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House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Don Valley East.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Elimination of Racial DiscriminationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Wajid Khan Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

On this day we commemorate the Sharpeville massacre in which 69 demonstrators were gunned down for protesting peacefully against the apartheid regime in South Africa. This event marked the beginning of the end of apartheid and has been commemorated by the United Nations since 1966.

Canada was one of the first nations to support the UN declaration. To mark this day the Government of Canada supports young people in numerous activities which raise awareness of the harmful effects of racism and demonstrates clearly the commitment and leadership of the federal government to foster respect, equality and a greater understanding of our cultural diversity.

Through their participation, Canadian youth continue to speak loudly and eloquently. There is no place for racism in their lives and in our multicultural country of Canada.

Persian New YearStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the beginning of the Persian new year, Norouz. I wish the Iranian community in my riding and across Canada a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

Norouz is a rich and ancient tradition celebrating life, renewal, family and spring. This joyous holiday is celebrated with great enthusiasm, warmth and inspiration. Norouz enhances the cultural fabric of Canada, enriching our community and the diversity of our country.

I recently had the pleasure of attending a Norouz celebration that showcased performances by young students of the international languages Farsi program under the exemplary leadership of Pary Missaghi held at Thornlea Secondary School.

In the coming days I look forward to participating in the numerous celebrations taking place in my riding of Thornhill which has benefited significantly from the vibrant spirit and contributions of the Iranian Canadian community.

Best wishes and a happy Norouz to all those celebrating at this very special time of year.

Arab and Lebanese CommunitiesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight the dynamic integration of the Lebanese and Arab communities in Quebec, particularly in Montreal.

These communities must be involved in all areas of society. I would like to salute the work of leaders who are contributing to the unity of these communities and to their integration into our society.

As a result of their efforts, Montreal now plays host to events such as the Lebanese festival, which gathers together almost 80,000 people from all over for four days. We are also seeing the rise of institutions such as the Lebanese Islamic centre, the Muslim cultural centre of Montreal, the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Canada and the Muwahiddun Druze community.

In the spirit of unity and respect for differences, these leaders are putting an end to counter-productive views and fostering the kind of communication that is vital to allaying fears and discovering the beauty of the other, who is, essentially, our neighbour.

IranStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month women across the globe gathered to celebrate International Women's Day. The meetings were a chance for men and women to show solidarity with their sisters around the world, except in Iran, where 33 women protesting peacefully were arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned.

Ironically, those women were protesting the violent arrest and detention of five women at last year's gathering. These five women are still in jail. I am extremely concerned about the welfare of these women, who were simply exercising their right to protest against Iran's terrible human rights record and its discriminatory laws. This cannot be tolerated. We should all be outraged.

Arresting women on bogus charges is more than unacceptable. It is disgraceful. Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs commit today to make representations to the Iranian government on behalf of these women and all women in Iran and their human rights?

Mental HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, when the prebudget consultations visited my hometown of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, the finance committee heard a heartfelt and very compassionate presentation by a local man, Mr. Don Boddy, on behalf of the Canadian Mental Health Association. He called for the establishment of a national mental health strategy.

This week with budget 2007 this government listened to Mr. Boddy and to others. I was thrilled when the national mental health strategy was announced. I was thrilled for Mr. Boddy because he is a family man who took the time to come and present his views to our committee. He did not hire a lobbyist in a fancy suit. He is too busy building his community and working for his family. He challenged this government to act on mental health and we did.

This is a government that listens and reaches out. This is a government that acts. This is a government that is breaking down the welfare wall because it is the right thing to do. This is a government that supports parents with disabled children because it is the caring thing to do. This is a government that is acting to reduce hospital wait times because it is the compassionate thing to do. This is a government that listens and then acts on what it hears.

I want to pass on my congratulations to Don Boddy and all those who aspire for a better Canada.

Aboriginal CommunitiesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, I would like to commemorate the 1960 massacre in Sharpsville, South Africa, where 69 people were slain while participating in an anti-apartheid demonstration.

Today, the Liberals remember the Kelowna accords signed between aboriginal chiefs and provincial and territorial premiers on November 24, 2005.

Today, I call on the Conservative government to put an end to apartheid and to eliminate discrimination against aboriginals by honouring the Kelowna accords and contributing the $5.1 billion promised for health care, housing, economic development and education.

Today, a new chapter in Canadian history must begin with the elimination of all forms of racism and discrimination and the recognition of the new face of multiculturalism in Canada.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Barry Devolin Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I want to express my appreciation to our provincial and municipal colleagues. Conservatives believe that each level of government should have adequate resources to deliver the services for which they are responsible. Our Minister of Finance has listened and responded to their requests for fairer treatment and more predictable funding.

One example is the GST rebate for municipalities. Until now, the rebate was only 57%. Now it is 100%. This may not sound like much, but for a single large purchase, such as a $200,000 grader, savings will now exceed $5,000.

Another example is the extension of the gas tax fund. Municipalities now have a seven year commitment to help them develop their capital plans. In my riding, Kawartha Lakes will receive $1.7 million this year, $2.2 million next year and $4.5 million each year thereafter to meet local infrastructure needs.

We respect and value our colleagues at the provincial and municipal levels. We are doing our part to help them do their jobs.

Raynald FréchetteStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that we learned of the death of Raynald Fréchette, former MNA for Sherbrooke and retired judge.

A lawyer by training, he was the founding president of the Société de criminologie de Sherbrooke. He got involved in politics in 1966, first with the Union Nationale in the riding of Sherbrooke, and then with René Lévesque's Parti Québécois team. He returned to practising law after being defeated in the 1985 election, and was appointed a judge in the Superior Court of Quebec in 1988. Justice Fréchette also co-authored a book published in 1989 called Les députés de Sherbrooke au Parlement fédéral et au Parlement provincial 1867-1989.

The Bloc Québécois pays tribute to this politician, who was known for his mastery of the French language, and offers its sincere condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that Quebec stakeholders applaud the Conservative budget tabled by the Minister of Finance.

The vice-president and chief economist of the Conseil du Patronat, Diane Bellemare, believes that the budget “contains a large number of concrete measures that will stimulate investment and wealth creation”.

According to Jean-Luc Trahan, president and executive director of the Quebec manufacturers and exporters association, “the federal government heard the call of the manufacturers”.

With regard to the $800 million investment to strengthen the quality and competitiveness of the Canadian post-secondary education system, the president of the Fédération des cégeps, Gaëtan Boucher, stated that “a significant step forward has definitely been taken”.

According to Robert Coulombe, first vice-president of the union of Quebec municipalities, the investments in infrastructure programs and extension of gas tax funding for municipalities “are definitely the measures of most interest to municipalities”.

Because the budget restores the fiscal balance and invests in Canadians' priorities, federal Liberals from Quebec should pull together and vote in favour of this budget.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Merasty Liberal Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, it has been more than a year since the government broke a campaign promise to aboriginal Canadians and cancelled the $5.1 billion Kelowna accord.

The government has since insisted that issues such as the first nations child welfare crisis and a lack of access to clean water are not money issues. These are related to a shortage of fiscal resources. There is nothing for social housing, nothing for post-secondary education, nothing for child welfare. Where there is a lack of a plan, people perish.

The government just delivered a budget that does little for Canadians, but delivers virtually nothing for aboriginal people. The government should be ashamed of itself for its indifference to first nations, Métis and Inuit Canadians.

It is time to restore the Kelowna funding.

Trucking IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, our budget will achieve results for Canadians.

One industry in particular will benefit from the decisions taken in this budget. The trucking industry is vital to my riding and across Atlantic Canada and I am proud that we are getting results for truckers.

The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association has commended the federal government's plan to increase the amount of meal expenses deductible by long haul drivers. The deduction will increase from 50% to 80%.

Peter Nelson, executive director of the APTA, had this to say:

This is a positive step forward recognizing the valuable contribution long-haul truck drivers make to our everyday lives in Canada. It will also be helpful in our recruitment and retention initiatives.

I could not agree more. I am happy to be part of a government that is getting things done for the industry that contributes so much to the economy of Tobique—Mactaquac and Atlantic Canada.

Elimination of Racial DiscriminationStatements By Members

March 21st, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we have heard, today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, but sadly, despite the sincere hope and the real values of ordinary Canadians, today we still see examples of hate and racially motivated crimes.

Unfortunately, we have seen very little concrete action from the government. We need to be officially recognizing the bicentenary of the end of the Atlantic slave trade, but the government has not. It is only through understanding the root causes of racism that we can examine and address the social and economic inequality that breeds hatred and bigotry.

We need a budget from a government that does not ignore our human rights responsibilities. We are failing to meet our international commitments, particularly as they relate to aboriginal people and women, but this week's budget puts nothing toward improving our human rights record at home.

I know I speak on behalf of the NDP caucus when I demand that we not only mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racism but act to eliminate racism.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, all aboriginal people lost when the Conservative government refused to implement the Kelowna accord, but perhaps the greatest loss was felt by all aboriginal women.

For the first time ever, aboriginal women were at the negotiating table to develop a plan of action that would have closed the gap in education, health, housing and economic opportunities. The Kelowna accord provided women with an opportunity to gain more equality in their lives.

The list of initiatives under the accord was impressive: strengthened social foundations, better education opportunities, housing and health care. Most important of all was that women would be included in any future policy development. Women's voices finally would have been heard.

The Conservative government's refusal to implement the accord speaks volumes about how it really feels about aboriginal women and their role in building a stronger Canada. To add insult to injury, our people were forgotten in the recent budget.

CultureStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois would like to point out that while the Conservative government continues to be mistaken about the role of culture in our daily lives, while it refuses to provide adequate funding to the Canada Council for the Arts, while it stifles the vitality of Quebec and Canadian museums, while it hinders the development of the Quebec film industry, the cultural world is sounding the alarm.

The UNESCO convention on cultural diversity came into force this past Sunday. The day after this historic date, the cultural world expected a significant gesture from the Conservatives in their budget speech. They thumbed their noses and showed their true colours.

A great deal of hard work went into this historic convention. It deserves the respect and support of the Government of Canada. Enough with the misleading arguments. The people in this place and in Quebec have their eyes open and are watching the government. They are waiting and so are we.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, today the House will vote to implement the Kelowna accord.

Since cancelling the accord, the Conservative Prime Minister and Minister of Indian Affairs have ignored the ugly reality and desperation of aboriginal poverty. When faced with damning facts like the number of children in care, 27,000 of them, the minister has the gall to put the blame on first nations, Métis and Inuit families. When faced with calls to address the poverty gap by implementing the Kelowna accord, the government denies it ever existed and says it never promised anything.

The Kelowna accord does exist. It is a viable, workable plan to help first nations, Métis and Inuit address poverty and third world conditions. It is a disgrace that the government continues to put partisan politics ahead of an opportunity to make poverty history for aboriginal communities.

I say to the Conservatives that if they have any decency, any shred of honour and any compassion whatsoever, they must abide by the will of Parliament and implement the Kelowna accord.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, budget 2007 is delivering Saskatchewan its best deal since Confederation. My home province will receive $878 million in new money, the largest per capita gains of any province in Canada.

Under the previous Liberal government, there was no plan. In fact, the member for Wascana repeatedly denied there was any such thing as a fiscal imbalance. Not only would he refuse to fix the problem, he did not even admit there was a problem.

That member spent 13 years in cabinet and did not get it done, but what is even more shocking is that the member now is prepared to vote against the budget. By voting against the budget, the member for Wascana will be voting against $878 million in new money and $250 million in money for Saskatchewan farmers.

The Liberal House leader has betrayed the people of Saskatchewan. He is prepared to do it again by voting against this budget. The member should be ashamed of himself and ashamed of the people that he represents.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this divisive Prime Minister--

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Where's Joe? We want Joe.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. Members do not choose who they want. The Speaker does. The Speaker has recognized the Leader of the Opposition. He now has the floor.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, this divisive Prime Minister has broken his promises so often that this budget is only adding to that.

This first example is from January 4, 2006, and this what the Prime Minister promised the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador: “We will remove non-renewable natural resource revenue from the equalization formula...”.

He committed to do that. Why did he break his promise to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition should know that is the arrangement that exists presently in the Atlantic accords, which this government has protected in their entirety. This government has adopted as well the exclusion of offshore resources as part of the general equalization formula for every province.

Once again, this is an example of why the Leader of the Opposition should have read the budget before he took a position on it. If he had done that, he might find that he does not have to kick out members of his own party who understand that this is a good budget for Canadians.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, maybe the Prime Minister should read the budget. He will see that it is 50% on non-renewable resources that is taking effect. He very clearly broke his promise.

There is another one that he broke. He promised to create 125,000 new child care spaces. Last year's budget created nothing and this budget creates probably zero.

How come the Prime Minister has tabled a budget that breaks such an important promise that is so vital for Canadian families?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, if he had read the budget he would have seen that there is a tax credit for businesses that open up new child care spaces. There are new transfers to the provinces for the creation of new child care spaces. Of course, there is also, from last year's budget, the $1,200 a year allowance for every Canadian family.

I know the Liberal Party wants to take away all these things, but once again, the Leader of the Opposition did not know what he was talking about on the security issue and he does not know what he is talking about on the budget issue. That is why he cannot get his own caucus to stand behind his positions.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Not a single space, Mr. Speaker. That is another broken promise.

There is a third one. I have only three questions, so I will give three examples, but there are so many. He broke his promise to the retirees of this country. He did not protect their savings in the income trusts. This is the comment he made: “A Conservative government will...preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them”.

Why did he break his promise? Why did he not use the budget to correct the harm this did to so many Canadian families?