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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

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam. It is disappointing when members in this federal Parliament, the Parliament of Canada, take a very regional perspective and pit one region against another. I think that is what the member has done in her speech. She has suggested that our government is only interested in Ontario and Quebec. I take great umbrage at that because that is not the case. We in this Parliament must act in the interests of all Canadians regardless of the regions, the provinces or the territories in which they live. That is our responsibility in this House, so I fundamentally disagree with her statement.

This is a great budget for the province of British Columbia and for Canadians living in British Columbia. It is a beautiful province, one of the most stunning vistas in the country. The budget is good news for British Columbia. It commits over $500 million to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics, something that will put Vancouver and Canada on the world stage in 2010.

The budget commits more money for the Asia-Pacific gateway and corridor initiative and $1 billion will flow to the Vancouver lower mainland, to communities in the lower mainland. That will assist in making Vancouver the gateway for the world, a gateway of trade for container cargo traffic, a gateway for business and a gateway for the entire region. This is good news.

These two investments amount to over $1.5 billion for Vancouver and the lower mainland for the Olympics and Paralympics and for the gateway initiative.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the member has a different perspective than I do and that is fair enough; this is a place of democratic debate.

However, I must remind him that there is no money in the federal budget for public transportation in British Columbia. There is no money dedicated to the 2009 World Police & Fire Games when previously the federal government gave money for that event when it took place in another city.

The Conservatives are not standing up for British Columbia. They are doing no work on dike maintenance along the Fraser River. We are under threat of floods in British Columbia. In other regions of the country the federal government does put money into dike maintenance or levee controls. There has been none in British Columbia for a number of years, not just by the current government, but by the people who were in government before.

In every measure that we can take, even rhetorically, British Columbia was left out of the budget. In reality, the budget does not take a position that brings fairness to the people of British Columbia at all.

There is nothing in the budget for public transportation. There is nothing in the budget for housing, for homelessness, for flood control, for the pine beetle problem in British Columbia. There is nothing for search and rescue aircraft. The budget is a failure to the people of British Columbia.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to my colleague's speech and share many of her concerns, although she represents a quite different part of the country.

There is a commonality though in that my community of Hamilton Mountain has felt the absence of any kind of manufacturing sector strategy. Of course, the budget is silent as well on any kind of forestry sector strategy. The two are related, both the reasons for it and also certainly in terms of the community impact.

In my riding we have lost 4,300 steel jobs in the last five years alone, with hundreds more on the way. They have already been discussed at length in our local newspapers.

I know that the softwood sellout has had an equally devastating impact on my colleague's riding and that communities are being hard hit by what has been happening to that sector. I wonder whether she could comment at greater length on the impact of the absence of a forestry sector strategy on her community.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, my community of New Westminster was once one of the engines of the economy in British Columbia. We had a large number of forestry mills along the banks of the Fraser River. We had a very strong and vibrant fishing community also along the banks of the Fraser River.

Today in my riding there is only one mill left operating, one out of a countless number. I really should do the research and find out how many mills there were even five years ago and how many good family supporting jobs were contained at those lumber mills.

In fact, since the government decided to sign that softwood sellout with the U.S., another mill has gone down in New Westminster. We have also lost the aircraft maintenance jobs from Air Canada in British Columbia. There is a real concern about where families will get--

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about how the government has turned advantage Canada into disadvantage Canada. There are three policies that are so plainly wrong-headed and stupid as to make us wonder whether there is any adult supervision in the government.

The first one is the GST reduction. The Conservatives raised the taxes in order to be able to make the GST reduction. Is there anything more plainly stupid that one could think of? The second is the income trust policy. First of all, the Conservatives did not tell the truth about it during the election and then they went about it in such an incompetent manner as to blow away $35 billion of Canadians' savings. That is both stupid and dishonest. The third policy is the issue of interest deductibility for foreign acquisitions by Canadian companies. That is a stupid and deceitful policy. These three policies taken by themselves turn advantage Canada into disadvantage Canada.

Much has been said about the advisability of emphasizing consumption taxes in preference to income or capital taxes. Taxes are a fact of life. If we want the services we had better be prepared to be taxed; that is just the way it is and Canadians understand that. What they do not or cannot understand is why one would reduce a tax that does not improve productivity and increase living standards while simultaneously raising income tax which kills improvements in productivity and living standards.

The nation seems to understand this, but the government does not. The rationale is simple. When Canadians get income or tax reductions and capital, they invest or pay down debt. That in turn leads to reduced borrowing costs, which goes directly to the purchase of machinery and equipment, which enhances productivity and improves living standards. It is not much more complicated than that.

A consumption tax reduction, however, does none of that. It is just plain stupid. It is wrong-headed and it is against all the advice of all the best economists in the world, with one exception, the third rate economist who currently sits in the Prime Minister's chair. So much for advantage Canada.

It gets worse. Advantage Canada gets whacked again. The income trust deceit perpetrated upon thousands of Canadian investors was generating good returns for Canadians, huge revenues for the government and repatriating economic sovereignty. Millions of Canadians saw this as a good investment vehicle, until the sector was destroyed by the finance minister and the Prime Minister.

Not only were Canadians' savings destroyed, as predicted, these trusts became takeover targets. Sixteen have left the country already, representing $9 billion in capitalization since October 31, and more are under review. In fact in today's Globe and Mail there is an article which reads:

Foreign money snags three more trusts

Pace of deals unlikely to ease

Three more income trusts were thrust onto Canada's endangered list in less than three hours yesterday, raising to 16 the total number of trusts set to disappear with a value of more than $9 billion since Oct. 31.... Analysts and investors believe the furious pace of takeover activity is not about to ease. And the blame, they insist, rests with Ottawa's decision to clamp down on trusts.

Tell me how that is good for Canada. The minister argues, somewhat naively, that Canadians are acquiring assets at an equivalent pace while selling off Canadian assets, but this is where he is just so naive as to be almost dangerous. Having put a huge for sale sign on Canadian assets at bargain prices, he turns around and handicaps Canadians acquiring foreign assets. He must have been joking when he said advantage Canada. This is disadvantage Canada.

Now the minister prevents Canadians from deducting the interest costs of foreign acquisitions. Is this just plain lunacy? Canadian company X wishes to acquire foreign company Y and so also do a number of other foreign companies. The only company that is handicapped is the Canadian one, which effectively means the Canadian company is out of the running.

How do financial service companies acquire abroad any more? Why try to become an international company with a head office in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver or Calgary? All the good jobs and all that go with it and all the collateral services in law, finance, accounting and technology services will no longer be needed. Either they acquire or they are acquired. Either they buy or they are bought. Either they eat or they will be eaten.

No other country in the world hobbles its business community the way the Conservative government does. Whenever the finance minister starts talking about tax fairness, it is advisable to head for the hills, especially if he is saying it during a budget speech or making an election promise.

The folks from the income trust debacle have learned to their great chagrin to never trust Conservatives during an election. After specifically and repeatedly saying they would not tax trusts, they shocked Canadians by imposing a draconian tax on trusts and destroying $25 billion to $35 billion worth of value.

People were so staggered by this betrayal that they have been putting full page ads in national newspapers saying that the Prime Minister's word is worthless. Now he is talking tax fairness again on interest deductibility. Fair share is code language. He used it with income trusts, he did it to the premiers and now he wants to destroy businesses in Canada who want to invest abroad.

Listen to what others say. Ernst & Young retired chairman Allan Lanthier said that this is “the single most misguided policy I've seen out of Ottawa in 35 years”. Claude Lamoureux said, “This is unbelievable. I don't know who in finance looked at this. I can't believe any sensible person would do this”.

Tom d'Aquino, hardly a friend of the Liberal Party, wrote:

--we are worried that the change announced in the budget may seriously undermine the competitiveness of Canada's homegrown champions -- the companies that are most active and most successful in building global businesses from head offices in Canadian communities. It may also damage Canada's--

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood will have to wait until the next time this bill comes to the floor.

The House resumed from March 28 consideration of the motion.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food in the name of the hon. member for Malpeque.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #156

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed from March 29 consideration of the motion.

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in the second report of the Standing Committee on Health in the name of the hon. member for Mississauga South.

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, you would find unanimous consent to apply the results of the vote just taken to the motion presently before the House with Conservative members present this evening opposed.

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Does the House give its consent to proceed in this fashion?

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Liberals present will be voting for this motion.

I would also like to point out that I will be adding the member for Hull—Aylmer who did not vote during the last vote as he was not in the chamber.

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, my Bloc Québécois colleagues will vote against this motion.

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the NDP members will vote in favour of this motion.

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Independent

André Arthur Independent Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, after due consideration, I will vote against this motion.

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Thibault Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will vote against this motion.

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Comuzzi Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

I vote in favour of the motion, Mr. Speaker.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #157

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion lost.

The House resumed from March 29 consideration of the motion