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House of Commons Hansard #163 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Summer Jobs ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the member is simply wrong. We made no such commitment. In fact, every year at this time of year we are in the process of negotiating these agreements with the various groups that are receiving them. Typically, by the end of the year the lists are revealed and it is only at that point that all the facts are known.

What we will not do, though, is go back to the failed approach of the previous government where it handed out money to its friends and to large corporations. We do not want to see taxpayers subsidize profitable corporations. That is the old way. We will not go back there.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 16 months the government has delivered choice in child care, several improvements to EI and is supporting post-secondary education after 13 years of neglect.

On the other hand, the opposition offers a child care bill with more amendments than clauses. It is passing EI bills that add $6.2 billion in new annual costs with little study on their effectiveness and it is proposing a bill that would cut $5.4 million in education transfers to Quebec.

Would the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development tell Canadians a little more about the government's planned initiatives?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, this government does have a vision to empower Canadians. We want to ensure that students, parents and workers have the resources they need to succeed, which is why in the budget we announced a 40% increase in post-secondary education funding for students. We announced an apprenticeship incentive grant for workers. We announced a child tax credit to help parents.

The universal child care benefit that helps millions of Canadian families is something the Liberals said they would take away. They said they would remove choice in child care. I sure hope they explain that at some point.

JusticeOral Questions

June 4th, 2007 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, Conrad Black is in Chicago today looking to play his Trump card. As the Donald takes the stand, ordinary Canadians are asking whether Conrad could have been charged for such crimes in Canada. The answer is, not really, not only because we do not have the enforcement but because we do not even have the laws.

Will the finance minister continue to allow corporate crime to go unchecked in Canada or will he let the House of Commons get to work and draft a long overdue corporate Canada accountability act and protect--

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Finance.

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is an important issue about white collar crime, as it is called, and we did two things in the budget this year.

One thing is the proper funding of the integrated market enforcement teams, known as IMETs, which were started several years ago. They need the necessary funding and they need the necessary advice in the RCMP, so we have Nick Le Pan there now as their senior expert adviser to deal with this serious enforcement issue with respect to white collar crime.

The other thing we need in this country, quite frankly, is unified securities enforcement, which we can try to accomplish through a common national securities regulator.

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, we need a lot more than that. Ordinary investors in Canada need to know that they are not being bilked by smoke and mirror numbers and cooked books, by those who are going around without independent audits, without independent board members, without any independent analyses of perks and trips to Bora-Bora, and with corporate executives throwing lavish parties and passing them off as business expenses.

Will the finance minister tell the House that he is willing to let parliamentarians work on this problem? Will he let MPs do their job, write the law and crack down on corporate crime?

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, is that question about Bora-Bora? Perhaps it is a good thing the member is not on a particular jury at present.

We are investing $65 million to bolster anti-money laundering efforts in Canada. This is very important. This year Canada sat as president of the international association. We have also moved the Egmont Group. We in Canada now are the host of the Egmont Group in Toronto, and it deals with intelligence relating to money laundering.

These are leadership positions for our country on this issue.

Festivals and Special EventsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the last budget was tabled, the Minister of Canadian Heritage created high expectations for festivals. Now that the festival season is getting under way, the money is not available as the minister has been unable to establish adequate guidelines.

The Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec already has a program to support festivals with very specific criteria and clear objectives.

Why is the minister refusing to transfer monies to which Quebec festivals are entitled to the Economic Development Agency of Canada, which could deliver the program to all Quebec regions?

Festivals and Special EventsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised that a member of the Liberal caucus would be asking a question about the situation of supporting festivals. In fact, it is because of the Liberal government that festivals are in the situation that they are in today.

In fact, if the official opposition really cares about funding and supporting festivals, it should have supported the budget.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities announced plans for a national transit strategy at his presentation to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. This strategy will be aimed at reducing traffic congestion and air pollution and will make our cities and communities more competitive.

Would the parliamentary secretary tell the House how this strategy will involve working with municipalities?

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Leader of the Opposition was lecturing the Conservative government on supporting municipalities and how he would be a strong partner, but in 2001--

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Members should listen, because in 2001 this is what he had to say about the role of municipalities:

--the Constitution clearly establishes that municipal affairs fall under provincial jurisdiction, and that the provinces are determined to keep it that way.

We on this side of the House do not think strong partners should leave municipalities to fend for themselves, but I guess where one stands on an issue really depends on where one sits on it, and he has been sitting on the flip-flop fence forever.

Our Prime Minister and our government are committed to working with municipalities and with Canadians across the country. We are getting that job done.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It is with great pleasure that I draw the attention of this House to the presence in the gallery of 13 members of the Canadian Forces, who are here to take part in Canadian Forces Day.

Canadian Forces Day is an opportunity for Canadians across the country to recognize the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make on our behalf.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-JeanOral Questions

3 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, today I have the pleasure of extending our best wishes to the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean on his last day in Parliament.

He was the Parti Québécois member for the riding of Roberval in Quebec in 1981. While sitting in the National Assembly in Quebec, he served as the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance during his first mandate. Re-elected in 1985, he was deputy chair of the Commission des affaires sociales until 1988.

After the 1993 general election, the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean became the Bloc Québécois House leader, a role he held until 1996, when he became the leader of Her Majesty's opposition, but I doubt he includes this title in his CV. He resumed his role as Bloc Québécois House leader when the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie was elected as leader of the Bloc Québécois.

I had the pleasure of working very briefly with the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean. Unfortunately, he left his position shortly after I became the government House leader. Today is his last day in the House of Commons. I do not know whether I should feel bad or take credit for his departure.

Seriously, when I worked with the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, I quickly learned that he was someone who always negotiated fairly and equitably. He always kept his word.

We are all aware of the sacrifices we have to make in public life, as elected members of the House of Commons. The time we spend in Ottawa, away from our homes and families, is sometimes difficult. I am certain that all the members here today extend their sincere thanks to the hon. member for his many years of work and his contribution to politics in Canada and Quebec.

All my predecessors appreciated what the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean brought to the meetings of the House leaders over the years.

On behalf of all my colleagues on this side of the House, I wish the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean health and happiness in his retirement.

Member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-JeanOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to pay tribute to our Bloc Québécois colleague, the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean. He has had a distinguished career as a member of the National Assembly in Quebec and here in Ottawa. He will soon be leaving us, after over 13 years in this House. He was leader of his party, House leader and always a proud representative of Lac-Saint-Jean.

Over the years, the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean and I have had our differences of opinion and, as House leaders, we often crossed swords. He is an excellent strategist. He has carefully studied and has a thorough knowledge of the rules of Parliament. One could even say that he has become an exemplary parliamentarian in the greatest of British traditions following Disraeli, Gladstone, Churchill and others, and now, Gauthier.

When we were in government, the House leader of the Bloc was the most formidable of parliamentarians. His sense of strategy was beyond compare. He often amazed us with his procedural knowledge. The hon. member is also a dangerous adversary during question period. When he speaks, and especially when he sets aside his prepared text, he is always passionate, as demonstrated by his words and by his tendency to turn a Liberal shade of red.

Too often, he is the one shown in the clips. Well, now, completely impartially, he can play clips of us on TQS, I have no doubt.

To the hon. member, I would say good luck and take good care. You have always shown respect for this place and the people in it. You will be missed, just as I am sure you will miss this House.

Member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-JeanOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean will be leaving us in a few weeks. Bloc members will be losing not only a colleague, but also a friend. He may not look it, but Michel is a sensitive soul. We in the Bloc know this, but his opponents may not. However, they do know that he is a great parliamentarian. Despite being opponents, his colleagues in the House know him as a parliamentarian with excellent negotiating skills, a man who knew how to compromise, but who never compromised his ideals.

The member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean is a true teacher. Before entering politics, he was a teacher and school board director. I still call him a teacher because I have had the opportunity to work closely with him for the past 14 years.

Every sitting day, we meet early in the morning to identify the day's issues, to frame those issues and to choose the words we want to use to discuss them. Michel has the gift of explaining complex subjects in simple terms. His approach is simple: he sees things from the perspective of his fellow citizens. His guiding principle is: how can we engage their interest?

The member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean is, first and foremost, a Quebecker who stands up for the best interests of Quebec. He is a sovereignist who has fought in both Quebec's National Assembly and the House of Commons to make Quebec a country. The Bloc is sad to see him leave, knowing that he would have carried on were it not for his health problems. His adversaries may not be greatly saddened by his departure, and I can understand that, but they will remember the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean as a tough but respectful opponent.

We would like to wish him good luck with his new career, and we know that he will be just as successful in the communications field as he has been in education and politics.

Good luck, Michel, and thank you for your years of dedication to the cause.

Member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-JeanOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to pay tribute to my colleague from Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean. He was leader of the Bloc Québécois, leader of the official opposition, and one of the most effective and persistent House leaders I have ever known. Despite our different political positions, especially with respect to the nature, value and future of Canada, I do not think anyone in this House can deny the fact that the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean loves this Parliament.

As we say in English, he is a House of Commons man, perhaps the highest compliment we can pay another member of Parliament.

He especially loves parliamentary debates and has shown this eloquently over the last 14 years. I had the chance to cross swords with him a number of times. His debating style was characterized by respect and passion. He will be missed in Parliament. But perhaps not as much as all that, since he is going to pull a Jean Lapierre and become a television star.

As some of us only announced that we were not seeking re-election as opposed to resigning, perhaps at some point I will be a guest on the hon. member's television show and we can compare notes on post-parliamentary life.

Following up on a remark by the hon. House leader for the official opposition, with the departure of the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, this leaves the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst as the uncontested hothead, red-faced member of Parliament. I am not sure how the hon. member will translate that style onto television. We look forward to seeing how the cool medium and sometimes the nature of the hon. member's style get together on television.

On behalf of my NDP colleagues, I would like to wish the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean all the best, and a very long career in the media.

Member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-JeanOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, people want to keep me from speaking. They will be no more successful today than in the past. I intend on exercising my right to speak.

My colleagues have said some kind things, and I would like to thank them. It reminds me of a very popular Loto-Québec ad, in which they say that it is important to always be nice to people who play Lotto 6/49. I have a feeling that here, in this House, the advice would be to always be nice to the person who is leaving to host a daily public affairs show.

I would like to take this final opportunity to thank you personally, Mr. Speaker. As luck would have it, our paths have crossed throughout my career in the federal Parliament, when you were parliamentary assistant to the government House leader. You and all the employees here have always worked to allow us to express ourselves, to say what our constituents want us to say. What a wonderful profession it is to uphold the rights of democracy. That is your profession, Mr. Speaker, and that of so many people working behind the scenes, such as the clerks—whom I salute—and everyone else who works in the House to make our job here easier. I would also like to thank the pages who have served us so loyally, year in and year out. I would like to say a few words about the pages. I learned to take them seriously in a rather interesting manner. In 2004, during a debate at the time of my sixth election, I was up against a House of Commons page from the previous year who was running for the NDP—he was running for the riding next to mine—and it was a difficult debate. In going up against him, I learned that a person's worth is not measured in years. I encourage my hon. colleagues to take our pages very seriously. That was my most difficult debate. He was very kind, however, and made no comments about our past experiences together in this House. He acted as if he knew nothing of it and focused on the content.

I would simply like to express to my leader, to my colleagues and to all those present in this House, the esteem in which I hold them and the pleasure I have derived from working with individuals who are so well versed in various areas of the life of our society. It is a great privilege to associate with individuals of such high calibre as the men and women seated in this House.

It is true that in our discussions we have said some things to one another. It is true that we have had some heated exchanges. The House leader of the official opposition referred to that earlier. It is true that we have had some good discussions—some very good ones for us and less so for them. In the end, we have lent our voices to democracy. As long as the citizens who elect us view us as individuals capable of expressing their views, the way they would if they had the opportunity to find themselves here, and to give their opinions, as long as we do this, we will be good parliamentarians and we will continue to maintain the image of what a true representative of the people should be.

I would like to thank my family and my staff, who have supported me throughout my lengthy career. In particular, I would like to thank Sylvie and Fabienne, my two assistants, who have been at my side for almost 14 years and who were always up to the task.

We would not be members of this Parliament without our organizers, our workers, those who look after us, and those who generously support us in defending our ideas during election campaigns.

At this point, I have a less agreeable message for my adversaries. I know that some are happy that I am leaving and are saying, “After this election, he has decided to leave. Perhaps now we can win the riding of Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean”. Well, I have some bad news for you: you will not win the riding of Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean. I am sorry to have to say that. I know that members of each political party will work to get out the message in the next election campaign. I know that the Bloc Québécois will try. Unfortunately for my adversaries, I do not believe that my leaving will change anything. Having said that, the citizens will decide and we shall see what their verdict is.

Naturally, I wish to thank the voters for being so patient with me. Today, I have a great deal of affection for the people in my riding, where my children and grandchildren still live. This region needed representation and still needs the support of the various levels of government. There are many economic problems. The difficulties resulting from the softwood lumber crisis predominate. Farmers are experiencing many difficulties and the unemployed, who are excluded from the employment insurance program, face many difficulties. However, I know that there will always be individuals in this House who are attuned to these difficulties and who know that we are all duty bound to find solutions for our less fortunate fellow citizens.

The last thing I would like to say to all of you is that I wish you much happiness and all the best in the future. I hope that you make the best possible decisions for your electors and that what happens in future turns out for the best for each and every one of you. I have truly liked all of you and I am leaving with the lasting memory of all the colleagues I have been fortunate to associate with from all political parties. I wish to thank you very much, it has been a pleasure.

Member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-JeanOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-JeanOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. I would like to share some remarks with the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean on his departure from the House. As he said, we met during his first meeting as leader of his party in the House, back when I was Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House. I remember well that it was in the office of Mr. Gray, who was then Leader of the Government in the House.

Our friendship continued in the years that followed. I would like to congratulate him on his work, not only on behalf of his constituents, but also on behalf of the members of his party and the citizens of our country. He has contributed much to the work of the House of Commons and has always collaborated with all the other leaders, whips and members of this House in the course of his duties.

I know that many members often wanted to hear not only the hon. member's questions, which are always entertaining, at least, from the perspective of the Chair, but also his points of order and his questions of privilege, which were always brought up good-naturedly and with considerable enthusiasm.

I greatly appreciate the work done by the hon. member, and I am sure, as are all my colleagues, that he will be sorely missed. I hope he will visit us from time to time, bringing his good humour and varied experiences to the gallery or our offices. It is always a pleasure to speak with him. Thank you, Michel, for all your work. It is much appreciated.

Member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-JeanOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 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, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to 11 petitions.