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House of Commons Hansard #166 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was scotia.

Topics

Auditor General

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have the honour to lay upon the table the annual report on the Privacy Act of the Auditor General of Canada for the year 2006-07.

This document is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

TradeRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeSecretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, Canada's state of trade, Trade and Investment Update--2007.

Excise Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

June 7th, 2007 / 10:05 a.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-452, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act (goods and services tax on school authorities).

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today of tabling this private member's bill to basically put school boards on par with municipalities. It is time. This has been discussed for a long period of time and I think we can get all party support to get this 100% exemption for school boards, many of which are struggling with cutbacks in provincial budgets.

It is time to get on with it. I look forward to support from everybody on this private member's bill.

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

Canadian Motion Picture Industry Secretariat ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Don Bell Liberal North Vancouver, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-453, An Act to establish the Canadian Motion Picture Industry Secretariat.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table a bill to establish a Canadian motion picture secretariat.

This secretariat will be comprised of representatives from major motion picture industry sectors across Canada with the purpose of ensuring that the industry in Canada has every opportunity to remain internationally competitive and successful, including both domestic and foreign productions.

The secretariat would monitor the industry and make biannual recommendations to Parliament regarding any legislative or other measures that could be taken by the Government of Canada in support of this industry which last year contributed $4.8 billion to the Canadian economy and employs over 124,000 persons nationally.

In B.C., it contributes $1.2 billion to the economy and employs over 35,000 persons. In my riding of North Vancouver, it contributes over $100 million and employs over 5,000.

Film and television production in Canada has grown over the years but faces strong and increasing international competition. Canada has developed a great motion picture industry with a wealth of talented professionals, and this bill is intended to ensure it remains healthy and competitive.

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

Competition ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Bloc Montcalm, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-454, An Act to amend the Competition Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Mr. Speaker, today I am very pleased to introduce, in this House, a bill to amend the Competition Act, to authorize the Commissioner of Competition to inquire into an entire industry sector.

The current situation with gas prices is becoming alarming, and the fluctuating prices have motivated us to take action. This is why I am tabling this bill today, seconded by my colleague, the member for Trois-Rivières and industry critic. I am tabling this bill today for our constituents, who must deal with constantly increasing prices.

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

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeSecretary of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions and I think you would find there is unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That for the supply period ending June 23, 2007, Standing Order 81(18)(c) be amended by replacing “10 p.m.” with “8:30 p.m.”

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

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

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to seek unanimous consent on Motion No. 346, which reads, “That, in the opinion of the House, throughout Canada, in each and every year, June 10 shall be known as Canada-Portugal Day in recognition of the history of the Portuguese Canadian community and its contribution to Canadian society”.

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Trinity—Spadina have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Point Clark LakeshorePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a group of petitioners who have asked the House to consider the merit and the public support for the restoration of the Point Clark lakeshore, specifically the improvement of water quality and beach conditions from Amberley Road to Pine River.

They also make the allegations that low lake levels, the presence of man-made groynes, the invasion of certain plant species, the population explosion of certain migratory and non-migratory bird species, poorly maintained and managed sceptic systems, manure and fertilizer runoff, and the foul odour and health conditions have rendered the beach unfit for human activities. They state that further deterioration and human health risk is having a serious negative impact on the residential and tourist activities in the area.

The petitioners are calling upon Parliament to undertake any and all legal and regulatory measures required to clean up the said conditions and to restore the ecosystem to a natural state.

Income TrustsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I present this income trust broken promise petition on behalf of Carol Crocker of Ontario who remembers the Prime Minister boasting about his apparent commitment to accountability when he said, “The greatest fraud is a promise not kept”.

The petitioners remind the Prime Minister that he promised never to tax income trusts but recklessly broke that promise by imposing a 31.5% punitive tax which permanently wiped out over $25 billion of the hard-earned retirement savings of over two million Canadians, particularly 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 assumptions, to apologize to those who were unfairly harmed by this broken promise and, finally, to repeal the punitive 31.5% tax on income trusts.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.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

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion--Equalization Program and Atlantic AccordsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

moved:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government has failed to live up to verbal and written commitments made to Premiers by the Prime Minister during the last election campaign with respect to the Equalization Program and the Atlantic Accords.

Opposition Motion--Equalization Program and Atlantic AccordsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Since today is the final allotted day for the supply period ending June 23, 2007, the House will go through the usual procedures to consider and dispose of the supply bill.

In view of our recent practices, do hon. members agree that the bill be distributed now?

Opposition Motion--Equalization Program and Atlantic AccordsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion--Equalization Program and Atlantic AccordsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. Leader of the Opposition, the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville.

I am pleased to speak to today's motion. I would like to thank my Liberal Party colleagues on this side of the House and from all regions of the country who have supported those of us from Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. We are two of the provinces most directly affected by the Prime Minister's broken promise but, as we all realize, if he can do it to us he can do it to everybody else.

If it were not so serious it would be funny in retrospect to recall the finance minister saying that with his budget the days of arguing over fiscal federalism were over. In fact, he opened up new fronts in that ongoing dispute and picked fights he did not need to pick. He could have honoured the Conservative election promises but he did not. He could have kept the commitment that the Prime Minister made no less than six times but he did not.

In his famous mail out to thousands in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Prime Minister said:

That's why we would leave you with 100% of your oil and gas revenues. No small print. No excuses. No caps.

It was a promise made and a promise broken.

In his election letter to Premier Williams, the Prime Minister said:

We will remove non-renewable natural resources revenue from the equalization formula to encourage the development of economic growth in the non-renewable resources sectors across Canada. The Conservative Government of Canada will ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula.

It was a promise made and a promise broken.

In a letter to the Council of the Federation, to every provincial and territorial premier, he wrote:

We believe that a new equalization formula should exclude non-renewable resource revenues for all provinces....

However, the finance minister chose not to honour those commitments and now he and others will have to live with the consequences. Those consequences include, as of Tuesday night, driving out one of their own member's of Parliament.

This is the second broken promise on a budgetary provision that has led to serious discord on that side of the House.

The hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley has joined our colleague, the hon. member for Halton, in the exodus from the sinking Conservative ship. This, despite assurances from the Minister of Foreign Affairs that members from Nova Scotia and from Newfoundland and Labrador would be able to vote their conscience without repercussion. These members knew all along that they were in political trouble due to the Prime Minister's broken promise concerning equalization and its impact on the Atlantic accords.

Last month, the Minister of Foreign Affairs told us:

We will not throw a member out of caucus for voting his conscience. There will be no whipping, flipping, hiring or firing on budget votes....

Not only was there hiring, firing and whipping, there was flipping and flopping.

Not that long ago, a Liberal member of Parliament voted in this place against the budget. What did those members opposite, when they were still calling themselves Reformers, say then? They called it heavy-handed and iron fisted. They said that it put party and politics ahead of principles and people. They said that it would not matter if an MP voted against a government bill, even a money bill. In the immortal words of the current Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, who said:

I appreciate what he's done. I think he has taken the right position. He's standing up for his constituents.

How times do change.

Before our hon. colleague from Nova Scotia had even sat back down from voting his protest against this broken promise, his name was being erased from the government party's website and access to his important computer files was cut off. We all know who has the iron fist now.

Where are those Reformers now? I think we sometimes long for those reformers who called for an end to party discipline and promised that they would do what they campaigned on or resign.

The example set by our friend from Nova Scotia is especially galling to people in my province, especially in those three Avalon Peninsula seats occupied, for now I would say, by members of the Conservative government. They had the chance to show some backbone by standing with their constituents and with their province but they chose not to. They still have that opportunity. They still have a chance to show some honour in the vote on third reading.

The hon. member for Avalon already knows what it is like to side with his constituents and put principles above politics. He did that as a provincial MHA. It cost him his seat in government, but it endeared him to his own electors and launched him on his way to the House of Commons. However, it is sad on a personal level to hear what those people who supported him then are saying now. It is sad and disturbing to see the position he has been placed in by a Prime Minister who cannot keep his word.

The hon. member for St. John's East, who has served in politics with distinction for many years and has announced his retirement with the next election, has nothing left to lose. There should be no fear of party discipline or punishment on his part, and in any event, the foreign affairs minister already granted immunity. Yet he sided with the Prime Minister and the finance minister and voted to break a solemn promise, a written promise.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans said, during the last great debate on this issue back in 2005, “You cannot ever turn your back on your province on an important issue like this, even if it meant your party says tough stuff, you have to sit in the last seat, last row”.

It is okay for him. He is still on that front bench. It is our friend from Nova Scotia who is now in the last seat and in the last row.

In Labrador we have long known about the worthlessness of the Prime Minister's commitments, written and otherwise. In 2005 he promised 60% federal funding for the Trans-Labrador Highway and in 2006 he promised to cost share the project, but in 2007 these promises are still left unkept. There was supposed to be a federal-provincial deal by June. It is now June, but there is still no deal.

The Prime Minister promised us a 650 troop rapid reaction battalion for 5 Wing Goose Bay, along with a 100 member unmanned aerial vehicle squadron. The defence minister said he would personally give the orders to establish these units, but all of us in this House know what the value of one of his orders is.

The Prime Minister said that he wanted stable funding for Marine Atlantic. What did the Conservatives deliver? Rate hikes.

The Prime Minister said he would “accept the targets” for social and economic progress for aboriginal peoples set out in Kelowna, and then scrapped the Kelowna accord altogether.

He promised, again in writing, to support regional development agencies such as ACOA and did so by cutting their budgets.

Supposed Conservative commitments on fisheries retraining and emergency measures to deal with the ice blockade this spring have also led us nowhere, other than in circles as we try to decipher the contradictions coming from that side of the House.

Overall, we view every broken Conservative promise and every platform plank left unfulfilled through the lens of the broken promise on equalization and the Atlantic accord. The Prime Minister promised to protect the deal that our Liberal government negotiated with Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. The Prime Minister made those commitments. He made them in writing. He made them six times.

With this budget, he broke them. He went back on his word. With the support of his Atlantic Conservative caucus, trained seals all but one, and with the support of the separatists, he is about to turn his broken promise into the law of the land.

For my hon. colleagues I would only issue this warning: if he did it to us, he can do it to them.

Let me repeat that: if he can do it to us, he can do it to them.

The Prime Minister and his government deserve the censure of this motion.

Opposition Motion--Equalization Program and Atlantic AccordsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Labrador for his speech this morning on what is really the betrayal by the Conservative Party and the Government of Canada of the region that the member represents and also the region that I represent in Nova Scotia.

I want to give the member a chance to comment. Today in newspaper editorials and letters to the editor and on the talk shows in Atlantic Canada, people are ripping to shreds the Conservative Party and the integrity of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

I remember a particular individual who also was betrayed. His name is David Orchard. He said that the Conservative Party was “conceived in deception and born in betrayal”. Does the hon. member for Labrador agree with that statement?

Opposition Motion--Equalization Program and Atlantic AccordsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I certainly do agree with the member's comments. Those members opposite in the Conservative Party of Canada came into our small towns and our harbours, sat with our fishers and plant workers, the hard-working men and women of our province, and promised to protect the Atlantic accords. They looked them in the eye and said they would protect the Atlantic accords. It did not take them too many months, or I should say, too many days--