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House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeSecretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, Quebec farmers receive their fair share and they know it. Furthermore, our government looks out for farmers and they know it.

Take supply management for example. This is what Laurent Pellerin wrote about specific measures we introduced. He remarked, “This announcement and the accompanying commitment represents one of the most tangible displays of political support for supply management by a government in 15 years”.

While the Bloc talks, we take action.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether or not the secretary of state noticed, but an election is presently underway in Quebec. The three leaders of the main parties are saying the same thing as us, that there is a shortfall in funding for agriculture in Quebec. Not only do Quebec farmers not receive their fair share, but the Minister of Agriculture always closes the door on their request to establish an income support program that is stable and complements those of Quebec.

Instead of undertaking consultations to buy time, will the minister finally establish a support program that truly meets the needs of Quebec farmers?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeSecretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I will continue. You will note that we have solved a lot of issues in a short period of time.

With regard to supply management I would like to quote Mr. Pellerin again:

By moving from words to actions, the government has been able to dispel lingering doubts about its real intentions. This announcement is an acknowledgement of the place of supply management in Canadian agricultural policy.

We will now be making an additional $1 billion investment with an income stabilization savings account—as requested—, bringing our support to $4.5 billion since we formed the government. I repeat: while the Bloc talks, we take action.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, last year, after he missed the boat on additional funding for economic development in Quebec, the minister promised that he would get something this year. As to what that would be, once again, the government did not add a single penny to the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec's budget.

Can the minister explain why he did not get anything this year? Did he forget to mention it to someone?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the member should read the budget.

On page 15, it says that there will be $30 million in new funding for festivals, which will relieve some of the pressure on my department.

On page 200, it says that the National Optics Institute will receive $15 million over two years, which gives my department even more room to manoeuvre to the tune of $15 million.

Moreover, I would like to point out that three days ago, on March 20, the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie said, “This is a budget that will please the—”

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, in case the minister failed to notice, I would like to remind him that Quebec's manufacturing sector is in crisis. Businesses in the textiles, furniture and other sectors need more help, not less help. Last month alone, Quebec lost 33,000 manufacturing jobs.

Can the regions of Quebec tolerate a minister who comes up short at budget time year after year instead of coming up with more money for workers in Quebec?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, once again, I would suggest that the member read the budget.

With respect to the manufacturing sector, our government will accelerate capital cost allowances over two years, which will generate investment in various businesses in Quebec. This will benefit the regions of Quebec.

We have also implemented six new tools to help those Quebec regions with shrinking populations and “vulnerable” regions. We are investing a lot of money and we have created new tools that meet entrepreneurs' needs.

If my colleague paid more attention when I make announcements, he would see that people are happy with these new tools.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, after reading all 477 pages of the budget, I have concluded that its lack of mention of regional economic development means a continuance of the disregard by the government for rural Canada. The Prime Minister has been quoted often on his disdain for the work of the four rural development agencies.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Does its absence in the budget mean that this is the beginning of the end for regional development in Canada?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Again, Mr. Speaker, quite the contrary. First of all, the budget confirms that gas tax money will continue to be distributed to the municipalities of the country, including rural and regional municipalities. That is $2 billion a year.

In addition, the budget put $16 billion into infrastructure. Again, that will help all municipalities.

The budget also increases the education allotment by 40%.

These and many other measures that I do not have time to get to benefit the regions the member is talking about.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

March 23rd, 2007 / 11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I asked a very respectful question. It would have been nice to actually get a direct answer.

A few weeks ago in the House, the Secretary of State for Agriculture advised the hon. member for Malpeque that there was plenty of money for drought-stricken farmers.

On Monday, there was no mention of this in the budget, not for southwestern Saskatchewan, not for Peace River, not for Rainy River and not for Thunder Bay. Why not?

When will the Minister of Agriculture deliver on the specific funding promised by his secretary?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the government has made a commitment to farmers and a commitment in many different ways. It has just made a commitment of $400 million through a farm program; 600 million more dollars on top of the programming that we have had in the past in terms of setting a new program for farmers; and we are working toward drought assistance for those farmers who need it.

Unfortunately, in Saskatchewan the provincial government refuses to even acknowledge that there is a problem, which makes it more difficult to work toward getting the aid that farmers need out there.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at the aboriginal affairs committee, the Liberal members accused the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development of moving too quickly in bringing human rights to some of the most vulnerable Canadians, our first nations citizens.

Section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act prevents first nations from access and recourse that is available to all other Canadians through the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs please inform the House of the measures our government is taking to bring about the repeal of section 67 and bring human rights to our first nations Canadians.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, section 67 was intended to be a temporary measure when it was introduced 30 years ago. Thirty years is far too long to live without human rights. I am proud that the Minister of Indian Affairs is moving swiftly to rectify the situation through Bill C-44, which would ensure that first nations citizens have equal access to human rights protections.

However, apparently the Liberals feel that 30 years without this protection has not been long enough.

I hope that when the time comes the members opposite support the rights of first nations people and vote in favour of Bill C-44.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister for Democratic Reform is misleading this House when he says that his so-called study on electoral reform is set up to have broad-based input from all Canadians heard.

In fact, the Canadian Press learned that the recruitment process has been compromised to an unauthorized sub-subcontractor. The contractor is accepting unsolicited applications after putting out a last minute word-of-mouth call this week.

I ask the Minister for Democratic Reform to come clean and tell Canadians how his process misses the mark, is unfair, undemocratic and does not engage citizens at the grassroots.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, while this public consultations process is completely independent and run by an independent contractor, what occurred here is clearly an unacceptable situation.

I have been told by my officials that the subcontractor has been terminated, the situation has been corrected and the polling firm that is the main contractor has assured us that it will not affect the results of the report that it will be presenting to the government this summer.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is using delay and stall tactics to put the brakes on any kind of voting reform in this country.

The system is broken and the minister does not want to hear from Canadians who have better ideas. In fact, he went so far as to appoint a firm that not only despises reform but advocates against changing our voting system. This is hardly fair or balanced. This is disgusting political trickery and manipulation of the highest order.

If this is to be a fair process, why hide it from Canadians? Will the minister now table the contracts in this House?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, this was a very independent process. I suppose the NDP would only like to see a process where the contractor is one who shares its particular vision of an outcome to be predetermined.

We do not want an outcome predetermined. We want to genuinely hear from Canadians, not those who have a lobby group that has made its views already clearly known, but from ordinary Canadians on the things that matter to them: House of Commons, Senate reform, the way our political parties work and, of course, the very important subject of civic engagement. We want to see more Canadians involved in every aspect of civic life.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the curtain has been drawn on our artists and creators. There is nothing in this budget that provides stable and predictable funding for artists. The Canada Council plays a major role in the cultural sector. It should not have make do with crumbs.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women commit to giving the Canada Council the necessary funding to help the artists who so desperately need it?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has her facts wrong once again.

In our first budget as Canada's new government, we dedicated $50 million of new money for the Canada Council.

Since then, we have also eliminated the capital gains tax on publicly traded shares and that yielded $20 million worth of donations going to the arts.

In the budget just released this week, the capital gains tax exemption was extended to private foundations. We expect to see more benefit from that to support our arts, which are so important.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is all well and good to say that others will help the Canada Council and our artists. The former Liberal government was committed to doubling the budget of the Canada Council for the Arts in order to help the cultural sector and to stabilize funding. This Conservative budget ignores our museums, our artists, our television industry and our film industry.

How can the minister explain the meagre results for those she says she defends?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, there are results, as I just mentioned: $20 million in new donations to support our arts communities, which is $20 million on top of what we are doing. That is good news.

Here are some other results. Hilary Pearson, President of Philanthropic Foundations Canada said, “Private foundations make unique and invaluable contributions to Canadian society, helping to advance important public priorities”.

This tax change will spur donations and enable private foundations to do even more for Canadian communities. That is getting results. That is getting the job done. We are getting it done.

Northern StrategyOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government built prosperity in the north with a new northern economic development fund. The Liberal government showed the north was special with a new northern strategy. The Liberal government signed new land claims in the north.

The only promise the Prime Minister made for the north was three icebreakers in a northern port and now they have vanished in the budget.

Would the Prime Minister tell us when his old government will finally keep its promises to the north?

Northern StrategyOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could indicate some of the comments coming out of Yukon, specifically from Premier Dennis Fentie, “I will speak specifically for Yukon. This budget gets us back to a principle based fiscal arrangement with the federal government, something for which we have been striving for some time now. That will be beneficial to us now and in the long term. Overall, I am very pleased with the steps that have been taken for us in Yukon”.

Northern StrategyOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, he did not address the broken promise at all. It was not even in his department.

On two days notice to the military, the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister made an emergency visit to the Arctic to avoid a major world aids conference.

Now the military reports that they disrupted a northern sovereignty exercise. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence should know when a northern sovereignty exercise is going on in the north.

The government caused more disruption by raising the hopes of people in small Arctic villages that they would have a great economic boost of an Arctic port.

Now that the government has broken that promise, what will it do for the economic development of these small northern communities?