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

Topics

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

I heard some disagreement. This concludes questions and comments.

Continuing debate. The hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence.

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I imagine that you, like those who are in the gallery today and those who are watching this on TV, must be impressed with the way some of the opposition members are responding to the government's proposed economic update. I think people will probably be looking at the reasons that the opposition members seem to be so full of vigour, energy and insight in terms of what must be done to what the government has called a crisis, an emergency in the economy of this country and elsewhere.

I know, Mr. Speaker, you and others who have followed the press, the media--

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

An hon. member

Even when they stole from Canadians?

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

--who have followed studiously what is happening to the economy on which we depend for an ongoing standard of living and quality of life--

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

An hon. member

People who steal from Canadians and people who want to divide them. Shame on you.

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. I would remind hon. members of this chamber to demonstrate the kind of mutual respect that we had discussed last week and refrain from carrying on these conversations in the chamber. If members want to have a conversation, they can do so in the lobby.

My apologies. Continuing debate with the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence.

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know a lot of that reaction was not in response to the nuggets of wisdom that are about to unfold in this home, in this House. I say home because it is a House that belongs to all Canadians and they look to all of us, whether we are on the government side or the opposition side, for solutions to the problems that they individually face and that they collectively must resolve.

What are some of those problems that they were looking to see us resolve? We had an economic update shortly after an election that gave each member in the House a mandate to seek solutions. Members will notice that I said every member of the House. It is an obligation that is incumbent upon each and every one of us, one that can weaken not shirk. We cannot shirk the responsibility to seek those solutions.

The government has a very special privilege and that is to make the first offer, to suggest a direction in which we must go. It does not have to do it by groping in the dark, no. It has the examples that the rest of the world has put before it over the course of the last several months.

We need go no further than immediately to the south of us where the Americans chose Barack Obama because he promised to come forward with a solution or a series of solutions, a package that all Americans could buy into, not only domestically and individually but as those who would want to lead the world toward recovery, to assume the mantle of leadership that was so lacking in the world.

I might add, as a bit of a side note, that the Americans were not without culpability on their own. They share some of the reasons for the conditions we currently face today. However, governments get elected to seek solutions and to offer them up. In fact, the government proposes and this House disposes. The House was prepared to dispose with issues that would give an indication of the way forward.

We had an economic statement given to us last week in the context of the American example of $700 billion in stimulus to address the financial crises that they faced. The president-elect came forward with an indication that there would be an additional $800 billion in infrastructure dollars in order to address the issues of the day. The Americans were prepared to spend $1.5 trillion in order to kickstart an economy that is slowly but surely descending to depths that Americans cannot afford and that Canadians and others around the world cannot brook.

The Europeans followed suit very quickly and collectively. Members will notice how quickly they came to a decision. Disparate governments from disparate and diverse countries immediately came forward with $300 billion euros, which is like $450 billion, for infrastructure acceleration in all countries.

What was our response? Mr. Speaker, I know you are looking for that word “tepid”, but I dare say that if you were to describe our responses as tepid, then you would really have put your toes in scalding water because the word “tepid” is an exaggeration.

Was it a cool response? No, it was not. In fact, there was no response at all by the government. The economic update offered no solutions. I see that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is paying attention. I know he will agree with me that China is looking at the situation worldwide and so dependent on manufacturing that it can absolutely not afford to stand by idly. It offered a $600 billion infrastructure acceleration program and manufacturing assistance program in order to meet the challenges of the day.

We have not talked about social programs. We have only talked about the reaction of governments, some elected, some not, to an emerging situation that the Prime Minister has described as emerging, critical and requiring some essential decisions that would be to the advantage of our collective good.

Therefore, we wait and we wait with bated breath.

Last week we heard an economic update that said absolutely nothing in terms of proactive decisions in order to kick-start the economy, to get engaged in manufacturing, to address the issues of financial shortfalls and, in fact, to address the issues of standard and quality of living of Canadians everywhere.

Worse, there was a deliberate decision in the economic update to demonstrate not only a stinginess of thought, but a certain lethargy of cranial capacity to address the issues that relate to each and every one of us as members of Parliament in our capacity to do the work that Canadians elected us to do.

There can only be one response to such dismissive behaviour in the House by members of Parliament to a government that will not—

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

I rise at this time to interrupt debate. The member for Eglinton—Lawrence will have approximately 12 minutes after routine proceedings to tell us the rest of that story.

At this point I will begin statements by members with the hon. member for Tobique—Mactaquac.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to protecting Canada's economy, actions speak louder than words.

While opposition parties talk down Canada's economy and scheme to exploit a global recession for their own political gain, we are injecting $200 billion back into the Canadian economy through lower taxes for people and business.

While the NDP was spending weeks scheming with the separatists about ways to manufacture a political crisis, we were protecting Canada's financial system by injecting $75 billion into Canada's credit markets, guaranteeing loan insurance and making it easier for business to obtain loans.

While the Liberals, NDP and separatists are negotiating a backroom deal that would allow them to seize power without earning it in an election, we are accelerating investment in infrastructure, protecting seniors and working with the provinces and our G20 partners to inject even more stimulus into the Canadian economy.

While the Liberals and NDP are proving they will do whatever it takes to seize power, we are doing whatever it takes to protect people, their savings and their jobs. If necessary, we are prepared to defend our record and plan in a new election, but do not expect those parties to take up this challenge—

The EconomyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The hon. member for Laval—Les Îles.

World AIDS DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to extend my sincere thanks to the people of Laval—Les Îles for placing their trust in me for the fifth time. I also want to thank all my dedicated volunteers and friends for working so hard on my campaign.

Today, on this 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, we remember all those who have died of the causes of this terrible epidemic. Despite an 8% increase in Canada's foreign aid, the funding allocated to official development assistance by this government today represents only 0.3% of Canada's gross domestic product, which is less than the 0.7% Canada promised to commit as part of the millennium development goals in 2000.

In addition, the Conservative government has set no timeframe for achieving these goals. It included no commitment in the throne speech. On behalf of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development and other development partners, we demand that a commitment be included in the—

World AIDS DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

UkraineStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I join with Quebeckers and Canadians of Ukrainian origin to commemorate the Holodomor, which was inflicted on Ukraine in the early 1930s.

Between four and ten million Ukrainians lost their lives during this artificial famine, a deliberate act of genocide engineered by Stalin's Communist regime.

The goal was to take everything away from those who were the lifeblood of the Ukrainian nation and deport them.

I commend the Ukrainian people for their courage, and I hope that all Quebeckers and Canadians can learn from this tragedy.

EcojusticeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to the inform the House that the pre-eminent Canadian environmental legal organization, Ecojustice, has just this past month opened an office in my riding of Edmonton—Strathcona.

Founded in 1990, Ecojustice was created in response to a growing need for a credible watchdog to ensure governments, corporations and citizens respect the laws designed to protect our environment.

In the past two decades the organizations has grown into Canada's largest and foremost environmental law organization, with lawyers and scientists based in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and most recently Alberta.

Ecojustice provides free legal and scientific services for countless citizens and advocacy groups. The organization's growth has been stimulated by a track record of success, landmark victories at all levels of court, including two recent court victories in Alberta over the controversial Kearl tar sands project.

I congratulate Ecojustice and the executive director, Devon Page, for their contribution to ensuring effective enforcement of Canada's environmental laws and for establishing a presence in my riding and my province of Alberta.

Opposition Coalition ProposalStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, during the election a few weeks ago the Liberal Party earned its lowest share of the votes since Confederation.

The Liberals wanted to impose a massive new carbon tax on everything at a time of economic instability. Canadians rejected their plan.

The NDP's plan was to raise taxes on businesses and employers by billions of dollars, putting at risk tens of thousands of jobs. Its plan was rejected.

The Bloc's agenda is to break Canada apart. Nothing furthers the separatists agenda more than economic chaos and a federal government that does not work. All it needs to fulfill its goals is naive partners lusting for power: Behold the Liberals and the NDP.

Canadians sent a clear message to Parliament. They want this Parliament to work together under the leadership of our Prime Minister. No one voted for an illegitimate, undemocratic coalition. The opposition's lust for power is a slap in the face of Canadians.

HIV-AIDSStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we recognize World AIDS Day, I would highlight that this year's theme is leadership. However, support for Canadian AIDS programs is set to expire in 2010 and not one of Canada's AIDS service organizations was notified that their life-saving funding would continue. Funding in my home province of Ontario was cut by 17%, without any warning. Shamefully, similar ideologically-driven funding cuts are continuing across this country.

The HIV-AIDS crisis is especially prevalent in Canada's aboriginal communities, where rates of HIV are nearly three times higher than Canadian averages.

We know the Conservatives put ideology before science. For example, they continue to ignore the evidence from Canada's scientific community, which demonstrates that safe injection sites save money and lives. Their lack of action is appalling.

Tonight at the AIDS gala there will be a true celebration of the prospect of a coalition government that will once again ensure that Canada will be a leader in the war against this terrible pandemic.

Opposition Coalition ProposalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Conservatives who voted, yes, voted, to unite the right, I have the dubious honour of addressing a backroom deal, the one that brought socialists and separatist together.

The new Conservative Party unites the best of the two old parties, the nation building traditions of Macdonald and Cartier and Preston Manning's vision of grassroots democracy.

On the other hand, the secret society of socialists and separatists makes common cause between those who would tear up the country and others whose goal is to use a balance of power status to impose their will.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that in spite of all the fine sounding words, this backroom deal has nothing to do with their dissatisfaction with our economic fiscal update, but was planned many weeks ago. The separatists and the NDP never had any intention of making this Parliament work.

Louise ForestierStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, a celebrated Quebec singer, Louise Forestier, has won the 2008 Francophonie prize from the Académie Charles Cros for her album titled Éphémère. Co-written with her son, Éphémère is a collection of new compositions, which are filled with the spontaneity and instinct of an artist whose career spans almost 40 years.

The Académie Charles Cros was created in 1947 and is named after the poet and self-taught inventor. The academy, headquartered in Paris, is composed of some fifty experts in music criticism and sound recording who choose the recipients of annual grand prizes for original, high-quality musical recordings.

After having honoured artists such as Vigneault, Leclerc and Desjardins, the jury chose Louise Forestier because of her true Quebec voice, her culture and her way of life. Once again the academy has highlighted Quebec's contribution to francophone music.

Opposition Coalition ProposalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, some very troubling revelations have come to light about the socialist-separatist alliance. The NDP and the Bloc Québécois hatched this plan long ago to push Canada's democratically elected government from office.

The leader of the NDP claims it is the key player and it seems very happy to take credit for tearing Canada apart. The NDP and the Bloc's subversion of democracy to bring a socialist-separatist alliance to power will stick to the leader of the NDP until his dying days.

Canadians must not let them do this to our country. We must remain united, the true north strong and free.

TerrorismStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we had a volunteers appreciation meeting in my riding, which included among others a large number of constituents of Pakistani and Indian origin. Both these communities, in concert with others, expressed the hope that the tragedy in Mumbai should not pit India against Pakistan or divide the two peoples, but that we must stand together in the struggle against terrorism, in the struggle for democracy and against the anti-Jewish ethos that often accompanies such terrorist attacks.

For over three days, Mumbai, one of the great international cities with the most populous democracy in the world, was under siege. Of the over 170 people murdered were two Montrealers, Dr. Michael Moss and Nurse Elizabeth Russell, two exemplary health care workers who tended the patients in my riding.

Also murdered in the attacks were Rabbi and Rebbetzin Holtzberg of the Chabad Jewish Community Centre in Mumbai, whom I know from personal experience were a source of comfort to many in Mumbai and beyond.

We extend our condolences to the Chabad community in Mumbai and beyond, to the families and friends of Dr. Moss and Elizabeth Russell, and to all of the loved ones who fell victim to this assault on our common humanity.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals and the NDP did something unusual this weekend. They participated in friendly talks with the Bloc Québécois. We all knew that the Bloc's goal was to separate Quebec from Canada, but we did not know that the Liberals and the NDP shared that goal.

For years, the Bloc survived because of poor Liberal management. The separatist movement only ever loses steam when Canada has a Conservative government. Seeing the Bloc get friendly with the two parties that do not respect provincial jurisdiction makes me think that the Bloc is selling Quebec out to the Liberals and the New Democrats, who flatter its ego and make power-sharing promises. The Bloc is selling Quebec out for false promises that will never, ever be kept.

Disraeli BridgeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the many people who helped out on the ongoing campaign to prevent the closure of the Disraeli Bridge and the Disraeli Freeway from my constituency to downtown Winnipeg. This bridge carries 42,000 vehicles per day and will be closed for 16 months for refurbishment. The closure can be prevented by constructing a new two-lane span to the east of the old structure, a span that should be opened before the bridge is shut down for rehabilitation.

When the plan to close the bridge became public in May of this year, a new group of volunteers was formed. Volunteers hit the streets all summer to protest the closure and to distribute ballots for people to sign in order to register their opposition. Over 5,000 people responded, with 97% in favour of the extra two lanes. Mr. Ed Innes is the president of the committee, which includes Teresa Sosa, Bob Burns, Pablo Herrera, Vito Gajardo, Barb and Lawrence Lange, Clile and Carlos Villa, Jim Bardy and many others.

I thank all of them. Let us keep up the fight.

Speech from the ThroneStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, in September 2004 the opposition threatened to defeat the Martin government unless it amended the Speech from the Throne. In response, the member for Ottawa—Vanier asserted:

You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. You can’t defeat the government and not expect to have to go to the people.

In 2004 he was wrong, but today he would be right. The difference is that in 2004, the opposition was threatening to vote against the throne speech and hence reject the government’s entire agenda. When a government is defeated in this way, as in Ontario in 1985, the Crown is constitutionally obliged to summon the leader of the opposition to try to form a new government.

However, last Thursday, following the presentation of the fiscal update, the House voted in favour of the throne speech. In so doing, the House gave its approval to the government’s agenda. This changes things. A vote of no confidence would now create a situation in which Her Excellency would be constitutionally bound to follow advice from the Prime Minister to dissolve the House and immediately seek new elections.

Hélène PedneaultStatements By Members

December 1st, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were saddened to learn of the death of the writer Hélène Pedneault, who was a friend, a novelist and a talented journalist. Her ongoing and even stubborn commitment to make Quebec a better, more just, more compassionate society is an example to us all.

This passionate woman cared about a number of causes. A sovereigntist from the start and a resident of Saint-Zénon, she was an active member of the Bloc Québécois in Joliette. She also sat on the Conseil de la souveraineté du Québec. As co-founder of Eau Secours, she fought passionately and vigorously for the environment, as she did for all the causes she defended during her lifetime.

A committed feminist, she made an invaluable contribution to the magazine La vie en rose, which she helped found. Her work is an inspiration to us all, and her passing will leave a huge void in Quebec and in the world of letters.

Goodbye, Hélène.