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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

ThailandStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, Spain, France and Australia have all chartered planes and announced plans to evacuate their nationals from military and other airports that are still open throughout Thailand.

However, Canada has not yet indicated any strategy to get hundreds of Canadians out of Thailand. A small number of our senior citizens were able to exit the country by taking overland buses to airports in the south or to neighbouring countries. However, almost 100 of our stranded citizens are seniors, some of whom are running low on medicine. Emails and telephone reports and some Canadians have indicated that our stranded citizens have received little information from our embassy, let alone our consular officials there.

The political crisis in Thailand could turn very violent at any moment. A state of emergency has already been declared by the army, which up to this point has been quiet, yet could potentially stage a coup. It is important for us to recognize that it is time for the Canadian government to announce an evacuation plan for its citizens, as other nations have done for theirs, or can we expect that it will do nothing again in the face of this crisis before it becomes too difficult?

New Democratic PartyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are rightly shocked to learn of a secret plot by the NDP and the separatists to take power.

The NDP has been working with the separatist party to bring down the Government of Canada. We now know that the economic update was merely a trigger to execute this long-standing agreement between the NDP and the Quebec separatists.

Members from the NDP have a strategy that is all about gaining power. If they have to do it with the help of separatists who wish to tear Canada apart, so be it.

I am sure Tommy Douglas would be ashamed that his party is putting its own self-interest ahead of the survival of Canada. The NDP is sacrificing national unity on the altar of self-interest. How dare that party betray its country?

The EconomyOral Questions

December 1st, 2008 / 2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canada's economy is on the edge of a recession. Jobs are being lost. Canadian workers and their families are worried. Instead of introducing an economic stimulus package in his fiscal update last week, the Prime Minister decided to play politics, ignoring the difficult economic times Canadians are facing.

Does the Prime Minister still believe that he enjoys the confidence of this House?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the fiscal and economic update last week the Minister of Finance announced among other things that he would be providing EDC and BDC with additional money to extend to the manufacturing and auto sectors, and that there would be special help for retirees who are dealing with losses in the stock market. He announced that there would be numerous measures to strengthen our financial system, and he also announced that we would be doubling infrastructure spending over the next year to a record high.

When the hon. gentleman speaks about playing politics, I think he is about to play the biggest political game in Canadian history.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in October 2004, when he was the leader of the opposition, the current Prime Minister defined the rule of conduct for a minority government as follows: if the government wants to govern, it must demonstrate that it is capable of obtaining the support of the majority of members. To date, they have made no such effort.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he has failed to observe his own rule of conduct?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has been governing in a minority situation for almost three years, even though it may not have been perfect. We received a vote of confidence from this House on the Speech from the Throne. My personal opinion is that they should at least wait for the budget to determine the future of a government recently elected by the citizens of Canada.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, will the Prime Minister bring clarity in this House and allow Parliament to demonstrate its non-confidence in this government?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me say quite simply in terms of what we all know the hon. Leader of the Opposition is up to. I understand he wants to be prime minister. It is a great honour and a great experience, but I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I would certainly not want to find myself governing this economy today in a situation that required me to follow socialist economics and to be at the behest of a veto of the separatists.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister had a choice with his economic update. He could have put Canadians first. He could have brought in real stimulus for our economy and concrete support for Canada's auto sector. Instead his partisan streak won, and he decided to launch an unprecedented attack on the fundamental rights of our public service.

After such a display of incompetence and bad judgment at a time of economic crisis, why would Canadians trust the Prime Minister now?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the hon. member knows because I am sure he has read the fall economic update, the fiscal stimulus is outlined for next year on page 35. It includes: further tax reductions, the effective new tax-free savings account, and a reduction in taxes by corporations. We have already reduced the GST. We are doubling spending on infrastructures and we are strengthening our financial system which we have done to make sure that credit is available for Canadians. This is vitally important in a time of economic turbulence.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, in May 2005, the Prime Minister, then opposition leader, said, “The whole principle of our democracy is the government is supposed to be able to face the House of Commons any day on a vote”.

I guess that does not count today. The Prime Minister had the choice of acting like a minority Prime Minister and working in a non-partisan way to support our forestry sector. Instead, he launched an ideological attack on pay equity and the women of Canada.

The Prime Minister's character has now been fully revealed. Why in the world would Canadians put any trust in him now?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite and his party have no confidence in a steady, long-term view of the Canadian economy, making sure we stay on track, and have a steady hand at a time of economic turbulence. They would rather make a deal with the devil. As the member for Markham—Unionville said, “I would point out that the basic reality is that the NDP does not understand the first thing about economics--”.

That is patently clear when we hear they want to run a $30 billion structural deficit in Canada.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker,—

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie has the floor. We do not wish to waste time because of excessive noise.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, terrified by the rumours of a possible coalition government—

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

James Moore

Traitor!

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

—the Prime Minister decided to reverse his decision to eliminate public funding for political parties. Twenty-four hours later, he also backed down on prohibiting the right to strike in the public service. In short, the Prime Minister is trying to salvage something from the wreckage.

While we are facing a global economic crisis, does the Prime Minister realize that his economic statement contains no concrete measures to stimulate the economy and help our citizens? With that kind of attitude, how can we have confidence in this Prime Minister?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance announced last week in the economic and fiscal statement that we are increasing support for our pensioners, that we will increase assistance to the credit sector, the manufacturing and automotive sectors, that we will strengthen Canada's financial sector even further with a number of measures, and that we will double our spending on infrastructure next year. That is quite a lot in two weeks.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the Prime Minister call a potential coalition government illegitimate when, in 2004, in a letter he co-signed with the other opposition leaders, he asked the Governor General to consider all possible options in the event of the dissolution of the House, including the possibility of a coalition government?

With this kind of double talk, how can we have confidence in the Prime Minister?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, at that time, we had an agreement on an amendment to the Speech from the Throne. This is not an amendment of confidence. This party will never consider a coalition with the Bloc Québécois.

It is astounding to see the party once led by Laurier and Trudeau applauding the leader of the Bloc.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government plunged everyone into an election under the pretext that there was an imminent economic crisis. Now that the crisis is on our doorstep, it has postponed implementing measures to stimulate the economy.

How can this government think it has the confidence of the opposition when it stated that it was ready to cooperate, yet it has rejected all of the opposition's suggestions—notably those put forth by the Bloc Québécois—to soften the blow of the economic crisis?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is true that two days before the fall economic statement the hon. critic opposite gave me the BQ plan, and I thank him for that. It was the only party that had any suggestions forthcoming. There was none from the Liberal Party and none from the NDP. I thank him for that, and I look forward to reviewing them as we prepare for the budget in January. He should be aware of the economic stimulus. It is 2% of GDP in 2009, which is exactly our commitment to the G7 and G20.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only has the Minister of Finance stubbornly refused to act immediately, he is also saying that he will take measures “if necessary”.

How can we have confidence in a government that is so disconnected and so blinded by its own ideology that it is unable to see the economic reality and intervene to reduce the effects of a crisis that everyone is saying is a major one?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member would agree it is not ideological to double infrastructure spending, and it is not ideological to help pensioners in Canada by extending some pension relief, particularly, given the problems with the pension plans in the province of Quebec. I can tell the hon. member it is not ideological to help seniors with their RRIFs this year and to help them in 2008. All of that is in the fall economic statement which I gather the hon. member, his party and his friends are against.