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House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

EqualizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, maybe I was getting into the nomenclature favoured by the Prime Minister.

Last week the finance minister graciously credited the Liberals with largely solving the fiscal imbalance through the $41 billion health accord, something the government is now trying to take credit for and is using to back out of campaign promises.

On the subject of promises, will the government honour its commitment that no province will be made worse off under the new equalization formula, and if not, who are the losers?

EqualizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I refuse to answer the question about anyone being a loser on the other side. I think that would be improper and I will not do that.

I think the question relates to the report that Mr. O'Brien and his colleagues have delivered. It is a very helpful report and I commend it to all members and Canadians to read. It makes various recommendations with respect to equalization. It is another report. There are other reports, as the member opposite knows.

All of those reports will be taken into consideration when the finance ministers meet at the end of the month and as discussions take place among Canadians. The reports are not conclusive with respect to the ultimate result. As the member opposite knows, there is a wide divergence of--

EqualizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Markham—Unionville.

EqualizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, even though he went over time, there was no answer on whether there would be any losers, and no guarantee.

Last week the Prime Minister invited provinces to occupy the tax room that he had vacated by cutting the GST. In plain language, he is inviting provinces to raise the sales tax paid by hard-working Canadians, totally cancelling out the effect of his GST cut. Why did he not come clean during the election and say that his solution to the fiscal imbalance involved provinces raising sales tax to replace the GST cut? That would have been honest.

EqualizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are many proposals on the table.

Speaking of being honest, I am sure the member opposite remembers some of his colleagues who actually look on the bright side, the sunny side of the budget, like the chief economist at RBC Financial Group, who said, “The pleasant surprises we saw--reductions in income taxes, continued reduction in debt and more focus on tax relief--are all positives in today's budget”. That is from the chief economist at RBC.

I thank the members opposite for agreeing with the chief economist at RBC and supporting the budget at third reading today.

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

June 6th, 2006 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has promised many times to govern in a responsible and transparent manner. Yesterday on Radio-Canada we learned that the government was going to acquire over $3 billion worth of military planes without a call for tenders or spinoffs for the Canadian aircraft industry, which is concentrated for the most part in Montreal.

What is driving the Prime Minister to make a quick $3 billion plus purchase without a call for tenders and without any economic spinoff for Canada and Quebec?

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has not made such a decision. When we do contemplate such decisions, we will have a purchasing process that is free of political interference.

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Prime Minister to give a clear answer.

Does having a purchasing process free of political interference mean there will be a call for tenders and will this call for tenders include conditions with respect to economic spinoffs for the aircraft industry in Canada and Quebec, which is mainly concentrated in Montreal? Can he respond clearly to that question?

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, such a decision has not been made at this time. If the government intends to have a purchasing process, it will be free of political interference. At the same time, our process will take into account the economic benefits for Canada.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, no decision has been made. This also tells us that there are risks involved. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

An untendered purchase over $3 billion is enormous. It is even more surprising because the government has not yet submitted its strategic procurement plan to the Standing Committee on National Defence.

Before throwing billions of dollars around to buy equipment such as these planes, without any economic benefit for Canada and Quebec, should the government not immediately submit its defence procurement plan to the Standing Committee on National Defence?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, no decision has been made on equipment. The government has not made any decision. When it does, it will be to the benefit, first, of the military, second, of Canadians, and third, of industry, which will get industrial benefits.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, we would like to caution the government. We know that the Prime Minister is a big fan of President Bush and a big fan of the Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Howard.

Does the Prime Minister believe for a second that President Bush or Prime Minister Howard would rush headlong into a $3 billion purchase without the assurance of economic benefits for their respective countries? Never. Why is he trying to do it here and why will he not immediately give us all the facts?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is dealing in theoreticals. We have not made a decision on projects. When we do, there will be industrial benefits. All major projects involve industrial benefits.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to climate change, Canadians have been calling on the government to act for some time, but now the calls are coming internationally.

Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom John Prescott was in Montreal yesterday. By the way, the United Kingdom, a country that is achieving its Kyoto targets and then some and has a very strong economy, perhaps the strongest in 200 years, is calling on Canada to respect its international obligations.

How much more humiliation is Canada going to have to suffer before the government tables a plan to do something about greenhouse gas emissions?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, this government has already begun to table a plan. It tabled a plan in the budget to deal with the development of renewable fuels and to encourage public transport.

Unfortunately, that member and his party voted against those measures and instead voted, I suppose, to support the woeful neglect of the previous government that left us 35% behind target.

We will not accept that. We will move forward.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that when Prime Minister John Howard was here just a few weeks ago, the Prime Minister indicated that Canada would join the so-called Asia-Pacific partnership to deal with greenhouse emissions. This partnership has no timetables, no mechanisms whatsoever, and no targets and goals. In fact, the United States Congress has just pulled $50 million out of this so-called partnership.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Does he intend to go ahead and become part of this Asia-Pacific partnership? If so, will he honour his campaign promise and bring that matter here for a motion and a vote in the House?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the government has made very clear that it intends to work with its partners here in Canada, in North America and around the world to ensure not only that we do our part to reduce greenhouse gases but that we have an effective international treaty in this regard that involves all the countries of the planet.

That is why the Minister of the Environment is co-president of the international process that is taking place right now and, I should say, is doing an excellent job.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, could the Minister of National Defence confirm that under international trade and arms regulations the C-17 aircraft the Canadian government plans to purchase from the United States would carry with it a veto for the U.S. over where in the world that aircraft could be flown?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government has made no decisions on any equipment, as I have said a number of times in this House, but I would like to quote the member, who had a press conference yesterday. He said:

The Conservatives campaigned on strategic airlift acquisitions. Once in government, they refuse to deviate from their political platform.

I can understand why somebody from the Liberal Party would say something like that, because they deviate from their platforms all the time.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, we do not support their political platform. We support the needs of the military, as articulated by General Hillier.

The reality, contrary to a well-established tradition, is that the maintenance of the aircraft would be done by the Americans, the aircraft would spend most of their time on American soil, we do not have any hangars for them, and the Americans would have a veto on where they could fly. Is that the Conservatives' “Canada first” policy, being second in command of our own fleet?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have said previously, we have not made any decisions with respect to equipment.

Let me point out that the member voted against the military. He has no interest in the military. He knows nothing about the military, so he is a hypocrite to be standing up here and talking about the military.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Liberal Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

For the first time in the history of Canada the government is preparing to have its equipment abroad maintained by foreigners, thus giving up its control, its sovereignty and its jobs.

As the minister responsible for economic impact, did the minister at least oppose the awarding of a cozy little $3 billion contract to Boeing, USA?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague has just said, there has been no agreement or transaction yet. So he is speculating on the future, before he knows what it is.

That said, as Minister of Industry, I am indeed responsible for the program of benefits for Canadians. Whatever commitment the government makes will be in keeping with our policy and ensure benefits for all Canadians.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Liberal Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, his responsibility is to ensure a contract of such a size benefits Canadian industry.

Why is he continuing to grovel before the Minister of National Defence?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, there will be economic benefits for Canadians if a contract is signed. That is my role and responsibility. I will assume my role with considerable pleasure, as usual.