House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was international.

Topics

Spud Hockey TournamentStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, this upcoming weekend marks an exciting time for Atlantic Canadian minor hockey fans as the 34th Spud Triple A Minor Hockey Tournament begins in Charlottetown. This event will host 120 teams playing in 9 divisions.

I have been attending this tournament for many years and I love to see the excitement it brings to families, players and fans. Not only is the hockey exciting and the competition great, but the many players and fans forge relationships that in many cases last lifetimes.

I want to congratulate all organizers of the Spud Tournament for all their hard work, time and dedication. Their energy is inspiring.

For the players, families and friends attending the event this weekend, I want to welcome everyone to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and wish everyone a great and enjoyable experience and a safe journey home.

Status of WomenStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that yesterday evening, the Minister of State (Status of Women) unveiled an exciting new partnership with Equal Voice, an organization working to advance the interest and participation of girls and women in political life. The multi-year project will pair girls and young women with positive, female political role models and mentors, which will encourage them to get involved in the political process.

This project will enable some 5,800 girls and young women to learn the art of leadership and to practice their skills in their communities across the country. Our commitment to women's equality and their participation in our dynamic democracy is clear: we were the first government to appoint a female minister of state for the status of women, we have the highest percentage of female cabinet ministers in Canadian history, and we are working with women's groups.

Employment InsuranceStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hometown of Hamilton is being hit by a tsunami of job losses, not just in steelmaking but in manufacturing, health care and just about every other sector of employment.

This is the time when workers need to draw on the employment insurance that they paid into all of their working lives, but instead of helping workers to access what is rightfully theirs, the minister responsible for the program hurls insults by saying, “We do not want to make it lucrative for them to stay at home and get paid for it”. It is outrageous. Workers need EI not so they can stay at home, but so they can keep their homes.

It gets worse. She then said that if Canadians were not working, it was simply because they were not looking hard enough.

The minister needs a reality check and she needs to apologize to every laid off worker. Then she needs to act swiftly to hire enough staff to help laid off workers to access their benefits and to overhaul the entire EI system by improving eligibility, enhancing benefits and ending the two week waiting period. Laid off workers and their families deserve nothing less.

Science and TechnologyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, last week's budget included a significant investment to fund leading edge research and provide innovators with the high end research equipment, laboratories and facilities that they need.

Yesterday, the Minister of State for Science and Technology announced details of a new $750 million investment in the Canada Foundation for Innovation. This initiative will help develop new world-class research in my home province of Saskatchewan and across Canada, by attracting international talent to colleges, universities, research hospitals and institutions and by encouraging our researchers to conduct their research here.

I am very proud of our government's investments in science and technology. Innovation will help Canada's economy recover more quickly, create jobs for the future and improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

Immigration and Refugee BoardStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to pressure from the Bloc, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has backtracked and postponed the hearing scheduled for next week, where a lawyer was being prohibited from arguing in French, as his client requested. In addition, the Board has announced that it will look at the issue of the language used during legal proceedings. However, it is asking the parties to submit additional arguments on this matter.

Should a person not be able to get service in French when he or she requests it? Especially since, in this case, the panel is sitting is Montreal, where, as the president of Montreal's Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste says, the use of French as a common language is key to integrating newcomers and securing the future of French.

The board must reverse its decision once and for all. That is why I invite the members of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to support the motion I have put forward.

The EconomyStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday it was announced that Bombardier would be cutting over 1,300 jobs and HBC would also be slashing 1,000 jobs. The TD Bank also announced that Canada could lose an additional 325,000 jobs this year in addition to the massive job losses of 2008. This will raise the unemployment to almost 9%, once again proving that Tory times are tough times.

These massive job losses are the direct consequence of the government being asleep at the wheel while the economic crisis worsens.

Canadians are losing their jobs because the Prime Minister failed to act in the fall and instead locked MPs out of Parliament in December in order to save his own job rather than worry about the jobs of Canadians.

This economic mismanagement is the reason why the Liberal Party has put the government on probation. Canadians simply deserve better.

Economic Action PlanStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, every Canadian can count on our government to take care of the economy.

Canada's economic action plan, which we presented last week, takes into account the economic and social diversity of our country and was developed after the most extensive prebudget consultations in the history of Canada.

Our government is implementing measures to help Canadian families and to encourage consumer spending. They deserve to have more money in their pockets and to be able to meet their own needs. This has been the cornerstone of the Conservative government since coming into office.

Our plan gives a boost to construction companies and home renovators—two important engines of our economy—with its new home renovation tax credit of $1,350. Our plan also provides greater flexibility for those purchasing their first home. I can hardly wait to see the positive impact of the economic plan on businesses and families in the years to come.

I invite all MPs to support Canada's economic action plan because it will allow us to emerge from the global recession stronger than ever.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this morning, Bombardier announced plans to cut over 1,300 jobs. Just two days ago, the Minister of Industry told the House that Quebec's aerospace industry was doing well.

Will the Prime Minister tell his minister to stop telling tales in the House and explain why his aerospace strategy failed?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there are success stories and failures in every sector of the economy. We are in the middle of a global economic slowdown. The government has adopted an action plan to address these problems. I appreciate the Liberal Party's support for our action plan.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am saying that the action plan is not working. The government is on probation because it failed to keep its promises. The billions of dollars set aside for infrastructure have not been paid out.

Will the Prime Minister give Canadians a guarantee that the infrastructure funds promised in the budget will be paid out in full, on time, in 2009?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have already expressed our intention to submit progress reports on infrastructure projects and other projects in the budget to parliamentarians.

The Leader of the Opposition cannot support an economic plan earlier in the week and two days later say it is not working yet. That really does not have a lot of credibility.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I cannot help it if I am an impatient man.

Could the Prime Minister assure us that his infrastructure spending will benefit all Canadians, no matter where they live or who they vote for?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. It is obviously the intention of the government, through the budget, to ensure that people in all sectors and all communities, particularly those hardest hit by the world economic slowdown, are put to work and kept at work.

In terms of the Leader of the Opposition's patience, he demonstrated a lot of patience in his long 36 year return to Canada. I would urge him to show that kind of patience in the future.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, with all the significant dollars being committed to infrastructure projects, Canadians are concerned that some of that money will go astray.

Could the minister tell us what measures the government is taking to ensure that federal infrastructure funds are being fairly distributed?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to work constructively with provinces, municipalities and other federal partners to ensure that these funds are spread out in various regions of the country. We think that is important.

I can report for the member for Parkdale—High Park that the government is committed to working constructively, not just with the Government of Ontario, where we have a McGuinty who is doing a good job in helping us create jobs and opportunities, but we are working constructively with the mayor of Toronto on these important issues as well.

We are pleased to note in the budget that Union Station is one of the important infrastructure investments that this government would make.

InfrastructureOral Questions

February 5th, 2009 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I hear what the minister says, but the facts say otherwise.

Of the 26 projects announced so far for the building Canada fund, totalling over $1 billion, 75% of the money has been diverted to Conservative ridings. The majority of Canadians living in opposition ridings have been massively shortchanged so the Conservatives can get far more than their share.

Will the minister agree to stop punishing people who did not vote Conservative and to use infrastructure funds to create jobs fairly for all Canadians?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this is quite remarkable. Just last week he was saying there was not one project out the door. Now he is citing 26 of them where he is unhappy with their distribution.

The Leader of the Opposition says he is impatient. We have had quite a week.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the Conservative budget offers mere crumbs to help the thousands of people who will lose their jobs and nothing for troubled industries and regions, the Minister of Finance will allow Canadian multinationals to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes by using tax havens and will encourage job creation overseas.

How can the Prime Minister explain that his government has quietly abandoned a provision of the Income Tax Act meant to fight against tax havens?

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is following recommendations from an expert panel.

Today, instead of working together to improve the economy, the leader of the Bloc has again proven his intolerance for people who have opinions that differ from his own. The leader of the Bloc insults the French president and the Quebec members in this House and divides Quebeckers with his sectarian ideology. He constantly forgets that a fundamental value in Quebec is respect for others' opinions.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Prime Minister is ducking the issue. He is not answering my question, which was also asked yesterday by the leader of the Bloc Québécois.

The advisory group that is being used to justify the minister's decision is in a clear conflict of interest. Of the six members, four come from businesses that could have or that could in the future benefit from this scheme. For example, there is the former CEO of Scotia, the Canadian bank with the most subsidiaries in tax havens.

Is the Prime Minister aware that pleasing the fat cats of Bay Street is not enough to justify his scandalous decision?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the only scandalous thing here is the fact that the Bloc Québécois members can do nothing more than stand in this House and complain about an expert panel, where they could have contributed when it actually mattered. Instead of howling in here, perhaps they should have presented their opinions to this very impartial panel that actually worked for free.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in his 2007 budget, the Minister of Finance said that it was important to make sure everyone paid their fair share. He complained that some foreign and Canadian companies use tax rules to avoid paying tax. Every time that happens, he said, workers and SMEs have to pay more tax. He concluded that that was unfair.

Why is the Minister of Finance allowing today what he considered unfair in 2007?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this government wants to ensure that everyone pays their fair share and, in reference to the previous question, everyone receives their fair share. We took the recommendations of this expert panel that consulted across this country on what is fair for taxes and what makes Canadian companies competitive. The Bloc fails to recognize that we are in a global economy. We compete internationally and we want to make sure that our businesses can continue to compete internationally.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have not broken any new ground when it comes to tax havens. The Liberals blazed that trail.

The minister is using the international crisis to justify deplorable tax practices. We would like the minister to explain to laid off workers, the people we should be thinking about now, how tax evasion for his friends can solve the crisis they are going through today.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure how he brought that around to unemployment, but he seems to be able to do that quite capably.

We continue to crack down on tax problems that face this country. We want to make sure that everybody pays their fair share. We are improving tax information exchange. We are providing more resources to Revenue Canada to make sure that taxes are collected and collected fairly all across this country.