House of Commons Hansard #116 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was inuit.


Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

10 p.m.


Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for noting the budget improvements.

The official opposition members had their own strategy and they were entitled to it. They were working at that time with the Bloc to bring down the government. We tried to make a better budget. I thank him for the notation that 19 of us were able to secure some improvements to education, the environment and pensions. We believe those are important issues for Canadians.

Maybe he could reflect upon this. The difference is we did this as a collective to secure resources and to secure an investment back to all Canadians. His party had individual members leaving for positions. I would like him to comment on that situation where they decided to negotiate advancement for themselves go to the Liberals. They also decided to tape meetings.

Maybe the member could enlighten us about whether his leader was complicit in part of this. The reality is there seemed to be some type of negotiations or vote buying, which reflects poorly on the minister involved, the Prime Minister's staff and the Conservative member. Now we have the Ethics Commission investigating it. I would like to ask him about that because it has clouded this entire budgetary process.

I think Canadians are looking at that element of Parliament and scratching their heads. It does not matter who was going to make the offer. Was it the Conservative member who was trying to get something or was it the government?

That is entirely different than trying to amend a budget to make it more reflective. That is what we tried to do and we were successful at it. We amended the budget by removing $4.6 billion from a set of priorities with which we did not agree. That is why we voted against Bill C-43. Had the Conservatives at that time chosen to vote against Bill C-43, we would have had an election. They did not and that is fine. They had their own reasons and I do not why. They changed their minds during that time period.

It is important to note that we were able to get money to invest in the environment, health care and education.

I would like the member to comment about the fact that he has individual members who seem to be involved in taping and crossing the floor instead, for the benefit of themselves and not for others.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

10:05 p.m.


Stockwell Day Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, nobody ever said that coherence had to be a hallmark of any particular commentary here and that certainly has just been demonstrated. However, I think I should try to address some of the comments. There were no questions other than rhetorical ones.

I think what happened in the commentary process was the member made a couple of statements. I think when he realized what he had said, he thought he had better get a diversionary project going because if we zeroed in on the comments he made, he was going to be in trouble.

First, he talked about the Bloc and voting alliances with it. You will know, Mr. Speaker, because you are of course so good in your position and you also know the facts and figures. The records show that no party has voted more with the Bloc Québécois than the NDP. That is a statistical fact. It is the Bloc-NDP alliance that has characterized their movements here.

Second, I am glad the NDP raised the issue of tapes. The records showed something else very clearly. They showed that we had the chief of staff from the Prime Minister's Office and a minister of the Crown offering goodies for votes. I am pleased that the entire tapes have been given to the RCMP.

However, we cannot escape this fact. I am sure that is what the member wanted me to address because NDP members have the cozy alliance. They have crawled into bed with a party that has been called corrupt. We have the NDP-Liberal alliance. They did not just have to hold their noses. They had to blindfold themselves and put their fingers in their ears as they crawled in with the most corrupt government that exists in Canadian history. I gave them credit for the $4.6 billion buyout. What I cannot give them credit for is they bought into an unplanned expenditure. There were some items mentioned, but it was unplanned.

That was the type of NDP thinking that took the Ontario government down economically and also ruined the social programs. It is the same type of unplanned spending that brought British Columbia down when the NDP was ruling there in fits and starts. Gladly, the electorate has recognized that and rectified both of those problems.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

June 15th, 2005 / 10:05 p.m.


Bob Mills Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to join the debate on Bill C-43.

I will be splitting my time with the member for Vegreville--Wainwright.

We should start from the beginning of why most of us came to Ottawa. We came here because we were extremely concerned about the debt which was being built up in the country.

If we go back in history to 1969, there was no debt. By 1972, we had about $18 billion of debt. By 1984, we had about $180 billion of debt. By 1993, we were up over $400 billion. Today we are now $530 billion in debt. A lot of that is because of the way government is run, the way budgets are done and the way money is spent in this place. When we came here, the budget was about $140 billion. Now we are close to $200 billion. Obviously, the government is out of control.

However, what I really want to concentrate on are the environmental aspects of this budget and what they include.

First, regarding the record of the government, we are now 28th out of 29 OECD countries in 25 areas of evaluating the environment. We still have three cities dumping raw sewage into the ocean. We have over 300 boil water warnings. We have Toronto with a record 20 smog days, which is the highest it has ever had, and this is only June. We have brownfields in every municipality across the country. We have identified some 50,000 contaminated sites.

I do not think I need to go on. The environment commissioner probably sums it up best. In her sixth report she said that the government had a lot of talk. In every budget it talked a lot about the environment, but it has accomplished nothing. As a result, we are 28th out of 29. That is why we have the dismal record.

What about this budget? In this budget there are three main areas that are covered under the guise of climate change and the famous Kyoto accord that the government signed onto. Let me look at those three sections specifically because I do not have a lot of time. I would like to show members how the government plans its environmental agenda.

First, let us look at section 13 which is the climate fund. The government will put $10 million into a climate fund this year. Next year it will be $50 million. By 2008-09, it will be $300 million. By 2009-10, it will be $340 million. After five years, there will be $1 billion in this fund.

The government will then establish a bureaucracy and that bureaucracy will then buy credits. Ideally, it makes reference to domestic credits, but any expert in this area will tell us that we will end up having to buy foreign credits. We should really look at what that means.

We have a lot of bragging going on. The government will buy credits on only green projects. It will fix the Ukrainian pipeline so it will not leak and that will save so many problems. It will go to Zimbabwe and set up some environmental projects because it will be cheaper to buy credits from there.

In reality we are going to have the government off buying foreign credits with no real monitoring and with no ability to tell whether it is a green project or what is involved. We will be giving money to companies that will end up competing with our Canadian companies and our government will be funding that. We will build layers of bureaucracy and they will have to be good Liberals. We then have the basis for another sponsorship scandal, Shawinigate, whatever we want to call it, for which the Liberals are so famous.

There will be costs to our corporations and to taxpayers that others will not have. Our major competitors, the U.S. and China, will not have those costs. That will be a problem.

When buying hot air, it is fine to ask what good that will do but it is also fine to ask what it would do. Those are questions that quite often get asked so I will give a couple of examples.

Let us suppose we give tax credits to corporations that do a good job on an environmental innovative technology made in Canada. What would that mean?

Let us talk about clean coal technology. Do members know that in China 81% of its electricity is from coal; in India 79% comes from coal; in the U.S. 57% comes from coal; in Alberta 70% comes from coal; and, in Ontario 25% comes from coal?

If we became world leaders in clean coal technology and we gave tax credits for corporations that developed that technology and then we transferred that technology to the Indias, to the Chinas, to the U.S., I am sure members can imagine what that would do for the environment if we were to deal with the CO


problem. That would be a made in Canada solution. We would do it through credits as opposed to the method of shipping money off.

I have often said that instead of buying these foreign credits, we should just get the numbers for these Swiss bank accounts for these green projects and send it directly to the Swiss bank.

I could talk about CO


sequestering. Obviously it is being done. If we sequester CO


in a place like Fort McMurray, we would eliminate 60% of the CO


being released in Canada.

Now, if we gasify it and put it in the pipeline, put it down an oil well, we increase our recovery by 30%. They are doing it in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. They are doing it in Germany and they are doing it in eight states in the U.S. If we lead in that technology, think of what we could do for the environment when we transfer that CO


sequestration around the world. We would fix the environment and we would give tax credits to those companies that develop it. It is made in Canada and we become world leaders.

I think members get the point of the sorts of ideas that we would implement as opposed to this shipping money off to the Swiss bank accounts.

Let us look at section 14, the greenhouse gas technology investment fund. This basically is where large final heavy emitters can buy credits and put them into this tech fund and in exchange they would get emission credits. That all sounds really good and so our large final heavy emitters will buy those credits from the government.

Let us think about this. This would be administered through a 12 member board. We know what the credentials for the board will be: “What have you done for the Liberal Party lately? How many times have you run for the party? What ridings will receive this tech fund? What companies will get it?” We know it will not be places where some of us come from because obviously that would not help get any vote, so let us not try and hide this.

We are telling corporations that they can buy credits and contribute to the tech fund or we will fine them. We will set up a carbon tax and we will fine them.

What we tried to do and what our finance committee did was to move amendments to this section, and we were pretty successful in getting some of those amendments. What kind of amendments were we looking for? We wanted accountability and transparency. Is that not a unique concept? My goodness, they would now have to open up their books.

We wanted to get the $15 cap extended beyond 2012 because obviously long term planning is what companies need.

We wanted to get input from the environment committee. What a unique concept that would be, getting input from the people working in that area . We wanted the reports of the advisory board made public. We also wanted the LFEs to be able to transfer credits.

Finally, in the third section, using CEPA. What is CEPA? CEPA is the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. What is that all about? Well CEPA handles arsenic and those kinds of toxic substances. CO


is plant food, juice for photosynthesis. The government wanted to use the regulations under CEPA to put a carbon tax on companies releasing carbon. Mark my words, the government will bring that back.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

10:20 p.m.


Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his comments and for bringing the environmental context into this debate which is always important.

I have a comment that is a piece of information and then a question.

A number of weeks ago, in a similar debate around budgets and the climate change plans being put forward, he indicated that the Conservative Party had a policy and a plan in terms of how to address the climate change issue. I believe the words he used were “imminently forthcoming”. I would like an update on where that is now. If it has been made public, then that may be true.

Thanks to the member and some of his colleagues on the environment committee, the Canadian Press is now reporting that the governor of North Dakota will be putting a temporary hold on the Devils Lake diversion project. This is somewhat due to the environment committee's unanimous support of a motion we put forward that called on the Canadian government to use whatever means necessary to stop this. I think it was a good move for Canada and it showed how members of Parliament, working together, can actually get something done. I thank the member for his support on that. Perhaps he could comment briefly on the Devils Lake issue.

Secondly, I wonder if he could report on where the plan is. I do not want to harbour old memories of listening to the Liberals talk about the forthcoming plan week after week and I hope we are not following a similar trend. I would just like to know the date or timeline as to when we will see the plan come forward so we can have a debate about the various options. The NDP released our plan five months ago to rave reviews.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

10:20 p.m.


Bob Mills Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, regarding the plan, yes, we have an extremely detailed plan and it will be part of our policy, but we do not trust the Liberals as the NDP do.

The Liberals will steal whatever they can and they will trash whatever they decide to trash. It is much better to hold on to our cards and wait until we can nail them with the policy. That is something we have learned from being around this place. The NDP members will learn that as well, not to trust the devil who will ultimately nail them. They will find out exactly what that will be like come fall.

I will be touring through B.C. in a couple of weeks time and I would love to visit the member's riding if he would invite me.

With respect to Devils Lake, the problem really comes down to the IJC not really being a very functional board and not really dealing with the issues of the day, whether it is the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes, the Columbia River, the Sumas River in British Columbia or the whole Devils Lake issue. I just do not believe the problem has been dealt with very well. I do not believe the government has dealt with it very well.

The government did have the opportunity in 2002 to interact and get the IJC involved but it chose not to. I believe that should be brought to everyone's attention. I think ultimately we will win that case because we will work together on it. It is something we must work together on and base it on science. There should be no inter-basin transfer without having the science in place as to the cause and effect of what is going to happen environmentally.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

10:20 p.m.


Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by saying that I do appreciate the opportunity to speak on this legislation. I understand that I may be the last speaker tonight.

It has certainly been interesting to listen to the remarkable man from Red Deer, for example, our hon. colleague who is the environment critic for the Conservative Party. It has been remarkable to listen to him and hear his plans for the environment of this country. We know there is hope for improvement in the environment under the guidance of this gentleman. When he becomes the environment minister in a Conservative government led by our leader, the hon. member for Calgary Southwest, I know that the environment will be on its way to improvement. The member is a remarkable man and a remarkable environmentalist. It is something to look forward to.

We are here tonight speaking on Bill C-43, the Liberal budget bill. This is the bill that was put forth by the Liberal finance minister. We are not speaking tonight about Bill C-48. Bill C-48 is the bill that was put forth by the New Democrat finance minister.

The leader of the New Democratic Party somehow now has become a finance minister, the second finance minister for the Liberal government. The Liberals and the NDP have presented Bill C-48, which is the bill that the Conservative Party will not support. We will not support that legislation. There are billions and billions of dollars, somewhere over $4 billion, in the New Democrat budget, which, sadly, is supported by the Liberals just so they do not have to face an election. The Liberals will do anything to avoid an election. Bill C-48 is not the bill we are debating tonight. That is the budget bill we will be dealing with tomorrow, as I understand it.

We do support Bill C-43, not that it is a great budget, because it certainly is not, but on balance when we went through it we recognized a lot of things that we have been proposing for some time. When I say “recognize” I do not say that lightly, because there is a resemblance. In some areas, the Liberals are headed in the same direction that we have proposed, but of course it is a half measure. They have gone only part of the way and it is certainly not the way the Conservative Party will do it. Bill C-43 was moving in the right direction on issues that we feel are important. Therefore, we are supporting the bill.

When we look at tonight's debate and the debate on this bill and other legislation over the past several days, there is something that we cannot help but note. We have Liberal members of Parliament who stand up day after day, speech after speech, and say, “We have done this. We will do this”. It sounds so good. It just sounds good. The Liberals truly are masters of saying things that appeal to people across the country. They say those things, but what they say is so different from reality. This is something that we cannot help note.

We can look at any of the major issues that Canadians feel are important. Health care is an example. I heard Liberal members say today, “We are going to fix health care. We can still fix it”. As for the Supreme Court decision which will now allow private delivery, the Liberals say they can fix it so that we do not need it. They say, “We have put $21 billion into health care”. That is what they say, but of course the reality is that they cut $25 billion from health care when the current Prime Minister was finance minister. The Liberals cut $25 billion in transfers to the provinces over about a five year period. Of course they do not mention that.

More disturbing than that, because the amount of money that is put into health care really is not going to determine the success of the program, is the reality is that after 12 years of this Liberal government, health care is worse today than it was when the Liberals started. So why would Canadians believe them when they say suddenly today that they are going to change things to make it better?

The reality is that our health care is so bad in this country now that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled last week it cannot be counted on to deliver a reasonable level of health care to Canadians. Therefore, the court said, we must allow private delivery. That is the reality. The Liberals say how wonderfully they have done, but the reality is that it is so bad we have to allow private delivery. The Supreme Court has ruled that.

On the foreign affairs agenda, the Liberals stand in the House and say again and again that Canada is the greatest country in the world, that it has stature in the world, that it is a real player. Of course, we are all proud to be Canadian. This is the greatest country in the world, but sadly, the fact is that Canada has lost its stature on the world stage.

There is something that demonstrates that better than anything else. I am a member of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association. I travel about three times a year to meetings of the NATO parliamentarians. Every February we go to NATO headquarters in Brussels and I have continued on as a Canadian representative to the OECD in Paris.

We receive economic forecasts from the OECD. In the past these economic forecasts have talked about the G-8, when we thought Russia was becoming a player. Russia was dropped from that list because Russia has not been able to control its organized crime and really does not belong on the list of recognized economic states, so it is the G-7 that the OECD has talked about over the past several years.

A sad demonstration of what has happened to our country under the Liberal government is that this year the economic forecasts were for the G-6, not the G-7, but the G-6, and Canada was not even on the list of countries referred to in the economic forecasts. The G-6 was referred to, not the G-7. That is a sad commentary on what the government has done to our wonderful country. A respected world body like the OECD no longer considers Canada worthy of being in the top group of countries. It is a sad commentary.

On the agenda of taxes, how many times has the government said it was going to lower taxes? The most notable example was in the year 2000 when the Prime Minister, who was the finance minister at the time, said he was going to reduce taxes by over $100 billion. That was in 2000.

I encourage people to look at their paycheques from 1999 and compare them to the ones from 2001. I invite them to say that their taxes have gone down. Of course, they are not going to say that because taxes have not gone down. I invite them to look at their payroll deductions for 2005 and compare them to the ones for 1999. They will see the sad reality that the $1 billion tax cut the finance minister said was put in place does not exist. It does not exist. If people compare their 1999 and 2005 pay stubs, that $100 billion has somehow disappeared. That is a sad commentary.

The Liberals say things that sound so good. It makes many Canadians want to vote for them, but the reality is something entirely different. In health care that is the case. In foreign affairs that is the case. In taxes that is the case.

I do not have to talk about the environment because the environment critic made the point very well. From what government members say about the environment, it sounds as if they are great environmentalists. It almost makes people want to vote for them on the environment. However, when they talk about the reality of what is happening in our country with the environment, it is entirely different. The reality is entirely different from what the government says.

In my constituency, agriculture is an extremely important industry. The agriculture minister and other Liberal members stand in the House and say over and over again that the government is doing so much for agriculture, that agriculture is in great shape in this country. The fact is that after 12 years of Liberal government, the farmers of this country are having more problems and are in worse shape than they have ever been.

The government says how good things are in agriculture and what a great job it has done, but the reality is entirely the opposite. All one has to do is talk to the farmers to find out the truth. What Liberals say is one thing, but the reality is something entirely different.

I could go on and on but my time has expired. The Conservatives will support Bill C-43 because it is at least a step in the right direction, but the NDP budget bill, which we will be talking about tomorrow, is another situation entirely. We will not support it. We will do everything we can to defeat that budget bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

10:30 p.m.


Peter Goldring Conservative Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his speech and to comment on Bill C-43, which of course we acknowledge that we do support, but there was one notable absence in Bill C-43. It was the absence of funding for affordable housing and there were reasons for it.

I want to refer my colleague to another promise made and promise broken. It was a Liberal red book promise in the year 2000. That red book promise was for $680 million which was to create up to 120,000 units of affordable housing by the year 2005. Budget 2003 added another $320 million. That $1 billion should have proportionately created, according to the Liberals' figures, possibly up to 200,000 units, but guess how many units it created. It was not 200,000 units, not 120,000 units, but less than 25,000 units out of the $1 billion that was allocated across Canada. Those are the numbers.

Small wonder that there was no new money in Bill C-43, because even the Liberals recognized that it was a wasteful expenditure, but guess where it did show up. It is in the NDP bill, Bill C-48. Here comes another promise for building more affordable housing, only this time the minister will not tell people how many houses they expect to build, because quite frankly, he does not know and past history certainly indicates that it is correct that he does not know.

By putting another $1.6 billion into an already unworkable plan on top of a broken promise that was made on committed money before, another promise made another promise broken, is there not a pattern here? I would like my colleague to comment on promises made, promises broken.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

10:35 p.m.


Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, far be it from me to give some deep answer on affordable housing when the member who asked the question is by far the most knowledgeable person in the House of Commons on this issue. The member from Edmonton is the member who has tried to ensure that any money going into affordable housing is actually going to do the job. For me to stand here and to give an in-depth answer on this issue would be telling very little to the member who knows far more about it than I do .

What I will say is that he is absolutely correct that out of the $2 billion promised in the last few years, we have seen fewer than 25,000 houses in total. For the member's city, how many housing units have been built for Edmonton's share of the over $2 billion? There have been 647 housing units. That is just unbelievable, but the member from Edmonton certainly knows that.

The member knows that next year the Conservative Party and its leader as prime minister will do much better. The Conservative government with the member from Calgary as prime minister will deal with affordable housing in a reasonable way, not $2 billion to give fewer than 700 housing units in the city of Edmonton. That is not money well spent.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

10:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Seeing no other members rising, pursuant to order made earlier today the question is deemed put and a recorded division is deemed requested and deferred until Thursday, June 16, at 3 p.m.

It being 10.38 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 10:38 p.m.)