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House of Commons Hansard #149 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was gasoline.

Topics

Corporal Benoît ChevalierStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday, Corporal Benoît Chevalier died in a plane crash in the Sinai Desert in Egypt. He was part of a contingent of 28 Canadian soldiers on a peacekeeping mission. The 25-year-old from Macamic, in the Abitibi region, had been a radar controller with 3 Wing Bagotville since July 2003. Colonel Pierre Ruel of 3 Wing Bagotville said that the young man was a radar controller without equal and was involved in the military community and social life of Bagotville. In addition to tributes from the commanding officer, Corporal Chevalier received a number of others from his friends and family, who remembered him as a likeable, dynamic person who was always up for an adventure.

The Bloc Québécois would like to extend its sincere condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of Corporal Benoît Chevalier at this very difficult time.

Red Cross and Red CrescentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, today we honour the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the largest humanitarian network in the world, comprising 185 member national societies and over 100 million volunteers.

By coordinating partnerships between governments, NGOs and the private sector, the movement saves lives and reducing suffering in communities devastated by war, disease and disaster.

From Canada to the Congo and Iraq to Afghanistan, the movement rehabilitates the disabled, visits detainees, restores family links, provides essential health care and promotes humanitarian law. From reducing measles deaths by 75% in Africa to combating malaria, the movement has saved millions of lives.

On behalf of the Liberal Party, I salute Dr. Pierre Duplessis, the secretary general of the Canadian Red Cross, and the extraordinary volunteers, here in Canada and around the world, who help the dispossessed. They are true heroes.

Marine EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to inform the House that today our government announced the enactment of new and enhanced marine regulations. The new national regulations demonstrate our government's zero tolerance toward the discharge of pollutants, garbage and sewage in our coastal waters and inlets.

The new regulations apply to all boats in all waters in Canada and will help eliminate the deliberate, negligent, or accidental discharge of waste and toxins from ships into the marine environment.

This is a major step forward in our efforts to ensure that Canadians have clean water, and that our oceans and lakes are protected. Under our Conservative government, Canada is becoming a leader in the prevention of marine pollution.

The village of Belcarra in my riding has spent over 10 years calling on Ottawa to ban the dumping of sewage and chemicals into our coastal waters.

Our Conservative government has taken action. From Bedwell Bay to Burrard Inlet, Indian Arm, all the waters surrounding my community and all our coastal waters in Canada, we are going to keep our coasts clean and preserve the beauty of our environment.

FinanceOral Questions

May 8th, 2007 / 2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of Canadian workers and families who work very hard to earn a living, I am asking the Prime Minister to bring the Minister of Finance back to his senses and ask him to stop penalizing Canadian companies that want to strengthen their position in the global economy and expand abroad and that are asking him to put a stop to this ill-conceived policy and make interest deductible once again.

FinanceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, under this Minister of Finance, Canada has the lowest unemployment rate I have ever seen in my life. That is proof that the Minister of Finance is doing a good job. He has indicated that he will soon announce the details of this policy to ensure that major corporations pay their share of taxes in this country.

FinanceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the overwhelming majority of experts and business leaders asked the Prime Minister to say that to his Minister of Finance.

Allan Lanthier said, “The single most misguided policy I have seen out of Ottawa in 35 years”.

Nancy Hughes-Anthony said, “It's a real step in the wrong direction”.

The chief executive of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan said, “I cannot believe any sensible person would do this”.

Will the Prime Minister stop working for Wall Street and abandon this harmful policy right now?

FinanceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the only taxes the Leader of the Opposition ever complains about are taxes on big business.

The Minister of Finance announced the framework in the budget. He will shortly be announcing the details of that policy.

Let me assure the Leader of the Opposition and all members of the House that the Minister of Finance will continue to make sure that Canadian industry is competitive, as it is, and at the same time make sure that all companies, including big companies, pay their fair share of tax in this country.

FinanceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Yes, Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of fair share. American, Japanese and European companies benefit from interest deductibility.

Why is the Prime Minister giving the green light to foreigners taking over companies in Canada and the red light to Canadian companies trying to win abroad?

Why does the Prime Minister not understand that in penalizing Canadian companies, he is hurting Canadian jobs, families and workers?

FinanceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in the budget we said that we would crack down on corporations that use tax havens. We said we would improve information agreements with other countries. We said we would provide more resources to the Canada Revenue Agency to strengthen its audit and enforcement activities.

I hear from the Leader of the Opposition today that he is against those steps. In 2005 when he was revenue critic, the finance critic for the Liberals said this:

I am committed to ensuring a level playing field for all Canadians, and that is why I take the issue of tax havens seriously.

He just--

FinanceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore.

FinanceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, in budget 2007 the minister announced measures that almost everybody believes might cripple Canada's capacity to compete and grow overseas.

Faced with an uproar, he has now backed down and claims he was only trying to address questionable tax havens. This is just unbelievable incompetence.

When will the minister admit that he has made a $1 billion mistake and start helping Canadian businesses actually succeed in the global marketplace?

FinanceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the member opposite to read page 223 of the budget and he will see that we have targeted tax havens. That is precisely the target that we have, just as it was the target on income trusts.

We on this side of the House believe in tax fairness. Ordinary Canadians work almost six months of the year and get their T-4 slips, and have to pay their full share of taxes. So should Canadian corporations, no matter how they operate. No double dipping; no tax havens.

FinanceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, what I do not understand is the minister has already admitted publicly he is going to have to change what is in the budget. Why does he not come out and say so?

This government is doing nothing to prevent foreign takeovers of Canadian companies. The CEO of Manulife Financial has said that if takeovers continue at this rate, we will wake up one morning and realize that our country has lost control of its business activity.

Will the minister take action and do something to counter this threat?

FinanceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again, the member opposite ought to have a look at the facts. We have one large Canadian corporation right now in negotiations to acquire a very large United Kingdom company. Is the member opposite saying that we should interfere in that transaction, when major Canadian corporations are making acquisitions abroad?

Does he realize that the level of activity by Canadian corporations abroad far exceeds what is happening the other way around? Does he want us to impose restrictions that are not reciprocal with other countries in the world? Is that what he suggests as a remedy in the Canadian corporate world for competitiveness? I think not.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we have proof that the government's so-called green plan was tailor made for the oil companies. An Environment Canada document reveals that the oil sands sector will be able to continue to increase its air pollution emissions, while all other industrial sectors will have to work to reduce them.

How can the Prime Minister justify this exemption, which, in fact, is a privilege he is granting exclusively to his friends in the oil sector?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for the first time in our history, the federal government is going to establish mandatory fixed targets for the reduction of air pollution in Canada. This will include not only other companies, but also companies in the oil sands sector. I would like to point out that there are no exemptions for companies in the energy sector, although I must say, the leader of the Bloc Québécois is looking rather full of energy today.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like him to follow my example and be more energetic when it comes to the oil companies.

He is asking the pulp and paper and manufacturing sectors to make an effort, while he proposes intensity targets that favour the oil companies. Does he realize that he is once again helping the poor Alberta oil companies to the detriment of the manufacturing sector, particularly in Quebec?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not at all the case. For the first time in the history of Canada, we have the highest targets in the world, targets to reduce air pollution by 50%. This is the first time that a government has been willing to tackle this serious problem for the health of Canadians.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at an information session, the department's officials were unable to justify this preferential treatment for tar sands and stated that it was a political decision. A Sierra Club representative said, “There are no technological reasons....this government is trying to defend an oil industry that just wants to continue polluting. That is favouritism”.

Can the Minister of the Environment explain why the tar sands is the only industrial sector that will be able to continue increasing its emissions of air pollutants?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not at all the case. We are prepared to take action to reduce air pollution. All major industries in Canada are covered by our regulatory plan. That is mandatory. With our plan, we will reduce tar sands pollution by 50%, if we do not follow in the Liberal Party footsteps and if we do not adopt the same policy. That is good news for those who wish to reduce air pollution and it is good news for all Canadians.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is evident today that the plan is just playing to the gallery. It requires that all sectors contribute, with the exception of oil companies and tar sands developments. They are still being allowed to deduct accelerated depreciation and, rather than having fixed targets, they are being offered intensity targets.

Can the government deny that the oil companies are so pleased with the plan that they might as well have written it themselves?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

No, Mr. Speaker.

Corporate TakeoversOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, our economic gems are being sold to foreign interests and the government is ignoring the issue. In every sector, businesses of various sizes are sold or taken over: Abitibi, Labatt, Dofasco, Ipsco, Seagram, The Bay, even the Montreal Canadiens are now owned by American interests.

Then there is Van Houtte and the imminent takeover of Alcan, by Alcoa. Our country is losing everything. When will the Prime Minister act to protect Canada?

Corporate TakeoversOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if there is such a takeover, a statutory review will be conducted to see if there is a net benefit to Canada. Of course, this government intends to assume its responsibilities.

Corporate TakeoversOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact is the rules in place are not adequate to protect Canadian jobs when these foreign takeovers take place. I invite the Prime Minister to come down and meet some of the workers at the factories that have been closed because of precisely this sort of practice.

When we start looking at the companies that are disappearing, one would think the Prime Minister would take some notice. Instead, the Conservatives are looking the other way, and people are losing their jobs.

Will the Prime Minister finally stand up for Canada, put his foot down, use the rules he has to put the brakes on this and bring new rules forward that will protect Canadian jobs and Canadian communities for once?