This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

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

Polio AwarenessStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, last April, I informed the House of the plans of polio survivor and Yukon resident, Ramesh Ferris, to undertake an inspirational cross-Canada trek to raise awareness of polio.

I am very pleased to announce that on October 1 he completed his 7,110 kilometre hand-cycle journey when the front wheels of his bicycle touched the Atlantic ocean in St. John's, Newfoundland. Canadians gave him over $300,000 to help the fight against polio. He is now currently in India with Rotary International working to eradicate polio.

We can still assist Ramesh and Rotary in the success of their work. For as little as 60¢ a day, we can prevent a life of misery for children affected by polio. I aks everyone to take a moment to visit the Ramesh Ferris website, www.cycletowalk.com, and help this worthy cause.

Canadians can now add the name of Ramesh Ferris beside those of Rick Hanson and Terry Fox when they think of Canadians who embarked upon epic cross-Canada fundraising journeys and truly helped to make a difference.

Convention on the Rights of the ChildStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today commemorates the adoption by the United Nations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. What an excellent opportunity, the day after the Speech from the Throne, to remind the government that nearly 800,000 children in Canada are living in poverty.

In times of economic slowdown, without a doubt the first victims will be the children, who will have to bear the brunt of their parents' loss of work and income. Hence the urgency to implement measures such as social and affordable housing and improvements to employment insurance.

May I take this opportunity to thank the community organizations in my riding of Saint-Lambert for their efforts in gaining recognition for children's rights.

Thanks to community activists such as these, today Quebec is the only place in Canada where there has been a constant decrease in child poverty for the past 10 years.

Transgender Day of RemembranceStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is a Trans Day of Remembrance, the day when here in Canada and around the world, members of the transsexual and transgender communities and their families, friends, co-workers and allies remember victims of transphobic violence and recommit to ensuring the full humanity and full human rights of trans people.

Trans people have too often faced violence, even to the point of death, discrimination in the workplace, in housing and in the provision of identity documents, and the denial of appropriate health care.

We celebrate the life experience of trans people and the new perspectives on gender they bring to our understanding of human diversity. To that end, the Canadian Human Rights Act must be amended to explicitly include protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. The Criminal Code must be amended so that hate crimes against trans Canadians can be prosecuted and so that judges can consider transphobic violence in sentencing.

New Democrats stand in solidarity with transsexual and transgender Canadians on this important day.

British ColumbiaStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, on November 19, 1858, at Fort Langley, Governor James Douglas issued a proclamation on behalf of Queen Victoria creating the new colony of British Columbia.

Yesterday we celebrated the 150th anniversary of this historic occasion. My riding of Langley is the birthplace of B.C. and for 150 years British Columbia has been an integral part of our Confederation.

From the early days of the gold rush and maritime trade with the Orient, to the present day Asia-Pacific gateway, British Columbia continues to be an economic engine.

British Columbia has produced Nobel laureates such as Michael Smith, noted writers and artists such as Emily Carr, and two Stanley Cup champions in 1915 and 1925.

I congratulate British Columbia on its past contributions and look forward to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. We will be cheering on our athletes as they bring Canada a gold rush on the ice and on the snow.

National Child DayStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, today is National Child Day, a day when Canadians acknowledge the 19th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states:

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

One of those key interests for our children is quality accessible child care, such as the plan introduced by the previous Liberal government and shelved by the Conservative government, much to the disappointment of hundreds of thousands of Canadian families.

Today, we acknowledge the thousands of child care workers, people who work so hard to help children and their families, often for little compensation and little recognition.

Members of the Liberal caucus are wearing blue ribbons today, the symbol of child care in Canada. For the second year a not-for-profit child care organization in my riding, the Dartmouth Preschool, led by Pat Hogan, has prepared these ribbons in honour of National Child Day. We wish to thank her and all child care workers for their commitment to children in our country and throughout the world.

ATHENA Oakville AwardStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today first to thank the voters of Oakville for the honour of sending me to represent them in Ottawa.

My first words in the House are made with much civic pride, to congratulate the nominees and winner of the 2008 ATHENA Oakville Award. This year five distinguished and dedicated women were nominated for their achievements in mentoring others: C.J. Martin promotes talented local artists and writers; Elka Ruth Enola is a leader in women's advocacy; Jane Thomas Yager supports cancer patients and mentors countless students; Alison Thomas mentors many individuals in the nursing profession; and Wendy Perkins, this year's winner, was recognized for her dedicated work as the co-founder and executive director of Home Suite Hope, a model organization devoted to helping the homeless by providing affordable housing and assisting them to develop new skills.

These five women exemplify caring leadership. Their accomplishments have helped build our local community and our national community, and we salute them.

FootballStatements by Members

November 20th, 2008 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pascal-Pierre Paillé Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will start with warm thanks to the voters of Louis-Hébert for the confidence they have shown me in the October 14 election.

I would also like to draw attention to three major sporting events that have taken place in recent days. First of all, two triumphs by football teams from the Quebec City area. Last Saturday, the Collège François-Xavier-Garneau Élans were the winners of the AAA collegiate football finals, the Bol d'or, while the Rouge et Or defeated the University of Calgary for the Uteck Cup.

My congratulations also go to the Montreal Alouettes for their win over the Edmonton Eskimos on November 16, before more than 40,000 fans.

Bravo to the players and coaching staff of these three top-notch teams. And good luck in the games coming up: the Vanier Cup game for the Rouge et Or and the Grey Cup game for the Montreal Alouettes.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I read a troubling news story this week regarding excessive and, frankly, irresponsible spending habits regarding a top CBC executive's expense account: $10,000 for dinner tickets to a fundraiser in Montreal; $6,000 for lunches and dinners with other CBC managers; $7,500 on trips to Paris; $2,300 worth of beer, wine and snacks for a reception in March for CBC employees. And the CBC said that this type of spending was totally in line with its corporate policy.

In this time of fiscal restraint, such practices do not sit well with Canadians. The Minister of Canadian Heritage is right to call for the CBC to rein in its lavish spending.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier DayStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to highlight an important occasion—Sir Wilfrid Laurier Day. This is an excellent opportunity for us to remember the optimistic vision Sir Wilfrid Laurier offered Canada at the start of the 20th century and the leadership to make that vision a reality.

Under Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada experienced an period of unequalled wealth and significant economic growth, which established Canada as an unavoidable economic force on the international scene. As a francophone prime minister, he played a crucial role as a peacemaker between English and French Canada.

I would ask my colleagues to recognize the valuable contribution of Sir Wilfrid Laurier who, more than 100 years ago, was among those who created the country we are proud to live in today.

National SecurityStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to thank the people of Leeds—Grenville for their support and their renewed confidence in me, and congratulate you on your re-election as Speaker.

As the government, our first duty is the safety and security of Canadians. Canada is not immune to threats to our national security.

In the Speech from the Throne we committed to tabling a national security statement, which will explain how we intend to combat threats to our national security. We will balance this with the need for accountability and the protection of civil liberties.

The national security statement is another step in a series of security reforms and investments that include a new Emergency Management Act, a Canada first defence strategy and investment in intelligence and cyber defence capacities.

National security is about preserving our economic prosperity, our core values and our quality of life.

Financial InstitutionsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, “it's only another 5% interest hike” said the big credit card companies. “So what if it is 5% above the 18% interest rate? It's just another increase in the interchange fees every time you use your card”.

Credit card companies sucked in more than $4.5 billion in hidden fees last year alone and increased them four times this year, yet the throne speech did nothing to address these crazy fees.

The Conservative government is happy to help banks with billions, but offers nothing to regular consumers. Canadians cannot take getting squeezed any more and neither can small businesses.

Together they started a campaign called “StopStickingItToUs.com”. They demand that government stop the credit card companies with their outrageous and unjustified charges. People cannot afford it any more.

It is time to stop credit card companies from sticking it to all of us.

The EconomyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the people of Saint John for allowing me to represent their interests in this House.

At times like these, Canadians families review their finances to make sure they are spending prudently and they demand government do the same. That is why we ended the uncontrolled spending and wasting of taxpayer dollars that took place under the Liberals. That is why we introduced an expenditure management system to review every cent that government spends.

In the Speech from the Throne, we pledge to roll up our sleeves to further build on this work and to continue to find efficiencies in government spending.

We will review public sector compensation, ensure equalization grows in line with the economy and remains sustainable and affordable and examine corporate assets to ensure they are still performing a useful function.

Difficult but necessary decisions will be made to keep federal government spending prudent. Canadians expect no less from our government. Our government will review spending with a focus on results and ensure that every dollar spent is in the best interest of Canadians.

Tax Credit for New GraduatesStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the previous Parliament, Bill C-207, which I introduced, reached third reading. The bill proposed a tax credit of up to $8,000 for new graduates working in economically troubled regions.

All members of the previous Parliament, except for the Conservatives, supported this measure designed to stem the exodus of young people and to help bring skilled workers back to the regions.

This bill will be a priority for the Bloc Québécois in the coming session. That is why I am once again asking all members of the House for their support. In particular, I am asking the Conservative members from my region to set aside their party's ideology and put the interests of young people and their region first by supporting this measure. Conservatives cannot keep ignoring the regions of Quebec.

The EconomyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago in the midst of a federal election campaign the Prime Minister swore that his Conservative government would never run a federal deficit. In spite of a $16 billion surplus that the Conservatives inherited from Liberals in 2005, it now seems that the Prime Minister is poised to break his first campaign promise in less than a month.

The official excuse from the PMO will be the downturn in the global economy, but the reality is this is a deficit manufactured by the Conservatives. Despite the advice of leading economists from across the country, the Conservatives went ahead with ill-conceived economic policies that cost the federal treasury $11 billion a year. Couple this with the largest federal spending spree in Canadian history and we have a made in Canada fiscal disaster courtesy of the Conservative government.

It is said that history repeats itself, and once again the Liberal Party will eventually inherit a financial mess and will have to clean it up.

Riding of Lévis—BellechasseStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the people of Lévis—Bellechasse and Les Etchemins for their vote of confidence, renewed on October 14, 2008.

Together, we have made considerable progress with the Davie Shipyard, which has grown from three to 1,000 employees, the new congress centre—which some Conservative caucus members visited—the Patro de Lévis, as well as investment projects in Buckland, Sainte-Justine and Saint-Anselme, to name a few.

We will continue to work on recreational and tourism projects in our region, such as the Massif du Sud project and ferry services.

Many supporters and volunteers, along with some of my family members, are here on the Hill today for this new session. I would like to sincerely thank them for their support, and assure them of my commitment and my affection for them.

In this period of global economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever to spend money responsibly. I urge all members to cooperate with our government and review all expenditures to ensure that our taxpayers' dollars are being used responsibly.

The Conservatives are maintaining a steady course towards sustainability and prosperity for all Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it has taken this government less than three years to wipe out all the efforts and sacrifices made by Canadians who thought they had seen the last of federal deficits.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his budget choices, his decision to spend more than all his predecessors and his decision to eliminate the contingency reserve have brought Canada to the brink of a deficit?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, Canada has a surplus. It is the only country in the G-7, the only major industrialized nation, that has a surplus.

We had a good discussion at a meeting of the G-20 leaders last week. We are agreed that our governments will do everything that is needed. I am talking about financial actions, monetary actions and even fiscal actions to improve the overall economy for Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is the one who transformed a $13 billion surplus into a deficit. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said today:

The weak fiscal performance to date is largely attributable to previous policy decisions as opposed to weakened economic conditions--

Will the Prime Minister admit that even though his government is ideologically conservative, it is certainly not fiscally conservative?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, this is one of the very few industrial countries that remains in a surplus position.

It is correct that the surplus is weaker than it was in the past because the government took deliberate action to provide long-term tax stimulus to the economy as the economy was slowing. That was the right fiscal decision and it was supported by Canadians. We will take additional fiscal stimulus measures, as we agreed at the G-20, if necessary.

Anybody who would say that in the midst of a global recession they would turn around and raise taxes or cut essential spending, that would be an ideological position that the government has no intention of following.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if he saw that coming, why then did he eliminate the contingency reserve? It does not make sense.

Income trusts? A promise broken. The Atlantic accord? A promise broken. Fixed election dates? A promise broken. No deficit? A promise broken, just as this Parliament opened.

How can Canadians, who are worried about their savings, their jobs and their pensions, believe this prime minister, who is constantly going back on his word and ignoring the principles of sound economic management?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this question has to do with the election, and the voters have made their decision.

I do not think it serves the Leader of the Opposition, or anybody else, to fight the last election over again.

The fact of the matter is that we put our economic plan clearly before Canadians. They know that we took measures to stimulate this economy deliberately. They can be assured that we will take whatever measures are necessary to protect the Canadian economy in difficult times. I would ask the Leader of the Opposition to provide specifically his ideas about what those best measures might be.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me continue the line of questioning of our leader.

During the election campaign, with full knowledge of the official forecasts, the Prime Minister said it would be stupid and dangerous to plunge the country into a deficit. Those were his own words.

Since the election, he has changed his tune. Today, the parliamentary budget officer predicted a Conservative deficit over several years.

Why did the Prime Minister clearly mislead Canadians about the deficit?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, what the Parliamentary Budget Officer actually said today is that it is important, given the downgraded economic outlook, to have this discussion and to look at assumptions.

As the member opposite knows, the fall economic update is about to be delivered. We will be setting out our own economic forecast as well as those of the private forecasters in the update which we will deliver I hope in the House of Commons at four o'clock next Thursday, November 27.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister is guilty of selective reading of that report. What that report very clearly said was that first of all, we are going into deficit; second, we are not going into deficit because of world or Canadian economic conditions. We are going into deficit because of actions and decisions made by the government. That is what he said. It is the spending of the contingency reserve. It is the wild and reckless spending by the government which now has nowhere to hide.

Will the minister admit that he has nowhere to hide, that the deficit belongs to him and his reckless policies, and nobody else?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I certainly want to extend the same warm welcome back to the House of Commons to the member for Markham—Unionville who is masking his spirit of cooperation well in his initial questions.

Surely, the hon. member knows that we are going through a very serious global economic downturn. Canada is very well positioned compared to our G-7 allies and relative to other economies. But the seriousness of this situation is not to be underestimated and I would hope that the member opposite would rise above partisan gamesmanship.