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House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provisions.

Topics

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The minister will say it in a minute, but I have to be able to hear what the minister says. A whole bunch of other members want to hear it too.

We will have some order. The member for Markham—Unionville has asked a question. He is entitled to hear the answer. I am sure he is very interested to hear it.

The hon. Minister of Finance has the floor and we will now hear from the minister with some order in the House.

FinanceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Conservative Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the finance critic opposite for finally admitting this weekend that Canadians are overtaxed. I do have a complaint. If he is going to use lines from my speeches, he should pay royalties.

FinanceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government reminds one of a remake of the Harris government: $3 billion in anticipated revenues that did not come in; $2.6 billion in savings that have not been identified; several billion in asset sales that did not happen. In Ontario, this resulted in the discovery of a $5.6 billion deficit. Imagine what would happen here in the federal government.

Why is the Minister of Finance using economic trickery to fool Canadians?

FinanceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the members opposite in the Liberal Party are so depressed about Canada's great economy. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years. We have the highest rate of engagement in the workforce in 30 years. We have controlled inflation and we will have a great budget on March 19. I hope the member for Wascana enjoys it.

FinanceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it only proves that the member of Parliament for Wascana worked very well when he was the minister of finance.

Before Ontarians fired it for making such a huge financial mess, Mike Harris's government massaged the province's numbers. It announced the sale of assets worth over $2 billion, but all they really collected was $132 million. They were off by 94%.

Currently, the Conservatives are getting ready to sell federal buildings.

Why is the Minister of Finance planning to make the same mistakes for Canadians that his government made in Ontario?

FinanceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the budget will be balanced and we will continue our prudent economic management in Canada. However, there has been a big change in the past year, which is that taxpayers' money is being returned to the taxpayers of Canada. It is being returned to families for the benefit of children in Canada and not to the friends of the Liberal Party referred to by Justice Gomery.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, through a concerted multilateral, multifaceted effort, Canada is helping to build a secure, democratic and economically viable Afghan state. This morning, the Prime Minister announced up to $200 million in additional aid funding for Afghanistan's reconstruction and development.

Could the Minister of International Cooperation share with the House how this funding will be used?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, these funds will be used to strengthen good governance, community development and the microfinance sector. They will also go toward demining and road construction. This new contribution is in addition to the money we have already spent on a number of programs that have produced tangible results.

Last spring, our government decided to do more to help Afghanistan, unlike the former government. This announcement reaffirms our commitment to development and reconstruction. With our whole of government approach and increased cooperation with our partners, we will achieve the desired results.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, there was no plan with the announcement on Afghanistan aid today to change this mission for the better. The recycling of old commitments and a change in the communication plan will not save Afghan lives.

What the government continues to ignore is the role that Pakistan is playing in the insurgency. What the Afghans need is more clean water, electricity and food aid for displaced people, not more tanks.

When will the government make real news and rebalance this mission?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, clearly, the member does not understand the meaning of our mission in Afghanistan. I will give a few examples of the tangible results we are achieving there.

This year, over 300,000 Afghans will receive microcredit. That is double last year's figure. Every month, nearly 12,000 Afghans access microcredit to start businesses and create jobs for themselves. Children are attending school. Nearly a third of these children are girls. Training is also being provided for women.

I repeat, clearly, the member does not understand the meaning of our—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for New Westminster—Coquitlam.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is really sad that even an announcement from the Prime Minister does not change the tired old lines from the government.

Sending leased German tanks to Kandahar will not improve Afghan lives. These are 30 year old tanks designed for fighting in European forests, not the deserts of central Asia. The chief of the land staff told me that the crews on these tanks will see temperatures of up to 60° Celsius by summer.

Why is the government sending Canadian soldiers into battle with tanks that overheat and armour that does not stand up to the new Taliban weapons?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are looking at all possible options to deal with this issue. I am quite confident that in the next few months we will have a solution. We send to Afghanistan the very best equipment we can for our forces and, yes, we intend to win the arms race with the Taliban.

Visitor Rebate ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, on December 20, Nova Scotia's minister of tourism sent a letter to the federal Ministers of Industry and Finance saying that the government's decision to cut the visitor rebate program will negatively impact the tourism industry.

Why did the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance mislead the House by telling it that Nova Scotia supported the decision when all provinces opposed the decision to kill the rebate program that will kill thousands of Canadian tourism jobs?

Visitor Rebate ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the evidence indicated only 3% of tourists used the GST rebate. It was a relatively inefficient program.

I can say, however, that we have heard various representations concerning the issue, particularly with respect to conventions and so on. These are matters that are being taken into consideration in our deliberations in trying to encourage tourism in Canada.

We have also heard representations on behalf of the Canadian Tourism Commission, another important aspect of building up tourism in Canada. These are all important issues, not only for Nova Scotia but for all of Canada.

Visitor Rebate ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister ought to read his mail from provincial ministers who are united in their belief that it is bad public policy to make Canada the only country in the OECD without a visitor rebate program.

On December 4, the industry minister met with all the provincial tourism ministers, all of whom expressed their opposition to the government's decision. The Minister of Industry agreed with their position and offered to champion their position at the federal cabinet table.

Has the Minister of Industry championed their position at the cabinet table or was he just telling them what they wanted to hear?

Visitor Rebate ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada, as the member opposite knows, is spending about $350 million this year to promote tourism in Canada. This is an important challenge for all of us. It is one of Canada's major industries.

We are working hard as we prepare the budget to try to further enhance the support we can offer for tourism in all regions of Canada.

Human ResourcesOral Questions

February 26th, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Garth Turner Conservative Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, last month, of the 160,000 people who entered the workforce, half of them found no work. In fact, the jobless rate has been rising since a low point reached during the last government. It is no wonder when more than $8 billion have been cut from programs such as workplace training, student employment and science and innovation.

The question is simple and direct. Where is the government's plan to train people for the jobs of the 21st century?

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 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 am very puzzled to see the member for Halton in the House today. I thought he had committed to Canadians that if a member of Parliament changed sides, himself for example, there should be a byelection. Perhaps he could go out and ask the people of his constituency the questions.

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Garth Turner Conservative Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I asked a legitimate question of a government in power looking after the interests of Canadians.

Let us think about it: 3,000 jobs lost at Chrysler, 200 jobs lost at Canard, 300 jobs lost at Hershey and that is all the minister and his government can come up with. My constituents and Canadians deserve an answer and they deserve it now.

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:50 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 understand the member's concerns with job losses, at least with regard to himself, since he did not seem to be willing to put that one on the line even though he said before that he would.

However, this is an economy that has been very strong. We are very concerned about the potential layoffs that have been occurring but let us keep in mind that last month was one of the biggest job creation months in the history of Canada.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, women's groups and unions are rallying, calling on the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women to reverse her decision to close 12 of the 16 regional offices of Status of Women Canada this April.

Does the minister intend to agree to the demands of these women's groups, which are asking her to reverse her decision and to restore the funding for Status of Women Canada?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous government, this government will redistribute these administrative savings to projects that help women directly.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am speaking to this government. The minister already confirmed that the $5 million in cuts to Status of Women Canada will affect only administration and that services offered to women will not be affected.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women admit that cutting $5 million from the budget and closing 12 of the 16 regional offices will lead to reduced services for women, whether we like it or not?