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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-12.

Topics

The GovernmentStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker,

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the House, the government was tired in bad need of a rouse.
Nothing had been done since Christmas before, like the wishes of Parliament they chose to ignore.
They spent borrowed money and drove up the debt, $20 billion alone for a single-sourced jet.
Wasting taxpayers' dollars through tough fiscal times, spending billions for prisons on unreported crimes.
They squandered surpluses the Liberals left in this place. Their mess would make Mulroney turn red in the face.
They stuck it to seniors, to students and vets, spent millions on a fake lake, and showed no regrets.
But there were some Canadians whose spirits were lifted, like contractors on West Block whose contracts were gifted.
With a wink of the eye and a brush of the nose, an old Tory hack was the builder they chose.
Our finances are grimer, our world perception weaker. They have been more naughty than nice, wouldn't you agree, Mr. Speaker?
They have shown no compassion, no heart and no soul. All they deserve Christmas morning is a big lump of coal.

Opposition CoalitionStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP have confirmed what Canadians have known for a long time, namely that they will try to form a coalition government after the next election. That coalition would be led by, as one can guess, the Liberal leader.

The Bloc leader confirmed in his year-end press conference that his party is open to forming a coalition with the Liberals and the NDP. The NDP leader did the same thing in his year-end press conference.

The actions of the coalition parties this fall further prove what we have been saying all along. The coalition is alive and well, and it is dangerous.

The coalition parties have delayed a bill that gets rid of pardons to violent criminals. They are working together to introduce a $75 iPod tax. They want to give employment insurance to parents of criminals, and they are promising to defeat our Conservative government's efforts to prevent human smuggling.

The coalition is very real and Canadians have every right to be afraid.

Disability BenefitsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, 15 days from today, more than 400 long-term disability pensioners from Nortel will be cut off their benefits. They will be destitute, quite literally out on the street. But it does not have to be that way. This Parliament is sovereign. Where the law is deficient, the government has the power to fix it.

The member for York West has legislation ready to go to save long-term disability pensions.

Will the government agree to deal with this matter before it begins its Christmas holidays later today?

Disability BenefitsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we look forward to having a chance to review and examine this legislation. As it was just tabled today, it would be premature to comment on its specifics.

I think I can speak for all members of the House in expressing our deepest sympathies to the recipients in question. There is no question that this is an unfortunate situation. That is why our government has joined with the opposition to study proposed legislation designed to alleviate the difficulties these Canadians are facing. Unfortunately, the opposition's legislation that has already been before the House would not solve the problem.

Disability BenefitsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, excuses do not help.

This issue involves a choice: on one side, hundreds of ordinary Canadians who have worked hard, paid their taxes, played by the rules, and now have the misfortune of Parkinson's disease or other disabilities; and on the other side, the moneylenders, the bondholders, the big banks and the wealthy, the comfortable people who will have a very nice Christmas this year. The Conservatives have made their choice. They stand with the privileged elite.

How can they look themselves in the mirror knowing some disabled pensioners will be going hungry?

Disability BenefitsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, previous legislation tabled by the Liberals on this very point was examined by the Senate. Experts before the Senate committee were in agreement that their legislation would not help the very people that they purport to want to help, that it is retroactive, that it would undo a court decision and a court agreement that cannot be undone. That is what the experts said.

On this side of the House, we want to help people with real legislation and real action, rather than the false hope that the opposition Liberals tend to gallivant around near Christmastime.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government has had a year and a half, and retroactivity is not a bad thing when the cause is right.

This is all about choices. The Conservatives could help families take care of sick or disabled loved ones, but instead they risk $6 billion on extra corporate tax cuts. They could invest in students so everyone who gets the grades gets to go to college or university, but instead they risk $13 billion on American-style mega-jails. They could help families cope with household debts and make ends meet, but instead they risk $21 billion on stealth fighter jets.

Why are the Conservatives so stone deaf to ordinary Canadians?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have heard loud and clear what Canadians' priorities are. That is why we put in place an economic action plan, a two-year plan to get Canadians back to work.

I must share with Canadians who are watching that not everyone in this House supported that plan. Some who did not support it now want to see it extended. We are still struggling with the thought process there.

Since July 2009, over 441,000 more Canadians have a job. That is an important thing at Christmas.

Government SpendingOral Questions

December 16th, 2010 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, all year long we have been seeing examples of obscene wastefulness: $300 million and a military base here, $1 billion and a fake lake there, $6 billion for major corporations, on top of $10 billion for megaprisons. To satisfy the whims of the ministers, the government finds billions of dollars, but when NGOs ask for a simple one-week extension of the application deadline for a homelessness program? Impossible, it says. Why?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have done something that has not been done in the House in a very long time. We made a full five-year commitment to fund housing and homelessness. We do that with the provinces. We work with them.

We recently developed new, more accountable programs and policy to deal with the situation, recognizing that the problems can best be solved close to home. We are working with the provinces closely to make sure that the needs of the homeless can be addressed on a local basis, where it matters most.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative deficit has reached a record high. Consultants, ministers and lobbyists have benefited and the middle class will be stuck with the bill. We already saw it with seniors, we saw it with artists and now we are seeing it with the homeless.

The Conservatives say that family care and the demands of the forestry industry cost too much. But what about moving a military base over a question of ego and purchasing jets without an open competition? They claim that is no big deal because they will borrow.

Where do they think their deficit comes from?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the Liberals on deficits, because we all know in the House how the Liberals offloaded their deficit in the 1990s on the backs of provinces. They offloaded the debt onto the poor people and those who needed medical care. We have promised Canadians that we will not repeat the mistakes that the Liberals made in the 1990s.

St. Lawrence Shoreline ProtectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is being incredibly insensitive to flood victims when he says that financial assistance from the federal government would be limited to what is covered by existing agreements. The government can take action over and above the Canada-Quebec agreement. For example, it could restore the shoreline protection program and take the extraordinary measure of using the Canada Economic Development fund as it has done in the past.

With Christmas fast approaching, will the Prime Minister agree to do more than the bare minimum by restoring the shoreline protection program and providing financial assistance out of the Canada Economic Development fund to help the victims?

St. Lawrence Shoreline ProtectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I offer our condolences to the families and businesses affected by the flooding. The first responders have done a good job. If the Government of Quebec needs help, we are always ready to respond. However, there are programs in place to provide financial assistance in such situations. This government will ensure that those measures apply in this case.

St. Lawrence Shoreline ProtectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not understand or is pretending he does not understand. Over and above the Canada-Quebec agreement, there are programs the federal government has used in the past to help people in situations like this one. People do not need condolences; they need action. For example, the government could restore the shoreline protection program that was abolished in 1997. The problem people are experiencing is affecting the shorelines. The government should restore this program instead of pretending not to understand.

St. Lawrence Shoreline ProtectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is not a political issue; it is a problem that is affecting certain regions, families and communities. I can assure the House that the government will help them in every way possible, in accordance with its programs and legislation.

Flooding in Eastern QuebecOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Guimond Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government could go beyond the Canada-Quebec agreement and immediately help the people in eastern Quebec who are dealing with terrible weather. For example, the government could fully assume its responsibilities in terms of marine infrastructure. The Rimouski wharf needs a new breakwater, and the wharf in Carleton-sur-Mer was seriously damaged in the recent storms.

Will the government do its duty and reinforce wharves in eastern Quebec?

Flooding in Eastern QuebecOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, we certainly extend our sympathies to the families and businesses along the St. Lawrence that have been affected by this disaster. At DFO, we are currently reviewing and cleaning up damage at all our small craft harbour facilities and will be responding accordingly.

As I mentioned yesterday, under Canada's economic action plan, our government has invested significant funds in small craft harbours across this country.

Flooding in Eastern QuebecOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Guimond Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, when floods hit Rivière-au-Renard in 2007, in addition to the help provided under the Canada-Quebec agreement, Canada Economic Development provided special financial aid to businesses and non-profit organizations through a special temporary initiative.

Given the scale of this catastrophe, does Canada Economic Development intend, as in 2007, to provide financial help to the businesses and non-profit organizations that were hit by these terrible floods?

Flooding in Eastern QuebecOral Questions

2:25 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, again this morning I spoke with the mayors, the regional officials we are currently working with. The Minister of Public Safety and his department are in direct contact with the Government of Quebec. As we all know, the provincial government is responsible for taking the lead. Of course, we congratulate everyone who has helped so far, but the Bloc is in no position to teach us anything about how to treat the regions of Quebec.

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, on this last day of the session, the Conservatives have nothing better to do than quietly announce something that will affect the lives of all Canadians. The Conservatives are preventing Canadians from saving more by refusing to increase Quebec and Canada pension plan contributions and benefits. Pension plans have proven their worth. The private sector is risky and expensive.

Why are the Conservatives putting the interests of the financial industry ahead of improving the public system?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Canada pension plan is managed under agreements between the federal government and the provinces. Discussions are under way to improve this program in the long term. These discussions are continuing, but the federal government will negotiate these things with its partners in the system.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are being gouged. They are paying as much as $25 billion in annual fees to the private sector managers of RRSPs. Fees on mutual funds can eat up 35% of an RRSP over its lifetime. The CPP management costs are a tenth of those of the private sector. This deal is great for the captains of finance, but it is a bad deal for Canadians who are trying to save for their retirement.

Which financial sector lobbyist got to the government to convince it that banks and fund managers needed help more than Canadians who are trying to save?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the leader of the NDP is talking about, but there is a discussion between the federal government and the provinces concerning the creation of pooled pension arrangements for small business owners and for individual Canadians.

This is a vehicle that a lot of small business owners are interested in, and which the provinces I know are interested in exploring. This is an extremely positive development for all who are concerned about the future of the Canadian retirement income system.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister seemed to be rather clear earlier today in saying that the government was not moving forward with the improvements to the Canada pension plan, something that we need right now because Canadians are at record levels of household debt.

Only 25% of people working in the private sector even have a company pension plan. RRSPs overwhelmingly benefit those who have a lot of money to save, but the squeezed middle class families are having a tougher and tougher time ensuring that they are going to be able to live with some kind of retirement security.

Why does the government not deal with the Canada pension plan now? Most provinces are behind it. The government should show some leadership and help out the middle class.