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House of Commons Hansard #86 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements by Members

November 24th, 2006 / 11:10 a.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I make this plea on behalf of two of my constituents in Oliver, German Melgar and Santos Molina, and their two children, Anderson and Kimberly. They are currently employed by Mrs. Linda Fortunato as farm workers, providing much needed services to the farm and the community.

They are currently appealing to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, but have been told by the Canada Border Services Agency that they will be removed from Canada on November 30. However, their children, Canadian citizens, can stay.

Should Mr. Melgar and Mrs. Molina return to El Salvador, there is fear that their lives may be in danger due to Mr. Melgar's political affiliation. His father was killed because of his political opinions.

In January of this year, their young son, Anderson, had ear surgery. Their family physician, Dr. Evans, fears that “risks for death would be significantly increased should he be unable to access his current level of care”.

On behalf of this family, their friends and the community, I ask our government to show compassion and allow them to stay in Canada at least until their appeal is heard.

Freedom of ReligionStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, 25 years ago today, members of the United Nations signed the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Like the UN Declaration of Human Rights before it, this new declaration proclaimed the fundamental dignity and right to freedom of all human beings.

It is not enough to abolish intolerance from our laws. We need also to banish it from our minds and our hearts. The advancement of global society requires us to be open to the universal values and different perspectives inherent in other belief systems.

Promoting tolerance and understanding must be the guiding purpose of all governments. On this 25th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, I know that all my colleagues in the House join me in affirming the need to listen and to learn from each other, as well as to oppose the persecution of those whose views and beliefs may not be those of their government or of the majority of their fellow citizens.

MusicStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Lucille Girard, an octogenarian and co-founder of the Maison des Grands-Parents de Villeray in the riding of Papineau, contradicts the notion that the young and the not so young in our society have little in common. She is the delightful founder of a project that brings together generations through their love of music. Since last May, she has been introducing the tam-tam to young people who do not always channel their energy in a positive way.

Another activity that they can join is the Chanter pour chanter group, a group of singers of all ages, accompanied by a piano, violin and guitar. According to Mrs. Girard, this is a leisure activity that brings people together, helps develop friendships and dispels the isolation of the various generations.

Thank you, Mrs. Girard, for your determination and contagious enthusiasm. You are proof that it is possible to bridge the generation gap.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Gary Merasty Liberal Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, it will be a year ago tomorrow that the Liberal government concluded the landmark Kelowna accord. The agreement set aside $5.1 billion for health, education, housing and infrastructure, and economic development for Canada's aboriginal people and communities.

Perhaps the Conservative government does not realize that when it attacks the Kelowna accord, it is attacking the first nations people. It is attacking the Métis people. It is attacking the Inuit people.

Let me read for members what Inuit leader Ms. Mary Simon recently said about the cancellation of the accord:

Abandonment of this promise, combined with an absence of any alternative plan, is not a mere detour. It would be a self-declared admission of defeat. A focused, federally funded attack on the social problems that beset aboriginal people is a necessity, not an ideological indulgence.

The government's cancellation of the accord is not acceptable. It is not honourable. It is not in line with Canadian values.

Repentigny ByelectionStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, we learned this week that the Bloc candidate in Repentigny refused, not once but twice, to publicly debate his ideas. If the Bloc Québécois' strength is to float ideas, the expectations of the Conservative candidate Stéphane Bourgon and the voters of Repentigny certainly were not met. Ironically, the Bloc Québécois, the party that claims to have a monopoly on representing the interests of Quebec in Ottawa, refuses to debate its ideas.

Is that because, apart from its pipe dream, the Bloc Québécois has nothing to offer voters as it can accomplish nothing in Ottawa? The Bloc Québécois is so entrenched in the opposition in Ottawa that it now shows contempt for the voters of Repentigny.

In next Monday's election, Stéphane Bourgon deserves to be voted in by the people of Repentigny because he will never step back from promoting the interests of the people of Repentigny in Ottawa, and above all, yes above all, he will be able to accomplish things for them. The people of Repentigny deserve better than to be out in the cold forever. On November 27, Repentigny deserves to be in power.

Guaranteed Income SupplementStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, a year ago today, the House of Commons unanimously passed Bill C-301 at second reading, thereby entitling eligible pensioners to full retroactivity for the guaranteed income supplement.

One year ago, all of the Conservatives voted for this bill.

One year ago, pensioners were given reason to hope that the government would give back the $3.2 billion it owes them.

Yet one year later, neither the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development nor the Minister of Finance has made an announcement. The Conservatives' silence belies their November 23, 2005, vote and abandons seniors.

One year ago, the Conservatives engaged in electioneering to get seniors' votes. It was all a sham. Once again, we have proof that the Conservative members from Quebec are not standing up for Quebec seniors. They have betrayed their trust, and we will not forget that.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, three words describe the government's economic statement yesterday: off-loading, unfairness and deception.

Conservative rhetoric about the debt is deceit at its worst. They have played with trick definitions to create a false illusion of greater debt reduction, but it is a fraud. The rate at which they will pay down federal debt stays exactly the same at $3 billion per year.

Will the government confess that under its plan federal debt will still total $436 billion a generation from now in the year 2021?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the former government certainly left us quite a legacy of debt, but the good thing is that we are now going to do something about it.

The good news as set out by the Minister of Finance shows that the economy is strong. Spending is under control. Taxes are going down. The hon. member should celebrate that and get behind it.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, we are ahead of them. The previous Liberal government slashed federal debt by more than $63 billion. We cut the federal debt ratio almost in half. We restored Canada's triple A credit rating, the best in the G-8.

Those Mike Harris retreads across the way cannot beat that record, so they want to change the rules of the game. How? By appropriating all of the assets of the Canada pension plan and all of the wealth of Alberta. What a fraud. Why can the government not just tell the truth?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member seems to want to have it both ways. On the one hand he is upset about everything we are doing, and on the other hand he wants to take credit for it. It seems to me that he cannot have it both ways.

The Minister of Finance has outlined a blueprint that I think all Canadians should be proud of and it shows that we are on the right track.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, Conservative deceit about debt continues. They say it is okay for one's chequing account to be chronically overdrawn just as long as one can swipe the mother-in-law's RRSP to cover the loss.

On the tax side, they are also a fraud. Liberal personal income tax cuts to 2012 were booked at $25 billion, but Conservative personal income tax relief now stands at only $5.6 billion.

They take away $25 billion and they give back $5.6 billion. Why is that deceitful government reducing personal income tax relief by 80%?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member continues to be miserable about everything the government is doing, and I respectfully disagree with him, but yesterday was a very good day for the country. It was a day when we found out that we were going to continue to reduce debt, eliminate the net debt, use the money saved from the debt to reduce taxes, and improve competitiveness, productivity and innovation.

To make the day even better, now the Bloc Québécois says it wants to be part of a united Canada. What could be better than that?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, financial projections have always been prepared by private sector firms. This year, in an effort to fool Canadians, the Minister of Finance is touting his own projection, which is $2.5 billion higher than private firms' projections for the next two years.

Can the minister explain this huge difference? Does he not realize that by doing this, he is setting Canada up for a deficit situation?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government this year has become transparent, for the very first time. The party opposite, when it was in government, used fudge numbers. It did an averaging of different private sector projections. What we did is put all these projections side by side with the government's projections. Amazingly, they turned out to be almost all the same.

Canadians can see for themselves that we are not trying to hide anything and that all of these projections are clearly laid out. They are not melded together, averaged or any of those things. This is a new beginning for Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance, a past master in the art of creating deficits as Ontario's finance minister, should know that overvaluing profits is the best way to create a deficit.

By manipulating the numbers, the government is acting like a homeowner who has a $100,000 mortgage on a $200,000 home and claims to have no debt. That is ridiculous.

Did the Minister of Finance not learn his lesson after his Ontario disaster?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first, let us be clear. The finance minister of Canada never ran a deficit when he was the finance minister in Ontario, never. He inherited a deficit from the NDP and he cleaned it up in large measure.

Also, let us talk about net debt. Net government debt is the standard used by the OECD to compare countries' debt positions. In fact, when the Liberal Party was the government, in its last fall update, on page 67, it put in a table comparing Canada's net government debt with other G-7 countries.

TaxationOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, the Prime Minister promised Quebeckers that the issue of the fiscal imbalance would be settled. This was one of his major election commitments. When the Minister of Finance tabled the budget, in May 2006, he presented a relatively tight schedule to settle the fiscal imbalance. However, yesterday's economic statement shows that the minister is well within schedule, but the target dates are being postponed. We no longer know exactly what is going on.

I would like to know why the government is standing still regarding that important commitment.

TaxationOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, first, I think it is very important to congratulate the Minister of Finance on his excellent economic plan, particularly since this document shows that the Canadian economy is doing extremely well. Our economy is sound, it is creating jobs, and the long term forecasts are very optimistic. As for the fiscal imbalance, I should point out that the Minister of Finance said in this House that he will have the opportunity to meet with his provincial and territorial counterparts, on December 15.

TaxationOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will use the very words of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. If the economy is doing so well, if the situation is so extraordinary, if the administration is so good, what are the Conservatives waiting for to fulfill their commitments to Quebeckers? They promised they would settle the fiscal imbalance. The fact is that the target dates have disappeared, and this reflects a change in priorities.

I am asking the government to tell us why it has yet to fulfill its promise, when things are going so well, according to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

TaxationOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well that, in recent months, we have consulted the provinces, territories and municipalities. The Minister of Finance did an exceptional job. We will settle the fiscal imbalance issue. I am asking the hon. member to be patient. We are getting there. We are committed to doing it and, as usual, we will deliver.

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, on September 22, 2006, the Minister of Finance said that the budget statement planned for early October would report on the progress of negotiations with the provinces concerning the fiscal imbalance, and that there would be an indication of the direction that everyone is taking, in his own words. Yesterday was November 23. The minister made his budget statement, which included nothing concrete about the fiscal imbalance.

How can the minister justify this spectacular flip-flop in just one month?

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think the Bloc is confused about what a fiscal update is. A fiscal update simply gives the figures as they are halfway through the fiscal year so that Canadians can see how the government is doing.

In this case we put together a long term economic plan which has been widely supported across Canada. The member knows there are ongoing discussions on the fiscal imbalance. The next one will take place on December 9. She will just have to be patient, because we are getting there in a way that is respectful of the provinces and fully consults with everyone.

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to rake in surpluses and is obviously trying to bury the issue of the fiscal imbalance among other budget issues.

Can the minister assure us that he is not simply trying to buy time so that, at election time, he can say that he wanted to but was unable?

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know the Bloc members would like to think that they are in charge of solving the fiscal imbalance. The fact of the matter is they have no power. They will always be an opposition party, a small party. All they can do is quibble and complain because they do not have a meaningful role. I feel sorry for them, but they are simply going to have to accept that this is a program and a process that respects all Canadians and will be conducted in a way that will get to a solution that is fair and reasonable for everyone.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, another damning report on poverty among first nations, Métis and Inuit was released today by Campaign 2000. It is another stinging indictment on the Liberal and Conservative records.

It has been 10 years since the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples gave us the road map to alleviate poverty, yet the Conservatives are ignoring RCAP. Aboriginal people were not even mentioned in the fiscal update.

Why does the government have billions for corporate tax cuts but nothing for child poverty in aboriginal communities?