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House of Commons Hansard #117 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

11:40 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Madam Speaker, I should note first that the hon. member talks about partnerships and the partnerships her party has. I would much rather our partnership with the party to my right, to build Canada, than a partnership with the party to her party's left, which will tear Canada apart.

In terms of Bill C-48, we must look at partnerships and the partnership that party has formed versus our partnership. I will take our partnership any day of the year.

I find it quite ironic. Let us talk about the common sense in that famous common sense revolution, I believe it was called. My colleague did not mention the common sense revolution, which left us with a $5.6 billion deficit in Ontario. That is a lot of common sense, is it not? It was passed on to the Liberal government of Ontario. Let us talk about 1996--

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

11:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

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

11:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

Order, please. We want to hear the question so we can hear the answer. The member for Tobique--Mactaquac has the floor.

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

11:45 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Back in 1996, Madam Speaker, the party opposite, as the Reform Party, criticized us for making deep spending cuts, which we felt had to be done because of our inheritance of a $43 billion deficit. We made those very deep cuts. What did the present Leader of the Opposition say at the time in the House? He said the cuts were not deep enough. Now they have the audacity to stand here and criticize us for what we did. They said the cuts were not deep enough. Now they are talking about spending more money than we are.

They are proposing to spend more money than we are. Based on our deal with the NDP, we are making agreements on all of our promises. What does not make sense there in terms of common sense? We cannot ask people to cut, then say we are going to spend more than they are, but then say that they are spending too much.

I would ask the member to resolve that in our minds and tell us what in fact they are making sense about in this whole conversation, this whole debate, when they say that they would in fact spend more than we would. I ask the member to please explain that to me.

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

11:45 p.m.

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Conservative Edmonton—Spruce Grove, AB

Madam Speaker, I am not sure if I can explain to the member what he is thinking or trying to express, but I would like to say to the hon. member that it would be nice if there were more common sense, particularly in this House in reference to fiscal prudence and fiscal management.

Sitting on the finance committee for the last number of months, I must say that one of the things that I enjoyed very much was going through the prebudget consultations and hearing the common sense approach presented by so many groups and organizations and individual Canadians who came before us.

One of the things I respect about Parliament is process and protocol and one of the things that bothers me most about Bill C-48 is that none of this was followed. It was a very undemocratic approach to doing any sort of fiscal management or planning. Canadians were not consulted. No organizations were consulted. None of the people who matter in this country, who pay for these programs, were consulted. That would have been a common sense place to start with this budget.

I do not think anyone on this side of the House would ever say that any of those programs are not important and should perhaps not receive more funding, but to do away with tax cuts and have no balance in this budget, and not to hear the priorities of Canadians in the way that we have set up prebudget consultations, unfortunately that is where there is no common sense.

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

11:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Clarington—Scugog—Uxbridge, ON

Madam Speaker, we have all been working very long and late hours and very hard on behalf of all Canadians. It is my privilege tonight to speak to Bill C-48, not only on behalf of all Canadians but particularly on behalf of those in my riding, the residents of Clarington, Uxbridge and Scugog.

It is important that the work of this House not only make promises to benefit Canadians but deliver on those promises. Tonight we are debating Bill C-48, a deal made to buy votes, a bill for up to $4.6 billion of taxpayers' dollars.

The issues covered in Bill C-48 are important to Canadians: the environment, public transit, low cost housing and post-secondary school education. All of these issues are important to Canadians and they are also important to the Conservative Party of Canada, but decades of neglect in these areas have created a resource challenge.

Since 1997 the government has repeatedly underestimated surpluses and accumulated $63 billion of surplus. Meanwhile, provinces and municipalities were struggling.

I ran in the last election to join many others at every level of government; provincial, municipal and federal, to work for the people in their ridings. I came to this House wanting to work in partnership with every level of government and with every person in this House.

However, as a consequence of over a decade of starving the provinces and, consequently, the municipalities, currently we have situations where there is a fiscal imbalance between levels of government. There is a mismatch between revenue raising capabilities and the responsibilities posed to the provinces and the municipalities.

The municipal level is responsible for basic services that the people want and need, such as housing, transit and social services. Yet this federal government continues to be rich, rich in surpluses, while our cities and municipalities continue to be poor.

When I spoke to the budget in April, I said, “It is imperative that all Canadians have a clear picture of the budget and how the government plans to implement the budget and its promises”. But Bill C-48 gives us no details, no plans, no programs and no accountability as to how $4.5 billion will be spent, $4.5 billion not of the Liberals' money, not of the Conservatives' money, not of any party's money, but the money of the people who pay their taxes.

In committee, the Conservatives tried to put forward amendments that would ask the government to table a plan at the end of every year to report on how that money would be spent. The Conservatives also posed an amendment to ask for accountability and transparency mechanisms. The government would not support these two simple amendments.

These people, my riding, my voters, want to ask this government, what is wrong with filing a plan? What is wrong with accountability and transparency mechanisms? Why could the government not support these amendments? Why will the government not ensure that it will indicate with clear commitments that it will deliver on the promises inherent in Bill C-48?

Why not? Because this budget, this bill, is only an enabling legislation. It is a contingent budget. As the parliamentary secretary to the minister said only a matter of mere hours ago, this is an “enabling” budget, an enabling piece of legislation. It is not “mandatory” spending.

I want to point out to everyone in Canada that the minister and the government have clearly articulated that this is not mandatory. How do we know this money is going to come forward to address these important issues for all Canadians?

This budget is a contingent budget. It is contingent on surpluses. It is contingent on ensuring that there will be programs developed, that there will be a plan put in place and merely enabling what? It enables one minister to spend $4.6 billion with no accountability, no timetable, no priorities to be established.

This is only a bill which was part of a deal to buy votes, and this is not good enough for the people in the riding of Durham.

In the riding of Durham, we enjoy a quality of life. We have mixed urban and rural communities. We have some of the best agricultural land in Ontario. It is made up of small towns, villages and hamlets. They want to ensure that this quality of life will not only be maintained and returned to what they enjoyed a decade ago, but they want security in jobs. They want security in their livelihoods. They also want the government to represent them with the values and the integrity that they live by in their daily lives. They want health, safety, education and security not only for the young children, the youth and the adults, but also for those in retirement.

The people in my riding, the families and the citizens of Durham are a community of values and principles. They insist on integrity within their own families, within their community and from their community leaders and from their governments. If we do not maintain a level of integrity in government, what are we leaving for the next generation?

These issues are important. It is not good enough to deceive. It is not good enough to just promise. We must deliver on whatever promises we make.

We want to make sure that we can continue to live in Durham and enjoy the environment, enjoy good quality housing, transit and education, not in the short term but over the long term.

On education for the long term, we have a commitment here for education for two years. What about those who will graduate from high school three years from now, four years from now, five years from now, and six years from now? Why do they not deserve some consideration in lower tuition? Why will the government not make an ongoing commitment to support those youth who will be graduating and possibly going to the newest university in the province of Ontario that is in the region of Durham, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology?

The people in my riding also want to ensure that we take care of the environment. Part of that is ensuring that we try to encourage as much use of public transit as possible, but not only for two years. An ongoing commitment must be made for transit. A two year commitment is not good enough. Where are the dollars for after two years?

If the region in my riding which is now considering regional transportation undertakes to buy those efficient buses, et cetera, hire the drivers, increase the public transit service in my riding, what happens after two years? Where are the dollars to keep those buses and those drivers operating? How are we going to keep paying those drivers? A two year public transit program is not good enough.

On infrastructure, I have watched it and I have seen it over the last decade. Infrastructure deteriorates. What happens after two years? Where are the dollars to maintain those roads? We see right now the state of our infrastructure because of a decade of neglect.

We have to make sure that low income housing is there, not just a program to energy retrofit low income housing. What is energy retrofitting? How many new houses and rental units will that provide?

This bill lacks so much in detail. Where will the dollars go? How will they be delivered? How much will come to my municipality, to every citizen, to every bus rider, to the people who have to now depend on a family member to drive the elderly and the disabled to the hospital, which is 60 kilometres away?

We want real service provision. We want dollars, a commitment to real infrastructure improvements. We want to make sure that the municipalities all share equally in the $4.6 billion that is in Bill C-48. We do not want a short term deal. We want a long term commitment.

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

11:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Carr Liberal Halton, ON

Madam Speaker, I have listened all night to the members opposite, waiting to hear if there is anything specific coming up but there has not been. There are two reasons that I think people in Ontario are not supporting the Conservative Party and in fact in most polls that party is in third place.

The first reason is that people realize it is nothing more than the old Reform Party. That party tried to change its name. The Reform Party became the Conservative-Reform-Alliance Party and then became the Alliance Party. That party has had more name changes than someone who has been in the witness protection program. Those members tried to change their party's name and everybody realized the leader was the guy that was part of the Reform Party. He was the president of the National Citizens Coalition, the most right-wing group in this country.

I was listening for anything specific from that party. When it says tax cuts, does it mean 50¢? Is it $50? Is it $1 billion? It is not specific.

I watched the member in the first part of her debate contradict herself. She said not to spend money and then spent the second half of her debate telling the government to spend more money in her riding in specific areas. I say to the member that she cannot have it both ways. People are cynical. They look at the member's party and say it is nothing more than the Reform Party, a typical opposition party. She says not to spend money and then people see her spend money.

I believe that is the reason that party has failed the people in Ontario, particularly in my area. That is why they will never vote for those people to form a government, because those members do not know what they are doing.

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

Midnight

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Clarington—Scugog—Uxbridge, ON

Madam Speaker, I find it very interesting that that particular member would pose the questions and make the comments that he did, but I will say this. The first part of my career may be in opposition but the second part of my career will be in government, unlike that member.

He asked for specifics and I will give him one specific as an example in the Bill C-48 budget agreement signed between the Liberals and the NDP. The government has been promising low income housing. Low income housing means there should be the potential for people with lower incomes to move into a home, but this agreement talks about the “energy efficiency retrofit program for low income housing”. The existing low income housing is going to be retrofitted to be more efficient. Consequently, how many new rental units will there be? This is typical of the deception and misleading that the government does time and time again. That is a specific example. I challenge any Canadian to get a copy of the actual deal that was signed and read the details.

The member asked a question and knows that when one is in power one does not change parties in order to stay in power.

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

Midnight

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Madam Speaker, I wonder if the member for Durham would recognize the member opposite from the riding of Halton.

As a member of the common sense revolution under Mike Harris, the party that came to power in Ontario to clean up the mess left behind by the NDP and the Liberals, and a member who was in that party for some time, he points his finger at members on this side belonging to other parties. I wonder if she would recall him as one of those.

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

Midnight

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Clarington—Scugog—Uxbridge, ON

Madam Speaker, it will not take me long to say that the only political party I belonged to before joining the Conservative Party of Canada was the provincial Progressive Conservative Party, the same party that that member belonged to.

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

Midnight

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, we speak regularly on this side of the House, and quite rightly, about Liberal corruption, Liberal theft, Liberal fraud. We have to repeat ourselves often because that is often the only discussion item generated from that side of the House.

This evening I am going to venture into some different territory. I am going to talk about the fundamental difference in philosophy that divides this side of the House from that side, that separates Conservatives, who believe in freedom, from the NDP-Liberal coalition, a coalition of corruption and socialism. I am going to give a few examples to illustrate this point. By the time I am through members will be convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that our party represents a vision of freedom that all citizens of the country can embrace.

I am going to start by talking about economic policy. Across the way there is a party that takes dollars out of the pockets of assembly line workers and reallocates them into the pockets of high priced CEOs and blue chip billionaires. That is the social justice they talk about over there.

What did they do recently? It did not get widely reported. They sort of went under the radar screen. They took a quarter of a billion dollars, $250 million. That number rings a bell. Everyone thinks I am about to talk about the quarter of a billion dollars of Liberal theft in the sponsorship program.

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

Midnight

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

There's more?

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

Midnight

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

It's worse.

This time they gave, this is the anti-American Liberal Party, a quarter of a billion dollar loan to a nearly bankrupt American airline company. They gave nearly a quarter of a billion dollar loan to--

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

12:05 a.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The hon. member has repeatedly used the word “theft”. That is totally unparliamentary language and I want the hon. member to withdraw it.

Madam Speaker, I think you should make some rules in the House. It is unparliamentary language. It is not true. I would ask him to say that out of this chamber.

Madam Speaker, would you please tell the hon. member to use parliamentary language in this chamber.

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

12:05 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

Order. I think that most of us know the rules of the House. When the Speaker is standing, I would ask that members sit.

To the member for Beaches—East York, it is not a point of order since there was no individual so named. He was speaking in generalities, but I also caution the member that he should not get too close to the line.

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

12:05 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, I will draw my line in the sand. In fact, I will make a deal with this group of Liberals. I will stop calling them thieves when they stop stealing. That party has a record of corruption--

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

12:05 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Madam Speaker, once again the member in his young arrogance insists in assigning guilt for what is a crime in this country, that is theft and thievery, not just to a particular member over here but he actually used the word “they”, while pointing to us on this side of the House. I find it most offensive and it will not win him any points either with his colleagues in the House or with Canadians.

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

12:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

That is not a point of order but it is something that all of us could keep in mind.

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

12:10 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, I must really be on a roll if they are trying to interrupt me constantly.

I am going to get right to the heart of the matter. This is a quarter billion dollar interest free loan to a nearly bankrupt American airline company, Delta. The Liberals gave a quarter billion dollar loan to Delta Airlines in exchange for a promise that it would purchase Bombardier jets. That is what they consider sound economic management.

On this side of the House we would take those dollars and use them to reduce taxes for the employers of the country. We would allow small businesses, the hard-working people like those who own the Kelly's Landing pub on Manotick's Main Street. That is a darn good place and they earn their money in the pub at Kelly's Landing. We would give it to The Swan which is another fine establishment in the heart of my constituency, on River Road. We would allow those dollars--

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain PaymentsAdjournment Proceedings

12:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

The hon. member for Simcoe—Grey not being present to raise the matter for which adjournment notice has been given, the notice is deemed withdrawn.

The hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley not being present to raise the matter for which adjournment notice has been given, the notice is deemed withdrawn.

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until later this day at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 12:12 a.m.)