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House of Commons Hansard #130 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, that was a tired tale if I have ever heard it.

Canadians must have confidence in our public institutions. The RCMP must appear to be free to investigate any wrongdoing without fearing any consequences.

Why is the Minister of Public Safety putting his own reputation ahead of that of the RCMP? When will he step down?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, there is nothing to that story. It is seven years old.

Far be it for me to quote the polls, but it appears the only institution Canadians are losing confidence in is the Liberal Party of Canada.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in February alone, the manufacturing industry lost 33,000 jobs in Quebec.

Yesterday, the Gildan company closed its two plants in Montreal, causing the loss of 450 jobs. The accelerated write-off for the manufacturing sector announced in the latest budget is clearly insufficient to deal with the scale of the crisis.

Does the Prime Minister realize that the manufacturing industry needs an overall recovery plan and while the measure announced in the latest budget is a good measure it is far from enough?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the loss of jobs is always a sad story. However, our economy is continuing to create many new jobs. In the budget, there is new investment and there are new measures to reduce the cost of capital investments for the manufacturing sector. A great many other measures will help workers and this sector.

Once again, I thank the Bloc Québécois for having supported this budget.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the future of the textile and clothing industry lies in the development of new, specialized niche markets that will enable the industry to compete with emerging economies such as China's.

It is the government’s duty to help the industry instead of cutting support programs for the industry, as it did last fall.

Why doesn’t the Prime Minister put in place a real plan to support modernization of the clothing and textile industry, to support research and development as the Bloc Québécois has suggested? We would certainly support such a plan.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois, who, along with my colleagues from the government party, voted unanimously in the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, to propose a solution to the government to help the manufacturing industry.

The solution that we have put forward will enable Canadian and Quebec companies to write off their investments in machinery over a period of two years. My colleague in the Bloc Québécois supported the budget. I thank him for that. What is also important is that we have received many messages of congratulations from the manufacturing sector for this budget measure.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government acted on one of the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Industry, Sciences and Technology, namely the one dealing with accelerated capital cost allowances. However, that is not enough. There is a lot more to do.

Will the Minister of Industry agree that the measures included in the budget are incomplete and that other solutions are necessary, such as improving the tax credit for research, introducing a tax credit for training, and implementing well targeted assistance plans to accelerate the modernization process of industries that are experiencing difficulties, so as to preserve jobs here at home?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of our latest budget, because we have included measures that reflect what Canada's manufacturing sector and entrepreneurs have asked us to do.

I would like to quote Jean-Michel Laurin, the vice-president of the Quebec manufacturers and exporters association. In reference to our budget, which helps the manufacturing and textile industries, he said that the government had heeded the call of the manufacturing sector. He added that, “targeting investments is precisely what needs to be done”.

And this is what we have done.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is telling us that we should be content with the measures provided in the budget, when plants and employment in the manufacturing sector are being bled to death. If the government waits too long, if it loses itself in all sorts of reviews and studies, companies will have disappeared by the time measures are taken.

Is the minister aware of this situation, namely that companies will disappear and that hundreds and thousands of jobs will not come back for workers who are often too old to find another job?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what I am aware of is quite simple. The Bloc Québécois has spent 13 years fighting for the manufacturing industry. During those 13 years, the Bloc Québécois has been useless in its efforts to defend the interests of Quebec. The Bloc Québécois has shown for 13 years that Quebec's interests are best protected by the Conservative Party and by this government.

I am proud that the Bloc Québécois supports our budget, but at the same time it is showing Quebeckers that the interests of Quebec and of the manufacturing sector are best protected by a Conservative government.

Equalization FormulaOral Questions

March 28th, 2007 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has shown that he will say just about anything to get elected and turn around and do exactly the opposite once he is elected. One example is the income trust situation. Another example is the revolving door of lobbyists that we continue to see. Now of course it is equalization.

He promised that he would exclude the resource revenues from the formulas and then he did not do it. Now the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is having to take out advertisements all over the media in order to condemn the broken promise.

My question for the Prime Minister is, why did he break his promises?

Equalization FormulaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have not broken promises on that matter. There is full exclusion in the calculation of natural resources in the new equalization formula. As for the Federal Accountability Act reforms and the tax fairness package that included the changes on income trusts, they were supported by the New Democratic Party.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that he would end this fighting about fairness in the federation, so how is he doing so far?

First of all, there is a premier taking out advertisements all over the place condemning his actions. The people of Nova Scotia are wondering when the ministers that they elected turned out to be Ottawa's spokesmen in Nova Scotia instead of the other way around. In Saskatchewan, people are scratching their heads wondering why they bothered to send 12 Conservatives here in the first place.

I am going to meet with the premier of Saskatchewan to talk about fairness and I am wondering why the Prime Minister is not having these kinds of meetings too. It is because he does not get it. He has not even had a meeting of the first ministers of the federation since he was elected. Why not?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that of course is also not true, but in any case, I note that Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland is today saying there is a cap on the Atlantic accord. That is not true. Under the budget, Newfoundland and Labrador is getting 100% of what it was promised in the Atlantic accord without a cap.

What we are seeing is confrontation for the sake of confrontation. I agree with opposition leader Reid in Newfoundland and Labrador who says that this kind of confrontation is damaging the business investment climate in Newfoundland and Labrador.

BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative budget did not bring harmony to our country. It has divided instead of uniting. It has divided provinces, regions and even citizens. Take a worker who earns minimum wage and works 40 hours per week, earning $16,000 per year. According to the budget, this worker is not eligible for the working income tax benefit.

How can the Minister of Finance explain this injustice? Why did he not help the most vulnerable people in our society?

BudgetOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member talks about division. I can say that this government has succeeded in uniting the people of Quebec in favour of our budget and against the centralist philosophy of the Liberal Party of Canada.

BudgetOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again he gives us slogans instead of answers.

The Conservative budget has divided the country. At least five provinces are angry. The finance minister said that this would be the end of discord between the provinces, but he has split them right down the middle, with provinces launching full page ads and court cases as a result of the budget.

How does the finance minister dare say that the bickering between the provincial and federal governments is over? Is he dreaming?

BudgetOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker--

BudgetOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

BudgetOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, order. We have to be able to hear the minister. He has the floor to answer the question that was asked. We will have some order please. The Minister of Finance has the floor.

BudgetOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Conservative Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite rises in the House today and complains about fiscal imbalance not becoming fiscal balance. Mr. Speaker, do you know what she said just a few days ago? The member for Westmount—Ville-Marie said, “It's a budget that will make Quebec federalists happy”.

Equalization FormulaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, an impasse that needs to be resolved now is on equalization.

For 14 months, provinces have operated believing that 100% of non-renewable natural resources with no caps will be out of the equalization formula. Second, they believed that no province would be adversely affected by the Prime Minister's directive. Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan, however, are being negatively affected by a broken promise to the tune of over $1 billion.

Will there be full compensation to Newfoundland and Labrador, to Saskatchewan, to Nova Scotia, and to B.C., yes or no?

Equalization FormulaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, what the member should realize if he read the budget, which some of his colleagues did not and which the premier did not before he commented, is that Newfoundland was given a third choice, to hold on to the benefits of the Atlantic accord without any cap, the very agreement Premier Williams himself negotiated. Not one jot, not one tittle, not one cent, Newfoundland has not been a loser here. It is the biggest winner because it held on to the Atlantic accord.

Equalization FormulaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

No, Mr. Speaker. What was said was no small print, no excuses, no caps. Why?

Conservative Party literature in 2004 clearly stated that to put a cap on equalization would keep Newfoundland and Labrador “a have not province forever”.

Why are provinces as expendable as promises?

Equalization FormulaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!