House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in its most recent ad, the Conservative Party admits that its solution to the fiscal imbalance is not definitive because, according to what the government itself says, the next government could try to take the money back.

Could the Prime Minister be consistent, acknowledge that the fiscal imbalance has not been resolved, and immediately transfer tax fields as suggested in the Séguin report in order to settle this question once and for all?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the formula that we have put forward for equalization within the budget has been broadly accepted by a majority of the provinces in Canada and by all of the territories. This is a formula that is based on the expert advice of the O'Brien committee that was appointed by the previous government, headed by a former deputy treasurer of the province of Alberta.

It is a principle based, forward looking formula, so that the provinces and territories will accurately know where they will stand from year to year over the next seven years. This is important in terms of being able to plan their fiscal futures.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, how can the finance minister claim that the fiscal imbalance has been resolved while admitting that the transfers to Quebec depend on the mood of the government in place? Is that not speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time? Will the Conservatives go all the way in their commitment to resolve the fiscal imbalance?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the commitment in the budget is firm and it is incorporated in Bill C-52, which is the first budget implementation bill that is now before the House. I believe it is up for debate today as a matter of fact. The commitment is quite clear.

I congratulate the hon. member on his new appointment as the finance critic for the Bloc.

International AidOral Questions

April 18th, 2007 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, Paul Gérin-Lajoie recently denounced the fate that awaits children living in poverty. His findings are most disturbing: child mortality is twice as high in developing countries; 12 million children have been orphaned because of AIDS; 30 million children in Asia are living on the streets. He describes as shameful the fact that Canada is in 14th place on the list of OECD countries in terms of public aid for development.

When will the Minister for International Cooperation present a credible plan for reaching the objective of 0.7% of GDP by 2015, to implement the Millennium Development Goals?

International AidOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that our government is committed to increasing international aid.

In the latest budget, we have included amounts that are meant to provide assistance to countries in need. I also remind her that she supported our budget.

International AidOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister boasts about wanting to ensure that assistance is effective. Mr. Gérin-Lajoie insists that there has been significant progress in terms of the Millennium Goals, specifically, a 20% decrease in child mortality and an increase from 4% to 7% in admission rates for primary education. Contrary to the minister’s remarks, the problem is not just the effectiveness of our aid, but also the budget size.

When will the minister stop repeating the same message and start to show some leadership concerning the budget?

International AidOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that international aid sank to its lowest point, at 0.22%, under the former Liberal government in 2001.

We have increased international aid and we are committed to providing assistance to countries in need.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister raises income tax and every economist on the planet says that is wrong, it is clear the Prime Minister should spend some time on his economic files.

As for the finance minister and interest deductibility, anyone who is even slightly informed on this knows it has absolutely nothing to do with tax havens and everything to do with competitiveness and jobs.

Why did the finance minister not spend some time on this and think it through carefully before he presented his budget?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are more than $1 billion in tax savings in Bill C-52, which is before the House, including pension splitting for seniors, which the Liberals oppose. This is just one large tax reduction that they oppose.

With respect to the issue of tax havens, I understand that we are for tax fairness and the Liberals are for tax havens. In fact, they have been known to use tax havens in the past. They have lots of experience with tax havens. We do not support tax havens.

We think all Canadians should pay their fair share, including multinational corporations doing business in Canada.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious the minister is entirely out of his depth. It is nothing to do with tax havens, and his arguments on tax fairness make no sense.

Already 5% of the income trusts have been bought up by entities that will pay no tax. The previous owners paid lots of tax. It is obvious that as a consequence of his policy, ordinary taxpayers will pay more, not less.

Why is it that every time the minister mentions the word fairness, Canadians have to reach for their wallets?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite does not believe a word he is saying.

After October 31, after the announcement, he was on television. What did he say then? He said that it was absolutely the right thing to ensure tax fairness and to work for Canada's productivity. That is what he said right after October 31. He does not believe a word he says.

Besides that, if we look at people who are actually informed and have reviewed this, like the former deputy prime minister and finance minister of that government, John Manley, he said that it was the right thing to do.

Any day that good public policy triumphs is a good day. This is a good day.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the removal of foreign interest deductibility and the disastrous Conservative income trust tax are crippling Canadian companies in a way that is making them ripe for foreign takeovers. So far it has resulted in at least 15 takeovers of Canadian companies by foreign interests, and that is just after a few short months.

Why does the government want to help foreign firms take over Canadian companies? Should the government not have thought about this before the budget? Will it spend some time on it now, like the Finance Minister said?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I invite the member opposite, and all Liberal members, to read the auditor general's report in 1992; to read the report of the Mintz committee in 1997, appointed by the Liberal government, and the recommendations; to read the report of the public accounts committee of the House in the 1990s; and to read the report of the Auditor General in 2002. This would be good reading for the members opposite. Finally, I invite them to read the report of the finance committee of the House, from which they did not dissent, in December 2006, all of which say that we have to deal with tax havens.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the decision concerning the deductibility of foreign interest charges, along with the decision on income trusts, should have prevented the flight of income tax revenues from Canada. On the contrary, Canadian companies are being gobbled up by foreign companies that pay income taxes in jurisdictions other than Canada. The action taken in regard to interest deductibility has been described as the worst fiscal policy produced in Ottawa in the last 30 years.

When will the government reverse this disastrous decision? When will the minister decide to really tackle this issue?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals opposite really need to do their homework. They ought to read the last report of the Institute for Competitiveness and Productivity.

The Leader of the Opposition was at the Rotman school the other day. He ought to read the last report where it put the nonsense idea of hollowing out to rest.

In fact, we had 33 global leaders in 1985. Today in Canada we have 72 global leaders. That is because of the growth we have in the Canadian economy. One of them is a company with which the Liberals are probably even familiar; it is called Magna.

The SenateOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, as part of our campaign promise for democratic reform, our Conservative government put forward Bill C-43, which establishes the national process for consulting Canadians on their preferences for Senate appointment through election. We have recently learned that Senator Dan Hays, who holds the seat from Alberta, will be retiring from the Senate after it rises for the summer.

Could our Prime Minister advise the House, Canadians and Albertans on how he will be filling this vacancy?

The SenateOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

First , Mr. Speaker, let me take the opportunity to congratulate Senator Hays on his long public service, including his role as leader of the opposition and Speaker of the Senate.

We do have Bill C-43 tabled. On the other hand, the province of Alberta did some time ago hold a popular consultation for the filling of a Senate vacancy. When that seat comes due, I will recommend to the Governor General the appointment of Mr. Bert Brown.

Steel IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as Canada's steel industry suffers a severe downturn, its workers and employers alike have looked to the Canadian Steel Partnership Council to develop a critically needed national steel strategy, a strategy for steel industry security and growth.

Given that the partnership council has recently collapsed, how does the industry minister plan to fill the vacuum, create a national steel strategy and save important steel worker jobs?

Steel IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the steel industry is an important industry in Canada. We know that very well. That is why, in the latest budget, we reduced the income tax rates for all industries, including the steel industry, which improves their profitability. Business people in the steel industry will thus have more money in their pockets to reinvest and continue to be competitive globally.

Steel IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the minister understands the desperate need for a national steel strategy. In my home town of Hamilton, for example, over 300 steelworkers have learned that their jobs could disappear when Stelco's hot strip mill is closed. Workers at Hamilton Specialty Bar have their 360 jobs on the chopping block too.

I will give the minister another chance. Steelworkers are listening.

What does the minister have to say about providing a made for Canada national steel strategy? Do not give us rhetoric. Tell us how we will get the strategy we need to save jobs.

Steel IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague calls for a steel strategy, which would be very important but we have waited on the other side of the House for several years. The previous government should have presented a steel strategy but it never did anything. It continued to tax steel companies. For our part, in the latest budget we lowered the taxes on the steel industry, as I said previously, to enable them to be even more competitive in international markets. We have confidence in the steel industry businesses, just as we have confidence in textile and softwood lumber companies.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Canadian Police Association was on Parliament Hill to meet with all members. One of the key messages we heard was to fight tooth and nail against the government's underhanded attempt to scrap the gun registry.

Yesterday the president of the association said, “The registry has always been useful to us”.

Why will the minister not listen to rank and file police officers who use the gun registry more than 5,000 times each day of the year?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we have listened to people who are concerned about the gun registry. We have listened to people who want to see gun crime reduced. This is why it will still be required, for anybody who wants to acquire any type of firearm at all, that they must be registered, and that will continue to show up on the system.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the current government has already reneged on a promise made to police forces and has not committed one cent to the hiring of new front line officers to patrol our streets. Now, the Conservatives intend to take away from the police the tools at their disposal for protecting our communities.

If the Minister of Public Safety is serious, will he hold a vote on the firearms registry and will he respect the will of Parliament once and for all?