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House of Commons Hansard #153 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was measures.

Topics

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, some people like to boast, but we will see what Quebeckers decide in the next election in Quebec.

Speaking of elections, last week, the government announced changes to provincial electoral boundaries that will reduce Quebec's electoral weight. In fact, if the government's bill is adopted, Ontario will get 10 additional seats and Alberta and British Columbia will each get five new seats.

If the nation of Quebec is so important to the Prime Minister, why is he proposing a reform that marginalizes Quebec and reduces its political weight?

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see the Leader of the Bloc Québécois with us today. My goodness, it is as though he never left.

In answer to his question, I want to remind my hon. friend that the principle behind the government's approach is representation by population, which is based on principles.

We promised not only to correct the fiscal imbalance, but also to correct the electoral imbalance.

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, democracy consists of more than just those principles. There are also principles underlying the recognition that Quebeckers form a nation. That recognition must find practical expression.

Does the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the political lieutenant for Quebec, realize that recognizing Quebec as a nation means not reducing its political weight? Yet this is what will inevitably happen.

I would like to know whether the principles behind recognizing Quebec as a nation can find expression here.

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the principle that we support is the principle of representation by population. That is a clear, simple principle. Quebeckers can be glad because the bill guarantees that Quebec will continue to have 75 seats.

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the more time passes, the more Quebeckers are realizing that this government's claims of greater openness towards Quebec are nothing more than smoke and mirrors used during the election campaign to appeal to Quebeckers.

If the Prime Minister planned to marginalize Quebec, as the bill for reform of democratic representation introduced here in this House will certainly do, why did he not show greater transparency and talk to Quebeckers about this during his speech in Quebec in 2005?

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the bill is fair for all the provinces. We will respect the principle of representation by population for the provinces experiencing significant population growth such as Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. We guarantee that the Quebec's level of representation will stay the same, and that level is currently higher than Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not the Conservative Party guarantee that is being given. It is guaranteed by the Canadian Constitution. One has nothing to do with the other.

Will the Prime Minister, who boasts of his transparency, finally admit that his bill offers nothing for Quebec and, furthermore, that it only illustrates the fact that Canada continues with its own nation-building, while not only failing to account for the needs of Quebec, but also marginalizing Quebec politically?

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. That is entirely false. Quebec's representation is completely guaranteed by the bill. This level of representation will ensure that the province of Quebec will always have a strong voice in this House.

Corporate TakeoversOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we must ask ourselves if the Bloc will change its mind over the course of the next 24 hours.

Workers and businesspeople in Quebec are very worried about foreign takeovers of Canadian industry icons.

Canada is losing its identity, jobs and control over natural resources. The loss of Alcan is another example of this strong trend.

Why does the Prime Minister refuse to take this seriously? Why will he not defend Canada?

Corporate TakeoversOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that the Canadian economy is strong. Unemployment is at its lowest level since 1974. The rate of participation in the workforce is the highest it has ever been in the history of Canada. We are paying down public debt. We have the strongest economic fundamentals in the entire G-7 and they are getting stronger, thanks to this government.

I say to the member opposite that he should consider not only the investments that are being made in Canada, but the investments being made by Canadian corporations abroad, which are plentiful.

Corporate TakeoversOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, as La Presse pointed out this morning, Canadian companies are buying up smaller companies, which are worth less, while Canadian heavyweights are being quickly snapped up. The government can stop a transaction that is not in Canada's best interests.

How will the Prime Minister protect the jobs in Kitimat, Saguenay and at headquarters in Montreal? What will he do now to save our economic jewels like Alcan?

Corporate TakeoversOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the member knows we have many global Canadian corporations that have made and in fact are making very substantial acquisitions abroad. There is an element of reciprocity here. I suggest the hon. member consider that if we are to put up walls in this country, are other countries not to put up walls to our own corporations seeking to expand abroad? This is a two way street.

We do have strong Canadian corporations, global corporations that are getting stronger because of the strength of the Canadian economy and government policy.

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

May 14th, 2007 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the report soon to be tabled by the Commissioner of Official Languages will take issue with the Conservative government for cancelling the court challenges program, one of the most important tools for minority linguistic communities.

It is appalling to realize that the government did not even take into consideration the needs of minority linguistic communities.

Will the Prime Minister reinstate the court challenges program as quickly as possible?

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague probably knows, a case regarding the court challenges program is before the courts. Therefore, we will not be commenting on this matter.

However, we have received the preliminary report. Our comments will be tabled within 30 days. In the 2007 budget, the Conservative Party committed $30 million to our official language minority communities and the Liberals voted against it.

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, they are using something they created to protect themselves.

All along the Prime Minister has said that the court challenges program was not needed because he would never do anything to contravene the charter. However, the Commissioner of Official Languages said that the official language communities need to have reasonable access to the judicial process to ensure that their interests are protected regardless of income. A two tier judicial system is not reasonable nor acceptable.

Will the Prime Minister assure all Canadians that they will have reasonable access to the judicial system by reinstating the court challenges program?

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I repeat that the case is before the courts.

The star Liberal candidate in Papineau, Justin Trudeau, who is against bilingualism. He is calling for the abolition of distinct school boards, both French and English, which has certainly created turmoil in New Brunswick.

We have made a commitment to the official language communities of our country. Since coming to power, we have authorized more than $1.18 billion for official language minority communities.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, the government promised to protect and promote official languages. However, its performance has been appalling. Indeed, the cancellation of the court challenges program, the watering down of the linguistic requirements in the Canadian Forces and the insulting translation done at the Vimy memorial are all evidence of the Conservatives' indifference. And now they are cancelling the meetings of the committee that was supposed to review the abolition of the court challenges program.

Will, at last, the Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages assume her responsibilities and stop showing contempt for linguistic minorities? All we are asking her is to take her responsibilities.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:30 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 invite the hon. member, who lives in New Brunswick, to talk to the Liberal star candidate in Papineau and to ask him how he could possibly propose to abolish the distinct francophone and anglophone school boards in New Brunswick. Now, that is a totally unacceptable lack of understanding and contempt.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Josée Verner Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

The member for Bourassa keeps making comments. For quite some time now, he has been showing this House that he speaks three languages: the French language, the English language and the dirty language.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, rather than lecturing others, the minister should call to order the chairman of the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Recently, the Prime Minister appointed, as the new federal ombudsman for victims of crime, a unilingual anglophone. He also appointed a unilingual anglophone as the chairman of Ottawa's National Capital Commission, and another one as the chair of the employment insurance arbitration board, in Moncton.

Do we need to remind the government that Ottawa and Moncton are both officially bilingual cities? Does the Prime Minister realize that, by acting in this fashion, he is insulting linguistic minorities across the country? Will he stop insulting linguistic minorities?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, of course, the hon. member should, for the benefit of Ottawa and Moncton residents, point out the comments made by the Liberal candidate in Papineau. He should also ask his leader why he voted against the budget, which provides an additional $30 million to communities.

Moreover, in recent days, he had a flyer distributed everywhere to tell Canadians how bad our budget is. He is himself campaigning against the additional moneys that we allocated.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Minister of Finance refused to turn off the Barbados tax treaty tap, which allows Canadian companies to repatriate $4 billion in profits without paying a cent in taxes to the federal government.

How can the Minister of Finance let the middle class pay the $800 million in taxes that big corporations get away with not paying because they are using the loophole provided by Barbados?

When is he going to act?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to confirm, as I did this morning, that our government will maintain its commitment with respect to the double deduction of interest by some multinational corporations in Canada that use tax havens obviously outside Canada. This is a form of subsidy by Canadian taxpayers of corporations using a loophole for tax avoidance. We are opposed to that. It is contrary to the principle of tax fairness. We are levelling the playing field so that we can lower taxes, not only for Canadian individuals but for their families and for corporations as well.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Finance is really committed to effectively combating tax havens, as he claims, there is no two ways about it: section 5907 of the Iicome tax regulations has to be repealed. If he is serious about what he wants to achieve, when is he going to repeal it?

Deductibility of interest is one thing, but the $800 million in taxes that corporations are not paying is another one that the minister has to address.