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House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was million.

Topics

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

It being 6:15 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the amendment now before the House.

The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

All those in favour of the amendment will please say yea.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

All those opposed will please say nay.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #44

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the amendment lost.

The House resumed from February 27 consideration of the motion.

Director of Public ProsecutionsRoutine Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Government Business No. 6.

The member for Vancouver East is rising on a point of order.

Director of Public ProsecutionsRoutine Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I see that a number of Liberal members just came in. It is very interesting that they missed the vote on their own amendment, but we would be prepared to give unanimous consent to have them recorded as voting for their own amendment.

Mr. Speaker, I would seek unanimous consent that they be recorded as voting for their motion.

Director of Public ProsecutionsRoutine Proceedings

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

We would have to do the vote over again if that is the case.

Is there consent?

Director of Public ProsecutionsRoutine Proceedings

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Director of Public ProsecutionsRoutine Proceedings

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I sense there is no consent.

The question is on the motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #45

Director of Public ProsecutionsRoutine Proceedings

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion--Public Inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber AffairBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division relating to the business of supply.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #46

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

7:05 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see that the issue of the manufacturing and forestry sectors is attracting so much interest and that so many members are here for these adjournment proceedings.

On February 5, 2008, I had a question for this government, for the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, on the appropriateness of adding the measures announced to help the manufacturing and forestry industries. At that time, the Prime Minister had decided that the vote on the $1 billion trust would no longer be linked to the budget. We managed to get him to reverse that decision and we hoped that the government would inject some new money in order to help the manufacturing and forestry sectors deal with the crisis.

The budget has been presented since then, but we note that the Minister of Finance unfortunately did not listen to our demands, for which he is being severely judged in Quebec. The three parties of the National Assembly, including the premier and the Quebec finance minister, as well as the leader of the opposition and the leader of the third party, have all denounced the situation and called the budget inadequate for the manufacturing and forestry sectors, as well as for older workers. This budget does not meet the needs of Quebeckers.

Today, I am raising this issue again, because the Conservative members of the Standing Committee on Finance now number among those who are unhappy with the budget. In fact, today, they agreed to support a motion calling on the committee to examine the issue of the manufacturing and forestry industries in the coming days and try to report by March 31, so that the government can take additional steps to help the industries.

It is scandalous that the government plans to use the $10 billion surplus to pay down the debt, when that money could be used to help our economy. Instead of spending $10 billion to reduce the debt, the government could have spent only $3 billion on that and used the remaining $7 billion to help the manufacturing and forestry industries and older workers.

I hope that the government will change its mind, because it has until March 31 to decide how it will allocate the surplus. It changed its mind about the trust fund, so why not in this case?

I am encouraged by Conservative support for the motion I introduced today. I hope that the government will act accordingly and that, as early as tomorrow, we will have news confirming that the Conservative government has recognized that allocating the $10 billion to debt reduction was unacceptable and that a significant portion of that money needs to be spent to revive the manufacturing and forestry industries.

We are going to go to bat again tomorrow, at the next meeting of the committee, and I hope that the position the Conservative members of the Standing Committee on Finance took today will reflect the government's desire to provide additional funding.

Companies in the forestry sector, including paper manufacturers, and in the manufacturing sector are continuing to close their doors. In regions such as Beauce, which had an outstanding reputation in the manufacturing sector, jobs are disappearing left and right. The industry grew and developed when the dollar was worth 65¢, but now that the dollar is at par, the industry is in serious difficulty. Moreover, the same problem is occurring throughout Quebec and Ontario and across Canada.

Will the government take steps to correct the situation, and will it allocate additional money in the short term? That is my question for the government.

7:10 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this Conservative government fully understands the very real needs of workers and communities that are feeling the impact of economic challenges.

While the Canadian economy remains strong, we are mindful of the challenges before us: global uncertainty, volatile markets and the difficulties confronting some of our traditional industries such as manufacturing and forestry. This is exactly why we have aggressively moved to support Canada's and Quebec's traditional industries.

Budget 2008 continues to build on the significant pre-emptive steps taken in the 2007 fall economic update and during winter 2008 to lower taxes for people and businesses, pay down debt, and provide targeted support to struggling communities.

To date, we have introduced $9 billion in tax relief, mostly broad-based for manufacturers and processors, and that will be by 2012-13.

We are also providing $1 billion for the community development trust to help provinces like Quebec assist in one-industry towns facing major downturns, communities plagued by chronic high unemployment, or regions hits by layoffs across a range of sectors such as manufacturing and forestry.

In budget 2007, we brought in a $1.3 billion temporary accelerated capital cost allowance for investments in machinery and equipment. In budget 2008, we extended that measure three years on a declining basis, which will provide the manufacturing and processing sectors with an additional $1 billion in tax relief.

University of Manitoba economics professor John McCallum, has applauded this initiative, noting, “Anything that is an incentive to invest in assets that make manufacturers and others more competitive is a good thing. This budget does that--”.

We are further supporting Canada's job creators by increasing the capital cost allowance rate 10% for buildings used in manufacturing and processing and to 55% for computers. Budget 2008 additionally provides greater accessibility to the enhanced scientific research and experimental development tax incentive program and additional funding to improve the administration of this program.

In budget 2008 we are also extending the targeted initiative for older workers to 2012, providing $90 million to a federal-provincial employment program that provides employment activities for unemployed older workers in vulnerable communities in order to encourage workforce participation.

We are also bringing forward numerous measures to specifically assist the forestry sector, such as: providing $10 million over two years to Natural Resources Canada to promote the forestry sector in international markets, investing $127.5 million in the forest industry long term competitiveness initiative to support innovation and assist the forestry sector to shift toward higher value products to tap into new markets, establishing a $25 million forest communities program that will assist 11 forest-based communities to make informed decision making on the forest land base, concluding a softwood lumber agreement, and restoring access to the U.S. market resulting in over $5 billion in duty deposits returned to Canadian producers.

7:10 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, then how do we explain the position of the Canadian manufacturers and exporters, the Quebec federation of chambers of commerce and all the unions and workers? Last Friday, 150 laid-off workers went to the Minister of Labour's constituency office with signs saying, “You are a member from Quebec. Not Alberta.” People want a chance to work in their own communities. People are saying that they do not want to go to Alberta. A 55-year-old who has spent his life raising a family in his region does not want to move to that province.

Today, the government is refusing to implement an income security program for older workers. These people have done everything they can to find jobs, but have not been successful. How are these people supposed to understand that the government is putting $10 billion in surplus towards the debt, when it cannot find $50 million, for the current year for all of Canada, to help ensure these workers have sufficient funds to get them through to retirement?

Should the government not go back to the drawing board, as the Standing Committee on Finance recommended today?