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House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

SecuritiesOral Questions

March 27th, 2007 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is another point on which everyone agrees and that is the securities file. The Minister of Finance is determined to change a mechanism that is working just fine and that nobody is criticizing, apart from a few Bay Street stockbrokers who would like to see a possible future pan-Canadian securities commission located in Toronto.

Can the Minister of Finance explain to us how he squares his plan with his government's promises to respect the jurisdictions of the provinces and Quebec? I would like an explanation.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have had quite constructive discussions with the finance ministers from various governments in Canada on this subject, and in those provinces where different ministers handle this subject, we have also been involved in that discussion.

We have 13 securities regulators in a country of 31.5 million people. It creates a remarkable paper burden and a delay in terms of investment in our country. I am glad to say that there has been some expression of positive interest from a number of other governments in Canada. I look forward to continuing these discussions in Quebec when we meet again in June as finance ministers.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is playing with words when he says that he wants to create a pan-Canadian regulatory agency, but that the agency would not be federal.

How does the minister expect anyone to believe him, when the budget states: “A common securities regulator will create the opportunity to deliver this new approach”? If it is not a pan-Canadian commission that the minister wants to create, well, what is it?

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in a time of open federalism when we work well with the other governments in Canada we can certainly share our efforts with respect to securities regulation. The proposal that is being discussed is indeed that. It is for a common securities regulator, not a provincial securities regulator and not a federal securities regulator, around which all governments would be represented.

The whole purpose is to serve the people of Canada, including seniors in Canada with respect to their retirement investments, to make sure we have good capital markets in this country that are fluid and that work well for all people in the country.

National RevenueOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, for the past 10 years, the federal government has been able to accept tax returns electronically.

However, although the government provides paper forms free of charge, this is not the case for electronic forms. And why not?

Ordinary working people must spend tens of dollars when they choose to do what is right for the environment while paying their taxes, and this also saves the government some money.

Does the Prime Minister agree with the NDP that electronic tax forms should be available free of charge?

National RevenueOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Saskatchewan

Conservative

Carol Skelton ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's suggestion. It would seem to me that he should have brought it forward before the budget was tabled if he takes it so seriously.

I would like to point out that there are already significant advantages in the speed with which taxpayers receive their returns. That is why we expect nearly 14 million individuals to file electronically this year. It is estimated that there will be a reduction of 15 million pieces of paper this filing season.

National RevenueOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, here is our question. Why not provide these forms for free to Canadians? After all, the government is charging them for doing the right thing. It is as if years ago the government would have sent out the envelopes for filing taxes but would have made people go down to Eaton's to buy the forms. It does not make any sense.

People are trying to do the right thing here. The fact is that only 16% of Canadians are filing electronically. A lot more would like to, but they are forced to pay a penalty by having to go out and buy these programs on the market.

Why will the federal government not simply get it right and make the electronic forms available to Canadians so they can get on board, do the right thing for the environment and save more money?

National RevenueOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Saskatchewan

Conservative

Carol Skelton ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am really not sure why the hon. member believes that low income Canadians do not have the option of filing their taxes for free. CRA has made arrangements with software developers to ensure that free software is available to 60% of Canadian taxpayers. In addition, CRA does provide many other options for those individuals who wish to file their returns for free.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on budget day we see what is and every day after what is not. The $2,000 child tax credit does not mean $2,000 but $310 maximum. The poorest get nothing.

The working income tax benefit does not even apply to single workers in Ontario working full time for minimum wage because they make too much.

For aboriginals, the environment and our competitive economic future, the closer we look the less there is, with all the opportunity but no ambition for Canada.

Political parties need tacticians, but countries need leaders. When will the Prime Minister start acting like a prime minister?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the member opposite is so grumpy.

This is good news. This is wonderful news for Canadian families with children under the age of 18 who have trouble paying their bills from time to time. It helps them with their children.

It is a tax credit that works out, and the member is right, to about $310 per child. That is enough to clothe a child for school in the fall. That is enough for a pair of skates--some skates, some not--and it is helpful to families all across this country.

So really, the member opposite should cheer up.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Fraser Mustard told us yesterday where we stand on child care. The Prime Minister is a hockey historian. We are not the Chicago Blackhawks or the Phoenix Coyotes in this. We are the Philadelphia Flyers, dead last, 30th out of 30.

In any area of the budget, five years or 10 years from now, what will be the impact on Canada? Next to nothing.

Where in this budget are the worthy things we need to take on together, such as the environment, learning, child poverty? Political parties need tacticians, but countries need leaders. When will the Prime Minister start acting like a prime minister?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I see that the member opposite is still quite unhappy. I need to remind him about the working income tax benefit, WITB, that will benefit so many people in this country who want to move from welfare, from social assistance, to work.

What on earth does the member opposite have against that? What does he have against the plan for the severely disabled children in this country that they will have a savings plan?

He says he cares about people, but he is going to vote against those two measures and he is grumpy doing it.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government of Nova Scotia has announced that it is prepared to sue the federal government over the broken promise regarding the Atlantic accord signed with the previous Liberal government. Premier MacDonald has said that he will fight the Prime Minister with every means to get back what the government has taken from Nova Scotia.

Will the province really be forced to take the government to court, or will the Conservatives come to their senses and honour their commitment to Nova Scotians?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker--

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. We will have a little order. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has risen to answer the question and he has the floor. We will have some order so we can hear the answer.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question and his commitment to the province of Nova Scotia, which of course I share.

We have exhibited in this government the type of flexible federalism that has allowed us to work with the provinces to finally deal with the fiscal imbalance in this country, something the Leader of the Opposition and the previous government refused to even acknowledge.

Yes, we will continue to work with the province of Nova Scotia. We hope that it will not have to go to court, but if it does, we will see it there.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government is a poison pill. If we opt in to the new formula, we lose the accord and jeopardize the future prosperity of Nova Scotia. If we maintain the status quo, we are shut out of new money for the people of Nova Scotia.

The member should know that the Atlantic accord meant that Nova Scotians would benefit from the accord above and beyond any other program, above and beyond any change in opposition. When will he support the people of Nova Scotia?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I do support the people of Nova Scotia. I stand up for them each and every day, as I have since I was elected.

There must be an epidemic of grumpiness breaking out across the way. The hon. member should know as well that the province of Nova Scotia does have options. It can take a very good deal for Nova Scotia, the Atlantic accord, or it can take an even better deal which is offered to the province in this budget. Plus it has the option of going back to the accord after a period of time.

It is good news and more good news for the people of Nova Scotia and there will be more coming.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has promised to announce, before the end of the month, greenhouse gas reduction targets. The end of the month is approaching and we are still waiting.

Three days before the deadline he himself set, will the minister promise to reveal clear, precise and absolute greenhouse gas reduction targets?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we very clearly stated that we are working very hard on developing a strategy to regulate the industry. Not only will this reduce greenhouse gases but it will also improve the air quality in Canada. We are working hard on it. When we have set a date, I will personally invite the member opposite for a briefing.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, setting absolute reduction targets is vital in order to establish a carbon exchange. The issue is straightforward: no absolute targets, no exchange.

Could the minister not follow Europe's example where trading emission credits has led to a significant reduction in greenhouse gases with a negligible impact on the European GDP, a reduction of just 0.1%?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the Bloc MP. It is very important for us to have a good plan for the industry, to have proper regulations. We are working very hard on these regulations. I must say that, for 13 long years, the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois did absolutely nothing. This government will take action.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, although the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec say that the partnership plans between Pratt & Whitney and the Saint-Hubert airport are very interesting, they also say that there is not much money available. A delay in acting may cause us to lose a lot of quality jobs.

Do these two ministers realize that this is not a matter of competition between two of our cities, but rather a competition between Quebec and abroad, and that any delay in reaching a decision will result in losses, not only of money but also of jobs?

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:35 p.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, I wish to recall that rebuilding this airport runway represents a cost of $70 million. We have a resource envelope at the Economic Development Agency of Canada of about $200 million. When the file is submitted to us, we will take a serious look at the whole thing and we will see what we can do to support the company.