House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was young.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, while unemployment and the recession worsen, this government and this Minister of Finance are spending more on infrastructure helping communities and the unemployed. This policy is entirely proper, and we intend to pursue it.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in his last budget the finance minister projected a $34 billion deficit and he said the money must be flowing within 120 days. Today is that day, and where do we stand? The deficit has mushroomed to more than $50 billion, and according to media headlines, “Lots of announcements, but little money”.

How can the Prime Minister have confidence in his $50 billion man, a finance minister who has clearly lost the confidence of Canadians?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, who Canadians have lost confidence in are the Liberals.

On the one hand the Liberals say, “spend more money”, and on the other hand they say, “don't run a deficit” and “don't increase the deficit”; this, from the member for Markham—Unionville who does not even know what kind of car he drives.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is the voice of failure.

In November, the Minister of Finance refused to see that the economy was in trouble. He predicted nothing but a surplus. Six months later, he has created the biggest deficit in Canada's history. It is clear that he is incompetent.

Does the Prime Minister not think that it is important for Canadians to have confidence in their finance minister? If so, then why is he keeping him on as minister?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, how can the people of Canada have confidence in the Liberals when they say this would be the largest deficit in Canadian history when it is not.

The deficits in the 1980s and 1990s, as members opposite should know, if they were living in the country at the time, approached 6% of GDP. That is what was going on in the 1980s and 1990s in this country.

This deficit is more in the neighbourhood of 3% of GDP. The deficit is affordable. It is necessary for Canada. We are doing the right things now when Canadians need these things done.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, before and during the last election campaign, the Prime Minister stubbornly denied the existence of any crisis. He then even presented an ideological statement about dealing with the crisis, promising a surplus. A few months ago, his Minister of Finance was talking about a $34 billion deficit, and yesterday he admitted that it would be $50 billion instead. Today there are 1.5 million people unemployed and half of them are not receiving employment insurance benefits.

Was the Prime Minister totally incompetent in not seeing the signs of a looming economic crisis, or did he want to conceal the economic reality in order not to compromise his chances of being re-elected?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not understand just where the leader of the Bloc has been the past few months, since November. All of the G20 countries are in agreement on spending, creating deficits, and implementing measures to stimulate our economies. We spend more when the recession hits the unemployed harder. That is why the deficit is bigger. We are spending more for the communities and for the unemployed and will continue to do so.

Unfortunately, the Bloc voted against those measures for the communities and for the unemployed.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I know that in October I was out campaigning against this Prime Minister, who was telling all Canadians and all Quebeckers that there was no crisis. He said so in two debates. That was the Prime Minister's attitude, denying reality. The measures he got adopted in his budget with the Liberals' backing are inadequate.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for before presenting a real set of measures which would help out the unemployed and business, while at the same time stimulating the economy?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, according to the Minister of Finance, it is clear that we are spending more for the unemployed, communities, and infrastructure. This is essential, and necessary. Canada can afford to do so during a recession. What is inexplicable is that the Bloc is calling for those things yet votes against these measures for our communities and our people.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the anticipated $50 billion deficit is the result of the failure of the Conservatives' so-called economic plan, which was supported by the Liberals. It is not true that the government is spending more. The problem is that revenues are falling. That is proof of the failure of the Conservatives' economic plan. Using the deficit as a pretext for refusing to take action to deal with the crisis is a recipe for certain economic and financial disaster.

When will the Prime Minister wake up, realize the extent of the crisis and implement a real recovery plan?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the economic action plan is in place. Money is flowing. Access to credit is increasing. The bond market is functioning well. Credit markets are functioning better. All of this is as a result of the economic action plan which we brought in with the earliest budget in Canadian history.

It is true that the recession is deeper than anticipated. It is true that we are spending billions of dollars more on unemployment, on people in need of benefits to help cushion the impact of the recession. We think that is the right thing to do for Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada has the means to take action. As the Prime Minister stated earlier, Canada's debt is the lowest of all G7 countries and the forecast deficit is also the lowest. However, the Conservative's economic pseudo-plan is one of the weakest in the industrialized world. The government has the means and the duty to take action.

What is the government waiting for to help workers and industries in trouble by introducing a second recovery plan that corresponds to the demands of Quebec, workers, businesses and the Bloc Québécois?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have probably the largest stimulus package in the G7. The IMF confirmed that. This is in cooperation with the provinces and the territories, which are doing even more than we asked them to do. All of the governments in this country are cooperating in order to stimulate the Canadian economy. I do not quite understand the member opposite when he says “spend more”, since he voted against the initial stimulus package.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the NDP has been predicting since the beginning of the year, the Minister of Finance confirmed yesterday that his deficit will beat the record set by Brian Mulroney. In fact, the Conservative government is about to beat all the records for poor economic performance.

With their bad decisions, the Liberals and the Conservatives have contributed to a structural deficit.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his past decisions have contributed to the current woes?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the deficits of other countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, are two or three times greater than Canada's deficit. Our deficit is manageable and serves to help communities and workers. I do not understand why the New Democratic Party is voting against these measures for citizens in a period of recession.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reckless tax cuts to the big profitable banks and the oil corporations, that were brought in by the government and in fact by Paul Martin and the Liberals prior, have left us without the financial capacity to respond when Canadians need us the most, and now we have the biggest deficit in Canadian history.

The chief economist of the Toronto-Dominion Bank, Don Drummond, says that the decisions over the past 10 years have created this structural problem. The fact is the Conservatives have simultaneously created the biggest deficit since Mulroney and at the same time they have thousands of unemployed people who cannot get help. Will he not finally admit that he got it wrong?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, all of the factors contributing to the deficit, including the rise of the deficit, are short-term factors. They are not long-term factors; they are short-term factors. There are rising payments to the unemployed, because of the things we are doing to help unemployed people in this country, and rising payments to communities, to the auto sector.

We are also experiencing lower tax revenues including lower corporate tax revenues, not because of corporate tax cuts but because corporations are not making profits. But it should not worry the leader of the NDP because when he was in the coalition, he was all for corporate tax cuts anyway.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, even the banks who received the corporate tax cuts agree that those tax cuts have caused the structural deficit situation in this country.

One would think with such a big deficit the Prime Minister might be able to point to some results, but the truth is we have another confirmation today that the infrastructure money is just a bunch of announcements. It is not making it out the door. In fact, even federal projects in the exclusive federal jurisdiction to the tune of $462 million have not been approved. Bridges and railway projects and harbours, the money is not flowing. When is the Prime Minister going to get it out the door?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP demands the government should do deficit spending one day and the next day he says we should not. One day he is for corporate tax cuts and the next day he is not. One day he is demanding we bring in improvements to employment insurance and infrastructure, and when we do that he votes against it and says we are spending too much money.

There was a day when the NDP used to stand for something. Now it is just against everything.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in my own province of Quebec, thousands of aerospace workers have lost their jobs in this economic crisis that that Conservative finance minister has so badly managed. What does he offer to these unemployed workers? The biggest deficit in Canadian history and no better access to employment insurance.

How does that Conservative finance minister have any credibility with these unemployed workers today?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is just more Liberal hypocrisy. The Liberals had no ideas coming up to the budget. We asked them for their ideas for the economic action plan. We got nothing.

The only idea we have heard since the budget, since the economic action plan, is a plan to raise taxes for Canadians which is the last thing that should happen in the middle of a recession.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there speaks the voice of failure.

Throughout Quebec, paper mills and saw mills have locked their doors and sent thousands of workers home. This Minister of Finance has racked up the largest deficit in Canadian history and has not found one cent to help these workers.

What credibility could this Minister of Finance have with forestry workers who today are unemployed and have no employment insurance benefits?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

The member opposite, Mr. Speaker, is saying, I think, spend more money to help people who are losing their jobs and help them retrain. That is exactly what we did in Canada's economic action plan. Billions of dollars are being spent in the budget to support people who need retraining, who need opportunities to re-enter the workforce.

Even more than that, since the budget, given the depth of the recession, billions more are going out to help people who are losing their jobs. Is that not what the member wants?

The EconomyOral Questions

May 27th, 2009 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker,--

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!