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House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was product.

Topics

The Artis GalaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 23rd Artis Gala was held yesterday. The gala's opening number paid tribute to 60 years of television with songs interpreted by Gilles Vigneault, Robert Charlebois, Diane Dufresne, Éric Lapointe and Garou.

For the second year, the gala was held at the Monument-National and emceed by François Morency. It was broadcast live by TVA.

For this gala the winners are chosen by the public. The winners included Guylaine Tremblay, female role in a Quebec soap opera, and Charles Lafortune and Julie Snyder, who tied for game show host. Guylaine Tremblay and Charles Lafortune were chosen personalities of the year.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I proudly salute the winners, who exemplify Quebec talent. We salute in particular the support for French television by the public, which voted in great numbers.

Once again, congratulations.

Tomb of Pierre Elliott Trudeau DefacedStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Trudeau family mausoleum in the cemetery in Saint-Rémi, a community in the Montérégie area, was vandalized. This act targeted not just one Canadian family, but the entire Canadian family.

Defacing the tomb of a public person or a private citizen is a barbaric act.

When persons have served their country as prime minister, their record of public service is entitled to respect and, at their death, they are entitled to a tranquil and dignified repose.

It is worth reiterating these truths in this House lest some vandal think we do not care. We do care.

I am sure all members of this House will join me in extending to the Trudeau family our feelings of solidarity, affection and respect.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, we all know the Liberal leader has not met a tax he did not like, such as his policy to raise the GST. Now the Liberal leader has another idea. He says that the solution to high gas prices is even higher taxes on gas and electricity for Canadian families and businesses.

This weekend the Liberal leader said that he was “very seriously” considering a carbon tax.

This follows support and openness to a carbon tax by the Liberal members from Toronto Centre, Halton, Ottawa South and Don Valley West, as well as the Liberals' star candidate, Elizabeth May.

A year ago, the Liberal opposition was firmly opposed to a carbon tax. Then, over the course of the past year, the Liberals have flipped and flopped on the issue from against it, to for it, to their latest position, which is that they will very seriously consider it.

In uncertain economic times, we need to strengthen the economy and not impose $50 billion of taxes on working families.

This government understands that Canadians, especially low and middle income Canadians, do not need another tax imposed on them. It is too bad the Liberals just do not understand Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

April 28th, 2008 / 2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, the same day the Prime Minister delivered a rosy speech on the state of the economy, the Governor of the Bank of Canada said what we Liberals have been saying for months and months: that the Canadian economy is in trouble and the Ontario economy is sagging.

When will the Prime Minister wake up and smell the coffee?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased the leader of the Liberal Party has woken up to the economy, because it is something that we have been focused on for some time. In fact, last fall, we brought in a sweeping package of economic stimuli, including reductions in the GST, reductions in personal income tax, and other benefits for families, providing the stimulus for our economy because we saw bad times coming.

In the time since then, his strongest stand on the economic stimulus package we put forward was to stay sitting when it came time for a vote.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the government inherited from the Liberal government the strongest economy of the G-8. It was a country with balanced budgets and money in the bank--

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

It was a country with the longest era of surpluses in Canadian history and yet in two years the Conservatives destroyed the fiscal framework. They spent the cupboard bare and put us on the edge of a deficit. Was this their plan all along so they can cut government services?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the measures we have taken have been designed to ensure that Canada has a strong economy, a balanced budget and a sound fiscal order and that it results in the creation of jobs for Canadians, something we have been doing all along.

I know that the Liberal Party has a different philosophy. The Liberals like big surpluses because they like high taxes. Perhaps that is why the Liberal leader spent last week promoting his plan for Canada's economy: a massive increase in gasoline taxes. That is how he thinks he could help Canada's economy. Canadian families think very differently about that.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that when we had a surplus and a strong economy, we cut taxes by $100 billion, the biggest tax cut ever in Canadian history.

While the Prime Minister was in Laval delivering his rosy speech about the economy, Golden Brand was closing its doors: 540 jobs were lost in Montreal. In the Quebec City region, Crocs and AGC closed their doors: 1,000 jobs were lost. In the Eastern Townships, Beaulieu Canada closed its Wickham mill: 69 jobs were lost.

Why is the Prime Minister—

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party leader talked about taxes. He had a chance to vote to reduce taxes for Canadians, to reduce the GST. However, he was against it then and he is against it now.

He wants to increase the GST by 1% for social housing, by 1% to cut corporate taxes, by 1% for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, and by 1% for other things, and so on. The Liberal leader wants to increase the GST by a lot.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, two years ago, the government inherited the strongest economy in the G-8 and now the Conservative government has Canada teetering on the edge of a deficit.

That could be called incompetent, but it might be deliberate. The Prime Minister's mentor, Tom Flanagan, has talked openly about “tightening the screws” on the federal government. Is this the plan: to permanently weaken the federal government of Canada? Is this the government's secret agenda?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to disappoint the member opposite, but there is no secret. We have had the strongest economy in the G-7. We have reduced public debt. We are running a surplus. We have balanced budgets. As I say, after more than two years of Conservative government, Canada is the envy of the G-7, with the strongest economic fundamentals in the G-7.

Why is this important? It is important because it puts us in a position where we can weather the storm better than any other country in the G-7. This is important for Canadians going forward.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, when this government came to power, it inherited a $12 billion surplus. Despite that, it eliminated the court challenges program, made cuts to status of women, killed the national child care program, and killed the Kelowna accord.

Now that the government is on the verge of a deficit, which programs do the Conservatives intend to cut?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know that members opposite like big spending. They like big taxes. We reduced the GST by 2 percentage points and they talk about raising the GST. We reduced personal income taxes and now they are talking about raising gasoline taxes for Canadians.

As a matter of fact, they are talking about spending another $62 billion. All this means is higher taxes for Canadians, with more spending and bigger government. Canadians know better, and that party opposite voted against every measure to reduce taxes for Canadians.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, documents made public last week would seem to indicate that this government, which boasted of being squeaky clean, falsified and, in some cases, even forged invoices for advertising during the most recent election campaign. Ms. Dixon, a representative of Retail Media, an advertising agency the Conservative Party did business with, says that the invoices attributed to her firm are forged or were falsified.

Does the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities deny Ms. Dixon's allegations? Can he confirm, from his seat, that these invoices are not forged or were not falsified in any way?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, Conservative candidates spent Conservative money on Conservative advertising. That is completely legal. All parties do it. That is why we are taking legal action against Elections Canada. One day, before Elections Canada had to face questions about that lawsuit, Elections Canada officials interrupted the proceedings with that visit with a Liberal camera. We find that extremely strange.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is giving us the same sort of answers the Liberals did when we asked them about the sponsorship scandal. Yet high-ranking Conservative Party officials are involved.

I therefore ask the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities whether he can confirm, from his seat, that his party did not forge or falsify advertising invoices during the most recent election campaign.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the documents in question that the member refers to are merely bundled invoices, which were separated and sent out to the ridings that were asked to pay for them. The GST was added. That is the only change that was made in the documents.

Today I will be tabling in the House of Commons a judgment that was made by the then chief electoral officer, wherein he indicated that advertisements considered local are done so not based on their content but based on their tag line. We had the tag line right. We followed the rules. We did it right.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government can say it obeyed the law all it wants, that it is merely a matter of different interpretations, but nothing could be less certain. In an email from December 8, 2005, an advertising director with the Conservative Party of Canada Fund states that the party will most likely exceed the limit and that doubts had already been raised concerning the legality of transferring spending to the ridings.

Is that not sufficient proof that the Conservatives knew from the beginning that their scheme violated the law, as alleged by Elections Canada?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, in the 1997 document tabled by the then chief electoral officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, he indicates that the law determines an advertisement to be local based on the tag line and not on the content. In fact, he says that the content is left only within the confines of charter rights of freedom of expression.

So we have legal backing from the former chief electoral officer. He may have changed his mind since then, and so may have Elections Canada, but that is not the fault of the Conservative Party.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only did the Conservatives know it was dubious, but they also tried to cover it up. Thus, when a Retail Media employee raised some doubts of his own regarding the transfers to Conservative Party candidates and requested permission to confirm it with Elections Canada, he was told to wait, because the party might not want to discuss it with Elections Canada.

Is that not the reaction one might expect from someone who knows full well that he has something to hide?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I just described the rules as they were explained by Elections Canada. It is now clear that the Conservative candidates spent Conservative Party funds for Conservative Party advertising. It is completely legal, and all the parties do it. That is why we are taking Elections Canada to court.

One day, before being questioned on this, Elections Canada decided to interrupt the proceedings and visit our office with Liberal Party cameras. I imagine the Bloc Québécois also finds this very, very strange.