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House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was funding.

Topics

CultureOral Questions

March 9th, 2009 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the abolition of the PromArt and Trade Routes programs continues to have a devastating impact. Now, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens is cancelling planned tours for lack of funding. The director of the company, Alain Dancyger, is even going so fas as to say that Les Grands Ballets itself will be threatened in the near future.

Will the government finally listen to reason, set aside its ideology and restore funding for these programs?

CultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, I have to tell the member again, there have been no cuts to the core funding on any of these programs.

If the member would slow down and read the budget, she would see $5.1 billion of additional new funding. That is on top of the core programs. Why did we do that? Because that is what we heard from Canadians. That is what we heard from university professors, college presidents, researchers and industry across the board.

On this side of the House, we listen to Canadians and we do what we need to do for them.

CultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I see that it is not just artists the minister does not understand; he does not understand questions either.

Even Quebec's culture minister, Christine St-Pierre, is pressing Ottawa to find solutions by the end of March to support international tours by artists. That same message was conveyed by many professional artists who came to testify before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

Will the Conservatives finally listen to reason, come to their senses and restore funding for these programs?

CultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I get so excited when I am so warmly greeted to the floor of the House of Commons. I am so warmly greeted because I am such a bearer of good news in the House, because I am always talking about the remarkable amount of money that the government is investing in arts and culture.

For example, there is $13 million for the Canada Council for the Arts to invest in international promotion. That is money this government has specifically increased. We continue to increase support for the Canada Council for the Arts. We continue to support artists in every feasible way. We are making sure that every dollar we spend is spent as effectively as possible.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at a time when the auto sector is facing its greatest challenge and will have to literally reinvent itself, the Conservatives are not doing enough to spur innovation.

It was the Liberals who contributed $200 million to GM Canada's Beacon project four years ago. We recognized the critical need to innovate in the auto industry long before the Conservative government did. Among other things, the Beacon project helped develop flexible manufacturing.

What is the Conservative plan to stimulate innovation in Canada's auto sector?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, let me just bridge across for the member, who is the critic for science and technology.

This government has put $5.1. billion into science and technology and innovation. The reason we did that is we know that companies have to be innovative.

We have put $1 billion into green technology. There is a $250 million auto innovation fund, so that the automotive industry can become more innovative, because when it does, that creates more jobs and it strengthens our economy moving forward. That is good for Canadians. It is good for Canadian families and businesses. Frankly, it is good for our economy going forward.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is the same old story.

We all know that President Obama is investing massive amounts in research and development, we all know that we must balance our transportation needs against our pressing environmental commitments, and we recognize that the survival of the automotive sector depends on producing vehicles consumers will buy. Given all that, I have the following question. Why are the Conservatives not investing more to stimulate innovation in the automotive sector?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, I wonder what the hon. member wishes us to do when most of the cars that we build here in Canada are sold in the United States. The member may not know this, but the United States is in a serious recession right now and it is not buying cars.

We have created the environment to move forward. We have put forward massive infrastructure to create jobs right now. As well, we are investing in innovation and research and development to create jobs in the future.

As far as the member over there is concerned, he quoted $60 billion this morning from the Obama package, but it is actually $21 billion. The member does not know what he is talking about.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the CBC is facing severe financial problems, yet the heritage minister does not seem to care.

CBC management is even considering massive layoffs, a reduction of its Canadian content, and the closure of regional television and radio stations across the country.

Will the minister do anything useful to help our national public broadcaster, or will he do what he usually does, which is absolutely nothing?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, it is great to see the Liberal Party standing up for the great Conservative creation, the CBC, the national broadcaster. It is good to see the Liberals supporting us, as they have on so many things we have been doing right here in the House on behalf of Canadians.

We have invested some $1.1 billion in the CBC in the budget. That is 1,100 million dollars, to give people an idea of the scope of the support that this government has put behind the CBC.

We are confident that based on taxpayer support, the management team at the CBC will be able to effectively guide the public broadcaster through this very difficult time.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the CBC's budget is being reduced significantly, by more than $50 million for this year and close to $100 million for next year.

Everyone knows that the Conservative government and the Prime Minister in particular have long wanted to get rid of our public broadcaster. They have repeatedly said as much.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages admit that he is taking advantage of the difficult time CBC is going through to reduce its mandate and close it down?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am assuming the member has read the budget, because he is supporting it.

In the budget he will note that the CBC is receiving record funding of $1.1 billion from this government. We hope it will put this funding toward Canadian programming. We hope it will use this funding to put together the programs that Canadians have come to expect from it.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, for years farmers who had been hit by drought had the ability to defer taxes from the sale of livestock. This meant they could rebuild their herds in the following years. Unfortunately, farmers who had to sell off animals because of flooding could not do the same. This year farmers in my riding faced severe flooding that wiped out fields and pastures and devastated families.

The Conservative government has prided itself on standing up for farmers and developing programs like Agri-recovery and other policies to assist farmers during crisis situations.

Can the Minister of Agriculture say what this government has done to help flooded farmers in Manitoba?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to capsulize all of that in 30 seconds, but I will try.

I really want to thank the member forSelkirk—Interlake for his tireless efforts on behalf of agriculture producers in the flooded area, and of course the finance minister for coming through. He was great.

I would like to quote Ian Wishart of KAP, the Keystone Agriculture Producers of Manitoba, who says “We're very pleased to have obtained this outcome for KAP's cattle producer members who were hard hit by the flooding”.

It is the right thing to do. We continue to deliver for farmers.

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, ordinary Canadians want to help the recovery, but if they cannot access short-term credit, it is not going to happen.

Last week the Bank of Canada lowered the prime rate to a record low of 0.5%, but bank customers are not fully benefiting from the lower rates. The banks will not let them.

CIBC customers received notices this month that the rate on their lines of credit are not going down; they are going up a full percentage point.

When will the government tell the banks to stop the gouging and start helping Canada's shrinking middle class?

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the member will know, the Bank of Canada reduced its target rate by half a point last week, by 50 basis points, and it is now down to 0.50%. The large chartered banks all followed course shortly after the announcement was made by the Governor of the Bank of Canada.

It is true, as the member knows, that there is an international credit crisis. It is fundamentally important that the European banks and the American banks segregate their bad debt, their so-called toxic assets, in order for lending to resume in something approaching normal credit in the world.

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, while CIBC is squeezing the middle class, it is booking substantial profits. CIBC just earned $1.7 billion more than at this time last year. Protecting consumers is just one of many blind spots of the government. Credit card rates are going up, bank fee rates are going up, line of credit rates are going up and ATM fees are high. Is it any coincidence that the bank profits are going up?

When will the Conservative government stand with consumers, stand up to the banks and stop the gouging?

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in the economic action plan there are provisions that would give the Minister of Finance regulatory power with respect to certain aspects of consumer credit in Canada. I would have hoped that the member who raised the question would have voted in favour of that measure, but his party has decided to vote against it.

Regional Development in QuebecOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the Conservatives have come to power, the budget for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec has decreased by more than $100 million and this year's budget has not added anything.

How can the minister explain that in the midst of a recession, his government is not making any additional effort for the regions of Quebec, many of which are being hit hard by the forestry crisis?

Regional Development in QuebecOral Questions

2:50 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, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.

People can make numbers reflect many different ideas, as he just did, but this may not reflect the truth. Our department often has special budgets, such as the one for the 400th anniversary of Quebec City and other specific projects, that impact our budget.

In the new economic action plan, which our Minister of Finance is still working on today, we have received more money this year for the province of Quebec via programs. We will gladly invest in the well-being of the regions of Quebec.

Regional Development in QuebecOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should consult the main estimates on page 7-2. There is no increase in the budget. It is clear and these are the numbers from his own government.

Not only is the government not making any extra effort to help the regions, but it is also making ruthless cuts to not-for-profit economic organizations.

How will the minister explain to the thousands of people in the regions who are losing their jobs that his ill-informed decision will hurt them rather than help them?

Regional Development in QuebecOral Questions

2:50 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, I travelled through the regions of Quebec in recent weeks. I was pleased to see what was happening in all the regions of Quebec. After the economic action plan was tabled, we reviewed the Economic Development Agency of Canada's programs and we are committed to making this review public on March 31, which we will do with pleasure.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, forestry workers in the Outaouais and other Quebec regions are hurting a lot. From Gatineau to Fort-Coulonge to Campbell's Bay, workers losing their jobs by the hundreds are wondering where the Conservatives are.

Why have the Conservatives failed the forestry workers in the Outaouais region who are forced to watch their equipment freeze and rust away in the snow?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:50 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, my friend knows very well that the forestry industry is the victim of the global forestry situation. The forestry market depends on people buying wood products. We are very sensitive to the plight of workers. That is why we have implemented several training programs allowing work sharing. In fact, let me quote what people were saying today in several regions of Quebec: “Forestry industry players welcome the changes made by Ottawa to the EI work share program. A larger number of businesses will have access to this program which will now be extended to 52 weeks.” This EI benefit program will allow—

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.