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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

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker--

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. Order, please. We have moved on. The Minister of Finance has the floor to answer the question from the member for Labrador. We do not need supplementaries yet. The hon. Minister of Finance has the floor.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Conservative Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, not only is there a historic level of funding for infrastructure confirmed in this budget of, as I said, $33 billion over the course of the next several years for infrastructure, rebuilding the infrastructure of Canada neglected by the party opposite for 13 years, but also there are important social programs that I am sure the member for Labrador cares about, like the working income tax benefit, WITB, which will help people get over the welfare wall, including aboriginal Canadians.

This is an issue that has been raised often by Chief Fontaine and other aboriginal leaders.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister made a promise on equalization. True to form, this is promise made and promise broken.

The way the government has set this up my province is forced to choose either the Atlantic accord or the complete exclusion of non-renewable resources but with the cap. The Conservatives have promised it all only to get votes.

My question is specifically for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Will he stand in the House, right here, right now, and condemn this betrayal of Newfoundland and Labrador?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, order. The right hon. Prime Minister has the floor. Order.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador asked repeatedly that the government reject the recommendation of the O'Brien Commission that would have put a cap on the equalization benefits of the Atlantic accord.

I heard what Premier Danny Williams said yesterday. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that is completely untrue. There is no cap on the Atlantic accord.

The Atlantic accord is preserved in this budget and preserved due to the good work of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and of course other members of our Newfoundland and Labrador caucus. Promise made, promise kept.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, at least five premiers are very unhappy with yesterday's budget. In Saskatchewan the Conservative promise about equalization was torn to shreds. It is the biggest sucker punch since Todd Bertuzzi.

Saskatchewan was told that non-renewable natural resources would be out of the equalization formula. Saskatchewan was not told that an overriding cap would reduce the Conservative promise to a complete farce. This is dishonest in the extreme.

Why does the government treat the people of Saskatchewan with such utter contempt?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government, first of all, in dealing with the fiscal imbalance, took the principal recommendations made by an independent, non-partisan expert committee. We then modified those recommendations to make sure they included our commitments, including our commitment to have the full exclusion of natural resources.

Under this particular proposal under the budget, Saskatchewan will receive the largest per capita increase in equalization benefits of any province and guess what, not surprising, the member opposite from Regina is going to vote against Saskatchewan.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's spin doctors are peddling this jiggery-pokery about per capita numbers for Saskatchewan, but they just do not cut it. Ask the Conservative opposition leader in Saskatchewan. They add together dogs, cats, horses, chickens and eggs, and concoct a smokescreen to hide the hard reality that the Conservatives did not tell Saskatchewan the truth.

Much of this Conservative flim-flam is based on one time money for items that have already been nullified by tax increases or programs cuts. It is a fraud.

As with income trusts, why does the government have such trouble telling the truth?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Another question is, Mr. Speaker, why does the hon. member opposite have trouble hearing the truth?

The truth is that the Saskatchewan government just got the best deal that any Saskatchewan government ever had in history from this government. On top of that the people of Saskatchewan, for agriculture, infrastructure and all kinds of major initiatives by this government, will get the best deal they have ever received.

The only party they will ever get that deal from is this party because that party would not give it to them and would take it away.

Prime Minister of JapanOral Questions

March 20th, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, could the minister outline what action he has taken to express his concerns to Japan over Prime Minister Abe's statements that he saw no evidence that coercion was used by Japanese military authorities to force so-called comfort women into service in military brothels?

Prime Minister of JapanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, Canada has enormous sympathy for comfort women who endured great suffering during World War II. The abuse of the comfort women is a deplorable story and these wrongs and their enormously painful era should not be forgotten but should be addressed in a compassionate and progressive way.

They deserve our respect and our dignity. I relayed those sentiments when I spoke to the Japanese foreign minister this week. I sought clarification on the issues of the apology to these women and the regrettable comments of the prime minister of Japan. He confirmed that thee government would stand by the 1993 apology made by chief cabinet secretary, Kono, and previous prime ministers that Japan acknowledges the involvement of military authorities of the day, extends its sincere apologies and remorse to all of those comfort women.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, listen to these words:

The Prime Minister has the moral responsibility to respect the will of the House....

That is a quote from Hansard of April 13, 2005, less than two years ago, made by the Conservative Prime Minister.

Recently, the House adopted a seniors charter that would lower drug and dental costs for everyone over 65 and the veterans first motion that would help extend services and benefits to our veterans. None of these measures were in yesterday's budget.

Why is the Prime Minister widening the gap for seniors? Why does he now believe that he can ignore the will of Parliament?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the member knows, for seniors we are moving the age of converting RRSPs to RRIFs from age 69 to age 71 after the previous Liberal government moved it down from age 71 to age 69.

We are also taking the historic step of permitting income pension splitting for seniors and pensioners in Canada. It is a huge tax change that will benefit seniors to the extent of more than $750 million.

We are increasing the old age credit as well by $1,000. All of these measures assist seniors in Canada. I cannot understand why the NDP would not support these measures.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, talk about two steps backwards for every step toward closing the prosperity gap. This is a double-cross to the seniors and their families who are paying the price.

Despite passing a motion for pharmacare in the House, yesterday's budget included absolutely nothing to lower the soaring cost of prescription drugs. We have corporate tax cuts for the drug companies but nothing to help seniors and their families.

Why is the government ignoring the will of Parliament? Why is it widening the prosperity gap for seniors?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the member has the opportunity to review the budget she will see that there were no corporate tax cuts in yesterday's budget. In fact, it was pointed out rather vociferously by some in the press today that those tax cuts were not there.

We deliberately chose to help working families in Canada. We also chose to reduce capital cost allowances dramatically with respect to manufacturing and processing industries in Canada because we want to help them generate jobs and stay strong in the manufacturing sector that has been under some duress.

However, we did bring in help for people to get over the welfare wall with the working income tax benefit. I cannot believe the NDP would not support that initiative.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Blair Wilson Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are clearly mismanaging Canada's economy and this shotgun budget is a prime example.

The minister closed his eyes and pulled the trigger in the hopes of hitting a few targets. It reminds me of the vice-president of the United States.

There is not a penny here to help fight the pine beetle in British Columbia. This is a devastating issue that the government had promised to address but now it is just another in a long list of Conservative broken promises.

With a $9.2 billion surplus, why has the government turned its back on British Columbia?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the House what is criminal about this. In 1994-95 the pine beetle infestation covered an area smaller than Parliament Hill. The Liberal government of the day in Ottawa did nothing. The NDP government in British Columbia did nothing.

Our government made a commitment of $1 billion over 10 years and, in budget 2006, we delivered on the first $200 million. We are getting the job done after the guys over there left a mess.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Blair Wilson Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, it could not be more clear to the residents of British Columbia that the Conservatives have chosen to punish them. The government is mismanaging the economy and has backtracked on promise after promise. Canadians and British Columbians are fed up.

Where is the money for the pine beetle? Where is the money for the visitors GST rebate program? Where is the money for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games? Why do the Conservatives continue to punish B.C. on equalization?

What do they have against the west? Why have they chosen to punish British Columbia on so many fronts?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I really encourage the hon. member to read the budget. I know springtime is coming to Ottawa and it is an exciting time for everybody but there is time to read the budget.

If the member reads the budget he will see that we have dealt with the GST issue for tours and conventions. Read the budget. If he reads budget 2006 and budget 2007 he will see $1 billion for pine beetles. Read the budget. If he reads the budget for 2006 and 2007 he will see $1 billion for the Pacific Gateway.

Read the budget. The answers are there.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the people of New Brunswick can be added to the list of those who were betrayed by the government.

New Brunswick was betrayed by this flawed Conservative budget.

The New Brunswick government has already given this budget a failing grade. The province's finance minister has said that he will now have to seek a side deal to address his brutal budget shortfall.

How can the Conservative Minister of Finance justify betraying Canada's regions, including my province of New Brunswick?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, one of the most important industries in New Brunswick is the forestry industry. I want to point out again the capital cost allowance measure that we took yesterday which is dramatic. Over the course of just two years, manufacturing and processing industries, like the pulp and paper industry, will be able to totally write off new machinery and equipment.

Here is what the industry says about it. Avrim Lazar from the Forest Products Association of Canada says:

The Government has sent a strong signal that it understands the need to encourage investment and innovation to keep jobs in Canada. (...) This is good news for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who work in the manufacturing sector and the hundreds of communities across--

The BudgetOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Halifax West.