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House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 40th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economy.

Topics

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. member of one simple fact. It was this government and this party that created the position of Parliamentary Budget Officer. We believe in accountability in the way in which the numbers are accounted for and made public to the Canadian taxpayer. It was our party that promised this in the 2005 and 2006 elections. It is a promise that we made and a promise that we kept. We will continue to go forward with this method of accountability that is brand new to Parliament.

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the new Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec) has said that he would review the funding of not for profit economic organizations that had their funding cut by his predecessor. Incidentally, I must congratulate the Prime Minister for relieving the former incumbent of his responsibilities.

Can the Minister of State, who is also responsible for the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region, give us confirmation that he will be restoring funding to these organizations?

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the seriousness of yesterday's Speech from the Throne is proof of how very seriously our government takes the global economic downturn.

I have been with Economic Development Canada for three weeks. In our program analyses we will naturally take the time to examine, with respect to current world economic conditions, how the tools can best serve the regions of Quebec. And that is my commitment: to serve the regions of Quebec, and serve them well.

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the minister is taking his time, the economic situation continues to worsen. I will give him one specific example from my region: Rimouski's Technopole maritime du Québec has suffered cuts.

Does the Minister of State realize that he is harming regional economic development and depriving Quebec of the expertise in a leading-edge sector by not restoring the funding of these organizations now?

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, the number of Bloc Québécois members here in the House and their reaction to the throne speech proves how little impact they have on the decisions reached by the government and on the outcome. We will continue to do our job and to improve the economy in the regions of Quebec.

Public Service of CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, whenever things go wrong for the government, it blames the public service. The throne speech calls for legislation and for private sector delivery of services. I am sure public servants will want to know if they are to be unemployed due to the bad management by the government. Tell them now. What is to be legislated and which services are to be privatized?

Public Service of CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we have no intention of privatizing the public sector. We already work extensively with the private and not-for-profit sectors to offer services to Canadians. Our priority is to ensure that government programs operate effectively and provide value for money. To that end, we will continue to explore opportunities to make sure that Canadians get the best possible value for their tax dollar.

Public Service of CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, no answer.

The President of the Treasury Board is currently in negotiations with the public service but we know what he thinks of negotiations. He would rather dictate. For the public servants involved, it is simply take it or leave it. That is not negotiating, it is dictating.

Will the government make a commitment now, in good faith, to engage in frank and transparent negotiations on all aspects of the contracts?

Public Service of CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we value our public servants. They understand that public service compensation must reflect Canada's economic situation. Our approach is a balanced one. This is about fairness, fairness to the employees and to the Canadian taxpayers. We will continue to work with our public servants.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, thousands of workers in northern Ontario, such as those in Smooth Rock Falls, Hearst, Dubreuilville, White River and Wawa, have no more job prospects.

Thanks to this government, the forestry industry is an economic engine that has stalled. Families in northern Ontario need economic measures and ample investments so that both the unemployed and the youth can find work in our region.

Now that FedNor has been marginalized in cabinet, what measures are in place to help northern Ontario's economy?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, our government understands that these are difficult times for the forestry industry workers in affected communities from coast to coast. As noted in the Speech from the Throne, we are taking steps to ensure the long-term competitiveness of this sector. We are investing in innovation. We are expanding market opportunities. We have created the forest sector council. We know the challenges are great. That is why we have taken such decisive action.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is not just northern Ontario where the government is failing working families. In fact, in southern Ontario, the heart of the manufacturing sector of this country, the government is failing working families and working people.

In the last few months alone in the town of Welland we have seen the decimation of jobs at John Deere. The Conservative tax cuts simply let John Deere be more profitable and then those jobs headed to Mexico. What we need is a stimulus package and we need it now. We need to create jobs. We need training and apprenticeship opportunities for our children. We need to ensure fairness in employment insurance for all workers across this country. When will we see it?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to that question by reading a statement.

During question period today we have heard a lot of rhetoric, but it is important to understand that our leader is the envy of the world in terms of the way he is approaching the economic situation.

In July, the London Telegraph wrote, concerning the economies of the G-8:

Of all the leaders, only [the Prime Minister]...is able to point to a popular and successful record in office....the Canadian Tories are a model of how to behave during a downturn....If the rest of the world had comported itself with similar modesty and prudence, we might not be in this mess.

Securities IndustryOral Questions

November 20th, 2008 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, the current market crisis has shown the importance of prudent financial regulations.

While Canada's banking sector has been assessed as the world's strongest, our securities framework has been criticized by investors, businesses and international institutions as fragmented, cumbersome and ineffective. In the words of the IMF, “Canada is currently the only G-7 country without a common securities regulator, and Canada's investors deserve better”.

Will the Minister of Finance explain what our government is prepared to do to address this situation?

Securities IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, while Canada's financial system is the soundest in the world, the credit crisis, the financial crisis, certainly since last year has demonstrated one glaring deficiency in our system of regulation in Canada, and that is the absence of a national securities regulator.

This is not an academic subject. This matters to seniors, to people with investments, mutual funds, to families, to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Therefore, we are going to move forward toward a common national securities regulator for Canada with willing partners in the provinces and willing participants.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the auto sector has greatly suffered from the government's poor management of the economy and chronic neglect.

Guelph's economy is dependent upon the good jobs that come from a prosperous automotive and auto parts industry. Under the Conservatives, tens of thousands of good jobs have been lost, a situation that could have been avoided if they had a plan.

While the minister is on the road without a plan, auto workers are on the streets without a job. When will we see some real action?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the global auto industry is facing unprecedented circumstances and the North American integrated automotive industry is no different.

The situation is changing daily. The minister is down in the U.S. right now talking to stakeholders. He has met with stakeholders here in Canada over the past couple of weeks.

The solution here needs to be a carefully considered one with a long-term view to the interests of Canadian consumers, Canadian workers, Canadian businesses and Canadian taxpayers. Any decision taken will be carefully considered in that regard.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne proposes no changes to help the environment. Worse still, the Conservative government seems to want to retain its plan for greenhouse gas emissions, a plan that has been criticized.

Does the minister realize that he is going against a majority of Quebeckers who want the reference year to be 1990, as in the Kyoto protocol, not 2006, and that his Conservative ideology is hurting Quebec's economic development and its manufacturing sector, just so he can please the oil and gas companies?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate all members. We are prepared to work with all members of the House of Commons.

We have reiterated our intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and President-elect Obama has already confirmed that he intends to do the same. I think the Bloc Québécois, the President-elect and the Government of Canada are all on the same page. I sincerely hope so.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, as an Albertan, I was horrified to learn yesterday of the government's plans to destroy the very foundation of federal environmental protection. At the same time it is fast-tracking the extraction of fossil fuels, including in our fragile Arctic.

The government has been given no mandate to abandon the careful work to protect our environment. I ask the minister to explain to this House why he is embarking on this dangerous course.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the hon. member to the House as an Albertan and as an Albertan I feel it is our responsibility in government to balance the environment and the economy.

In the time ahead there is the dynamic of a new president elected in the United States, one who has spoken with clarity and determination about environmental policies. In addition, in the coming year at Copenhagen, the world community will deal with an international protocol to supersede the Kyoto protocol.

I invite my hon. friend to work with us. If she has constructive ideas about this, I welcome them.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State (Democratic Reform). Earlier this week, the government of Saskatchewan introduced legislation that would give the people of Saskatchewan a democratic voice in the upper chamber. Yesterday, during the throne speech, the government highlighted its commitment to Senate reform.

Could the minister indicate whether the federal government supports the initiative taken by Saskatchewan? Could he also indicate how the Conservative government intends to implement its commitments to reform in the upper chamber?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, our government has congratulated the government of Saskatchewan for its historic step in allowing the people of Saskatchewan to take a proactive role in consulting the people of Saskatchewan in who should represent them.

We believe we should ensure that our institutions are in line with the 21st century. That is why we will introduce legislation to allow Canadians to have a say in who will represent them in the Senate. We will introduce legislation to limit the terms to eight years in the upper House and we will ensure that they—

EqualizationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Independent

Bill Casey Independent Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, less than a year ago the government legislated a second equalization formula for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, which includes a locked-in, guaranteed 3.5% annual increase for every year until 2020. However, the throne speech indicates that a cap may be applied to limit equalization increases.

Will the Minister of Finance assure Nova Scotia and Newfoundland that they will receive the full 3.5% guaranteed increase every year, even if the economy as a whole increases only 1% or even zero?

EqualizationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when I met with my provincial and territorial colleagues some weeks ago, we provided them with the equalization numbers for next year, including, regrettably, the province of Ontario. We made it clear that equalization itself, leaving aside other aspects of transfers to the provinces, would not grow faster than the rate of growth in the economy, that is nominal GDP. The ministers, while not welcoming that, understood that in a time of a financial crisis we cannot have a program like equalization growing on average at about 15% per annum.