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House of Commons Hansard #19 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate my colleague on his speech. We have seen many efforts over the last number of days to draw attention to some of the cuts that are coming in the environment section in this budget period. My concern is that the government is taking a consumptive approach in its outline. It is anti-conservation in many ways. The solutions that are being proposed are not the solutions that are going to really make a difference in this economy.

How does the member see this budget addressing those issues of conservation? How can the budget possibly make a difference to Canadians in that regard?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know there are a few regions in the country that are feeling the impact of environmental destruction more than his region. We see the ice roads over the wintertime, we see the effects on the caribou herds and the subsistence living that many people in his region survive on and are a cornerstone, I would suggest even an icon for Canadians living across this country. We are, as the famous Quebec song notes, not a country but a season, a winter.

Yet when we look at the actions of the previous government, the numbers simply do not lie. It will always trump the announcements, the confetti and the pretty documents and dossiers. The numbers, when it comes to pollution under the previous Liberal regime, were absolutely outrageous.

The Conservative response to that was to do little or nothing. There is no prospect in the budget that we see to alleviate the problems or reverse the trend in any significant way what we are seeing in my colleague's riding of Western Arctic, the smog days that are experienced in Ontario, Quebec and across the country, and the absolute dramatic increase in smog that we have seen. There is nothing of significance in the budget to alleviate that.

Canadians are being asked to wait again. So much for the changing of the guard. It is business as usual and perhaps a little accelerated but in the wrong direction.

It is at a time when Europe and Texas, for heaven's sake, come to us and talk about their energy plans and the ability that they have to make more consistent green energy projects come to life. We are embarrassed in this country. We have absolutely failed the Canadian people in this respect. A river of opportunity is flowing by to increase our productivity and our competitiveness has failed us. The budget has utterly failed Canadians in this regard.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

I am surprised, Mr. Speaker, that the member would vote against the budget. This budget should be a lot less conservative than what he should have guessed would be coming when he supported the election of the government, and when he voted in a motion of non-confidence.

When he and his party asked for the lend a vote campaign, knowing that it would put a Conservative government in power, he should have known that there would be a neo-conservative budget. The member should be amazed that the budget did not go further to the right. He should ask the question like I do: what happened to the Conservatives' flat earth society in their flat tax and when did they come to this convoluted system of tax credits, tax breaks and tax manoeuvring, and abandoned that simple flat tax principle that they had?

It is not that I supported it, but obviously the member did because he participated in the election of the Conservative government. He should wonder when it was that the Conservative leader realized, with his core western support in this country, that he could not, under the Reform Party, fight Brian Mulroney. He realized that he had to get his instructions from Mulroney and Harris, and form a government in the image of Mulroney and Harris with all his key people in those key positions. The member should not be surprised at all.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the DaVinci code of the Liberals continues. There are conspiracies under every rock. While I know the member does not, to his constituents or to me or to others, present the arrogance of the notion that somehow the Liberal Party is entitled to the seat of power in this country, it is amazing to me how much credit and power the Liberals have allowed the New Democratic Party, with 19 seats in the last government, to be able to tell Canadian voters that the Liberals were in fact inherently corrupt and had mismanaged the files for so long. I thank the member for the accolades, but I think he might be mistaken.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I see that I may have to do this in two parts.

I came to Ottawa to stand up for the needs and priorities of Victorians. Today I stand against this budget because it fails the people of Victoria in many important ways. I will focus on three of these: post-secondary education and skills training for which I am the critic, housing and the environment.

A budget is a tool used to achieve practical ends. How much is allocated to one line item reveals how much that item is valued. Conservative budgets show what ends Conservatives want to achieve and they are not the ends that even Conservatives acknowledge that Canadians want.

The Minister of Finance states in his own document, and I quote: “There is also a clear consensus among Canadians on the importance of support for health care, post-secondary education and training, and infrastructure”. He also says that Canadians must have access to “affordable, accessible and high-quality post-secondary education and training”.

This budget offers a bloodless version of those fine words, although we do have to acknowledge that this budget is an improvement over the Liberals' do nothing model, because this government has finally taken steps to support education and training.

The tax incentives and grants to promote training and learning are a good start, as is the move to exempt bursaries from federal income tax.

However, in the global race for the knowledge economy, the new economy, the government has stumbled at the starting line.

My party proposes a national, concrete, long term strategy that recognizes that the level of skills required in most sectors will reach new heights and our economic prosperity of the future rests on those skills. Included in the NDP strategy to start would be a recognition that skills training is required throughout one's life by using the employment insurance system, for example, to support retraining and skills upgrading programs including soft skills like language training that many members in the House have benefited from. A lifelong learning strategy would finally reinvest in our college and university students, and improve access to education.

In this budget there is no increased financial support for students. Instead, the government makes it easier for students to start their working lives with larger debt loads than ever before. This is an administrator's budget where $1 billion of the $1.5 billion NDP budget intended to support the reduction of skyrocketing tuition fees was instead channelled toward university infrastructure, and an $83 book allowance. That is maybe one textbook. This budget shows the finance minister is out of touch with the real costs of a college education.

There is a very broad consensus among Canadians across the country that there should be a transfer specifically for post-secondary education. I would even add that this is part of the Conservatives' electoral platform. Where, then, is this transfer?

The Minister of Finance recognizes that keeping funding for post-secondary education in the overall cash transfer envelope poses a problem, but he is doing absolutely nothing to change this deficient process.

How will Canadians be able to clearly see what the provinces are doing with federal funds for education and training? This makes no sense, coming from a government that supposedly promised transparency.

This Conservative budget falls far short of actual student needs and it skirts around another issue critical to my city's future, to Canada's future: affordable housing.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

It being two o'clock, we will now proceed to statements by members. The hon. member will have five minutes left when debate resumes.

AgricultureStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, farmers are hard-working people who, by the very nature of their profession, need to plan ahead.

As farmers plan for the future today, they have more reason for optimism than they have had for a very long time.

The security of our farm families is a concern of the government. We are acting to respond to the challenges of today while we work to ensure long term stability.

We are moving forward to replace CAIS with a program that separates disaster relief from income stabilization, but in the meantime we are making the program simpler and more responsive to the needs of our farmers.

In the budget we tripled our original commitment and are investing an additional $1.5 billion in our agriculture producers this year.

The government is working with our producers to build a road map of our agricultural future to help provide the security that our farm families deserve.

The planning and hard work of the government gives our farmers plenty of reasons to be encouraged.

Lakehead University ThunderwolvesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the members of the Lakehead University Thunderwolves, the 2006 Ontario University Athletic Men's Hockey champions.

Following their Queen's Cup win to become the central division champions, the Thunderwolves travelled to the CIS National University Championships in Edmonton where they fell one goal short of the national championship.

I offer my sincere congratulations to coach Pete Belliveau, captain Joel Scherban and the entire team and coaching staff.

In only five seasons, the Lakehead University Thunderwolves have risen to the top of the men's university hockey scene. In that short time they have set home game attendance records and have earned the support of all of northwestern Ontario.

I ask all members to join me in congratulating the Lakehead University Thunderwolves.

Défi SportifStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 23rd edition of the Défi Sportif was held April 26 to 30 at the Claude-Robillard sports complex in my riding of Ahuntsic.

Over 2,800 athletes whose disabilities were of five types—auditory, intellectual, physical, psychiatric or visual—came from 13 different countries. In all, 14 types of sports were involved during the five days of the Défi Sportif. Over 250 clubs and 30 primary and secondary schools took part. Over 800 volunteers and 350 trainers ensured the success of this unique event which, since 1984, has promoted a dynamic image of persons with a disability.

I took part in the awards ceremony at the 23rd edition of Défi Sportif and I must tell you I have nothing but admiration for the courage of the athletes and the generosity of the volunteers.

My congratulations to Défi sportif on the nobleness of heart, which is even a greater reflection on Quebec.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are eight countries to which Canada will not return failed refugee claimants and others here without status because of the dangerous situation in their home countries. These people face lives on hold, lives in limbo, indefinitely. They can only work temporarily. They pay higher fees for education. Their access to health care is limited. For some, this has gone on for over 10 years.

Canada needs a program that allows them to get on with their lives as permanent residents after a period of three years.

Last year Canadians were shocked to learn that after over 20 years, 2,000 Vietnamese boat people were still in the Philippines, forgotten by settlement programs and without legal status. More lives on hold and lives in limbo.

Canada agreed to take 200 of these refugees but only 27 met the conditions imposed. Australia, Norway and the U.S. have done much more but 148 remain stranded.

Canada needs a special program to bring these 148 people to security and a future. Lives on hold, lives in limbo are not acceptable.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, this government celebrated its 100 day milestone last week with a budget that brought tax relief to all Canadians.

TV jingles promote the fact that cars cost less in Wetaskiwin, but on July 1, they will be even more affordable when the GST is reduced to 6%. Rodeo fans celebrating Canada Day at the renowned Ponoka Stampede will pay less GST on their tickets.

Farmers and producers gathering at the Rimbey and Thorsby auction markets are relieved to finally have a government that is keeping its promises and delivering more effective disaster relief and farm income stabilization programs.

Soccer moms and hockey dads at rinks and sports fields in Lacombe are applauding the government for keeping its promise to provide a tax credit for registration fees for their children's sports.

Seniors in Rocky Mountain House are welcoming the budget initiative that doubles the amount of eligible pension income they can claim under the pension income credit.

Families in Eckville are glad to finally be trusted to make their own choices in child care.

The constituents of Wetaskiwin can look forward to tax relief and greater prosperity thanks to this government.

Sheelagh NolanStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a heavy heart to pay tribute to a memorable Nova Scotian.

Last Monday, Sheelagh Nolan of Halifax died after a long and tenacious battle with cancer. She was only 43.

She was integral to the political career of her husband, former Nova Scotia Liberal leader Danny Graham, although she was ill for much of his tenure. Despite her short life, Sheelagh touched many of us, as evidenced by the thousand people who attended her music-filled memorial last Thursday night.

All of us who knew Sheelagh remember her as a wonderful mother, wife and friend whose greatest joy was her family. Today her courageous spirit lives on in her three boys. She was a generous soul we will not soon forget.

I ask all members of the House to join me in offering our thoughts and prayers to Danny, Patrick, Andrew, Colin and all of the Nolan and Graham families.

Canadian AthletesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend I had the privilege of attending a fundraiser in the community of Delacourt in my riding for Joshua Riker-Fox, a pentathlete striving to eventually compete in the Olympics.

The pentathlon is an Olympic event that consists of running, swimming, shooting, fencing and equestrian jumping. The Delacourt Community Hall was full of local supporters cheering on Joshua, pledging moral and financial support to him to accomplish his goal of reaching the Olympics.

Joshua Riker-Fox would be a tremendous representative for Canada. He understands that there is a lot of hard work ahead of him.

As much as we all love it, sport in Canada is more than hockey and more than the NHL playoffs. Canadian athletes in many sports train year round to maybe some day represent their country.

Our athletes inspire us. I am proud to represent communities that rally behind their local athletes.

I urge all members of Parliament to support our young athletes as they compete with the world. I know I will be supporting Josh.

Jeannette SancheStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, Miss Jeannette Sanche was born on May 6, 1906. She was the youngest of a family of 13 and worked for nearly 40 years for Canada Post. She was a very generous woman, especially with her 22 nieces and nephews, all of whom received from her their first communion outfit.

She was a member of the theatre troupe of her father, Wilfred Sanche: the Cercle dramatique de Hull, the first theatre troupe in the Outaouais region, founded in 1899. She is also the aunt of the late Guy Sanche, the beloved Bobino of the famous children's program.

Miss Sanche lived on the first street to have electricity in Hull, rue Papineau. She was one of the first residents of Hull to acquire a car and drove until she was 93.

Since moving into the Centre d'hébergement Champlain-Gatineau in 2005, she has attended most activities and continues to enjoy company.

The Bloc Québécois wishes you a happy centenary, Miss Sanche.

Arts and CultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Norman Doyle Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to welcome Ms. Anne Troake who is in the gallery of the House today.

Arts and CultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The member knows that referring to the presence of persons in the gallery is not in order. He will want to comply with the rules in every respect.

Arts and CultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Norman Doyle Conservative St. John's East, NL

Sorry, Mr. Speaker.

Born in Twillingate, Newfoundland. Ms. Troake is a choreographer, filmmaker, costume and graphic designer. Her documentary, My Ancestors Were Rogues and Murderers, will screen tonight in the auditorium of the Library and Archives of Canada.

This film, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, is the true story of the Troake family of Twillingate.

For the Troakes and many others in Atlantic Canada, a well managed seal hunt is essential to their way of life and survival. Because of their very public participation in the seal hunt, the Troakes have become the target of groups who stridently oppose the hunt.

We are pleased that the National Film Board is providing a forum for a view of the seal hunt that is not often reflected in conventional media.

Once again, I thank Ms. Troake for making this film and sharing it with all of Canada.

Arts and CultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, earlier today I met a group of high school students from Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, and had the pleasure of listening to them as they gave a concert on the Hill.

They are in Ottawa thanks to the SEVEC program, a great federal program that I hope we will keep investing in. It cannot be replaced by tax breaks.

This group of talented young people deserve our congratulations and our respect.

A band is more than the sum of its parts. Each member has dedicated his or her time to learn their instruments and master the music. As well, they have learned teamwork and cooperation as each section works together to balance the others.

I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to every member of the Bridgetown High School Band and thank their parents and chaperones who gave up their time to make this journey possible.

Softwood LumberStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party of Canada stands up for the Canadian forestry industry.

The hon. member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, a former Liberal cabinet minister, made more national news criticizing the Conservative government's softwood lumber deal saying, of all things, that it is too good a deal. The member said:

If you are a B.C. or Alberta forestry worker, even though the softwood lumber agreement has just been signed with the U.S. and the industry's competitiveness has been renewed, you are getting $400 million this year of a $1.5 billion assistance package for workers and communities.

In case members are confused, yes, he is actually saying that now that we have reached an agreement, it is too good a deal. For 13 years the Liberals dithered on solving the softwood lumber issue. This Conservative government sees a problem and we fix it. We are standing up for our forestry industry.

As good old Mark Twain used to say, “...one mustn't criticize other people on grounds where he can't stand perpendicular himself”.

Waterfront ProtectionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about my riding of Parkdale--High Park, with its beautiful western Toronto waterfront. The good weather brings out families who love to play and relax there.

Many residents from my riding, though, are concerned about the future of the western beaches, and I share their concerns. We cannot allow development and the runoff from cars to further pollute and endanger our western beaches.

The western beaches area belongs to all of the people of Toronto and should be developed for everyone, so as to preserve its natural heritage as much as possible.

The federal government has a role to play by financing a breakwall, which will protect the adjacent water and the land. Today I call on this government to do just that.

The recent passing of Jane Jacobs has highlighted the importance of people-centred places in our urban environment. Parkdale--High Park, and indeed all of Toronto, will only be as great as its people and its places, places like the western waterfront, the jewel of our community.

Official LanguagesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Commissioner of Official Languages, Ms. Dyane Adam, for her 2005-06 annual report, tabled today in Parliament.

This report calls for more vigorous federal action to promote Canada's vitality as a bilingual country.

I wholeheartedly support every recommendation she made to the government.

The first task of the Standing Committee on Official Languages must be to thoroughly study the content of the report.

The report, entitled “Official Languages in Canada: Taking on the New Challenge”, will compel the Conservatives to build on the social and economic foundations of the policy and practices put in place by the Liberal government.

The Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages must end her silence, prove to communities that the action plan for official languages has a future, and enter into dialogue with community partners.

Congratulations to Ms. Adam for her seven years of service as the Commissioner of Official Languages.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada currently has a moratorium on the return of foreign nationals to certain countries where there are generalized risks to the safety of individuals. Some such people have been in Canada for a number of years, existing in a legal limbo that deprives them of many fundamental goods and services and prevents them from leading a normal life.

It appears very difficult for many such foreign nationals to obtain permanent residence, which they so desperately want.

Their precarious situation causes them considerable distress and suffering and the Bloc Québécois is calling for speedy action.

Let us work together on developing a system that would make it easier to grant permanent residence to everyone who has been in Canada for more than three years and who is from a country that is under a moratorium.

EnerGuideStatements By Members

May 9th, 2006 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Recently the Conservative government cancelled the $500 million EnerGuide for low income housing program, another example of how this year's budget gives Canada's most disadvantaged citizens the cold shoulder. Without EnerGuide, Canada has no strategy to protect low income households from escalating energy prices and no strategy to engage these households in an effort to reduce pollution.

I know that the environment and support for low income Canadians are not among the government's top five priorities. However, if this government cancels EnerGuide, it will be low income Canadians that the Conservatives will once again leave in the cold. Home energy prices have increased dramatically. Low income householders will bear much of the cost since they generally spend a much higher percentage of their income on heating.

Last November, the Conservatives joined all other parties in Parliament in unanimously supporting Bill C-66, legislation that included $100 million a year over five years for a new program to improve the energy efficiency of Canada's low income housing. I call upon the government to live up to this previous commitment to energy efficiency and invest the resources needed to ensure a warmer future for those in need.

Federal-Provincial RelationsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, first it was ethics amnesia, and now the Liberals forget how badly they beat up Dalton McGuinty. The premier has not forgotten. Neither have we.

The Liberal from Scarborough--Agincourt accused Mr. McGuinty of scapegoating the previous federal Liberal government to get re-elected, never mind that Mr. McGuinty was in year one of a four year term. It sounds more like what the former Liberal government was doing on the brink of collapse under the weight of its own corruption.

Members do not have take my word: let us take the words of the Liberal from Markham--Unionville, who accused Mr. McGuinty of not standing up for Canada. How could Mr. McGuinty, when he, according to the member, was horizontal, in bed with the separatist Bloc to defeat the Liberals in Ottawa? He called Mr. McGuinty “nationally dangerous” too.

The Liberal from Toronto Centre called Mr. McGuinty “unwise”. The Liberal from Don Valley West said he was like a rich man complaining, or passing strange, as the Liberal from Scarborough--Guildwood said. The Liberal from Pickering--Scarborough East admitted to no decent working relationship.

No wonder more Ontarians chose this Conservative government to improve relations between Ottawa and Queen's Park.

JusticeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister refused to condemn the outrageous remarks of the member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin. The House was told that these were one person's views, not the government's.

During the election campaign, the Prime Minister himself opened the door to this kind of thinking when he complained about being constrained by “a Liberal appointed court system”. He even talked of a conspiracy to stack the court with Liberal minded judges.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his reluctance to condemn the remarks of the member is in fact because in the end they reflect his own view and that of his party?