleged fiscal imbalance? In other words, by lowering their costs they have created this pressure and are now looking to the issue of fiscal imbalance.

Is the member aware that the government has put money through the provinces for the health accord, the gas tax money which of course flows through the provinces to the municipalities, which in many cases relieves some of the pressures the provinces are feeling in that area? I would also point to the renewed money through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the municipal green fund.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am perfectly aware of that. The reality is that there is an imbalance, no matter what they choose to call it. There is too much money going into the federal coffers and not enough to the provinces compared to the respective needs. It is as simple as that.

Education and health are provincial. Instead of constantly trying to duplicate services, it would just be a matter of giving the money back to the people it belongs to, that is, to those whose mandate it is to deal with the matters under their jurisdiction.

The federal government is good at beefing up the bureaucracy. Once this new department is in place, with its 14,000 positions, it will have added close to 60,000 public servants in the past six years. At the same time, the total payroll has increased by close to $9 billion a year.

Rather than duplicate services, it would have been simpler to fix the fiscal imbalance and to hand back to each province the money that would enable it to solve its problems. It is unfortunate fact that the federal government has a predilection for putting its foot in everywhere and fattening up its bureaucracy instead of delivering services. That is something we see constantly.

In committee, we were presented with a study proving that things are going to get worse. The provinces are heading toward a serious deficit for the next 10 to 12 years, while the federal government will have hundreds of billions of dollars in surplus. That makes no sense, and the problem must be fixed. Regardless of the label put on it, this is, in our minds, fiscal imbalance. That is what it needs to be called and that is what, in fact, it is.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Don Bell Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, is the member aware of the time when the situation was reversed and the provincial governments were running surpluses while the federal government was in a deficit position? I am not aware of any argument at that time that it was a fiscal imbalance that needed to be addressed.

One of the arguments the finance subcommittee heard from witnesses was that if a fiscal imbalance or an even greater fiscal gap existed it was between the provinces and the municipalities. I say this as a former mayor with 30 years in local government and as a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. We as municipal politicians at that time argued very strongly that we needed federal assistance in many of these programs because the provinces were getting money for some of these programs and were not funnelling it through to where it was intended to help municipalities but were putting it into general revenue.

Therefore I am very pleased to be able to bring my experience to the government and use it to help see that the money that is needed for municipalities gets through to them.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, discussions have taken place between all parties concerning recorded divisions scheduled to take place at the end of government orders on Wednesday, May 18, on the motions to concur in committee reports.

Mr. Speaker, I believe you would find consent that the motion from the hon member for Vegreville—Wainwright to concur in the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, and the motion from the hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell to concur in the 21st report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be deemed carried on division.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the House give its consent?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motions agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I also ask that the recorded divisions on the motion from the member for Prince George—Peace River, along with the amendment from the member for Calgary Southwest, be re-deferred to the end of government orders on Tuesday, May 31.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-43, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 23, 2005, be now read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former mayor, who is now a member of Parliament, has shared with us his experience of municipalities lacking money. In my opinion, the federal government must not go over the provinces' heads to deal directly with the municipalities. They simply lack money because the provinces do. If they have more, then all the better. However, why create another level when the government could simply give money to the provinces to help the municipalities?

The Infrastructure Canada Program is a major program. Montreal is not the only city with an infrastructure problem. For cities like Trois-Rivières or Shawinigan, it is the same thing. There is indeed a major infrastructure problem and it needs to be resolved. However, the money is here, but I do not think the federal government is in any position to give a province or a municipality lessons on administration.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Liberal

Joe McGuire LiberalMinister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-43.

Through successive speeches from the throne our government has made important commitments to Canadians on key social and economic priorities, commitments to a strong environmentally stable economy and commitments to secure our social foundations. Through budget 2005 we kept our pledge by delivering on those commitments. Today with Bill C-43 we are proposing new investments that greatly enhance our efforts to address the priorities of Canadians in social and economic areas while still being fiscally responsible.

As minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency it is my job to ensure ACOA works with communities and individual Atlantic Canadians to help increase employment opportunities and earned incomes in our region. It is also my role to be an advocate on behalf of the region, a function of ACOA's that is often overlooked.

The fact is that Atlantic Canadians, like all Canadians, want their communities, towns and cities to be safe places to live, with affordable housing, good public transit and clean air and water. Atlantic Canadians also want access to education and training so they can build a good quality of life for themselves and their families and contribute to the economic prosperity of our country.

When I spoke to Bill C-43 last month, I commented on the important investments that will be made toward developing the economy of Atlantic Canada. Key among those measures was $708 million in funding for ACOA dedicated to implementing the Rising Tide strategy in Atlantic Canada. The Rising Tide strategy, as hon. members will recall, was developed by the Atlantic Liberal caucus and is an excellent example of members of Parliament building policy from the grassroots on behalf of their constituents.

Funding under Rising Tide will mean additional investments in research and development, investments in community based development projects, investments in our youth and aspiring women entrepreneurs, initiatives to increase tourism, better access to capital, and increased trade for Atlantic businesses into key markets. These are vital investments to ensure that the Atlantic Canadian economy develops and adapts to the new economies.

Funding through my agency is only one part of the tapestry that makes this budget a truly Atlantic Canadian budget and therefore so deserving of the support of Atlantic Canadian MPs in the House.

I want to turn now and look at some of these initiatives.

There is funding for Atlantic Canadian communities through a new deal for cities and communities. This represents an investment of $381 million for the Atlantic region for vital infrastructure. These are straight federal dollars and do not require matching funds from the municipalities or provincial governments.

There is our commitment to funding of the Atlantic accords. This represents billions of dollars for Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

There is $12.8 million for defence funding in this budget. As some hon. members will know, Atlantic Canada staffs about 20% of Canada's armed forces. We are proud of our men and women in uniform, many of whom hail from our region. As a point of interest, General Hillier, the overall commander of the Canadian Forces, comes from Newfoundland and Labrador.

I want to take a moment to congratulate all members of the House for unanimously passing the veterans charter last week. I would especially like to applaud the Minister of Veterans Affairs for her hard work on this initiative.

Also in the budget is $2.7 billion more for the guaranteed income supplement. This again is an important measure for Atlantic Canada. With 13.4% of our region's population over the age of 65 compared to only 12.7% nationally, this will assist our citizens to live their formative years with dignity. This was reinforced yesterday with the Prime Minister's visit to Charlottetown where he met with seniors.

There is also funding for a national child care strategy. In 2000-01 a full 55% of children under five years of age were in some sort of child care in Atlantic Canada, but only 20% were in a day care program. This needs to be improved. Statistics have shown that for every dollar spent on child care, there is a two dollar benefit. Investing in our children makes good economic sense as well as good social sense.

The Prime Minister has signed agreements with the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. We look forward to deals with New Brunswick and P.E.I. in the near future and more important, to implementing these deals.

There is also funding to further improve the business risk management tools available to our farmers. This means an additional $2 million for Atlantic Canadian farmers to enhance the agricultural cash advance program.

There is funding for the Coast Guard and for the oceans action plan. There is funding to increase immigration. There is funding for an Atlantic salmon endowment fund, as well as funding for ACOA. All of these I spoke of in my last address to the House.

With Bill C-43 our government builds on these commitments with funding for education, for the environment, for housing and for foreign aid. I would like to touch briefly on two of these initiatives in particular that ACOA has been very involved in promoting in Atlantic Canada.

The first is the environment. As the Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, I believe that good environmental policy makes good economic policy. One clear example of the economy and the environment coming together to produce results can be seen in Atlantic Canada's environment industry. This industry has grown to include hundreds of companies specializing in such areas as waste management, remediation, water treatment and renewable energy.

Speaking of renewable energy, recently Industry Canada, the province of Prince Edward Island and private industry signed an agreement regarding a wind powered, hydrogen village project. It is part of an international attempt to secure an energy source for the future.

Many of our environmental initiatives have been achieved through programming such as our Atlantic innovation fund. Projects such as the Salmon River Salmon Association's project on acid rain, the University of New Brunswick's project on the treatment of biodegradable industrial waste water and the College of the North Atlantic initiative in wave powered pumping systems all demonstrate how ACOA is assisting Atlantic businesses and institutions to be innovative with environmental technologies.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention our government's ongoing commitment to the Atlantic wind test site on Prince Edward Island. It has been at the forefront of Canada's sustainable energy research for over 20 years and has the potential to provide even more leadership in the development of clean, safe and economic energy for the future.

ACOA has also been active with our education community through skills and entrepreneurial training. There is no doubt that if we want to build an innovative sustainable economy in Atlantic Canada and a quality of life for the long term, we need to make the right kinds of investments in our people today.

We have done this in several ways. One is through working with the Association of Atlantic Universities to foster innovation and skills development at our universities in Atlantic Canada. Our region is heavily populated with post-secondary institutions. Working collaboratively with these bodies is important to developing our economy.

We have also been active in skills development through training programs focused on innovation, our youth and assisting aspiring women entrepreneurs. This has allowed Atlantic Canadian businesses to increase the skills of their workers to compete in the global economy.

There are many examples of these programs in action that I can point to around the region, such as Atlantic Combustion Products of Amherst, Nova Scotia; ProfitLearn of Fredericton, New Brunswick; Unique Patterns Design in the riding of my hon. colleague from Dartmouth--Cole Harbour; or Testori Americas of Summerside, Prince Edward Island. All of them have taken advantage of our program to develop the skills of their workforces and encourage our young people to stay and work in Atlantic Canada. More needs to be done, and budget 2005 provides for this.

To recap, this budget provides funding for infrastructure for Atlantic Canadian communities; assistance for our children and our seniors; funding for skills training and education to allow Atlantic Canadians to stay and work in the region; initiatives to preserve our environment for the next generation; investment in immigration; funding for vital aspects of our traditional economy in Atlantic Canada, such as fishing, farming, defence and tourism; as well as funding through ACOA to look toward developing innovative economies in the region.

As the minister whose responsibility it is to cast an economic eye over Atlantic Canada, I know that all of these measures will help our region move forward to develop our economy, incorporating innovative Atlantic Canadian ways to build our communities and compete in the global economy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to the member's comments.

There has been a lot of debate around the child care funding that has been announced by the government. The member alluded to the dollar amount that was going to Atlantic Canada. I am just curious. I have read newspaper reports from other provinces which said that if they invested the entire amount of money that has been promised to the communities, in some provinces it would work out to providing a national day care program to about 10% or 12% of the population. In other provinces it gets as high as 17%.

Would the member be able to tell the people of Canada how many more day care spaces than they have today this funding would allow?

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, I do not know the number of increased spaces but I do know that each of the deals that has been signed with the participating provinces has been worked out with each of the provinces. They have been quite pleased with the amount of money that is being provided.

I know there is never enough money to do all the things that the provinces and parents across Canada would like to see done, but it is certainly a vast improvement on the status quo. It is one which has been looked forward to by many parents across the country and one which we look forward to completing and improving upon as years go on.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Conservative Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, in a fairly recent report by Don Drummond, a well-respected economist at the TD Bank who is certainly familiar with the government, he found that for the past 15 years average Canadians received little or no increase in their take home pay in real terms. In fact he said that there was a 3.6% gain over the entire 15 year period. He concluded that that is completely unacceptable and needs to be addressed.

I would like to know what the hon. member thinks the Liberals have done in this budget to actually address that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, under the ACOA funding for Atlantic Canada and under WED funding for western Canada, there are many initiatives not only to develop programs in their communities but to assist businesses to expand at a low interest rate and to hire more people. There is more money for training in both the western and Atlantic regions to increase the education of people who are working and expanding their businesses.

There is a whole array of programs contained in the budget. It is very business friendly, whether it is assistance for youth entrepreneurs, for women entrepreneurs, or for general business, to encourage them not only to create businesses but to create businesses in their small communities in rural Atlantic Canada and western Canada.