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House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was women.

Topics

JusticeStatements By Members

February 9th, 2009 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, in a recent explosion of gang violence 10 young people have been gunned down in mall parking lots, on street corners and in apartments in British Columbia's lower mainland.

Scared residents have demanded laws with teeth, and our government is responding. It is putting an end to the revolving-door justice that allows those accused of serious gun crimes to walk free on bail. It is targeting organized crime and street gangs by putting in place tough mandatory jail time for serious gun crimes. It has eliminated house arrest for serious, violent crimes.

Our Conservative government has put in place stronger laws, given more resources to law enforcement, and will be strengthening the Youth Criminal Justice Act. It is taking the steps necessary to keep Canadian families and communities safe.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government's utter disregard for the employment insurance problems of the jobless is scandalous. Unemployed workers in my riding and across Canada are facing unacceptable delays in getting the EI benefits they need to support their families.

The Burnaby case processing office is deluged with 7,500 new EI applications per week, with no end in sight, as Statistics Canada announced 35,000 new job losses in B.C. in January alone.

First, the government must act to fix the backlog and immediately hire more staff and offer more resources at employment insurance offices. Second, the Conservatives must address the structural problems of EI that are ignored in the budget and ease eligibility rules that leave 62% of Canadians who have paid into it out in the cold.

The NorthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, Yukon days are upon us on Parliament Hill. The Premier of Yukon as well as the chiefs of the Yukon first nations are in Ottawa to draw attention to the issues facing them and to promote Yukon as an exciting place to live.

Our government welcomes Premier Fentie and the Council of Yukon First Nations to our nation's capital. We extend to them our government's continued commitment to working in the best interests of the people of Yukon, the people of the north and all Canadians.

Our Conservative government has done more for, and taken a greater interest in, the north than any other Canadian government on record.

Budget 2009 was great news and saw additional funds to address critical issues facing northerners, including funds for renovation and construction, funds for new housing, and additional investments in first nations and Inuit health.

The government is following through with its commitment to establish a new northern development agency, something northerners have been requesting for years and something that our government is delivering.

CultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative budget demonstrates that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages does not understand artists in the least. In the budget, he announced the creation of Canada prizes for the arts and creativity, a $25 million endowment that will award prizes to young foreign artists rather than helping our own artists.

The minister has made awards to foreign artists a priority while ignoring our artists who really need funding to obtain exposure abroad. Their financial assistance was eliminated without a valid reason.

According to the minister, the programs were not effective. However, a study by the International Exchange for the Performing Arts, CINARS, shows that every $1 invested in our artists who travel abroad provides a return of $5.50. The department's cuts will have serious repercussions: cancelled tours, job losses, bankruptcies, among others.

The minister will not disclose his cost-benefit analyses because they show the positive impact of the funding. The Conservatives' rigid ideology is the only real reason for the cuts.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Michelle Simson Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about the recent Statistics Canada announcement that 129,000 Canadians lost their jobs in January. This is the singlest largest monthly job loss on record in Canada. It brings the total number of job losses to nearly a quarter of a million in the last three months alone.

The government failed to recognize the seriousness of Canada's sharply declining economy. It failed to plan for it and it failed to bring in an immediate stimulus package. As a result, it failed to protect Canadian jobs.

Last September the Prime Minister claimed that, “if we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now”. In October, he told us there was still no recession, but that there were a lot of great buying opportunities. In November he claimed there would only be a short recession and that there was certainly no need to run a deficit.

The government must wake up, realize the gravity of the present situation and start protecting Canadians.

Bloc Québécois LeaderStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Bloc Québécois put up a real tragicomedy.

The leader of the Bloc Québécois and new Bloc Québécois critic for foreign affairs insulted one of our allies, namely France, which is fighting alongside us in Afghanistan.

The leader of the Bloc Québécois harshly criticized President Sarkozy for making comments he described as unacceptable and disdainful with respect to the sovereignist option. At the same time, one of his MPs extolled terrorist organizations in an email sent to all the members of this House.

The leader of the Bloc Québécois should change his priorities and stop his irresponsible attacks on France, one of our strongest allies in the fight against international terrorism.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, 129,000 jobs were lost in January. Personal bankruptcies increased by more than 50% in December.

On Friday the Prime Minister said that there will be no more help for Canadians, even if the economy continues to worsen; then his Minister of Finance said exactly the opposite. So who is on first? Whose story are Canadians supposed to believe?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is a very plain and simple message that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance delivered. It is as simple as the fact that the finance minister has said that if the economy continues to decline, this government will not abandon Canadians. The Prime Minister was referring to the fact that he will not accept any amendments to this budget.

It is incredibly important to Canadians that we get on with passing this budget so that we can actually help Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, the Prime Minister told Canadians that the worst was over. He even said that the market collapse was a good opportunity for investment. Since then, more than 200,000 jobs have been lost in Canada.

How can we believe this Prime Minister, especially when his ministers contradict him?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should rewrite his question, because I just explained that there is no contradiction.

The only contradiction in this House of Commons is the fact that we have two parties, the Bloc and the NDP, that are refusing to work with the majority representation of Canadians, who want to get people back to work and stem the job loss. The Bloc and the NDP, before they even read the budget, said they did not care about Canadians losing their jobs. That is the most important thing we can do for Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let us bring this crisis down to a single community: Mackenzie, British Columbia. There are four thousand people and four sawmills, all shut, and nearly 100% unemployment. It is not just pulp mill workers, but loggers, truckers and everyone down the line. Everybody knows there are single-industry towns like this all across Canada. Federal help was promised to Mackenzie last year, but it did not work.

What now? Is this government going to let Mackenzie die?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who represents the town of Mackenzie has raised that issue many times. In fact, I have been to Mackenzie myself and I have met with some of those people.

We should not be playing politics with their lives. We are all concerned when people lose their jobs. We have an economic action plan that will help stem the tide of job losses and retrain individuals so that they can be employed in another community or industry. Let us get on with passing this economic plan.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Canadians would love to forget the month of January, since 129,000 of them lost their jobs. It is unprecedented in Canadian history. And now, economists are doubting the reliability of the Conservative government's financial forecasts. Canadians have the right to hear the truth.

How can Canadians believe this Conservative government when its numbers are always contradicted by experts?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of experts in here calling themselves economists. Many of them have projected high and many have projected low. We will avoid using the hon. member for Markham—Unionville when we talk about that.

Let me quote Dale Orr, a very respected economist from Global Insight:

The budget overall was a pretty reasonable compromise. The best thing to do is pass it and get on with it and get things moving as quickly as possible.

That--

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the people in my constituency are paying an unfair price for the Conservative inaction. Seven hundred employees at the Bombardier plant in Dorval have just been laid off. These 700 people are asking how they will meet the needs of their families.

How can the Minister of Industry tell these 700 workers—today—that the aerospace industry is fine? How could he say that?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are obviously very disappointed by Bombardier's latest announcement. Every sector of the Canadian aerospace industry will be hit by the economic crisis.

However, last week, Bombardier told us that 730 new, permanent jobs will be created in Montreal. That was part of the announcement.

Let us be balanced in our understanding. That would behoove every member of the House.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the midst of an economic crisis, the Prime Minister is refusing to eliminate the waiting period, which would help the unemployed, but he is doing nothing to change the tax havens that allow multinationals to avoid paying tax. While Switzerland is getting rid of its tax haven system and the United States is capping executive salaries, the Prime Minister continues to help the well-to-do.

Can the Prime Minister explain how it makes sense, in the middle of an economic crisis, to send money outside Canada when he will need it for his stimulus plan?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is refreshing to hear the leader of the Bloc talking about what is good for Canada.

Let me get back to the tax haven issue. This is so important for Canadian industries to be able to compete internationally. We have heard from an expert panel. I know they do not think that wise businesspersons in the country should be part of the consultation process, but we do, and we take their advice. We should be conforming to the rest of the world's standards, and that is allowing our Canadian companies to compete on a level playing field with other countries.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, he is talking about an expert panel, but these are experts in tax havens and tax loopholes. That is where their expertise lies.

In his 2007 budget, the same Minister of Finance condemned those who did not pay their fair share, alluding to businesses that used loopholes to avoid paying tax.

How can the Prime Minister explain that now, while thousands of jobs are being lost each month and businesses are shutting down, he is allowing banks and oil companies to use tax havens in order to avoid paying tax?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is a bit of a conflicting message from the other side of the House. Let me quote the member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, who said that he did not want the Quebec or Canadian economies to be disadvantaged in international competition, that tax fairness was important. On which side of this challenging debate are those members?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, on page 239 of the 2007 budget, the Minister of Finance denounced tax havens as follows: “Some corporations, both foreign-owned and Canadian, have taken advantage of Canada’s tax rules to avoid tax...This is simply not fair.” A few months later, the new, fairer measure was postponed for five years before disappearing completely because of the recommendations of an advisory panel.

Why was it unfair in 2007 to use tax havens to avoid paying tax, yet it has become a good thing in 2008?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as we have said, we heard from an expert panel on this issue and it made several recommendations. We are planning on following through on those recommendations.

That was part of the recommendations. We have improved tax information exchanges in agreements with other countries. We have implemented that.

We are providing more resources to Revenue Canada to ensure that taxes are paid appropriately in all jurisdictions.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary and the minister are using an expert panel to justify their about-face.

Will the minister acknowledge that the findings of this hand-picked expert panel come as no surprise, considering that four of the six panel members work for companies that can use tax havens to avoid paying tax?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we had the same sort of personal attack last Friday on prominent, eminent Canadians, and it is unacceptable.

These people provided advice to this government at no cost. They took time out of their lives. The Bloc may think that is laughable, but some Canadians care about our country. That panel did and it gave us advice.

There was an opportunity for the Bloc, rather than howling over there, to provide some input into this, but those members chose not to do that.