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House of Commons Hansard #112 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was loan.

Topics

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

The Acting Speaker Liberal Derek Lee

Order, please. A little more order would assist all colleagues in getting through this debate.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to deal with a couple of arguments that have been made.

My colleague from Winnipeg Centre just made a comment about the importance of using banks rather than individuals to make loans. I have no particular problem with that amendment to the act. It does not affect things one way or the other.

However, the one comment he made, which he needs to think about, is when he said that it would take big money out of politics, which means that anybody could gain access to the same amount of money. The hon. member needs to think realistically about what security banks will be asking for with respect to getting a loan and what that really means.

If the member is saying that this would take big money out, I would say that it does not. However, if the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre wants to take the money factor out of a leadership race entirely, the one way in which it can be done is to apply the philosophy in the Elections Act to leadership races, which is to say that there should be, as there is in the United States, public contributions for leadership races just as there are public contributions for our own campaigns at the national level.

Speaking, I hope, in a less partisan fashion at this moment, if I were to make a practical suggestion to the House, having gone through this race, and I do not say this with any sense of pride, having managed to get through a very extensive process of begging and pleading with friends and people who used to be friends and getting them to make contributions, there is one flaw in the legislation. When my friends in the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party or the Bloc Québécois have a leadership race they will all have the same experience we did.

They will have to deal with the same circumstances and challenges as us. They will see that if a party wants to conduct a nation-wide campaign, if that party wants its campaign to reach every riding in this great land, that costs money. If the funds do not come from our families, from personal sources, and from contributors, and if they want a democratic campaign, then I believe there has to be more public funding for leadership races, just like there is for political parties.

With all due respect, I wanted to focus on two points about this change. The first is that it is not fair to change the rules in the middle of the game. That is not fair. They can do it, and they have even done it twice now, but it is not fair, and I have to say that. This is an example of injustice toward a political party. If they want to punish a political party, they can. But if they start playing that kind of game, it could have some negative consequences.

The second point I really want to make is about an important reform that has not been proposed in this bill: public funding. I am not talking about full funding, but a contribution from the public for leadership campaigns. I hope that will be in place before the next Bloc Québécois, NDP or Conservative Party leadership race because I think it is important for the Canadian democratic process.

That is all I have to say, and I appreciate the opportunity to take part in this debate.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Toronto Centre for a very informative speech. It is the kind of speech I myself would have given if I were looking forward to contesting a leadership race in the next year or so and was going to rely upon a large amount of donated cash.

I want to talk about a couple of things. One is the idea that Jean Chrétien was being fair and thoughtful when he put forward this finance legislation. We should be clear about what was going on. The legislation that was put forward would have gone into effect, although the Chief Electoral Officer had some discretion on it, on December 31, 2003. Any race that might be underway could be declared to go before or after. The Chief Electoral Officer chose to cause the old financing rules with unlimited donations and unlimited spending to apply.

That was not done out of fairness. That was done to ensure the member for Newmarket—Aurora, who at that point was running for the leadership of the Conservative Party, would have a huge advantage over the current Prime Minister in that leadership race. It was a complete abuse of process and no one should misunderstand what was going on on that occasion.

With regard to the fairness of the underlying system, there was nothing fair about the process that Jean Chrétien proposed of providing public financing on a sliding scale based on how many votes one got in the previous election, thereby locking in the advantage of the governing party; $1.75 per year to each party per vote it received in the previous election. Regardless of how voters might feel in the future, there is nothing fair about that. It locks in an incumbent's advantage. The longer the next Parliament lasts, the bigger the advantage adds up to be and the larger the number of votes a party has the bigger the advantage.

What was fair about that as compared to what Ed Broadbent proposed where one would have the ability to indicate where one's particular subsidy would go based upon one's ongoing preferences? That was a much fairer suggestion which was shot down by the Liberals at that time.

Similarly, the rebate of 60% of expenses to candidates, rewards those who are able to spend more. What is fair about that? What about this does not have the effect of benefiting those who have the most to spend and the most ability to borrow?

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Now that the hon. member has completed his comments, I just want to say that we were admonished in the House yesterday for straying beyond the scope of this third reading of Bill C-29. We were admonished in part because of two or three points of order from the parliamentary secretary. I am suggesting that the comments here go way outside of the contents of the bill we are now debating at third reading.

I am just asking that the government members subscribe to the same rules that their member urged upon the House yesterday.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River but I think the hon. member for Toronto Centre is ready to make a response, in any event, to the comments so I will call upon him at this point to make his response.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from my friend from Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington.

If we were to go back to the Camp report, we would find the basis upon which the two principles that were applied to the Liberal legislation were there. That is the first one was with respect to using the last election as the basis upon which to document the public contributions because it is an objective basis. It is a basis of what the support was in an election, a democratic contest in which people have expressed themselves. That is just the reality. Would there be another way of doing it? Yes, I suppose there would be but that is one objective criterion.

If we look at other countries in terms of how public funding is allocated, it is the same principle applied, which is that the level of public funding depends upon the level achieved in a democratic process. The same is true with respect to the contributions. None of these things are fixed for all time.

If the member opposite is saying that the government would like to look at those contributions and at the legislation overall, I would invite the government, instead of bringing in these little amendments here and there, which are designed to appeal to one party on the other side or not and give a temporary advantage, to put the subject matter of election financing in front of an all party committee and let us have an agreement that we will not see this as a partisan issue.

I really do not see this as a partisan issue nor do I see it as a personal issue. I have done my bit and I have no personal issues. I am not here out of any personal gripe. I am here because I think what has animated the government is a desire for temporary political advantage.

I do not know whether that has animated other governments in the past or not. I only know what I see and I think that is a very unhealthy feature. It is a perfect example of how not to reform the election financing process. The election financing process should be something in which all political parties can be seen to be participating and there is no particular advantage to one party or another. That is an approach that I would strongly advocate for now and certainly advocate for the future.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to ask for unanimous consent for the following: “That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, at the end of debate on Bill C-474, standing in the name of the member for Don Valley West, all report stage motions be deemed adopted, the bill be deemed concurred in at report stage with further amendments, and be deemed read a third time and passed”.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent?

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Tillsonburg Multi-Service CentreStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to honour and celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Tillsonburg Multi-Service Centre, a volunteer organization that has been serving the community since 1978.

The Multi-Service Centre offers a wide variety of programs and services. The programs are organized into three broad categories: adult basic literacy; employment service for youth and adults; and home support services for seniors and the disabled.

Residents are invited to join in the festivities on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at the Livingston Centre in Tillsonburg.

On behalf of Canada's government and the residents of Oxford, I would like to thank the Multi-Service Centre for its exceptional selfless service and leadership. I am proud to represent such an inspiring organization fuelled by an outstanding community.

National Blood Donor WeekStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is National Blood Donor Week which we officially celebrate for the first time this year after a bill initiated in the other place received royal assent on February 14. I am proud to have been the House sponsor for that piece of legislation.

All hon. members should understand the importance of blood donation to our health care system.

Each year hundreds of thousands of Canadian donors are required to meet the demands of hospitals across Canada. National Blood Donor Week presents an opportunity to thank those who have given blood and recruit others to do the same.

Yesterday I had the honour of joining Canadian Blood Services in opening the Toronto Stock Exchange as well as a new permanent blood donation clinic in Toronto. That clinic will serve as a visual reminder that the need for blood never wanes. Long after these celebrations are forgotten, we will still need those donors.

I encourage all Canadians to give blood, to give the precious gift of life.

Member for Nepean—CarletonStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in this House, the member for Nepean—Carleton apologized for the hurtful comments he made about first nations members, right after the government had apologized. His comments cast a shadow over the sincerity of these apologies.

The night before, on Tuesday, this member and all of his Conservative colleagues behaved in an extremely unruly manner—and that is putting it lightly—at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. Since they wanted to avoid passing a motion to examine their ethical behaviour concerning their party's financial practices during the election campaign, the Conservatives spent four hours dragging out the debate and delaying the vote. They interrupted the chair at every opportunity and made disparaging and even offensive remarks. It got so bad that the chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics asked the member for Nepean—Carleton to apologize. This request was ignored, adding insult to injury.

The Conservatives should not dodge a review of their ethical practices by throwing ethics to the winds at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

Marine Protected AreasStatements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt about the cultural, economic and historical importance of salmon to British Columbia, but a serious crisis exists with regard to chinook, sockeye and coho on the south coast. Action must be taken.

Changes in the ocean, rising temperatures, predation, food source issues, pollution, the impact of human development and industry are key to the decline.

Last Friday, the Living Oceans Society, the Suzuki Foundation and the Sierra Club reported on Canada's progress on new marine protected areas. Despite having legislation and policy in place, they called Canada's record dismal on implementing a comprehensive network of marine protected areas. Canada lags far behind the U.S. and Australia.

The government must deliver to protect sensitive and vulnerable marine ecosystems. The Pacific north coast integrated management area must be achieved immediately.

Enforcement of habitat protection must also be increased and support for the work of stream keepers must be stepped up. Burnaby stream keepers, like the Stoney Creek Environment Committee, know the importance of such steps. Does the government?

ZimbabweStatements By Members

June 13th, 2008 / 11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada endorses the statement made last week by 40 eminent African leaders that the Zimbabwe election should be free and fair.

Canada condemns the repeated detention by two key opposition leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, and the recent arrest of Tendai Biti. Opposition should be permitted to campaign freely without fear and prosecution.

We are also very concerned that the government of Zimbabwe continues to harass and effectively shut down independent organizations. In such an environment it is impossible for a free, fair and democratic election to take place.

We support greater UN involvement in Zimbabwe, including an envoy and UN Security Council consideration of the situation. Last week, the Government of Canada called on the Zimbabwean ambassador to deliver these strong messages and to express our deep concerns with the recent conduct of the Zimbabwean government.

Help A Village EffortStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, since 1999 the community of Glovertown in my riding, with matching funds from CIDA, has managed to raise enough money from its annual Walk for Water to provide 85 artesian wells for needy villages in India. As their member of Parliament, I am extremely proud of this remarkable achievement, a feat that is unlikely to be matched by any other community of its size.

As members may know, Help A Village Effort, or H.A.V.E., is a voluntary non-governmental organization which a constituent of mine, Mr. Gerard Feltham, and his friends started in 1982 when he was living in Haliburton-Minden, Ontario.

Since 1982 nearly 700 safe drinking water systems and many essential education and health services have been provided to thousands of needy families in hundreds of villages, particularly in India. The bulk of its support comes through the efforts and donations of friends and relatives.

Walk for Water events are now taking place in communities in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario.

This small group of people are to be commended for their outstanding efforts to improve the lives of those less fortunate and for making this world a better place.

Gasoline PricesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Competition Bureau announced that criminal charges have been laid against 13 individuals and 11 companies accused of fixing the price of gasoline at the pump in various cities in Quebec. Some are questioning whether the Competition Bureau will look into other retail markets across the country.

This government will not tolerate price fixing by companies that jack up the price of gasoline. We will also not go the way of the Liberal leader, who wants to put a carbon tax on everything, which would raise the prices at the pump, the cost of heating oil and everything else we buy.

This tax trick would severely impact seniors, rural Canadians, and those living on fixed incomes. It would hurt the trucker, the taxi driver and the small business owner. In fact, every single Canadian would have to pay more in tax.

While the Liberal leader wants to hit all Canadians with his massive tax increase, our Conservative government is making sure Canadians keep more of their hard-earned tax dollars. We are cracking down on price fixers who want Canadians to pay more for gas.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Standing Committee on the Status of Women tabled its 11th report, which focuses on gender-responsive budgeting.

We are especially pleased about recommendation 20, which suggests that Finance Canada publish its gender-based analysis of budget measures as part of future federal budgets.

This would allow us to understand the direct effects of the budget on women's economic status. Consider social housing, employment insurance and all of the other issues that are not priorities for the Conservatives and that contribute to the gap between men and women.

This report clearly exhibits that the egalitarian society we claim to be part of is perhaps not as egalitarian as we thought and that the struggle for women's equality is not over.

The Conservatives have been, are and will be an obstacle to equality between the men and women of Quebec. Given our recommendations, they should admit this publicly and stop hiding.

Carbon Tax ProposalStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader has made tens of billions of dollars in non-budgeted spending promises, and now he has come up with a way to finance his free-spending ways: higher taxes for everyone. Weasel words like “green shift” and “revenue neutral” will not hide the fact that his plan is a tax on everything for all Canadians.

My constituents live in a rural riding in a cold climate. They know what it costs to heat their homes, drive their cars, operate their farm machinery, and get food and goods to our stores. As more details emerge about this massive carbon tax, Canadians are questioning the Liberal leader's enormous flip-flop on this issue.

I am sure all Liberal MPs are really excited about spending their summer defending a tax increase. Even the Liberal environment critic cannot convince his own brother, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, that this plan is a good one.

Canadians know that with the Liberal leader's new carbon tax, they will be forced to reach deeper in their pockets for everything. The good folks in my riding and across the country will not be tricked.

Asian Heritage MonthStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 18, 2008, the Chinese Association of Outaouais organized a special event to commemorate Asian Heritage Month. Activities included concerts, dance performances, culinary tastings and round tables.

Since the first event was organized in Toronto in 1993, several Canadian cities, including Gatineau, have been holding festivities to commemorate Asian Heritage Month. In 2001, the Senate of Canada made this initiative official by adopting a motion declaring the month of May as Asian Heritage Month.

Cultural diversity enhances Canada socially, politically and economically. Asian Heritage Month allows all Canadians to celebrate the beauty and wisdom of Asian cultures.

I would like to congratulate Ming Zhang, president of the Chinese Association of Outaouais, and her daughter, Catherine Gao, for their hard work, as well as the City of Gatineau for its involvement and contribution to making this event a great success.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have been hearing rumours that the Liberal leader will finally unveil the details of his massive national carbon tax next week, the tax trick that will raise the cost of everything for all Canadians.

However, Liberal MPs are deeply divided and there is infighting over the Liberal leader's plan to sell a tax on everything to Canadians this summer. Liberals who support higher gas prices, higher electricity costs and higher food costs will have a lot of explaining to do.

Canadians will not be tricked into swallowing a new, permanent Liberal carbon tax.

My constituents are worried about this permanent new regressive tax that will destroy jobs and drive up the cost of gas, electricity and everything else.

The Liberal leader must finally be honest with Canadians and tell them why he is planning on attacking seniors and Canadians living on fixed incomes. Why?

Garment IndustryStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, when I was first elected in 1997, there were 43 garment manufacturers in my riding. They employed some 7,000 skilled craftspeople. These were good jobs: union jobs with pensions, benefits and dental plans.

Since then, established companies in this industry have suffered terribly. Major established companies such as Gemini, Western Glove and Nygard are dropping like flies, one by one yielding to insurmountable forces with virtually no assistance from the federal government.

The government has abandoned the garment industry. I cannot understand why.

It is almost impossible any more to find anything that is made in Canada. When China was allowed into the WTO, Canada could have put quotas on imports so our domestic employers would have a fighting chance. The government did nothing.

Duty remission orders now are sunsetting, from 50% to 25% to zero in 2010. If the government cares about the garment industry at all, it needs to extend the duty remission orders to 2016, and at 100%, not 50%.

The government has failed to act in any meaningful way. The duty remission orders are one last chance so that these employers can keep hiring Canadians to make clothes in Canada that we can all be proud of.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said the apology to Indian residential school survivors marked “a positive step in forging a new relationship between aboriginal peoples and other Canadians”.

This new relationship must lead to greater opportunity for the current generation of first nations children.

Recently I met with Chief Flett of St. Theresa Point and Chief Colon of Oxford House in the Churchill riding. They spoke of their longstanding struggle to attain cooperation and funding for new schools.

Provinces and territories benefit from transfer payments for such provisions, but not first nations. These schools face severe overcrowding in their classrooms, deteriorating buildings and widespread mould. As well, the school in Oxford House is situated on contaminated soil.

First nations students across Manitoba's north are determined to learn, advance their education and achieve the same hopes and dreams as all other Canadians.

Income Tax ActStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, a majority of members of this House voted in favour of Bill C-207 at third reading. The members for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean and Jonquière—Alma ignored the message from Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and its representatives. It is deplorable that these two elected representatives and their colleagues from Quebec chose to blindly follow their party's right-wing ideology, the laissez-faire ideology the Conservatives are known for.

Yesterday, we saw proof of these members' impotence as they put their party ahead of the regions of Quebec that are in economic difficulty.

The Conservative government must now accept the verdict of the House. It has a moral obligation not to impede the bill's progress toward royal assent.

I want to thank all the people, municipalities, youth organizations and student associations who fought with me against the Conservative ideology.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been a bad couple of weeks for the Conservative Party of Canada. Conservative donors must be wondering if they are getting value for the money they are funnelling into the party's Ottawa office.

Last week was highlighted by a disastrous attempt to distract from its current scandal by drawing Canadians' attention back to the Cadman affair.

Hundreds of thousands of Conservative dollars are being spent on big city lawyers' fees for affidavits which point out that Conservative operatives offered Chuck Cadman a bribe for his vote.

Thousands of dollars are being spent on audio experts, only to have them confirm that those are the Prime Minister's unaltered words on that tape where he talks about “financial considerations” for Chuck.

This week brought back the Conservatives' ad campaign, in which the Prime Minister is represented by a talking grease spot. Unfortunately, the oily campaign will never see the light of day because even the big gasoline companies do not want to be associated with the Conservative government.

Yes, Conservative donors are receiving excellent returns on their investment. Or are they?

Tax Freedom DayStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have great news to share with Canadians. Tax Freedom Day, the day when Canadians have paid off the total tax bill imposed on them by government, is tomorrow, June 14, four days earlier than last year and 11 days earlier than the last full year of the former tax and spend Liberal regime.

Our Conservative government is cutting taxes in every way we can. As promised, we cut the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%. We have reduced the overall tax burden to the lowest point in almost 50 years. Almost $200 billion in tax cuts means that Canadians are keeping more of their money.

Tax Freedom Day is fantastic news for almost everyone in Canada except the Liberal leader and his party, whose carbon tax trick and planned GST hike push Tax Freedom Day closer to December.

This government will not let that happen.