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House of Commons Hansard #88 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was election.

Topics

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when people ask the Prime Minister about harmonizing the GST, he says that he is negotiating in good faith. But that is not true. We know that negotiations between Quebec and Ottawa have reached a stalemate because Ottawa is refusing to compensate Quebec unless it agrees to give the federal government the right to collect the GST and the QST.

Quebec signed an agreement to harmonize the GST in 1992. Does the Prime Minister realize that by adding new conditions to the agreement, he is basically reneging on what the Conservative government signed at the time?

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, this government respects the agreement that was signed a long time ago with a previous government. We pay Quebec every year to administer the federal GST. Now Quebec is asking for a completely different agreement, an agreement, I presume, like that with other provinces, and we are negotiating the terms of such an agreement in good faith.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, what Quebec wants is to be compensated like the Maritimes were to the tune of $1 billion, like Ontario is being compensated to the tune of $4.3 billion, and like British Columbia will be to the tune of $1.6 billion. That is what Quebec wants.

Why is he reneging on the 1992 agreement? Everyone considered that agreement to be a kind of standard. How can he talk about open federalism? How can he say that he respects the Quebec nation when he is prepared to tear up an agreement that everyone looked to as a standard?

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, some provinces have signed contracts with the Government of Canada to harmonize the GST. All of these contracts, except for Quebec's, are the same. The terms of Quebec's contract are completely different. We are working toward a contract that is the same as those with other provinces, and I hope that we will achieve that in our negotiations with the Government of Quebec.

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

October 1st, 2009 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, harmonization of the GST is just another issue on which Quebec is being unfairly penalized by the Conservative government. Let us not forget about the loss of $1 billion in revenue from equalization payments and the loss of $800 million for post-secondary education. Quebec has been deprived of a total of over $8 billion because of the Conservatives’ neglect.

What is the government waiting for, to settle these disputes and finally give Quebec its due?

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would remind this House that the fiscal imbalance arose under a Liberal government, when the Bloc’s parent company, the PQ, was in power in Quebec.

Since we came to power, we have resolved the fiscal imbalance and transfers to Quebec have increased substantially.

If the Bloc still wants to minimize that to cause trouble, it can go ahead, but one thing is certain: we will be building a better federation for Quebeckers.

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, here is another example: Ontario is receiving billions of dollars from the federal government for its auto industry while our forestry industry, which is in crisis, is getting crumbs. Ontario is being compensated for harmonizing its sales tax with the GST, but not Quebec.

Does this inequitable treatment of Quebec not explain why Quebeckers have no confidence in this government?

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would again point out that the government of Quebec itself said that the tax was not fully harmonized and that there were still adjustments to be made. So the other side of the House should stop engaging in disinformation.

As well, the Premier of Quebec himself said again this morning that transfers to Quebec had risen by 60%. Can anything be more tangible, more concrete, than that? Those are numbers, not just smoke.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the House of Commons voted last year to have all troops out of Kandahar by 2011, but now we hear hints from the Minister of National Defence that the troops may stay in Afghanistan longer.

It is now the established practice in the House that there be a vote in the House of Commons on the deployment of Canadian troops. Does the Prime Minister believe that he can keep troops in Afghanistan beyond 2011 without a vote in the House authorizing such a deployment?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear that it was this government that brought in the practice that military deployments have to be approved by the House of Commons.

The position of the government is clear. The military mission in Afghanistan will end in 2011. I have said it here and I have said it across the country. In fact, I think I said it recently in the White House.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of National Defence told the House that the government is cooperating with the investigations of the Military Police Complaints Commission, but nothing could be further from the truth.

The government has not provided one single document or allowed one single witness to speak since January of last year. A diplomat, Richard Colvin, wants to testify before the commission about torture in Afghan prisons, but the Conservatives are barring him.

Why will the Prime Minister not allow Mr. Colvin to testify? Does he have something to hide here?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as is so often the case, the leader of the New Democratic Party has his facts completely wrong.

The Government of Canada has been cooperating with the Military Police Complaints Commission. We have provided dozens of witnesses who have testified already. We will continue to cooperate. We have provided thousands of documents that have also been entered into testimony.

With respect to Mr. Colvin, he was on a witness list that was compiled before the Federal Court had ruled in favour of the federal government, limiting this complaint commission to the mandate that is set out in the National Defence Act. Those are the facts and he should read the facts.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, in other words, they do not want to hear from Mr. Colvin. That seems pretty clear.

If the government really wants to help the Military Police Complaints Commission, it has to allow it to operate independently. By preventing people like Richard Colvin from testifying, the government is doing the opposite. We are talking about torture! Since January, they have refused to provide documents. Since January, they have refused to allow people to testify.

Mr. Colvin is an exceptional witness. Why is the government trying to muzzle him?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I will say again that the member is wrong. The government and the members of the Canadian Force in particular cooperate fully with the commission.

It is clear that we are complying with the mandate of the commission itself. It is also clear that this is set out in federal legislation. It is set out in the National Defence Act. It is set out by the Federal Court. This is not politically motivated. There is no political interference. This is done by an arm's-length commission.

I know that the hon. member has never been part of a government. He may not understand that, but this is an arm's-length process and we are respecting that process.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday I was in Trois-Rivières. I met with forestry workers who have lost their jobs or fear they may lose them in the near future. They are very angry that this government refuses to do anything to help their industry and to save their jobs.

Is it because the Conservatives gave $1 billion to our American competitors as part of the softwood lumber sellout that they no longer have any money to support the Canadian industry?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, of course we are concerned about what is happening to pulp and paper workers, and we are closely following what is going on. However, executives at Kruger said that the company would close its doors because of a large drop in market share. This is unfortunately due to the global economic crisis, and we will continue to support these people.

The only way the Liberals supported the forestry industry was to abandon forestry workers from 2000 to 2006, and to not have an agreement with the Americans, our main economic partners. Our government is fixing this, and we will continue to support them.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the riding of Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, job losses continue with no apparent end in sight. Many of my fellow citizens are losing their livelihoods.

Pratt & Whitney Canada will be closing a plant in a few months. The 160 jobs eliminated on the south shore are in addition to 200 others announced yesterday.

For more than a year we have been calling on the government to produce an aerospace action plan. Can the minister explain his blatant lack of action?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false. The job losses announced are unfortunate, of course, and the government is concerned about the impact on the employees and their families.

However, these layoffs are due mainly to the closing in the next few years of plant no. 2, which is 85 years old and located in Longueuil. The activities will be transferred, however, to other leading Pratt & Whitney facilities on the south shore.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week the Prime Minister misled Canadians about his government's record on creating jobs. His slick report and his advertising campaign are already costing at least $34 million and use words like “announcements”, “commitments” and “promises”, but leave out the one thing that matters. What jobs did the government create for Canadians who are out of work?

The Prime Minister and his government have had eight months and $8 billion to deliver on their promise of 190,000 jobs for Canadians.

How many jobs has his government actually created with the infrastructure stimulus funds?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

The plan, Mr. Speaker, as announced in the economic action plan in the House on January 27, estimated the creation and preservation of about 190,000 jobs in Canada.

We are doing better than that. As I reported to the House earlier this week in our government's third report this year to Canadians, the job figure now is about 220,000, not 190,000 and that is--

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, he has the same problem as the minister before him.

He says 220,000 jobs next year, not right now. In fact, the Prime Minister and his ministers have been deliberately hiding the truth. The job creation program is a colossal failure.

There is a list to tell the public the truth when it comes to job creation with infrastructure spending.

We spoke directly to 946 announced projects. At the very most, the government has created fewer than 160 jobs per week at the very same time that 5,800 more Canadians have lost their job each week.

Why did the Conservatives use taxpayer money as a slush fund--

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. Minister of Finance. Order.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the official opposition wanted these reports to Canadians. I suggest the member for Parkdale--High Park might want to read them. Then he would understand where the 220,000 jobs are being preserved and created during the course of the economic action plan.

Not only that but in work sharing about 165,000 Canadians are profiting, making use of the work-sharing program so that their jobs are preserved during this recession.