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House of Commons Hansard #8 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was taxes.

Topics

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my neighbour to the south, the member of Parliament for York West.

I want to say how pleased I am today to participate in this very important debate about two issues that I think speak to the future of the country and our ability to provide the standard of living and quality of life that Canadians rightly demand of our country and indeed of our governments.

I have had occasion over my career to sit on both sides of the House, and sitting here and listening to the various speeches on both sides reminds me of the story of two governments. I must say that I am quite envious of the Conservative government, because it inherited a wonderful opportunity to build even a better country.

Unfortunately, the story I need to tell is the one about what we were left with. We were left with a $42 billion deficit, high unemployment and high interest rates. Those were very difficult times. It would have been easy for us to throw up our arms in despair. Instead, we chose to roll up our sleeves and we brought about a phenomenal Canadian economic renaissance.

What did we do? I say this to remind Canadians of the excellent economic record of our government. We eliminated the deficit. We paid down the debt. We introduced the largest tax cut in Canadian history. We did not raise taxes, which is in juxtaposition to the present government. We did not raise taxes on low income Canadians; we lowered them. We lowered business and corporate taxes because it made sense, particularly in this particular debate on competitiveness and productivity.

We committed over $12 billion in new funding for research. It was interesting to note that an earlier speaker on the government's side said that Canada leads in research and development. That is true, but we on this side actually set that record. That is a fundamental difference between our record and theirs.

I guess the Conservatives have had the opportunities to show their stuff, as we say, early on in their government cycle. What did Canadians see? The version of the Conservative Party's view on increasing productivity is to actually make cuts in human resources development, literacy programs and post-secondary education. All those things are very important ingredients in developing a competitive strategy in a productivity enhancement plan for the country.

However, early on, we saw that although the Conservatives raised the taxes on low income Canadians, they also participated in the income trust fiasco, the fiasco that really wiped out $25 billion in investments for thousands of small investors.

The other issue that I will raise now is the issue of interest deductibility, described by some people as the worst tax policy in 35 years, which essentially would have sent our businesses out into the international marketplace with one hand tied behind their backs.

Therefore, I wonder whether the Conservative government understands that it has to really change its view on how to increase the productivity and competitiveness of a country. That is not done by sending the wrong signals to the markets. That is not done by hindering the potential of our businesses, because at the end of the day, it is our businesses in the private sector that are generating these jobs.

We learned that early on. We did all we could as a government to empower the private sector to generate jobs and we were very successful. We were able to lower the unemployment rate from double digits to create over three million jobs. That is the sort of record that we had.

When we look at other statistics, we invested billions in post-secondary education. On the corporate tax side to generate economic growth, to reward individuals and businesses, we lowered taxes. On the corporate tax side the Liberals reduced the tax rate from 28% to 21%. That spurred on economic activity. What was interesting was that the lower the taxes, the more revenue we generated for the government.

The facts speak for themselves. The Conservatives have had a year and some odd months in power and they have already made serious mistakes. Canadians are wondering, actually they are beyond wondering, they are beginning to believe that in fact the Conservatives lack the competence in economic management to bring about the type of changes that we were able to build.

We wonder whether the Conservatives have learned anything. The first thing we did was we established a very stable economy: low interest rates, low inflation, paid down the debt. We also did something else. It was not just about taxes and getting the macro-economic environment right. We also invested in people. We cannot be productive as a nation if we do not invest and put people first in our agenda.

The great opportunity that we have had and which was clearly illustrated during our years in office was the way we dealt with the issue of labour as it relates to the marketplace and as it relates to immigration. The long term issue that we face in this country is indeed an aging society. Immigrants and aboriginal Canadians provide our greatest hope to address skill shortages. Almost 100% of all new labour opportunities as it relates to human resources will be through immigration.

On an issue related to immigration, what in fact did the Tories--I should not say the Tories--what did the Conservatives, the Reform Alliance do on the accreditation of foreign credentials? We have seen a cut in investments in that area. We wonder why that would happen. Do they prefer not maximizing the human resources potential of immigrants? Is that what that government is about? Why cut in that area? Why cut literacy programs? It is almost inconceivable that they would engage in the type of cuts that reduce opportunities for people in this country, particularly those whom we will depend upon to give us the type of skills that this country and the marketplace require.

I cannot cover all the areas because of the time restrictions, but I can tell the House that I have not been at all impressed with the Conservative government. I have not been impressed with the way the Conservatives dealt with issues like interest deductibility. I am also not very impressed with the fact that they do not realize that at the end of the day we have to invest in research and development, we have to invest in people, we have to invest in post-secondary education because the wealth of our country, the wealth of our future will be generated by ideas that come from between our ears. To not recognize that is a major flaw.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I sat and listened to the member's speech. I had the opportunity of chairing a committee once in a while when the member was present. I appreciated his questions then, as I did his speech today. His speech and his questions all talked about history, the way it used to be under the Liberal government and the things that the Liberals would have done if they would have had another mandate, the things they could have done if they would not have been thrown out of government, and the things that they should have done.

Today it was very similar in that he talked a great deal about his perception of what their last 13 years was all about. Unfortunately, not all those were the exact facts. That is why Canadians said “no more” to the Liberal vision of what this country was.

This fall our finance minister will bring forward an economic update, a report to Parliament about where Canada is.

The member spoke about the markets. The markets are strong. The economy is strong. The member said that the markets are going to react negatively to this kind of government and the direction it is going, but the markets are strong. I would like the member to explain what he meant when he mentioned market weakness.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, what I meant is that I have never seen a government that has done so little with so much. That is the reality. I cannot believe how a government that inherits all these surpluses is not investing in immigrants, is not investing in women, is not investing in research and development, is not investing in the engines of growth.

I hope the hon. member is not telling me that the performance of the finance minister has been excellent.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

An hon. member

Outstanding.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

The finance minister has been flip-flopping left, right and centre. And I can tell the member something. I think that the Prime Minister has also recognized that.

What happened to the Minister of Finance in reference to one of the key cabinet committees? That is a signal in fact that the Prime Minister has concerns about the Minister of Finance and the way he has handled the cases and files that I raised. That is the issue.

I do want to point out to Canadians watching this that the Liberal government left to the Conservative government a phenomenal opportunity to do things better, but unfortunately, the Conservatives are failing them.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his speech, but I think there was a bit of hypocrisy in it. The member talked about how the Liberals left the country in such great shape when Canadian voters booted them out, quite frankly.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Thanks to the NDP.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

It is an equal opportunity here.

What we have seen is a continuation by the Conservatives of failed Liberal policies when it comes to housing. On Monday the UN special rapporteur talked about the fact that social housing in this country actually started to go off the rails in the mid-1990s because of Liberal policies. We now have a national emergency in this country around housing.

Could the member explain the Liberal failure to address the housing crisis in this country?

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, in order for me to state that we had a failure in reference to our government as it relates to housing would be to lie to Canadians and I am not going to do that. The relationship we had with the municipalities and the relationship we had with the provinces in reference to housing was excellent.

I will agree with the hon. member, though, that the Conservative government's record on that particular issue is lousy.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have an opportunity to discuss this motion. In fact, I want to read it into the record so that those who are watching are fully aware of exactly what it is that we are discussing today. We are discussing the following motion:

That, in the opinion of this House, while reducing personal taxes and significantly reducing corporate taxes to make the economy more competitive, and reducing debt, the government must also drive greater Canadian productivity by making investments in things such as:

physical infrastructure, new technologies, research and development, better access to post-secondary education, making it easier for immigrants to use their skills and increasing the number of skilled workers in Canada; and the government must avoid making mistakes such as breaking its promises not to tax income trusts, eliminating interest deductibility and proposing to end prudence from the federal budgeting process.

All of those are very important issues that we on this side of the House want to make sure we bring to the attention of the Canadian public.

My speech today is going to be twofold. First, I want to take the opportunity to remind the House and everyone watching at home, including my constituents in York West, of the outstanding progress that the Liberal government made on so many of those very files during the nearly 13 years that it was in office. Then, if I have any time left, I will attempt to summarize some of the many breaches of trust and broken promises to which the minority Conservative government has subjected Canadians.

The Liberal government struck a fantastic new deal for cities, which I was very much a part of and on which I worked very hard. Our cities across Canada were very much in need of that. We pledged $5 billion over five years in gas tax revenues to help cities and communities, something they are currently enjoying because of the Liberal government. This would have risen to $2 billion annually thereafter. We will have to wait to see if that is still on the agenda.

As part of the new deal, the Liberal government also committed to investing up to $800 million to improve public transit nationwide, something that we continue to hear about. We know how important it is when dealing with a variety of environmental issues.

We signed 12 provincial and territorial gas tax agreements. More than 95% of Canadians living in municipalities would have benefited from $600 million in funding in 2006 alone.

The Liberals' budget 2004 included a full GST rebate for cities and communities, freeing up $7 billion for municipal investments across Canada over the next 10 years, something they very much needed. Our budget 2005 also committed to renewing the $4 billion Canada strategic infrastructure fund to continue to give municipalities the funding they needed to improve local infrastructure and for local investments.

We know that the cities are the hearts of our communities and certainly need the ongoing support from all of us in the federal government. I have yet to hear any of that in the throne speech or in any of the intentions of the government today.

In fact, the Liberals designed infrastructure programs that delivered over $12 billion in funding from 1993 to 2005. The Conservatives have tried to reannounce our projects and all kinds of funding, but Canadians are not fooled. I asked the Minister of Transport last session how many buses and railcars we could buy with his empty promises. There is still no answer on that one and there are still no more buses or railcars.

We all know that research and development is critical to Canada's future. The Liberal government had committed more than $3 billion for research and regional development and pledged to invest $810 million over six years in ideas and enabling technology, which is Canada's future and its strength.

The Liberals' investments for the three federal granting councils, federally funded research universities and hospitals and genomics research are helping to position Canada as a world leader in research and development. These investments continue to be critical for our country to continue to be a leader in R and D and to attract and retain the best and the brightest.

The Liberal government pledged $200 million in sustainable energy, science and technology, and more than $2 billion to help strengthen Canada's ability to prosper in a global knowledge-based economy, with an increased emphasis on new funding for university-based research.

While we are speaking of universities, the Liberal government knew how important it was to invest in Canada's future through post-secondary education. Many of us have met with students who have their lobby week here on the Hill and they have stressed to us just how important it is for more investment.

We Liberals know that we must invest in our students and ensure that they have the tools they need to succeed in life. In fact, in our 2006 election platform we had proposed to expand Canada access grants to cover all four years of study.

We also had proposed to develop a fifty-fifty plan which would have paid for half of the tuition of all Canadian students for both first and last year of study, and to conduct a comprehensive review of student assistance in order to ensure that everyone has access to a university education to help build our great country. We also committed to provide additional funding for Canadian students studying abroad and to make a 50% increase in funding for graduate scholarships.

These Liberal initiatives were very popular in my riding of York West where I am proud to say I have the great York University, home to many students who are really leading the way here in Canada.

Just this week I had the opportunity to meet with students from York University through a meeting set up by the Canadian Federation of Students. They were clearly concerned about, “the lack of needed attention given to post-secondary education by the current government”. Two students from York University, Ben Keen and Fuad Abdi, also drew to my attention the need for a new grants program to replace the millennium scholarship foundation, which will expire in 2009.

What is the Conservative government currently doing to help post-secondary students? I went through the throne speech and it was shocking to find that the words “students” and “post-secondary” do not even appear in the government's document. I guess that was just another oversight on its part.

The Liberal government was acting to help students. Here are some additional examples. In 2004, my Liberal government established a new Canada learning bond to help lower income families save for post-secondary education.

In November 2005, we also committed $550 million to extend Canada access grants to 55,000 students from low income families in all years of undergraduate studies. For graduate students, we had committed $210 million to increase the number of available Canada graduate scholarships.

We had committed to investing $2.2 billion over five years for student financial assistance to address access, affordability, debt management, and service delivery. Members can tell where our priorities clearly were.

To support the capacity of Canada's universities and colleges and to provide high quality post-secondary education, we earmarked $1 billion for post-secondary infrastructure, another high pressure item that we were hearing about from all universities across Canada.

We were also investing more than $10 billion in programs to provide better opportunities for Canadians, including $4 billion more for post-secondary education. But the Conservatives have turned their backs on post-secondary education.

Students are not the only people the Conservatives have turned their backs on. Many seniors have also suffered at the hands of this government and the Prime Minister and his trusty sidekick the finance minister. The Prime Minister promised that his government would not tax income trusts, and that is exactly what he did, thereby costing seniors and other people $25 billion in lost income.

I am glad to have had an opportunity to get some points across on how important our productivity agenda is and how important it is to continue to build Canada and to invest in Canada.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's speech and quite frankly I am getting a little nauseous over here because a number of things were omitted from her speech on what the Liberal government did and certainly what it did not do.

In 1993 the Liberals ran on a number of platforms. One was to reduce the cost of post-secondary education. That doubled. They talked about a commitment to health care. Wait times doubled and many Canadians do not have doctors.

The Liberals talked about eliminating the GST. Now they do not even support reducing that GST burden on Canadians. Let us talk about some other things they did. Liberal members ran an illegal kickback scheme. The Gomery commission talked about that. There was also the HRDC boondoggle. The Liberals cut funding to the RCMP and then presided over the year of the gun in Toronto. That is something to be proud of.

We have this motion in front of us today. That member is opposing the direction the government is going, but I must tell her that this government is getting results on things like infrastructure.

She talked about students and post-secondary education. Let me just hone in on one thing because there was so much that she talked about.

Her government cut post-secondary education support. Her government cut $26 billion to health care and post-secondary education. The member might want to refer to the 1995 budget. We have actually put in a 40% increase. The next time the member goes to York University, she should talk about the 40% increase to post-secondary education.

I would really like to hear what she has to say about the 40% increase to post-secondary school funding that we proposed.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me set the record straight for the member. Evidently he does not know what the past history is all about. When the Liberals came into government in 1993, we found ourselves not with a $13 billion surplus as the government has now. What we found ourselves with was a $42 billion debt. That is what we had.

We did not have the opportunity to go scattering money all over the place and trying to buy people's votes. We had to turn around and make some very hard, serious cuts because Canada was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was a Conservative government that left us with a $42 billion deficit and no one else. We had to make the cuts that we had to make in order to--

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I remind all hon. members that when a member is giving a speech or responding to a question that the rest of us will remain silent. It is very difficult for the Chair to hear when there is so much noise back and forth.

There are hon. members, such as the member for Prince Albert, who wish to ask a question. I will do my best to recognize him at the appropriate time.

I will go on with some questions and comments. The hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have immense respect for the hon. member, for her history as a former Metro Toronto councillor, and her involvement in the report which led to the recognition and the creation of a secretary of state for municipalities.

In the field of municipalities, I would like to ask the hon. member, in light of her comments, whether she feels that the government has enough respect for municipalities as an order of government? This is particularly in light of some comments made on the local cable television show by the member for Nepean—Carleton showing the ultimate disrespect for mayors and councillors in his own riding, let alone what he and the government think of reeves and councillors throughout this country who are indeed the backbone. Does the member think there is sufficient respect on that side for municipal representatives?

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think we have already seen by the actions that the government has taken that it has no interest in municipalities at all.

Where the Liberal government was moving to have our cities and our municipalities as a partner and working together to ensure Canada was strong and healthy, the Conservative government has no interest in getting involved in cities.

We have clearly seen that in the conversations that the government has had. There is nothing in the throne speech nor anything in the government's vision that it cares about what is going on in municipalities.

Municipalities are the heart of this country. We need to be investing in them and working with them to ensure that we have a strong and successful Canada. That is the direction that I believe we need to be going in and we should be continuing to go in.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Jeanne-Le Ber.

I have looked at the Liberal motion and two points stand out. First, the motion calls on the government to significantly reduce corporate taxes in order to make the economy more competitive. Second, the motion calls for investments in physical infrastructure, new technologies and research and development.

I would like to point out that we are talking about industries and tax reductions. When we talk about industries, these tax reductions apply to all companies, even the oil companies. In my humble opinion and the opinion of some people in my riding, these companies are already making money hand over fist. They do not have the same sort of problems as other companies, and yet they are given tax breaks. I think it is absurd.

This House is aware that in February 2007 the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology released a report containing 22 recommendations. As I said, it was released in February 2007, and the budget was tabled in March 2007. How did the government respond to those 22 recommendations?

I would remind this House that work on the report began in May 2006. I sit on the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, and it has been working since then on the issue of industries because of the rising dollar, the increase in oil prices and all the problems facing industry. All the political parties have worked to find solutions to the problems affecting Canadian and Quebec companies and to save them from the impact of emerging countries such as China.

As we know, many people work on a committee. Our committee has at least 15 members, apart from the translators. In all, about 20 people work on this committee.

It took from May to February, nearly a year, to prepare a report containing 22 recommendations. When the budget was brought down in March, the month after these recommendations were made, not one complete recommendation, not even half a recommendation, was adopted. The only recommendation that was adopted in part was the first one, which called for depreciation over five years.

What did the Conservatives do as a good government? They accepted the first recommendation and spread it out over two years. They did not even cut it by half; they cut it by more than half. After working for one year, they took one recommendation and cut it by half. I wonder whether or not the work done in this House is productive? Is the government listening?

Furthermore, this report was adopted by a majority. All political parties agree that these recommendations should be adopted and implemented. But no, none of these recommendations, with the exception of half of one, were retained.

Let us move forward in time to the throne speech. Almost every MP received a copy of the letter from the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition addressed to the Prime Minister. I will read an excerpt from that letter.

We are writing as the representatives of Canada’s leading value-adding industries to acknowledge the initiatives that your government has taken in support of Canadian manufacturing. We now urge you to go further by making manufacturing a priority in the upcoming Speech from the Throne, and implementing on an urgent basis the 22 recommendations unanimously agreed to by all parties in the report on manufacturing competitiveness tabled earlier this year by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology.

Canadian manufacturing industries are in jeopardy. The only party in this House that cannot see that is the Conservative Party. They have no idea. They think they can just let things be and people will work things out. Not so, according to the coalition, which says that we will not get out of this alone and that the government should do something to help. Unfortunately, the government is doing nothing at all to help.

Like their counterparts the world over, Canadian manufacturers have to respond to market globalization. We must not forget that this is about globalization, and I will come back to that. They also have to deal with the emergence of a number of newly industrialized manufacturing powerhouses, such as China, India and Brazil, and with the shortage of skilled labour.

The committee was directed to analyze the entire manufacturing sector, and when it released its report, the Canadian dollar was worth 80¢. Now the dollar is worth $1.03. At the time, everyone thought that the price of gas, at 85¢ per litre, was exorbitant, but now it costs 96¢ per litre, and sometimes as much as $1 or $1.04 per litre.

There is a growing gap between our industries and the emerging nations. Yet our government is doing nothing about it. As my colleague, the member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, might say, “zip, zilch, zero”.

This is a strong statement. Members of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition include Serge Lavoie of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, Bob Elliott of the Canadian Printing Industries Association, Ron Watkins of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, Mark Nantais of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, and Pierre Boucher of the Cement Association of Canada. Over 20 presidents of various associations signed the letter, hoping that the government will not negate their year-long effort to develop these 22 recommendations by following up on just one of them, and then only halfway. I think that the presidents of these associations are smart enough to recognize the work accomplished by the committee. They want the government to implement their recommendations.

Despite job losses in industry, the Conservative government insists that everything is fine, that there is no problem, that there are hundreds of jobs out there. Sure there are hundreds of jobs out there. All along the highway, there are signs saying, “We're hiring”.

Something else to consider, however, is an article published in yesterday's Journal de Montréal. Our current situation is often compared to that of the baby boomers in their day. The article states:

The Institut de la statistique du Québec just published a comprehensive study on the pay and working conditions of young workers aged 15 to 29. Entitled “Réalités des jeunes sur le marché du travail en 2005”, the report methodically details the participation of today's youth in the labour market, the characteristics of their jobs and their working conditions.

The article concludes:

The only problem: although today's youth have more jobs available to them than the baby boomers did in their day, the quality of these jobs is often inferior.

For instance, highly paid jobs in the manufacturing sector, which employed 24.5% of young people in 1976, today represents only 15% of their employment. Conversely, the hotel and restaurant sector employed only 4.6% of young people in 1976 and now provides work for 11.3%.

Is there a difference between the pay in manufacturing jobs and the pay in hospitality jobs? Yes, there is a difference. Indeed, it pays much better to work in the manufacturing sector than in the restaurant sector, by about $7.25 an hour.

If the government wants to do something, in some way, to help not only Canadian industry but especially industry in Quebec, it must stop playing at the peewee level. It must show some backbone. Not only must the government recognize that members have unanimously supported the recommendations, but it must implement them. However, it refuses to do this.

As for the emerging countries, my colleague, the hon. member for—

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with much interest to the presentation by my colleague, the hon. member for Shefford, with whom I have been fortunate to work in the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. I also worked on drafting this unanimous report, which received support from the representatives from every party and was received favourably by the manufacturing coalitions in Quebec and Canada, and by labour unions such as the FTQ.

This report included 22 recommendations that allowed our manufacturing industries to cope with global competition, to structure themselves with tax support, tax credits for research and development, and refunds for companies that do not make huge profits. All the hon. members of this House who are members of the committee ratified this report. However, today, almost a year later, only one of the 22 recommendations has been implemented.

I would like my colleague to tell me whether it is because of ideology that the Conservatives do not want to carry out these recommendations. Do they not understand the message from the Quebec federation of chambers of commerce, that there is currently a major problem with manufacturing jobs in Quebec's economy? Jobs are disappearing by the thousands and are being replaced with other jobs that, unfortunately, pay far less.

Would it not be important for the Conservative government to implement the 22 recommendations in the unanimous report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology on the manufacturing sector?

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. First of all, I would like to tell him that I am sure that the Conservative members and government carefully read the 22 recommendations in the committee's report. However, I think that the Conservative government suffers from Alzheimer's—it does not remember either.

As for emerging countries in Asia or elsewhere, my colleague, the member for Terrebonne—Blainville, introduced Bill C-411, An Act to amend the Special Import Measures Act (domestic prices). The purpose of this bill is to control the dumping of Asian products taking place.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, in commenting on the last question that was asked of the Bloc member from his own colleague, it is very obvious that this report was only issued last February or March, and that the government responded very favourably to the 22 recommendations that were listed in the report. The minister has come back very favourably on 21 of the recommendations. The throne speech did address many of those recommendations in a very positive way.

Canadians across the country, especially those living in Quebec, agree that Canada needs to have a priority in infrastructure and modernized infrastructure. Does the Bloc member not understand the importance of the $37 billion investment in the throne speech, which he voted against, much of which would go to his own province of Quebec?

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The honourable member for Shefford has one minute left.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, this just proves what I said earlier about the government suffering from Alzheimer's. It took not one of the 22 recommendations. When the budget came up, the government took into account half of a recommendation. That is Alzheimer's.

Furthermore, there are two things the government did not even address in the throne speech. They said they would think about it. It is not even clear; I do not know what will happen. And today they are on their high horse saying that the Conservative government will support the manufacturing sector, but they are abandoning it.

The manufacturing sector is very important to Quebec. If the Conservatives do not understand that, they should take another look at the report. Maybe then they will understand.

This report was unanimously adopted. If they did not understand, they should come and see me and I will explain it.

Violent CrimeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, my constituents are pleased that our Conservative government is introducing comprehensive legislation to tackle violent crime. This issue is a very serious concern in my riding of Palliser.

Regina has once against been named the murder capital of Canada. This week, a 94-year-old Regina resident was attacked in his River Heights home by an unknown assailant.

Last week, a 16-year-old student from Sheldon-Williams Collegiate was shot in her Regina home. A 16-year-old male has been charged with attempted murder.

Unlike the NDP and Liberal opposition, the Conservative government is committed to getting tough on crime. We will take further steps to tackle youth crime. We want to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act to send a clear message that these heinous acts will not be tolerated in our society.

Tackling crime is a top priority for our Conservative government all the time, not just at election time. We are taking action to make communities safer across Canada.

MacedoniaStatements By Members

October 25th, 2007 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, on September 20, 2007, the Conservative government decided to recognize the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as the Republic of Macedonia.

The dispute over the use of the name “Macedonia” has been referred to the United Nations. All UN member states have agreed to accept the final agreement resulting from negotiations between Greece and FYROM.

The Prime Minister's decision to unilaterally bypass the process of negotiation endorsed by the UN was done with no consultations in Canada and it threatens to unnecessarily divide Canadians. It is no surprise that the government has not even publicly announced the change. Canadians had to hear about it from a foreign government.

On Saturday, October 27, 2007, thousands of Canadians will rally on Parliament Hill to express their displeasure at this decision. I am issuing an invitation to the Prime Minister to come to the rally and explain his rationale for this misguided decision.

Once again, the Prime Minister is demonstrating his total lack of understanding of international affairs and is pitting one Canadian against another.