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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

Public Safety and National SecurityCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, entitled “Counterfeit Goods in Canada--A Threat to Public Safety”.

Counterfeiting and piracy are having a very negative effect on the Canadian economy. Many Canadian jobs are being lost and organized crime is reaping huge benefits. Almost everything imaginable is being counterfeited, from extension cords to clothes, medication and children's toys. This threat to the health and safety of all Canadians needs to be dealt with immediately because it is not just an economic issue.

This report that I am tabling makes a number of recommendations to the government. Hopefully, it is an issue that will receive prompt attention, legislation and support for our law enforcement and border security. A summary of our work at the standing committee is contained in the report.

I would like to thank all the committee members from every political party for their contributions and help in investigating this important issue, and in making the recommendations in the report. The cooperation I received makes it a pleasure to chair this committee. It has been a pleasure to work with all of the people on the committee from every political party. They have all made an important contribution.

As members know, most of our work here in Parliament is done at the committees, so it is an honour for me to submit this report.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Art Hanger Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

In accordance with the order of reference of Monday, October 16, 2006, your committee has considered Bill C-23, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal procedure, language of the accused, sentencing and other amendments), and has agreed on Thursday, May 31 to report it with amendments.

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeSecretary of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions between all the parties, and I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:

That members of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs be authorized to travel to the DND-VAC Centre for the support of injured members, injured Veterans and their families, in Ottawa, on June 7, 2007, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. chief government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I seek the unanimous consent of this House to adopt the following motion:

That the government's notice of ways and means motion No. 13, tabled in the House by the Minister of Labour on December 8, 2006, be deemed adopted and that the bill listed on the order paper under “Introduction of Government Bills” and entitled “An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, the Wage Earner Protection Program Act and chapter 47 of the Statutes of Canada, 2005” be deemed to have been introduced in the House, deemed to have been read the first time and printed, deemed to have been read the second time and referred to a committee of the whole, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported with the following amendment:

“That clause 32 of the bill be replaced by the following:

32(1) Paragraphs 67(1)(b) to (b.3) of the same statute, as enacted by subsection 57(1) of Chapter 47 of the Statutes of Canada 2005, are replaced by the following:

(b) any property that as against the bankrupt is exempt from execution or seizure under any laws applicable in the province within which the property is situated and within which the bankrupt resides;

(b.1) goods and services tax credit payments that are made in prescribed circumstances to the bankrupt and that are not property referred to in paragraph (a) or (b);

(b.2) prescribed payments relating to the essential needs of an individual that are made in prescribed circumstances to the bankrupt and that are not property referred to in paragraph (a) or (b);

(b.3) without restricting the generality of paragraph (b), property in a registered retirement savings plan or a registered retirement income fund, as those expressions are defined in the Income Tax Act, or in any prescribed plan, other than property contributed to any such plan or fund in the 12 months before the date of bankruptcy,

deemed concurred in at the report stage as amended, and deemed read the third time and passed”.

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert have the unanimous consent of the House to move this motion?

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

There is not unanimous consent.

Income TrustsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

June 4th, 2007 / 3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this income trust broken promise petition on behalf of Mr. Gary Perron from Calgary, Alberta, who remembers the Prime Minister boasting about his apparent commitment to accountability when he said that the greatest fraud is a promise not kept.

The petitioners remind the Prime Minister that he promised never to tax income trusts, but he recklessly broke that promise by imposing a 31.5% punitive tax which permanently wiped out over $25 billion of hard-earned retirement savings of over two million Canadians, particularly of seniors.

The petitioners therefore call upon the Conservative minority government to admit that the decision to tax income trusts was based on flawed methodology and incorrect assumption, also to apologize to those who were unfairly harmed by this broken promise and to repeal the punitive 31.5% tax on income trusts.

SentencingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by a number of people in my riding and citizens from other hon. members' ridings across the country as well.

The petitioners are concerned with the sentencing in the murder of Shane Rolston. They also have concerns with the Young Offenders Act and issues around sentencing.

The petitioners are compelling the government to re-evaluate sentencing in respect to these types of heinous criminal acts and that sentencing be brought in better proportion to the nature of the crime, regardless of age, class or race.

EMployment InsurancePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of hundreds of citizens in Madawaska—Restigouche concerning the elimination of waiting periods. The petitioners are calling on the Conservative government to be more understanding of the situation facing workers, especially seasonal workers, and to finally eliminate the waiting period that people must deal with every year, depending the kind of work they do.

Their petition is identical to what is called for in my private member's bill, Bill C-263, which calls for the elimination of waiting periods. The reasoning behind it is very easy to understand. We are asking the minority Conservative government to understand that people have rent or a mortgage to pay, not to mention utility and grocery bills, in order to provide for their families. As we all know, when no money is coming in, it is very difficult to meet our family's needs.

Thus, the petitioners are calling on the minority Conservative government to eliminate waiting periods for employment insurance benefits, to allow Canadians across the country to live better.

Visitor VisasPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have before me a petition that was signed by quite a number of my constituents.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to lift the visa requirements for the Republic of Poland. They recognize now that Poland has become a full member of the EU and that it has also joined NATO. Things in the nation have changed dramatically.

Therefore, they ask that our government look at the visa requirements and make some recommended changes so they can have better visitation with their relatives and friends from Poland.

Chinese CanadiansPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present a petition concerning a just and honourable redress for Chinese head tax families. It has been signed by hundreds of residents in Vancouver East, in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

The petitioners draw our attention to the fact that the apology brought in by the Prime Minister was a good first step, but that all Chinese head tax families without a surviving head taxpayer or spouse deserve appropriate redress with respect and dignity based on one certificate, one claim. This has been a strong campaign.

The petitioners call upon the Prime Minister and Parliament for a just and honourable redress and to negotiate in good faith with the legal successors of entitled estates of the rightful holders of the Chinese head tax.

Income TrustsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a petition on behalf of Mr. Brad Fullard of Ontario. Mr. Fullard is one of two million Canadians who lost a lot of money from their life savings that was invested in income trusts.

The tragedy, according to Mr. Fullard, is that many of those two million Canadians were encouraged to invest even more in income trusts, based on the promise of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance not to tax them. The promise was not kept. A 31.5% punitive tax was added and they lost, jointly, over $25 billion in capital assets.

The petitioners ask that the House and the government repeal the punitive 31.5% tax on income trusts and that an apology be extended to all those who took the Prime Minister at his word.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present a petition from many parents who are desperately waiting for child care.

The petitioners have a concern that funding designated for child care has in many provinces disappeared and there is no accountability and federal legislation governing child care funding. For example, close to a billion dollars has been sent to the province of Ontario from 2005 until now, yet most of the funding has not reached child care providers or been used to create new child care spaces.

The petitioners ask that we protect child care by enshrining it in legislation with a national child care act, Bill C-303, and that we achieve multi-year funding to ensure that publicly operated child care programs are sustainable over the long term.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:40 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

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to the report stage of the budget bill.

We are looking at the question of the treatment of the tourism industry and our competitiveness in the tourism industry. That is one element.

A very good program was brought in forward by the Liberal government, the GST rebate for tourists from other nations. This program encouraged them to visit Canada. It also helped us compete with other jurisdictions around the world, particularly important for the convention and tour business. However, it was also important to purveyors, to people who would come here to hunt and fish and to people who would come with their families.

We were able to get the Conservatives to move on some elements of that, but they could go forward and reinstate the full program. It was not very expensive, nationally, when we look at the total value of the tourism industry. It was very important to the operators and to our country. I will go back to that later.

If I look at the context of the budget generally, I see two things. One is we evaluate the intention of a government and its competence through a budget. The other thing is we see what opportunity we have and how a government wants to grasp it.

Now we have the most buoyant economy in the history of our country. When the government came into power, it inherited surpluses, the lowest unemployment rate ever, very stable and low interest rates, an economy growing faster than almost every other nation in the world and a very stable one. It has a surplus of $13.2 billion this year from last year's operation.

Let us see what the Conservatives did in their budget.

First, because the economy is so buoyant, this is the highest spending budget in the history of the country. However, when we look at where these investments are made, it leaves a lot to be desired. Rather than building a country, looking at the nation and asking where are its weak elements, where should we be making investments to bring the potential up so we can achieve the national dream and individual can achieve their dreams, the government does not do that.

This is a purely political budget, looking at a very quick election. I think when the budget was drafted, the intention was to go to an election before we would get to this stage, before we would talk about budget implementation.

We see promises to Ontario, Quebec and Alberta of huge transfers of funds. We talk about fiscal imbalance, but we see that these funds were promised before we even voted on them in the House.There were tax cuts within Quebec for political advantage, something we learned had been negotiated, which is distressing when we look at everything else that was left out and not done and everything that was cut.

The same day a $13.5 billion surplus announced, a million dollars was cut in social programs. I have spoken to those at large. We talked about the CAP sites across our nation. We talked about summer employment. For summer employment this year, $11 million have been cut, and we saw the ramifications of that across the nation. We saw students all across the nation, volunteer groups, not for profit sector losing their ability to carry out their work and the students getting revenue and that experience.

Now the Conservatives are backing down part way, another one of those famous flip-flops that we have seen from the finance minister, but again not enough. Imagine if the government had been in a majority situation.

We saw it in the income trust sector, and we raise this often. I think it is symbolic of the problems with the government. It makes a promise and then flat out breaks that promise. By making the promise not to tax income trusts, the Prime Minister encouraged people to put more of their investments in that sector. Then he broke that promise and taxed them heavily.

We had very good committee hearings on this, and we invited him to have a look at it. Admittedly there were problems in the sector. If we can only look at the testimony of one individual, I encourage people to look at the testimony of the Governor of the Bank of Canada, which was quite well balanced. He indicated there were problems within the sector and that action was warranted. He pointed out that there were problems in governance in certain elements within the sector. He also said that it was an excellent vehicle for the capital markets in certain parts of the sector.

The Minister of Finance has a lot of people investing in real estate in his riding and in his communities. He agreed with that. His friends all in real estate trusts, REITs, were not touched. He left it in that sector, but he did not look at other sectors, such as energy where it was an excellent vehicle. Rather than having a surgical strike, repairing the problems within the sector, there was a nuclear blast that destroyed the whole sector. We know the results: $25 billion in capital losses to the people in that sector.

We have the Atlantic accord. If members remember, I was on the government side of the House. The Conservatives were so in favour of the Atlantic accord. When we went through the budget at the end of the last Liberal government, they asked that we divide it. They wanted to vote on the Atlantic accord separate from the budget, because they wanted to vote in favour it only. What did they do in their budget? They reneged on the Atlantic accord.

Now the Conservatives have negotiations on the background. We know Premier MacDonald in Nova Scotia is in trouble. We watched Nova Scotia lose $1 billion, and not a word from this guy in the last little while. He did not come to finance committee last week. I thought that was regrettable. While Nova Scotia's economy is at risk and burning, he fiddles.

Danny Williams is being a little bit more vocal. I am pleased to hear that somebody from the Atlantic is speaking.

However, the promise made through the Atlantic accord was that independent of any other program of government, if there were changes in equalization, changes in transfers, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador would not be affected. The Atlantic accord was above and beyond all the programs.

Then what does the Prime Ministerdo? He said that either they kept the accord or they took the new equalization formula. He has said that it is not capped. We heard that in the House today, but it is capped. On equalization, Nova Scotia is capped as soon as the economy reaches the amount of the least of the non-receiving provinces. We know it is capped. That is the ultimate level at which it can receive money. If it chooses to go to the new equalization, which is better on the short term, it gives us $1 billion in the long term through the Canada-Nova Scotia agreement, which I think is not at all reasonable.

We saw the CAP sites being closed down. Giving Internet access to rural communities, small communities, disadvantaged people in urban areas, we saw that being closed down. The Conservatives refused to make the announcement. We kept the pressure on and now they are talking about making it, another flip-flop that I am very happy to see.

We saw an increase in taxes to the most vulnerable Canadians. The lowest paid Canadians who are paying taxes are seeing their taxes go up from 15% at the start to 15.25% and 15.5% next year.

Reducing consumption taxes by reducing 1¢ on the GST, which the Conservatives did last year, helps those who are at the upper end of a lot of discretionary spending. At the lower end, most people's spending goes on items that do not attract GST, so those people do not benefit.

We heard promises by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans when he was on the fisheries committees. He supported the report on the fisheries committee that we needed more investments in wharves. Not a cent was invested. There was a reduction when we should have been investing more.

We know the problems of the harbour in Digby. One of the members in opposition was always speaking about that harbour. When the Conservatives came into power, they got the report of the arbitrator, the perfect thing they needed to make that investment and take over the wharf. There was complete and utter inaction.

We get signals every now and then that they will be doing it, but they are not doing it. They are probably waiting for an election. It is the responsibility of the government to give service to the people of Canada between elections, not only during elections.

We saw the problems within the lobster industry. To be a hero, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced a huge change in the licensing procedures and the way that licences were held. He reduced the value of these licences by half. About $600 million of capital value in these licences, retirement funds of these families, was lost overnight with one announcement.

Again, the Conservatives say that are willing to reconsider. I wrote the minister about six weeks ago, but I have had no answer yet. I have brought it up in the House, but I get no answer. Then they give us the same promises on the bill. The bill has many of those same elements. If the ministerial order can be modified, how can we be confident that they will act accordingly and responsibility if we pass a bill that gives the minister and his appointed tribunal so much power?

There are many things that we would like to see. There were huge announcements made by the government in the area of defence spending. They were huge. Where have we seen them? Where are the contracts? Very few--

Budget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

It is with regret that I must interrupt the member, but he will know that I gave him the two minute and then the one minute notice.

On questions and comments, the hon. member for Peterborough.