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House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cards.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bank of Canada has just released a scathing report on our country's economic situation. The crisis is not going to go away as quickly as the Conservatives claim in their hands-off policy. Thousands of jobs continue to disappear across Canada. The situation in Quebec is disastrous. Rio Tinto Alcan has laid off 220 workers, 600 jobs have been lost at Transcontinental, and more than 1,700 have been lost at Bombardier.

When will this government start governing?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 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 thank my colleague for her question.

As everyone in this House knows, we are in the midst of a global economic crisis. Our government has shouldered its responsibilities, as usual. We have tabled our economic action plan, which invests billions of dollars in infrastructure and various facets of the Canadian economy. We will continue to do our job.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister really does not understand the question. It will take more than empty rhetoric to deal with a crisis as serious as the one we are going through.

QIT Fer et Titane, a company that the Sorel region is heavily dependent on, has just announced that 1,800 jobs will be suspended on July 12. No matter what the final outcome is—layoffs, dismissals, bankruptcy—this is the beginning of a very difficult period for the whole region.

Does the government finally understand that it must take real measures to support the industries our communities are built on?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 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, as I just said, we are going to implement our phased economic action plan. We recently announced a historic infrastructure program with the Government of Quebec, and it will be put in place as soon as possible.

Of course, we hope that the opposition parties will continue working with us or that those that have not been working with us will do so, because now is the time to act so that Canada continues to exert economic influence abroad and we are still seen as a country that has taken the necessary measures, as a number of international institutions described us yesterday.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

April 23rd, 2009 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a Federal Court Justice has just ordered the Prime Minister to promptly return Omar Khadr, the young Canadian prisoner held in Guantanamo for 6 years, to Canada. To date, the Prime Minister has steadfastly refused to repatriate Mr. Khadr, stating that the young man was accused of serious crimes, namely murder.

Will the Prime Minister comply with the Federal Court order and finally repatriate Omar Khadr from Guantanamo?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, that is a longstanding federal government policy. We will examine the court's decision and consider an appeal.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Omar Khadr is a child soldier and the Canadian government has contravened the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which it is a signatory, by leaving him in a Guantanamo cell for six years.

Will the Prime Minister comply with the Federal Court order and, if so, why has he waited so long?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has clearly indicated that we obviously will review the decision and very seriously examine the possibility of appealing it.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in 2005, the Prime Minister boasted that his brand of open federalism would respect Quebec's areas of jurisdiction. Now his Minister of Finance is saying that he will not compensate Quebec for harmonizing its tax with the GST unless the province agrees to allow the federal government to collect the tax. Quebec has made its position very clear. Minister Jacques Dupuis said, “We will most certainly not agree to allow the federal government to collect tax in Quebec”.

Is the Prime Minister's position negotiable, or does the same condition apply?

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we have made our position on this issue clear from the beginning. I would like to remind the member that our Conservative government wants this federation to work, and that is what we are doing with our open federalism approach. We have an agreement with Quebec. Quebec gets money for collecting the tax, and we have said that if Quebec harmonizes fully, we will negotiate in good faith. That is what we have been saying all along.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, that is clearly unfair.

The federal government gave the Atlantic provinces $1 billion and Ontario $4.3 billion for harmonizing their sales taxes. The Minister of Finance said he was prepared to compensate the other four provinces, but he has not offered Quebec anything.

Does the minister realize that it is unfair to penalize Quebec for being the first to harmonize its tax and that he should, in all fairness, give the Government of Quebec the $2.6 billion it is asking for?

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. It has been said before, even by the Premier of Quebec in the National Assembly: this is not a matter for public negotiation. The Bloc Québécois is trying to make a big deal out of this. There is only one party with which we will negotiate in good faith, and that is the Government of Quebec, not the Bloc Québécois.

The Bloc Québécois is not trying to advance the interests of Quebec. It is trying to advance its own ideals. That is no good.

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Bank of Canada's key interest rate has reached a record low at 0.25%. Yet credit card interest rates are at record highs.

Transaction fees for merchants continue to rise. For some time now, the NDP has been calling for action to protect consumers and small and medium sized enterprises.

Will the government support the NDP motion to limit the ravenous greed of banks and credit card companies?

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has already expressed his concerns about this situation.

Obviously, we encourage transparency in credit markets, even for ordinary consumers. The Minister of Finance has already said that we are looking at various options to encourage this transparency.

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the last time we were talking about bank fees the Minister of Finance huffed and puffed. He met with the banks and what happened? He folded his cards. He did not stand up for Canadians.

What we have here are credit card companies sending out to one in five Canadians cards they never asked for with premium interest rates. What we need is strong action. The Obama administration has a strong law before the senate. We have put a motion before the House.

Will the Prime Minister get on side with action to protect consumers and small businesses, and stop sitting in the corner with the banks while people get gouged?

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear that sort of bluster when that leader of that party voted against exactly what they are attempting to do. Besides that fact, the NDP had lots of opportunity during our pre-budget consultations, which were the most extensive pre-budget consultations that we have ever seen in Canada. The NDP members were absolutely silent. Then, they come in here and pretend to represent their constituents.

They voted against what we are putting forward as recommendations to require a minimum grace period on purchases made with credit cards. I do not understand why they cannot help Canadians.

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we need more than symbolic gestures or giving the Minister of Finance the power to regulate, which he has had for a long time and refuses to use.

Look at what we need to do. We need to protect consumers from abusive fees and we have to do it in law. We have to protect them from unfair penalties because they are being slammed with these penalties. We have outrageous interest rates happening and the government is doing absolutely nothing.

Gouging banks and credit card companies are going after the young, the elderly and the poor. When is the government going to take some action—

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance.

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we did take action. I know the NDP members did not read the budget. Perhaps they would have seen all these measures in there. Not only did they not read it, they voted against it without even knowing the facts.

The regulations that we want to put in place will require that consumers, through strict debt collection practices, are actually protected from these sorts of unscrupulous requirements. They require clear and timely advance notice of changes to rates. He voted against that.

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, merchants across Canada try to offer customers the best value possible. Fees charged by credit card companies and the banks are increasing dramatically. The costs trickle down to consumers while they are forced to pay higher interest rates on credit cards.

Unlike the Conservative government, consumers and retailers are responsible. They cannot spend their way out of their financial woes by passing on their problems to future generations. Why will the Minister of Finance not protect retailers and consumers in Canada?

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the Minister of Finance is in the United States this very day dealing with larger issues than this. He is meeting with the G8 and G20 leaders. Guess what they are discussing? They are discussing access to credit for Canadians and access to credit for all G8 family members.

This is one piece of a larger discussion that we are having around the world. However, we put in place a facility that provides access to credit for Canadians, so that they can continue living their lives and helping their families put food on the table.

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, are there more important issues than small business and Canadians? That is what I call important. Studies are being done by the Senate finance and industry committees because the Minister of Finance did not do what was expected of him when it was time. He sat back and let the market take care of it.

What does the minister have to say to the 200,000 members of the StopStickingItToUs Coalition, including the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Booksellers Association, the Canadian Convenience Stores Association, the Canadian grocers—

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. Order, please.

Credit CardsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the hon. member has just discovered that there is an issue out there.

We cannot help but listen to those people, those small businesses that are most important in Canada. We have actually cut taxes so that those small businesses can continue to employ Canadians.

What I am hearing, and I do not know about the rest of these hon. members, is that those businesses are very concerned that the leader of the official opposition will raise their taxes. That will not help Canadians at all.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, everywhere Canadians are concerned about the disturbing lack of knowledge the U.S. homeland secretary has about our border.

Everyone knows this threatens thousands of Canadian jobs and billions in trade, everyone, that is, except the Conservative government because to admit the truth, it admits its failure. However, the Conservatives' ambivalence, their inaction, is the very root of the problem.

Canadians are too smart for denial, whether it is deficits, recessions, evolution or our border. When will the Conservatives stop denying and start protecting Canadian interests? Can they be honest and just admit there is a problem?