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House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Human RightsStatements By Members

March 20th, 2007 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year we celebrated the 98th annual International Women's Day and joined with people across the globe calling for greater women's equality.

Among those demonstrators was a group of courageous women in Iran demanding equal rights from their government and changes to discriminatory laws. Among the many activists arrested, two remain in indefinite detention. For their courage in calling for an end to practices such as the stoning of women, these women have been charged as being threats to national security.

I have spoken many times on the issue of Iran's record on human rights violations, and Canadians have watched as our citizens have been murdered by the regime, others have been detained indefinitely and human rights disregarded. Now again we see this genocidal, homophobic, anti-Semitic, extreme fundamentalist regime working to revoke the rights of people, both in Iran and among its neighbours.

They must know that Canada and indeed the world will never condone their vitriolic hatred and will always side with human rights and equality. Canada and the world must stand united in the face of tyranny.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, B.C.'s economy is strong and will be even stronger as a result of this Conservative budget.

We are making record investments in B.C: an additional $410 million for the Pacific Gateway, bringing our commitment to $1 billion; $33 billion in infrastructure money which B.C. can leverage; $185 million for B.C. from the gas tax fund; $15 million for the Brain Research Centre at UBC; $3.1 billion in the Canada health transfer; $1.3 billion in the Canada social transfer; $140 million for post-secondary education in B.C.; $200 million to support B.C.'s green plan for our ecotrust initiative; our tax credit will put $174 million into the pockets of B.C. families; as well as the purchase of three new coast guard vessels on the west coast.

By the way, the Liberals and the NDP will be voting against all of this. This is only a partial list of what we are doing for British Columbia in this budget. British Columbia is strong and will become stronger when this budget passes and becomes law.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, with yesterday's budget, never has so little been done with so much. There is no money to make us more competitive. There is no money to help students. There is no real money or plan to protect our environment or fight climate change. There is no meaningful money to improve the lives of Canadian aboriginals. There is no broad tax relief for average Canadians. There is an approach to the equalization program that is so divisive that the chief economist for the TD Bank called it a mess.

The Prime Minister already wasted a year with the 2006 budget. Why is he forcing Canada to waste another year with this budget?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course the leader of the Liberal Party is wrong. Every single thing he mentioned is included in the budget.

I think what Canadians have been wondering about over the past 24 hours is the most unfocused budget reaction they have ever seen from a leader of the opposition in this country. Perhaps the hon. member will confirm to the House that the reason for that is, according to the Globe and Mail this morning, he had actually decided to oppose the budget yesterday before even reading it.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

No, Mr. Speaker. What is true is that it is an unfocused budget.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says the government broke its promise to make Canada more competitive. The Child Care Advocacy Association says that the budget failed on child care. The Toronto Star says that this is an unfocused budget that ignores the poor. The Sierra Club says that the government is basically ignoring the climate crisis.

On the three pillars of economic prosperity, social justice and environmental sustainability, why has the government failed Canadians?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this budget contains important tax reductions that Canadians have asked for, that Canadians want to see. This budget contains popular and desirable social, environmental and economic measures that have been demanded by Canadians. Every one of these things is popular.

The Leader of the Opposition does not single out for criticism any single initiative in this budget, but he is going to vote against every one of them because he already made up his mind before he read it. That is something he will have to explain in the next election.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that I would have been very pleased if this was a good budget. I am voting against it because it is a bad budget.

The Prime Minister wants me to single out a measure in this budget: the tax increase that will hit the least fortunate and the middle class. He is increasing from 15% to 15.5% the lowest bracket, under $35,000. He is pocketing $1.4 billion that belongs to Canadian families.

Why this tax increase when he has such a good financial situation available to him thanks to the good Liberal management of the past few decades?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, last year and this year we cut taxes for families. The Liberal Party is going to vote against cuts for families.

More importantly, the Leader of the Liberal Party is going to vote against fixing the fiscal imbalance. Why? Because he wants all of Canada's money to go to the federal government for it to run provincial jurisdictions. That is not our take on federalism. Furthermore, that philosophy is rejected by every party in Quebec.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's own budget admits that lagging productivity is “the principal domestic risk” facing the Canadian economy, but the government has no plan. New funding to help Canadians send their kids to college has been postponed. Initiatives to help new Canadians get the job training they need have been back ended. There is nothing in the budget to help aboriginal Canadians get on their feet.

Why has the government failed to address what its own budget calls the chief risk facing the jobs of ordinary Canadian families?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that yesterday's budget provided $800 million in new money for post-secondary education. It is very important.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

You are looking rather mean, Jim.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Conservative Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Ralph, stop yelling for a minute and I will quote something.

Claire Morris of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada said, “This kind of support for the next generation of Canadian researchers will help launch exciting new ideas and innovation across the country”. Students feel the same way. Phillippe Ouellette of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations said, “Students have been pushing for a dedicated transfer payment for years now”--

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no money this coming year. It has been back ended and the minister well knows that.

Tomorrow's jobs require action right now. Canada has to stay competitive in the global economy, but this government is only planning for the next election.

How can Canada become a global economic leader with such a timid government?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, about research and applied research, Sharon Maloney of Polytechnics Canada said:

We're pleased that the government recognizes the need to invest in applied research and training.

When talking about the manufacturing sector, a number of people have commented on the importance, the shot of adrenalin that it means for manufacturing in Canada, for the forestry industry in Canada. The two year capital cost allowance write-off unanimously recommended by the industry committee of the House of Commons will fulfill that.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister thinks that he has finally fixed the fiscal imbalance through this budget. That is not true. According to the Séguin report, about which there is a general consensus in Quebec, any genuine resolution of the fiscal imbalance would have to include a permanent transfer—and I emphasize the word “permanent”—of tax room so that Quebec is no longer at the mercy of the changing mood in Ottawa.

How can the Prime Minister claim to have fixed the fiscal imbalance when his budget does not contain any permanent tax room transfers?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this budget does contain permanent transfers and increases in all the transfers to Quebec and the other provinces.

The Bloc leader referred to the Séguin report. I can tell him that the amounts turned over to the provinces in this budget are even larger than those mentioned by Mr. Séguin.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree that there are money transfers, but I am talking about tax transfers. That means the transfer of tax room, of tax points or GST points, or some combination of the two. That is what Mr. Séguin was talking about. If this is not done, there is no assurance that in three years another government or even this one will not decide something else.

Does the Prime Minister realize that the only way that Quebec can gain control over the money it needs to take care of its own jurisdictions is for it to have the necessary tax room?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there are different ways of fixing the fiscal imbalance. We have proposed monetary transfers to the provinces. In the end, the result is the same.

I saw Mr. Boisclair’s reaction last night. He said that the fiscal imbalance could never be fixed except through a sovereign Quebec.

We have fixed the fiscal imbalance and created a strong, prosperous Quebec in a united Canada.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, that sounds very familiar: that is exactly what Pierre Elliott Trudeau used to say.

The Séguin report, which described and quantified the fiscal imbalance, clearly recommended that federal spending power be curtailed in areas under provincial jurisdiction.

Can the Minister of Finance explain why, in his budget speech yesterday, he had no plan to eliminate the federal government's spending power in this regard? Why did he not make any specific statements about that?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government wants to permanently regulate and control the federal government's spending power in areas under provincial jurisdiction. As I said, the very existence of that spending power contradicts the spirit of federalism.

I hope that, in the future, we will have discussions with a Quebec government that is committed to improving the Canadian federation.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, all parties in Quebec agree that to limit federal spending power, Quebec has to have the right to opt out with full compensation and no strings attached.

How can the Minister of Finance say that he has done something to limit federal spending power when there is absolutely no possibility of opting out with full compensation and no strings attached, which is what all political parties in Quebec are asking for right now?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, we want to control federal spending power. I hope that we will have opportunities to discuss this issue with a Quebec government that is committed to upholding the Canadian federation. It is important that all Quebeckers continue to benefit from all of the advantages of the Canadian federation and its economy.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, with the Conservative Party budget, the gap between the rich and the poor will continue to grow wider and wider.

Tuition fees will rise. Once again, employment insurance has been ignored, and the worst gap of all is still that which separates aboriginal people from the rest of us.

There is a lot of talk about the fiscal imbalance, but no one is talking about the social imbalance.

Why did the Prime Minister choose CEOs over ordinary Canadians?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is not at all the case. The benefits of this budget will be felt by workers and their families. It is important to help those who are receiving social assistance and who want to work.

It is also important to help businesses that are in trouble and to ensure that large corporations pay their fair share of taxes. That is what this budget does.