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House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was company.

Topics

HydroelectricityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, PPP Canada Inc. has a mandate to review all applications objectively. It does that whether the applications come from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador or from the province of Quebec. Recently, it has been dealing with one from the province of Quebec.

I am sure that the members opposite would want an independent crown corporation that looks realistically, fairly, and objectively at all applications that are received.

Government SpendingOral Questions

November 4th, 2010 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the likelihood of the government's latest plan to balance the budget by 2014 is effectively nil. He forecast an $11 billion deficit in 2015, compared with the government's projected surplus of $2.6 billion. He also concluded that the government's fiscal structure is not sustainable, a view that the C.D. Howe Institute, the TD Bank, and the Bank of Nova Scotia did not disagree with.

How can we trust the government, which just blames others when it has no credible plan?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, people can trust the 15 independent economists that we consulted before we prepared the fall economic update. They can trust the mission statement and the mission that was here from the IMF this past month, which reviewed our economic projects and agreed with them. Or they can trust the Parliamentary Budget Officer who said, in August, “the sharp rebound from recession could put the federal government on the road to balancing its books a year ahead of schedule,” which is a lot different from what he said yesterday. The member could ask him why.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer uses the same departmental budget and economic forecasts.

The mandate of the Parliamentary Budget Officer is to provide independent analyses to Parliament on the state of the nation's finances, and he has a legislative right to access all information necessary to fulfill his responsibilities. Despite repeated requests for information, the finance minister has refused, claiming cabinet confidentiality, and now Conservative MPs are issuing veiled threats that the Parliamentary Budget Officer's budget will be cut.

Why will the government not respect the law and give the Parliamentary Budget Officer access to all the information he needs to do his job?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have the lowest deficit and the best overall fiscal position in the G7. Our deficit this year is lower than was originally forecast. Both the IMF and the OECD are of the view that Canada's fiscal position is the best in the G7. We are on track with our budget projections, we are on track with our fall economic projections, and we will stay the course. We will maintain the track that we are on.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are told by General Natynczyk that today is the last day for the use of the base in the UAE. The Minister of Foreign Affairs also admitted last week in committee that he never discussed the situation with the ambassador from the UAE, because he had a policy of not bothering to meet with ambassadors.

I would like to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs, how much has this serious gaffe cost the Government of Canada?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me make this clear: negotiations on this matter were handled by senior officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The fact of the matter is that the proposals submitted by the United Arab Emirates were not in the best interests of this country. We do what is in the best interests of this country.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister took the time to try to answer my question. Unfortunately, he did not answer it. It is quite simple. I am not asking about the serious gaffe made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, but Canadians want to know: how much will this gaffe cost the Canadian public?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister and the government have taken the absolute right decision. What is ironic, and what is always the case when we have a legitimate disagreement between a foreign government and Canada, is that the Liberal Party immediately lines up on the side of the foreign government, in this case the UAE, without even knowing all the facts.

The facts are crystal clear. The government made the right decision. Everyone who is familiar with the case understands what we have done, and the opposition should be ashamed of itself for taking such an irresponsible anti-Canadian position.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the aerospace sector across the country is pleased with the significant economic spinoffs from the purchase of the F-35s. That is especially true in Montreal, Quebec. However, Liberals from the island are keeping mum and have not said one word about it.

Why are the Liberals from Montreal refusing to defend the interests, jobs and spinoffs related to the F-35 purchase? Why are they allowing their leader to muzzle them?

Can the Minister of National Defence explain the real, significant economic spinoffs from the F-35s?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the bidding process was begun by the previous Liberal government, as we all know. This is a good investment for the Canadian Forces and for the economy. Our Canadian Forces will be able to replace the CF-18 planes, which are reaching the end of their useful life. Canadians will benefit from this because jobs will be created in the aerospace industry for many years to come.

On this issue, the Liberal members of Parliament, particularly those from Montreal, should stand up for their constituents, rather than behind their Liberal leader. They should get behind the air force—

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Harmonized Sales TaxOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, for over a year the government has ducked, weaved, and hid behind the premier of B.C. over its role in the HST, but with Gordon Campbell's resignation, the Conservatives have nowhere left to hide. We know the HST is part of the Conservative agenda. We know it was the Conservatives who forced it on a premier desperate for cash. It takes two to tango and this dance is clearly over.

When will the government listen to the people of B.C. and take responsibility for its failure on the HST?

Harmonized Sales TaxOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

There the hon. member goes again, Mr. Speaker, just making it up.

Provincial taxation is a provincial responsibility. Recently, two provincial governments decided to move to a harmonized value-added tax. One of them was British Columbia. That is a decision that the provinces are entitled to make.

With respect to the application of HST to various services, as I have said before, there has been no change in the treatment of the federal sales tax, the GST.

Harmonized Sales TaxOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, Greenwoods' Bookshoppe, a small, independent bookseller in my riding of Edmonton—Strathcona, is now being forced to pay HST when shipping unsold books back to the distributor in Ontario. With only a narrow profit margin, the owner says that this new additional tax is killing them.

The minister claims nothing has changed, but the invoices say otherwise. Prior to the HST in Ontario, only GST was applied to these shipments.

Why are the Conservatives dismissing this issue and helping Ontario tax Alberta businesses and residences?

Harmonized Sales TaxOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, provincial taxation is a provincial responsibility. Nothing has changed at the federal level with respect to the GST for mail and courier services. The GST has always been applied where the consumption takes place. This has not changed and has always been the case.

Conservative PartyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, lobbyists and speculators from the Mulroney government era are doing well for themselves.

We have learned that former Conservative minister P.H. Vincent, a friend of the mayor of Terrebonne—himself a former Conservative member of Parliament—got his hands on municipal land that he promptly resold, making a tidy profit of $1.2 million.

Since an investigation has been requested in this matter, and since P.H. Vincent co-chaired the Conservatives' last election campaign, can the government assure us that Mr. Vincent does not hold any kind of position within the Conservative Party?

Conservative PartyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this government, as its first order of business, brought in the Federal Accountability Act. It contained the toughest ethics reform and the toughest anti-corruption measures ever undertaken in Canadian history. We are tremendously proud of these reforms, and anyone who does not follow the law will face its full force, as they should.

Conservative PartyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, another questionable lobbyist from the Mulroney era has resurfaced. Fred Doucet, Brian Mulroney's former chief of staff, who was notably involved in the Airbus affair, was the lobbyist for Multivesco. Members will recall that in 2009, after making a number of contributions to the Conservative members for Pontiac and Mégantic—L'Érable, Multivesco was awarded a $300 million contract, without a bidding process, to relocate federal employees.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the key players and the financing practices from the Mulroney era are poisoning his government?

Conservative PartyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, ties between the Bloc Québécois and the RRQ keep appearing. Today we learned that the chief of staff of the Bloc leader himself also supports the RRQ.

I have a very simple question for the Bloc leader: will he fire his chief of staff?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, further to the exchange just concluded with the Prime Minister, could the Prime Minister answer the question? What did the closure of Camp Mirage cost, and can he explain his incompetence to the Canadian military?

General Natynczyk said it was a scramble to get out of there. Why should the Canadian military be put through a scramble because of the incompetence of the Prime Minister?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what is most important is that this is not going to have an operational impact. Canadian Forces have performed brilliantly, as they always do, in the close-out of the mission in Mirage. We will continue to support our forces through bases in Cyprus and Germany.

With respect to a scramble, the air force would be scrambling years from now if the advice of the Liberal leader to cancel the F-35 was followed. That would lead to a scramble.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a simple question needs a simple answer. How much did it cost? Why will the government not explain itself? Why can the government not give an honest answer to the question of why the Canadian military was put to this scramble?

It cannot be true that this did not have operational consequences. Why will the government not be honest with the Canadian people and with this House?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I say again, we act on the advice of our military, and the military tells us that there will be no operational impact. We continue—