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House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was colombia.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker--

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, it is nevertheless interesting to see that there is considerable discussion on the matter of tax havens. I mentioned 12 cases completed of the 38 which have begun the process of voluntary disclosure. The situation is the same for other offshore jurisdictions. Seven of 23 cases are already underway. As regards eBay, 2 of 36 have made a voluntary disclosure. People see that our government is responsible. We are continuing in that direction.

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

September 14th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians elect a minority government, it is the Prime Minister's responsibility to work with the other parties. The lines of communication must be open. This Prime Minister insists on governing as though he had a majority.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, because of his attitude, we are on the brink of an election less than a year after the last one?

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that people do not want an election. The country does not need an election. An election is not in the country's best interest. The priority for our government and for the people of Canada is the economy. The government has put some significant proposals about the economy before the House. I encourage all parties to examine and debate those proposals.

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister goes around insulting people and calling them names. He will not work with other members of Parliament or other parties. Maybe he is used to this carte blanche that he has had with 79 votes in a row from the official opposition without even getting anything in return.

The fact is that Canadians are reeling from the impact of this recession. They are looking for action, they are looking for help and they are looking for it now.

Is the Prime Minister willing to work with other parties or will he continue with his attitude of his way or the highway?

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the public's number one concern is the economy. It is certainly not an election.

The population has been very supportive of the economic measures this government has brought forward. This government is bringing forward additional measures today. I hope all parties will examine those measures.

I think the population has a right to expect that all parties in the House will honestly examine those measures and decide whether or not they are good for the economy before deciding whether to vote for or against them.

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a minority situation, parliaments can get good things done. We had medicare adopted, the Canada pension plan adopted, and the Canadian flag adopted. The list is long of what minority parliaments can do. Even the Liberal Party managed to get something done in a minority parliament on things like transit, housing, and post-secondary education when it chose to work with New Democrats.

It is the Prime Minister's choice. Will he lead us down the road to an election, or will he work with other parliamentarians? Will he work with us, or will he provoke an election campaign? Which is it going to be?

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely clear that this government will be voting to proceed with Parliament and proceed with the economic agenda. This party will be voting against an election campaign. That is exactly what Canadians expect.

A lot of good things are being done, such as infrastructure projects across the country, help for the vulnerable, and improvements to employment insurance benefits. All parties should get behind these positive things for the Canadian economy and not waste our time with an opportunistic and needless election campaign.

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the Prime Minister that, on September 7, 2008, he broke his own law about fixed election dates.

The Prime Minister says that judges are “left-wing ideologues”. He also called women fighting for equality “marginal left-wing groups”. Women are not a marginal group.

When will the Prime Minister admit that all he really wants to do is impose his right-wing reform agenda on Canadians?

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have been focused since January on the economy to help Canadians who need it most. We are creating jobs for them through our significant investments in infrastructure. We are preserving jobs through expansion of our work-sharing program, which is now protecting the jobs of over 165,000 people. We are bringing forward even more measures to support those who have been hardest hit by the recession.

We hope that the opposition will support these movements so that we can support Canadians who need it.

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, that minister, like her government, is not credible, period.

The Prime Minister finally revealed in his closed-door speech his real feelings about what he calls fringe groups, but the door has been opened for Canadians.

The Minister of Industry recently ordered bureaucrats to scrutinize tourism events directly related to gays, lesbians, women's groups, and so on.

Will the Conservatives now tell Canadians exactly which groups are on their blacklist for special scrutiny?

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is not only an incorrect allegation but an odious one for the first day back in this session. For that member to accuse me or our government of homophobia and of misogyny is her party's stock-in-trade, perhaps, but it does not make it the truth.

In fact, we have an orderly transfer of delegated authorities. It was always contemplated on this side of the House as a procedural transfer of authority. Yet the Liberals create these conspiracies and this fallacy that we have an anti-women or anti-gay agenda.

It is not true, and in fact, that member should apologize to those groups right now for marginalizing their true issues.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week's economic update called for a substantial increase in EI premiums for Canadians.

In July, when the Prime Minister was asked if he would increase taxes, he said that was a “very stupid policy”.

Now that his own Minister of Finance has decided on a major increase in taxes, does the Prime Minister still think it is a stupid policy?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, in budget 2008 we put forward a proposal to have an independent, arm's-length employment insurance financing board that would determine premiums independently so that they would be on a break-even basis over a length of time. That was approved by this Parliament, so going forward, that will be the way that rates are set.

What we will not do, however, is set premiums so that we have a great surplus, as the Liberals did, which they spent on their pet political projects.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, these Conservatives say they will not raise taxes, while imposing what the C.D. Howe Institute says is a 43% increase in employment premiums. Canadians understand that EI premiums do not go up by magic. They go up because the Conservative government wants them to go up. A tax hike is a tax hike is a tax hike.

When it comes to simply telling the truth, how can Canadians believe anything the government tells them?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let us face it, to stimulate our economy within our economic action plan, we froze EI premiums for two years. That has two advantages: one, it helps employers keep their employees without incurring additional costs; and two, it makes sure that Canadians keep more of their hard-earned money during these tough economic times.

The opposition supported that. We support that going forward. The Employment Insurance Financing Board will set rates at arm's length so that the fund will be balanced on an ongoing basis and not used, as the Liberals did, for pet political projects.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives, like the Liberals, propose the same lame solutions to eliminate the deficit, and once again want to siphon money meant for EI to achieve their goals. While unemployed workers are struggling, the oil companies are pocketing billions of dollars that the government is handing them through tax breaks.

We are in the middle of an economic crisis. How can the government justify giving obscene tax breaks to oil companies that clearly do not need them, and making unjustified attacks on unemployed workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the question that the member should be asking is whether her party will support our government and long-tenured workers, while we are proposing changes today to support long-tenured workers who have lost their jobs. I am thinking, for instance, of workers in the forestry industry. We want to give five to 20 additional weeks of EI benefits to these long-tenured workers who have been contributing to EI for a long time.

Will you support these workers, yes or no? Will you support the government, yes or no?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, we need a comprehensive reform of the employment insurance system.

Once again, the Conservatives who promised to do things differently are copying the Liberals and making the unemployed and the contributors to EI pay for the current deficit.

Instead of once again going after the unemployed by dipping freely into the fund, why does the government not look for ways to help workers by supporting the Bloc's Bill C-308, for instance, which we debated just this morning in the House?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, I would like to remind the member that we confirmed this morning that EI rates would remain the same for 2009-10, meaning that the premiums for workers will not increase.

Second, a few months ago, we implemented a measure granting an additional five weeks, to support workers during a time when our country is experiencing economic difficulties in this global recession. We also helped workers by allowing them to do job-sharing, a measure that 165,000 people have taken advantage of.

With respect to transitioning workers, we also helped those who want to take training. We gave $1.5 billion to the provinces to help them do so. There are all kinds of measures—

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Joliette.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, after much delay, the government finally seems to have decided to pass the home renovation tax credit, a measure that the Bloc Québécois had previously proposed. This delay concerns people who have renovated their home and could hurt the program and the economy.

Will the Conservative government dispense with trickery and put forward a ways and means motion this week to implement this tax credit without lumping it in with other measures that it knows the Bloc Québécois or other opposition parties do not agree with? That is the question.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are going to continue to implement budget measures. Yes, the home renovation tax credit is a very important part of the economic action plan for Canada. It is very well known around the country and many people want to use it, so I hope the House will support this budget measure when it is presented to the House by way of a notice of ways and means.