This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Also, I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable John van Dongen, Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations of British Columbia, the Honourable Mel Knight, Minister of Energy of Alberta, and the Honourable James Kenyon, Minister of Economic Development of Yukon.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

January 29th, 2007 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, today in question period the new Minister of the Environment read from a particular piece of paper and accused the former Liberal government of spending some $5 billion buying hot air from Russia. The former Conservative minister of the environment got into rather deep trouble for providing the House with false information, including this same false allegation, which in fact has been declared false by the Commissioner for the Environment.

Will the new Minister of the Environment withdraw this untrue assertion and table that specific piece of paper that he was reading from during question period when he made the allegation?

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, what we are getting into here is clearly debate. There is no doubt that there was the provision and potential for that to be done by the government. We have been told by many people that it was the only way that the Liberals could possibly have met the Kyoto commitment. I, therefore, do not see that we have any issue to discuss.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, during question period today, the Minister of National Defence attributed some comments to me that I never made and I would like him to apologize.

What I did say while I was in Afghanistan was that I was incredibly impressed with the calibre of the men and women in the Canadian armed forces. I was impressed with their education, their ability, their training and their professionalism. I never at any time indicated that I did not support my party position. In fact, my party position is my position and a position that I support.

I am offended by what the minister said and I was actually quite surprised that he would make those kinds of comments in the House today. I ask him to apologize.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I am quite sure what the Minister of National Defence was suggesting is that our troops need to be supported both in Afghanistan and back here in Canada. We know the members opposite have a habit of saying one thing when they are meeting the troops and another thing when they are in front of the cameras. I believe that is an entirely accurate assessment of the situation.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I find that difficult to accept as any kind of an apology. I would expect better of the government side of the House.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, on two occasions now arising from question period, one raised by myself and the other by the NDP, government ministers have been demonstrably in the position of providing false information. It is not good enough for some other member of the cabinet to rise in his or her place and say, “Oh, tut, tut, it is not true”. It is true and the ministers need to recant.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The ministers may need to repent, as the hon. member for Wascana said, but they are not present in the chamber, and I can say that but nobody else can, and we will need to wait until we hear from them. There may be other submissions. Obviously the government House leader and his parliamentary secretary have done their best in the circumstances. There may be something else to say--

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

It is not good enough.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It may or may not be but we may hear more later. The Chair has infinite patience and is prepared to await the return of these people in case they have something to say on this point before the Chair makes any decision on the issues that have been raised. I will review the matter and if a decision from the Chair is warranted and important there will be one forthcoming. I can assure the hon. member that this will not just go under the carpet despite his outrage.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 176 petitions.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canadian group of the Interparliamentary Union respecting its participation in the annual parliamentary hearings at the United Nations held in New York on November 13 and 14, 2006.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Art Hanger Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

In accordance with the order of reference of Tuesday, October 17, 2006, your committee has considered Bill C-252, An Act to amend the Divorce Act (access for spouse who is terminally ill or in critical condition), and agreed on Wednesday, December 13, 2006, to report it with amendment.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I would like to designate Thursday, February 1, as an allotted day.

MarriagePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today. The first one is with regard to marriage and that marriage be between one man and one woman and none other.

Age of ConsentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have another petition signed by constituents in my riding asking that the age of consent be raised from 14 to 16.

MarriagePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present petitions from hundreds of people across Manitoba on the marriage issue. These petitions continue to come into our offices.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to reopen the issue of marriage and amend the marriage for civil purposes act in order to promote and defend marriage as the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Age of ConsentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I also would like to present a petition signed by literally hundreds of petitioners. The petitioners call upon Parliament to amend the Criminal Code. The petitioners draw the attention of the House to the fact that youth under the age of 16 are more vulnerable to be pressured into sexual acts than that of youth older than 16, and that currently any adult can legally partake in a sexual act with a minor as young as 12.

The petitioners, therefore, call upon Parliament to enact legislation to protect our children by raising the age of consent to 16.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present another petition of 178 signatures from my riding organized tirelessly by the BC Sustainable Energy Association.

The petition calls upon the government to honour Canada's commitment to the Kyoto accord and to create a plan to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

The NDP's success in pressuring for an all party committee is because of the endless commitment of Canadian citizens and community groups who have raised their voices in protest and forced the issue of climate change to bring it to the federal spotlight. I applaud the BCSEA and all Victorians who have pitched in on this historic campaign.

Labelling of Alcoholic BeveragesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, while I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of a number of constituents and concerned Canadians, we are not happy with the fact that the issue is still before Parliament. I refer to a motion that was passed by the House on April 23, 2001, almost seven years ago, when this House almost unanimously supported my motion for warning labels on beverage containers which would read, “WARNING: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects”.

Here we are, almost seven years later, and nothing has happened, the past government and the present government included.

The petitioners call upon the government to finally live up to its earlier promise and agree to Canadians' demands that action be taken with respect to trying to stop the spread of fetal alcohol syndrome disorder.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 115, 116, 117, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129 and 130.

Question No. 115Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

With regard to unpaid taxes on corporate profits transferred to foreign jurisdictions with lower rates of taxation: (a) how many investigations are currently active; (b) what is the current estimated value of recoverable taxes; (c) what is the current cost per day to the government of monitoring and pursuing the full recovery of these taxes; and (d) what is the total amount of tax recovered from corporations in this regard in each of the past five fiscal years?

Question No. 115Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Saskatchewan

Conservative

Carol Skelton ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Revenue Agency, CRA, has included the following contextual information to provide a framework for its response to the honourable member’s question.

Canada is part of a global trade and financial system. Countries compete to attract investors and trade partners, and this competition extends to tax systems. Countries offer tax concessions and favourable tax rates to all or some industries/investors. Some of these competing countries are tax havens. Every country has the right to structure its tax system to meet its needs and these are issues of tax policy for each country, not for tax administrations.

Residents of Canada must report and pay tax on their worldwide income. The CRA has no view on where Canadian businesses or individuals invest so long as they report their income and pay taxes as required under Canada’s tax laws. The CRA’s concern lies with the abusive use of tax havens; i.e., when taxpayers use bank secrecy laws, or the absence of effective exchange of information with other countries, to conceal assets and income that should be taxed.

The abusive use of tax havens is an element of what is known as “aggressive tax planning”. Aggressive tax planning consists of transactions that offend the object and spirit of the Income Tax Act, the Excise Tax Act, or of treaties. As part of the strategy to combat aggressive tax planning, the CRA established 11 “centres of expertise” across the country in 2005-2006, and created teams of experts from the specialized audit areas of international tax and tax avoidance to, among other things, combat aggressive tax planning and the inappropriate use of tax havens and tax shelters, both domestic and international.

a) In the context mentioned above and at any given time, the CRA has a number of active audit cases of corporations whose business transactions include offshore jurisdictions (though not necessarily lower rate jurisdictions and/or tax havens). As of the end of November 2006, there were 305 such audits underway. (Please note that the CRA uses the term “investigations” to describe suspected cases of criminal tax fraud, whereas “audits” are carried out to ensure compliance with tax laws.)

b) In this context, the CRA refers to “additional taxes assessed” rather than “recoverable taxes”. The value of additional taxes assessed is only known when audits are completed. In 2005-2006, the CRA assessed additional taxes of $174 million directly related to aggressive international tax planning and, in the first six months of 2006 2007, the CRA assessed additional taxes of $215 million.

c) As the number of audits, auditors, and the amount of time spent each day on any specific file can vary at any given time, the CRA does not monitor the cost per day of carrying out its compliance activities. Rather, the CRA captures the total audit time on a file.

d) While the CRA does capture information on the component parts of additional tax assessed for each completed audit, it does not aggregate each of the components across all 300,000 plus compliance actions each year. The CRA does report additional tax assessed in total and for each of its programs such as large business and GST/HST audits in its annual report.

It should be noted that the 2005 federal budget allowed for specific funding for the aggressive international tax planning program. In 2005-2006, the CRA began tracking results related to aggressive international tax planning separately. Statistics are not available for years prior to 2005.

During 2005-2006, the CRA assessed additional taxes of $174 million directly related to aggressive international tax planning and, in the first six months of 2006 2007, the CRA assessed additional taxes of $215 million.