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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

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Conservative Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs in relation to the designation of room 112-N, Centre Block.

Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 14th and 15th reports of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(3)(a) two motions to concur in the reports are deemed moved, the questions deemed put and the recorded divisions deemed demanded and deferred until Wednesday, April 25, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

Status of WomenCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 15th report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women entitled, “Publication of policy reports at Status of Women Canada”.

I also have the pleasure to present, in both official languages, the 16th report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women entitled, “Restoration of Court Challenges Program”.

Clean Internet ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-427, An Act to prevent the use of the Internet to distribute child pornography, material that advocates, promotes or incites racial hatred, and material that portrays or promotes violence against women.

Mr. Speaker, today it is very important to be aware that the Internet has many useful services to the community but there has also been a lot of child pornography distributed throughout the Internet. It has also supported the human trafficking initiative throughout the globe.

Today I would like to present the clean Internet act, a private member's bill that would address these things. Basically, it would put the onus on Internet servers to be careful of what they are accepting from customers. For instance, the bill would address the fact that child pornography is not okay to put on the Internet throughout our nation.

We must all keep in mind that we need to stop the human trafficking that is happening in our country now and this bill makes a strong statement about that part of the Internet.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Cruelty to AnimalsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of presenting a petition signed by over 1,800 people calling upon the Conservative government to introduce effective animal cruelty legislation like my private member's Bill C-373 and to vote against the ineffective and empty Bill S-213.

HIV-AIDSPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to present a petition signed by the congregants of Iona Presbyterian Church and St. Cyprian's Anglican Church, who call upon the government to expedite the production and export of anti-retroviral drugs to Africa.

Genetic Use Restriction TechnologiesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Cummins Conservative Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today. The first one calls on Parliament to ban terminator technology. The petitioners note that seed-saving is key to farmers' livelihoods, food security and crops' genetic diversity, and they call on Parliament to have a permanent national ban on the use of these terminator technologies.

Fisheries ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Cummins Conservative Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls on Parliament to withdraw from Parliament Bill C-45, the proposed new fisheries act, and calls on the minister to engage in open dialogue with fishermen before proceeding.

Human TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present to the House today. There are close to 700 names on these petitions, which call on the government to continue its good work to combat trafficking of persons worldwide.

Summer Career Placement ProgramPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am tabling in the House a petition signed by over 1000 residents of my riding of Manicouagan. Following the Conservative government's decision to replace the summer career placement program, many people wanted to express their dissatisfaction. Over $11 million were cut from a $97 million budget. Also, the decentralized system tends to eliminate contacts between NPOs, private businesses and public corporations. I support the people of the North Shore and of the great riding of Manicouagan who signed this petition. There are asking the federal government to bring back the summer career placement program as it was.

TibetPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present three petitions, the first of which is from the Toronto Tibetan Youth Congress. I have the privilege of having the largest Tibetan community in the country in my riding of Parkdale—High Park. The petition submitted by the youth congress contains 637 names and was based on Free Tibet Action Week, which was held early in March.

The petition is calling for the federal government to pressure the Chinese government to immediately release all political prisoners, including Tulku Tenzin Delek and the Panchen Lama and to ensure that there are no preconditions for their release.

ImmigrationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition concerns my once in a lifetime bill, with 390 petitioners calling on the Parliament of Canada to ensure that Canadian citizens and landed immigrants are given a once in a lifetime opportunity to sponsor a family member from outside the family class as currently defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. That is included in my Bill C-394.

Federal Minimum WagePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the third petition, with 285 signatures, concerns the federal minimum wage and it recognizes that the federal minimum wage was eliminated by the Liberal government in 1996. A $10 an hour minimum wage just approaches the poverty level for a single worker. A federal minimum wage would extend beyond the numbers of workers covered federally because it would serve as the best practice for labour standards in the country.

The petitioners call for the Parliament of Canada to ensure the passage of Bill C-375, my bill to re-establish a federal minimum wage set at $10 an hour.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

April 18th, 2007 / 3:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Bill C-269 and Bill C-278Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The Chair would like to take a moment to provide some information to the House regarding Bill C-269, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (improvement of the employment insurance system), standing in the name of the hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle, and regarding Bill C-278, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (benefits for illness, injury or quarantine), standing in the name of the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria.

Both bills were reported to the House from the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities on March 19, 2007.

With regard to C-269, many hon. members may recall that on November 6, 2006 I delivered a ruling in response to a point of order concerning the requirement for a royal recommendation for this bill. At that time, I came to the conclusion that spending was being sought for initiatives that: reduced the qualifying period for benefits; increased the weekly benefit rate; repealed the waiting period for benefits; increased the yearly maximum insurable earnings; and extended coverage of the Employment Insurance Plan to the self-employed.

In addition, I mentioned that the bill summary listed three further ends which appeared to involve other increases to expenditures.

The standing committee made an amendment to clause 5 which dealt with qualification requirements and to the schedule which dealt with the weeks of benefits. Neither of these amendments removed the requirement that C-269 be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

Therefore, I will decline to put the question on third reading of Bill C-269 in its present form unless a royal recommendation is received.

With regard to Bill C-278, in a ruling delivered on November 10, 2006, in response to a point of order on the need for a royal recommendation, I stated:

I have carefully reviewed Bill C-278 in light of the interventions of the hon. members and find that by amending the Employment Insurance Act to extend sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 50 weeks, the bill would require the expenditure of additional funds in a manner and for a purpose not currently authorized. Although contributions to the employment insurance program are indeed made by employers and employees, appropriations for the program are taken from the consolidated revenue fund and any increase in such spending would require a royal recommendation.

As the standing committee did not make any amendments to the bill, I will therefore decline to put the question on third reading of Bill C-278 in its present form unless a royal recommendation is received.

I thank the House for permitting me to make this announcement.

The House resumed from April 16 consideration of the motion that Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Garth Turner Conservative Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, politicians are citizens that other citizens nominate and elect to represent them and their interests. As such, the bond between them is quite simple: it is called trust.

If and when that bond is broken, there can be no greater disconnect or breach or falling out or betrayal between them. The people are no longer represented. Instead, I would say, they are ruled.

Today we are debating the implementation of the 2007 federal budget, a document that affects the lives of millions of Canadians in thousands of different ways. Some are beneficial and some are not.

My remarks concern themselves today with just one aspect of this and that trust I mentioned between politicians and the people. It is at the very heart of what I wish to say.

In the last election campaign, the man who is now Prime Minister of Canada said over and over again from podiums from one end of this country to the next, including in my area, that a Conservative government would not tax income trusts.

He put it in writing in an op-ed article in the National Post. He directed that it be published in the party's platform, called “Stand up for Canada”.

In short, the man who is now Prime Minister could not have been clearer in his messaging to income trust investors, many of whom are seniors. He told them to relax, saying they would be safe if they voted for the Conservatives because, unlike the Liberals and the NDP, the Conservatives would never attack their income trusts.

Now we know that he lied. The government brought in a tax on income trusts on October 31 of last year, which tanked the stock market and erased $25 billion--

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order. The hon. member from Halton is not a rookie. He knows that he cannot accuse other members of lying and so I would ask him to withdraw the accusation against the Prime Minister.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Garth Turner Conservative Halton, ON

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I withdraw the accusation.

The Prime Minister said one thing and did another. This actually caused investors in this country to lose more than $25 billion in private savings. Most of those people were retired. They could not possibly and will not possibly be able to recoup these losses.

It is the biggest single erosion of private savings ever caused by a single government action.

With that one draconian and, as it turned out, stupid, costly and senseless action, the Conservative leader broke faith with the people. He breached it. He destroyed it. He threw it away.

He is no longer representing the income trust investors whom he asked to vote for him. Now he is ruling them. He is telling them that they must live with the gratuitous pain the government has caused. Now, with this bill, the government seeks to make this breach of faith the law of the land.

That is why I voted against the budget and why I cannot support this enabling legislation. Shame on those who wrote it and seek to impose it upon Canadians.

Today I am not going to add any more of my words to the debate. Instead, I will turn to those of average Canadian investors.

This week on my blog I mentioned that I would have the opportunity to stand here for a few minutes to speak about this issue. I asked individual Canadians if they would send me some messages they would like conveyed to the House. I was overwhelmed with the response.

I would like my hon. colleagues to listen for a couple of minutes to some of the messages.

Mr. Don Bool, of Courtenay, British Columbia, wrote:

For me it's not having the proof of tax leakage. The blacked out pages by the finance department pretty well says it all. I could live with changes to income trusts if it was proven they were not good for the Canadian economy. Just give me good reasons for changing income trust policy and I'll eat the loss. I didn't know much about the particulars of income trusts but when they presented blanked out pages I studied up on trusts and a simple person like me could see the fix was in. I have been taken for a schmuck.

Ron Murray said:

I am a senior citizen that dropped some $30,000 because of the [Minister of Finance's] complete misunderstanding dealing with income trusts. No discussion, no notice, lying to the public--

Sorry, Mr. Speaker. I mean to say “saying one thing to the public and doing another”. Mr. Murray continues:

--refusing to give the background of his numbers on the 'tax loss'.

Mr. Murray said that he sent a letter and states:

I sent a copy to my local MP and was called by him. I went to his office and was muzzled with [the] party line...I am not sure he had a clue what an Income Trust was. The main reason according to [the member of Parliament opposite] was that we were the only country in the world that did not tax income trusts.

Mr. Murray says phooey.

Then we have Tom and Ethna Anderson, who said:

The current government broke its promise not to tax income trusts. These actions have seriously lessened our confidence in the government's ability to govern with honesty and integrity.

Donald Metcalfe of Hanover, Ontario, said:

My wife and I are devastated by the damage the decision of the government to tax income trusts has done to our investments and to our monthly income. We are both seniors and rely on this income...we are down more than $1,200 per month. This is robbery and has affected our living in a major way. I talked to our [Conservative member of Parliament] and he told me [the Prime Minister] would allow him and his fellow MPs no say so why do we elect MPs to represent us when [the Prime Minister] is a dictator.

Again, in sympathy, Mr. Speaker, I will not name the member.

Elmer Sather of Surrey, British Columbia, said:

I am speechless, and in shock over how fast these Income Trusts are being taken over by foreigners.

He said it is staggering.

The Martinson family said that the Prime Minister told people something and did something else, although they used a more descriptive term. They wrote:

The government has successfully made it sound like they get no tax money from businesses involved in the Income Trust structure and people seem to be buying this. I feel it is important that it be made clear to the Canadian public that Governments gets lots of tax money due to Income Trusts.

As of March 31, the Martinson family reminds us that the Canada pension plan had 80 individual income trust businesses in its portfolio. If it was such a bad idea for individual citizens to hold income trusts, as the government would suggest, how could our public pension plan have invested in 80 of them?

Bill Fischer says this in regard to the Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) who had a town hall meeting in his riding the other day on income trusts. He said:

I attended and here's my comment:

“We worked hard to elect a Conservative government, and were rewarded with betrayal. [The Prime Minister] promised one thing and did another. A 35 billion dollar--

I will not use the word--

--action. Calling manure a rose doesn't change the smell”.

[The secretary of state] spoke a lot of “rose” at the meeting, but few were fooled. He and [the Prime Minister] need to listen to Ralph Klein and recant, repent, and reimburse investors and seniors. You can't reward...politicians by voting for them [when they do not tell the truth]. It encourages them to continue the practise.

I have another comment here:

I don't remember reading in the party's platform anywhere that you had decided to decimate the nest egg of hundreds of thousands of senior Canadians. This is despicable behaviour from a government that touts itself as being accountable. To whom?

Art Moss, another senior says,

My RRSP took a 25% haircut in the aftermath of the Halloween massacre. It has since recovered about 10%.

However, the real pain of this legislation will come in 5 years when I convert to a RRIF. If all goes according to plan...I was projecting distribution income of $2,000/month.

He goes on to say, “the Minister of Finance calls this tax fairness. There is nothing fair about it”.

Mr. Speaker, I have probably 400 comments here. Could I have a couple of hours? If I could get unanimous consent from the House to continue to table these comments from individual Canadians, I would be a very happy guy because I would be able to tell these Canadians that I came here and stood here today, and actually got their voices to the floor of the House of Commons. Could you ask for that consent, Mr. Speaker?