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House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cuts.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

March 31st, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of countries, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, have condemned tax havens and reaffirmed their commitment, at the G20 summit, to tighten financial controls and crack down on tax evasion. Oddly enough, Canada has taken the opposite stand by reinstating a tax loophole.

Can the government explain why it is helping billionaire companies and abandoning those in need?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, anyone who earns income must report it, whether it is earned abroad or here, in Canada. Rules require individuals to report income. Naturally, it is a concern when tax owing in Canada is not paid through the use of tax havens. Our efforts are focused on protecting the tax base and being fair to those who pay their share of taxes compared to those who try to evade taxes.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the double deduction is a tax loophole that facilitates the unwarranted export of capital. The government likes to say that this provision makes Canadian businesses more competitive. However, its main trading partner, the United States, has rejected the double deduction.

Can the government tell us how exporting capital in these times is good for jobs, investments and the economy in Canada?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we established a panel of experts to bring us a report on that. We have acted on that report. The report told us that we needed to do everything to ensure that Canadian companies could remain competitive.

We are aligning with other countries in the world so we do not put our Canadian companies at a disadvantage. We took the recommendation of that expert panel.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Safety. Ms. Napolitano, the U.S. homeland security secretary, recently stated that, “One of the things that we need to be sensitive to is the very real feelings... that if things are being done on the Mexican border, they should also be done on the Canadian border.”

What is the minister doing to change these positively dangerous thoughts in the mind of the U.S. Secretary of State?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I reject the interpretation or understanding of the comments of the homeland security secretary that the member for Toronto Centre has adopted. She has made it quite clear that she views the northern border differently. That is why she requested a detailed briefing note on the conditions at the northern border.

We all agree that borders are borders and they serve the same function for the United States, but the issues at each border are very different. The secretary of homeland security is very much aware of that. I do not think the hon. member gives the Obama administration sufficient credit.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that the minister has not in fact addressed what Secretary Napolitano said. She said very clearly what she said and the minister has not addressed it.

An executive from Campbell's Soup said at the same conference last week that we had gone—

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh!

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, those members can laugh at jobs in Ontario. Those members can laugh at jobs in Quebec. Other people are not laughing. They said that we had gone from just in time to just in case.

Why did the Prime Minister not address this question when he made his pilgrimage to Fox News? Why was the Prime Minister not front and centre in defending the interests of Canadian industry and Canadian jobs?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, our government is very pleased to be working co-operatively with the Obama administration and with the American government. In fact, in areas where we saw threats to Canada, such as the early implementation of the western hemisphere travel initiative, when that party was in government, it did not even know it was going through Congress. Nobody told the Liberals. They did not lobby.

After it was passed, we got involved when we became the government. We secured a number of extensions to that. We continue to work with them to ensure flexible implementation on June 1. We are working very hard and engaging co-operatively with the Americans.

I know the opposition wants to step up the rhetoric and attack the Obama administration. We prefer to work together co-operatively for solutions.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been six weeks since the so-called energy dialogue was struck with the United States. However, there are no special envoys, no targets, no timelines, nothing to report, nothing even new about the agenda.

In fact, in 2001 the previous Liberal government launched an energy working group with the U.S. and Mexico to pursue a dialogue on energy efficiency smart grids and energy security.

Will the minister simply admit that he has no plan, has given up on Canadian sovereignty, and he is really awaiting his instructions from Washington?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. I am pleased to advise my hon. friend and the House that I have put forward to our American neighbours our idea of how the joint working group should proceed. There are three very respected Canadians who have been put forward as the Canadian leads on these: Linda Hasenfratz, who is the CEO of a respected company, Linamar; Mr. Charlie Fischer, who is the former CEO of Nexen, is to head a second working group; Mr. Jacques Lamarre, who is the former chair of SNC-Lavalin, is to head a third working group. They are three extraordinarily respected Canadians.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, not only has the government compromised our sovereignty, it has also abandoned its own plan. It said that it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 49 megatons next year, but not a single regulation has been delivered. The Prime Minister announced 10 months ago that he would be pricing carbon at $65 a tonne, which is a farce.

Where is Canada's cap and trade system? What are our targets now that the Democrats are pursuing absolute reductions? When will the minister stop hiding behind dialogue window dressing? Where is Canada's plan?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, he began this parliamentary session fearmongering on Chalk River. He moved on from there to accusing the premiers, including his own brother, of eco-fraud. He has now engaged in this anti-American diatribe. What kind of a performance is that?

We have a clean energy dialogue with the Americans. We are working in concert with them on a host of energy related environmental matters.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, it seems that Correctional Service Canada wants to relocate its Ottawa parole office.

It is my understanding that one of the proposed sites is located in a densely populated residential area near downtown.

Last night more than 100 residents packed the local meeting hall to express their concerns and ask that Correctional Service Canada reject this site.

Would the Minister of Public Safety advise the House about the government's plans with respect to the 1010 Somerset site.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Ottawa—Orléans for his ongoing interest in keeping the community safe from crime.

We are committed to the overall safety and security of Canadians. Correctional Service Canada is committed to ensuring that the new location for the Ottawa parole office is one that is appropriate in keeping the community safe. Part of that ensures consulting the community to understand its views and to understand the local issues. That has happened and the message has been loud and clear.

The 1010 site is not an appropriate site for a correctional facility of this type. As a result, I have asked Correctional Service Canada to reconsider it, which I understand it is doing.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, to demonstrate just how much they scorn Quebec, the Conservatives got one of their backbench puppets to answer an important question, a question that was the subject of a unanimous motion in the National Assembly this very day: Maritimes, $1 billion; Ontario, $4.3 billion; Quebec, $0. According to their stooge, Quebec did not sign “a comprehensive integrated tax coordination agreement”, as he put it.

What is the real difference between that and the document Quebec actually signed? The answer is that there is no difference, except that the government wants to deprive Quebec of its due.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:50 p.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, I would like to remind the House that we are proud to be working for the Quebec nation.

Did the NDP help us? Did it vote for our stimulus plan for Canada? It voted against it. The member should be ashamed.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. In the Maritimes' case, the federal government legislated that it was because of a compensation rule that required giving up 5% of the revenue. That was the rule, but in order for Ontario to be compensated, the rule had to be changed. Now, rather than lose revenue, its revenue will increase by 3.5%. That is a perfect example of the kind of piecemeal federalism that always swindles Quebec in the end.

Why can they change the rules to benefit others, yet make sure, once again, that Quebec ends up with nothing?

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:50 p.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, we will take our time and explain why Ontario's situation is not the same as Quebec's. Ontario passed a federal harmonization act. Quebec chose to go with two separate taxes: the QST and the GST. That being said, in the 1990s, Quebec signed an agreement with Ottawa, a perfectly legal agreement between the two governments then in power.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism claims he is bound by the recommendations of the committee responsible for applications for appointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. But according to the latest Auditor General's report, there is a standing list of candidates that is updated regularly from which the minister can choose. There are currently 99 names on that list. The minister therefore had plenty of other choices.

Why, then, did he choose to appoint controversial Conservatives like Pharès Pierre and John Cryer, who is a homophobe?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we have adopted a new pre-selection system for IRB members. The pre-selection is done by the IRB. The chair of that quasi-judicial body suggests names to me. We review the names before making appointments. This procedure is transparent and ensures that the IRB guarantees the credibility and qualifications of IRB appointees.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, only 37 or 42% of the existing 89 competent board members were renewed. The remaining 58% were not renewed, even though their qualifications were recognized by the IRB.

Are we to understand that the minister did not renew the contracts of the remaining 58% because he did not consider them conservative enough for his taste and he wanted to keep spots to reward friends of the party, as the Liberals did before them?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false. The fact is that when the Liberals were in power, they appointed anyone they wanted, without a pre-selection system. We have adopted a pre-selection system, as recommended by the agency for public appointments. That means that 100% of the candidates considered for appointment to the IRB are pre-selected by the IRB. Many people who apply to the IRB are not recommended to me as minister.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Michelle Simson Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently met with Robyn, a mother of three and sole supporter of her family, who lost her job. She applied for EI, but due to the backlog was forced to seek social assistance to support her family. When Robyn finally began to receive EI, the social assistance she received was clawed back, leaving her with almost nothing.

When will the government fix EI so Robyn and thousands of other Canadians finally get the support they desperately need when they need it?