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House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was colombia.

Topics

Bloc Québécois PlanStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, although the Liberals and the Conservatives do not seem to know how to balance the budget, there is a party that has proposed the best plan for fighting the deficit—the Bloc Québécois. We are not the ones saying it. A southern Ontario paper has said so.

This plan proposes a 1% surtax for people who earn annual taxable income of $150,000 or more, a fight against tax havens, the end of gifts to oil companies, rationalizing military purchasing and cutting bureaucratic spending. These measures could save $16 million annually without taking even one penny from the middle class and the less fortunate.

These are the elements of the best plan to fight the deficit, the Bloc Québécois plan.

As stated at the very end of the editorial, it is in the best interests of the Prime Minister to listen to and read this article. If the Minister of Finance does not wish to be deprived of his prize, he need only implement the Bloc Québécois plan.

Local Food DayStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Conservative Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, people across the planet will be celebrating World Food Day on October 16. Today, the Friday before Thanksgiving, our Conservative government, in conjunction with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, is celebrating Local Food Day.

Canadian farmers provide some of the most affordable food in the world. However, they face a significant challenge in the amount returned to the farm gate. Studies show that only 27% of a family of four's weekly grocery bill goes back to the farms where the food was produced.

Choosing locally produced foods reinvests in local economies and local farmers. I urge Canadians to choose locally produced products when they plan this year's Thanksgiving menu.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to extend to all Canadian families, especially the people of Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, a happy and joyous Thanksgiving and an informed Local Food Day.

BrazilStatements By Members

October 9th, 2009 / 11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament whose riding is home to the largest Brazilian-Canadian community in Canada, I am honoured to offer congratulations to the city of Rio de Janeiro on its winning bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Rio de Janeiro becomes the first South American city to host the Olympics. It is an honour which is well deserved.

Brazil is the largest economy on that content and ranks among the fastest-growing economies in the world. The selection of Rio de Janeiro is further recognition by the nations of the world of the growing importance of Brazil upon the world stage.

In 2016, Canada will join with nations of the world as we gather in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate athletic excellence, international co-operation and the common bonds of humanity that bind us together in competition.

Until then, as president of the Canada-Brazil Parliamentary Friendship Group, I invite all members of Parliament to join with me in extending our congratulations to Rio de Janeiro and to Brazil.

Truth in Sentencing LegislationStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have told us loud and clear that they would like to see more truth in sentencing. That is why our government introduced Bill C-25 to end the practice of two for one sentencing.

Bill C-25 was supported by provincial attorneys general of all political parties. Police associations, victims groups and Canadians support Bill C-25. Bill C-25 was passed unanimously by the House of Commons, yet one Liberal senator said that the Liberal members of the House of Commons got it wrong.

Why will the Liberal leader not get engaged, show some leadership and see to it that this bill is passed?

This proves that the Liberal leader is not sincere in fighting crime. He says one thing in public, but behind the scenes, something very different is taking place. He is not in it for Canadians. He is in it for himself.

Tax HarmonizationStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the constituents of the Niagara region are strongly opposed to the harmonization of the provincial sales tax with the GST. Families in my riding of Welland are in a daily struggle to make ends meet. Placing an additional 8% on essential everyday purchases is the wrong decision to make.

Unfortunately for Ontario families, the Conservatives and the Liberals agree that raising taxes through harmonization is a good decision.

The Niagara region has been hit exceptionally hard by the decline in manufacturing jobs. The Conservative government should be focused on what is really important, making changes to EI and the pension system to put more money in people's pockets rather than being obsessed on raising sales taxes by 8%.

In harmonizing sales taxes, the Conservative government is shifting the tax burden from big business and big banks and forcing all Ontarians to pay more.

New Democrats will continue to stand up for all Ontarians and will oppose this tax grab, especially at this critical time when governments should be finding more ways to put money back into people's pockets rather than finding more ways to take money out of their pockets.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again the Liberals' simplistic thinking is evident. While the Liberal senators are using every possible means to gut Bill C-25, which limits credit for time spent in pre-sentencing custody, the leader of the Liberal Party is unconcerned and has no empathy for victims. It is ironic coming from this very leader who, just yesterday, was himself playing the victim and acknowledging that he would actually have to work.

This sad spectacle shows once more that to be a Liberal is to be out in left field and short on ideas.

Our government has the interests of Quebeckers and Canadians at heart. We will not allow the true victims of crime to bear the burden because of the Liberals or because of the Bloc, which votes against everything.

2009 Nobel Peace PrizeStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, we learned that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to U.S. President Barack Obama, making him the third sitting U.S. president to be awarded this prestigious award.

His election brought hope all over the world. The prize recognizes President Obama's efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation, advocating multilateral diplomacy and dialogue instead of the repressive and confrontational approach of the previous administration. Immediately upon taking office, he reached out to nations previously viewed as “the enemy”, stating in a speech given in Cairo that this cycle of suspicion and discord had to end.

He is also being recognized for his commitment to nuclear disarmament and to fighting climate change.

President Obama has definitely set the winds of change blowing, in deep contrast with the world view of the previous administration and that of its friends from the Conservative Party of Canada.

Mental HealthStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to Canadian Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Canadians living with mental illness have been cast aside for too long, and too few sufferers dare ask for the help they need.

This week provides all Canadians with the opportunity to better understand mental illness. By encouraging those affected to seek help, we can reduce the burden of mental illness on sufferers and our society.

The negative attitude of the public and of health professionals only adds to the heavy burden on society and on sufferers, who deserve help and understanding instead.

I particularly want to pay tribute to Darrell Powell and his work on injury due to occupation and the link with mental illness. We thank him for his vision and his courage.

TaxationStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week we learned that the Liberals wish to have an “adult conversation” with Canadians about raising their taxes. This is not surprising. The Liberal leader describes himself as a tax and spend Liberal. He says he wants to increase the GST. He was the first Liberal to argue for a carbon tax on everything.

Why would the Liberal leader want to make it harder for Canadians to pay their bills and provide for their families? It is simple. He needs more money to pay for all of the big ticket spending projects he has promised.

His agenda is now clear for all to see. If he has the chance, taxes will go one way, up.

Thankfully, unlike the Liberals, this government believes that Canadians deserve to keep more of their hard-earned money. That is why Canadians know we are the party and the government of lower taxes.

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government had a choice: to inform Canadians on how to protect their health against H1N1, or to use taxpayers' money as a slush fund to run campaign ads. Ten to one, costing tens of millions of dollars, the Conservatives chose themselves over Canadians, to abuse the system and treat tax dollars like a Conservative war chest.

Worse, the Prime Minister was warned beforehand by bureaucrats that this crossed the line. The Prime Minister knew it was wrong and did it anyway.

With civil servants saying that they have never seen anything so blatant as this self-promotion, will the government repay taxpayers and stop this abuse?

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the action plan website and advertising campaign further increased transparency and accountability to Canadians. We want Canadians to have information about all of the important measures in our stimulus package, like the home renovation tax credit, but again we know where the Liberals stand. They voted against home owners receiving this credit.

It is little surprise that the Liberal member does not support informing Canadians about these important economic stimulus programs and initiatives. After all, the Liberals voted against these recession fighting measures in their relentless pursuit of an unnecessary and opportunistic election.

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is the Conservatives want to use taxpayer money to keep them in power.

In fact, Peter Aucoin, professor emeritus at Dalhousie University and expert on government advertising, said, “Expecting public servants to manage government communications that has a partisan spin to it is a misuse of public power”. It is an abuse. It has even been called “a form of political corruption”.

Senior bureaucrats told them not to do it. Every Canadian knows the Conservatives are treating taxpayers' money like a personal slush fund. In a difficult economy, with thousands of Canadians fighting to make ends meet, can they really look taxpayers in the eyes and justify this gross abuse?

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I do not see how information on the H1N1 virus is an abuse of any government spending.

The government has a long-standing commitment to communicate important services and benefits to Canadians. We will continue to live up to our responsibility, especially during this economic crisis.

Is the member opposite suggesting that Canadians do not have the right to know about the home renovation tax credit?

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is an abuse is choosing ten to one to promote themselves instead of Canadians' health. That is an abuse.

“Every funding program across the government is being politicized”, said one civil servant. Another said, “They do it for their own needs. They're not in it for people. Welcome to this Prime Minister's world”.

Yes, welcome to the Prime Minister's world, government as a partisan weapon of attack, every program, every service twisted and contorted to serve the Conservatives' ends.

The Prime Minister was elected to serve but he has forgotten who. Will he end the abuse and finally put Canadians first?

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, advertising is a key way for the government to reach large numbers of Canadians on important issues of public concern, such as H1N1, elder abuse, Canadian Forces recruitment and the home renovation tax credit.

We are not surprised the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberals do not want Canadians to know about measures like the home renovation tax credit. After all, they voted against them in their relentless pursuit of an unnecessary and opportunistic election.

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are acting in their own best interests and not to help people.

That is what public officials and experts are saying when they see the tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money spent on partisan and politicized government ads.

Treasury Board regulations prohibit that kind of advertising. Our institutions must not use public funds for partisan purposes.

When will the President of the Treasury Board put a stop to this? When will he ask the Auditor General to look into it?

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, advertising is a very useful way for the government to communicate with a large number of Canadians on issues like the H1N1 virus, elder abuse, the home renovation tax credit and recruitment for the Canadian Forces.

The government has long been committed to informing Canadians about the services and benefits they are entitled to, and we will continue to honour our commitments, especially during this global economic crisis.

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, Peter Aucoin, a professor emeritus at Dalhousie University, said, “It's so blatantly obvious. If this isn't partisan advertising then nothing is.”

The Conservatives were already warned in January that they should not create a website to stroke the Prime Minister's ego, and that making the taxpayers pay for it would be considered a misuse of public funds.

Why does the government continue to break the rules, and why not ask—

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, again, I repeat, advertising is a key way for the government to reach large numbers of Canadians on important issues of public concern like H1N1, elder abuse, Canadian Forces recruitment and the home renovation tax credit. While we are determined to make sure Canadians know about these important issues, the opposition is determined to bring on an unnecessary and expensive election.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, Quebec lost 3,700 jobs last month, 1,100 of them in the forestry and mining sectors. Since 2007, a total of 47,000 jobs have been lost. A complete overhaul of the employment insurance system is needed now more than ever because half of all unemployed workers are not eligible. Forestry workers, tourism workers, people in unstable jobs, young people and women always have a hard time qualifying.

When will the government understand that Quebec's priority is to make changes to employment insurance eligibility?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, in our economic action plan, our government implemented measures to help affected workers. The real question here is this: why does the Bloc Québécois always vote against measures to help workers? Quebec workers need help.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary should tell that to the 3,700 Quebeckers who lost their jobs last month. He should explain that to them.

Why does the government not understand that we have to improve EI eligibility criteria and improve benefits by increasing income replacement rates from 55% to 60%? We need a complete overhaul of the employment insurance system.

When will this heartless government understand that? The Conservative government is heartless indeed.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government has introduced new measures, including five extra weeks of benefits to help unemployed workers who need it. We also extended the work-sharing program by 14 weeks, which will help workers. We also expanded training programs for workers for up to two years. That is another measure. And for long-tenured workers, we have added an extra 5 to 20 weeks. But the Bloc voted against those measures.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development was unable to refute the claims that her employment insurance bill will benefit very few unemployed workers. She said that her department's figures were based on estimates, predictions and extrapolations. Basically, she cannot predict how many unemployed workers will meet the criteria set out in her own bill.

Why will the minister not introduce any real reforms that will help workers, instead of hurling these grossly exaggerated figures at us?