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House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Fraser RiverPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

John Cummins Conservative Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with dredging on the Fraser River.

The petitioners note that the secondary channels of the Fraser River are silting in and that nothing has been done for years to address this issue. They point out that they are a hazard for navigation, reduce habitat for fish and are detrimental to businesses on the secondary channels.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to provide funding for dredging.

Canada Post CorporationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am presenting to the House today eight petitions signed by several hundred constituents from the riding of Manicouagan.

The petitioners are calling on the government to maintain the moratorium on closing regional post offices, thus allowing Canada Post to enhance and improve postal services.

Cosmetic PesticidesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

March 10th, 2010 / 3:20 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present several petition. The first two have been signed by about 200 residents who are asking the government to impose a moratorium on non-essential use of cosmetic pesticides until they are proven safe in the long term.

The petitioners wish to prevent the kind of negative, endocrine-disrupting impacts that research is now showing atrazine to have. They ask the government to respect the precautionary principles to protect children's health and to pass Bill C-368.

HousingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, the third and fourth petitions have been signed by Victoria resident in support of Bill C-304 for a national housing strategy.

They feel that there is an important federal role to create adequate, affordable housing for every Canadian by investing in green, non-profit and accessible housing.

Burns BogPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise for the third time to present a petition calling for Burns Bog in Delta, British Columbia, to become a UNESCO world heritage site.

This recognition of Burns Bog's status as a cultural and environmental landmark will go a long way to preserve the bog for generations to come.

We should commit to include Burns Bog in our next submission to UNESCO.

I congratulate Eliza Olson, the Burns Bog Conservation Society and others for their work and support to protect the bog, which includes four others of the government, including Her Worship Mayor Loise Jackson, the previous prime minister, and the Right Hon. Paul Martin.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of Canadians who believe that animals feel pain and can suffer and that efforts should be made to prevent animal cruelty and reduce animal suffering.

Therefore, the petitioners request that the Government of Canada support a universal declaration on animal welfare.

Harmonized Sales TaxPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present three petitions from my community with regard to the imposition of the HST by the federal government.

The petitioners make the case that this will hurt families and indicate that it will hurt the economy. They are very much opposed to the federal government transferring this $4.3 billion, which would give the provincial government the money it needs to impose this unfair tax on the people of my province.

HealthPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am presenting today a petition signed by one thousand Quebeckers calling for changes to public safety standards by limiting the public's exposure to microwaves.

The petitioners asked me to bring this matter to the attention of the Standing Committee on Health. I intend to ask the members of that committee to consider studying the impact of microwaves on human health at a future meeting.

Aviation IndustryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition with dozens of pages and dozens of names. The petitioners state that whereas Transport Canada is reducing traditional oversight and inspection methods and delegating its responsibility to aviation companies via safety management systems, and that whereas aviation workers and the travelling public are in danger as a result, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to initiate a commission of inquiry headed by a Superior Court judge to conduct a judicial review into Canada's state of national aviation safety and government oversight of the aviation industry, to be followed by further reviews at defined interventions.

Canada Post CorporationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to introduce two petitions from Canadians who have growing concerns over activities taking place within the post office.

The first one, if I might, calls on the Government of Canada to instruct Canada Post to maintain and improve its network of public post offices and to consult with the public, their elected representatives, postal unions, and other major stakeholders to develop a uniform and democratic process for making changes to this network.

The other petition also speaks to the pending legislation that has been in front of this House twice. We are expecting it a third time. It calls on the Government of Canada to maintain the moratorium on post office closures and withdraw the legislation to legalize remailers. If the Liberals would join with the NDP and the Bloc, we could kill that bill.

It also calls upon the Government of Canada to instruct Canada Post to maintain, expand and improve postal service, a position that the NDP caucus has taken and will continue to hold.

North Korean RefugeesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to table a petition signed by over 130 folks from the greater Toronto and Hamilton areas, many of whom are members of the Korean-Canadian community.

These petitioners are very concerned about the difficulty that North Korean refugees, who escaped from North Korea to the People's Republic of China, have in finding safe passage to South Korea.

The petitioners urge Canada to strongly support the international effort to seek a change in the policies of the People's Republic of China to make sure these refugees find safe haven in South Korea.

They also call on Parliament to support a motion to this effect, tabled by my colleague the member for Burnaby—New Westminster.

Air Passenger Bill of RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, dozens of Canadians are calling for the adoption of Canada's first air passenger bill of rights, Bill C-310.

Bill C-310 would provide compensation to air passengers flying with all Canadian carriers, including charters, anywhere they fly. It would include measures on compensation for over-booked flights, cancelled flights and unreasonable tarmac delays. It would deal with late and misplaced baggage and it would deal with all-inclusive pricing by airline companies in their advertising.

This law was inspired by a European law where overbookings have dropped significantly. In fact, Air Canada is already operating under European laws for their flights to Europe. The question is: why should Air Canada customers be getting better treatment in Europe than in Canada?

The bill would ensure that Canadians passengers are kept informed of flight changes, whether there are delays or cancellations. The new rules have to be posted at the airport, and airlines must inform passengers of their rights and the process for compensation.

This bill is not meant to punish the airlines. If they follow the rules, they will not have to pay one cent in compensation to the passengers.

This petition calls on the government to support Canada's first air passenger bill of rights.

Income TrustsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is probably one of the most significant petitions that I have delivered as a member in 16 years. It has to do with income trusts and it comes from the proponents of the Marshall savings plan to try to find some fairness and equity for pensioners.

These petitioners, from my riding of Mississauga South and from other surrounding areas, want to remind the House that the Prime Minister promised not to tax income trusts during the 2006 election, and then he broke that promise. He imposed a 31.5% punitive tax on those income trusts.

They also want to point out that in claiming that income trusts cause tax leakage, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance did not provide the proper calculations, in fact, there were redacted documents. Notwithstanding, other reputable groups like HLB Decision Economics, BMO Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets and PricewaterhouseCoopers had in fact verified that there was no such justification.

They also point out that the income trusts did not cause a tax leakage. This has now resulted in the takeover of some 51 income trusts by foreigners and other non-taxable entities, which was a direct consequence and has three times as much tax leakage as was falsely alleged in the first place.

The income trusts also create an unlevel playing field between 75% of Canadians without pensions and those who must pay this punitive tax, and also adds to the risk of foreign takeover and for further tax losses.

And finally, that the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament for the specific purpose of recalibrating his policies and the budget to be tabled to Parliament on March 4, 2010, that addresses the needs of Canadians and deals with Canada's deficit and pension crisis that arose from the recent financial turmoil.

Therefore, these petitioners call on the Government of Canada to acknowledge that the government's financial justification for imposing the tax was flawed, and to recalibrate and remedy the matter it should adopt the Marshall savings plan as part of its budget 2010 on the basis of the following signatures, which I referred to, some 3,414 Canadians.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Tuberculosis Outbreak in First Nations CommunitiesRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The Chair has received a request for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Winnipeg North, and I will hear her submissions on this point now.

Tuberculosis Outbreak in First Nations CommunitiesRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise under Standing Order 52 to ask you to agree to holding an emergency debate as soon as possible on an urgent and life-threatening situation pertaining to Inuit and first nations people in this country, and the emergence of tuberculosis in very serious numbers. I make this case today for an emergency debate because of new information, new revelations that have come to our attention as recently as a couple of hours ago.

Today, representatives and elders from the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and from the Assembly of First Nations brought this frightening reality to our attention. They pointed out that TB infection rates in Nunavut are 185 times greater than most other parts of Canada, and in first nations communities, the rates have risen to 31 times that of non-aboriginal Canadians.

These revelations follow on the heels of an indepth series of articles by Jen Skerritt in the Winnipeg Free Press, who brought to our attention alarming statistics showing, in fact, that rates of TB in many of our communities in Canada, particularly in first nations, Inuit and aboriginal communities, are higher than that of third world countries. One such country, for example, that I visited a year ago, Bangladesh, where I was shocked to learn about TB, only to return home and find out that rates are actually even higher in this country, a first world nation, a country as wealthy as Canada.

This is new information, new data. We are not acting on this information. The government has no plan of action, never mind talking about this information. It is new and it must be talked about.

I urge you, Mr. Speaker, to consider holding this debate so that we can get it out in the open, bring forward to Canadians the serious nature of this issue, and encourage our government to come forward with a plan of action as soon as possible.

If Parliament cannot talk about it, then who can?

Tuberculosis Outbreak in First Nations CommunitiesRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I want to thank the hon. member for Winnipeg North for her submissions on this point. I have no doubt of the seriousness of the matter that she has raised. This is not infrequent in requests for emergency debates in the House, but I am going to say no at this time.

I would point out to her that the debate today is on the budget, which gives an opportunity to debate any financial considerations in respect of the matter because it is a very general debate. We will be on the Speech from the Throne tomorrow. There will be three opposition days between now and next Wednesday, I believe, any one of which could be used for this purpose, and so I do not think the circumstances are right at the moment for an emergency debate.

Accordingly, I will deny her request at this time.

The House resumed from March 9 consideration of the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Edmonton—Spruce Grove.

“Leading the Way on Jobs and Growth”, that is what budget 2010 is doing for Canada, and that is what I heard in Newmarket—Aurora during my prebudget consultations. My constituents wanted to see their government lead the way on jobs and growth.

Seniors, families, single parents, entrepreneurs, and youth all came out to have their say on what was important to them, what they felt would help improve their lives, and what they wanted their government to do on their behalf. Our government listened and we delivered a jobs and growth budget.

I think it is important to remember that this budget is an extension of the prudent management and vision our government has consistently demonstrated. Entrepreneurs and business leaders know, and they are the generators of jobs and economic wealth, that to be successful one has to have a solid long-range plan.

I remind the House that back in 2006, our government laid out a strategic long-term economic plan called “Advantage Canada”. It was a plan that charted our country's future course. It was a road map that acknowledged we were in a transition economy, one that was evolving to new jobs of the future, requiring new skills and a new way of thinking. It mapped out and answered these questions: where do we need to go and how will we get there?

We set out to strengthen our nation; show a modern, ambitious and dynamic Canada to the world; create jobs; help entrepreneurs start businesses; and provide the wealth Canada needs to invest in health care and strong communities.

This contrasts with members of the opposition, especially those on the Liberal benches, who have no long-term plan and each day decide to take on a new issue to discuss. Our government chose to take a solid long-range view to planning.

How did we do it compared to the rest of the world? As members know, we were one of the last countries in the world to enter the recession and one of the first to come out. The International Monetary Fund predicts that Canada's economic growth will be the best of all G7 countries in 2010-11.

We recognize the challenges facing us. The world economy is changing. New players are emerging as major economic powers, and competition in the world markets is fierce. These are challenges we set out to meet head-on. We also said that as we adapted these global changes would also bring tremendous new opportunities for Canadians.

In 2006 we identified five advantages for Canada and set our road map to translate these into opportunities. These five pillars were the following. Our tax advantage included reducing taxes for all Canadians and establishing the lowest tax rate on new business investment in the G7. Our fiscal advantage was aimed at continuing to eliminate our debt, even after we recover from the recession, and creating a strong foundation on which to build sustainable prosperity.

I am proud to say that before the recession hit we were able to reduce our debt by a record $38 billion, allowing for that interest saving to be reinvested. Our entrepreneurial advantage aimed to reduce regulation and red tape, and build a more competitive business environment. Our knowledge advantage was aimed at creating the best educated, most skilled, and most flexible workforce in the world.

Our infrastructure advantage included creating modern world-class infrastructure to ensure the seamless flow of people, goods, and services across our roads and bridges, through our ports and gateways, and through public transit.

Budget 2010 is a continuation of this work that is helping us achieve these goals. We are making great progress. We are on target to establishing the lowest tax rate on new business investment in the G7. Our goal of cutting paperwork by 20% for businesses has been met. That is a record of which we can all be proud.

I know what it takes to run a small business and I understand what it takes to create jobs. As a business owner, I had to plan and execute my business strategy or I would no longer be in business. Our government takes the same approach, for we cannot finance the programs Canadians rely on without taking care of the revenue generation.

The recession, which none of us expected, may have slowed down the implementation of advantage Canada. However, instead of throwing up our hands at this unanticipated course of events, our government reacted assuredly and with a plan. We did this by bringing forward fiscal stimulus that was targeted, timely and temporary in our economic action plan. Throughout this economic crisis, we maintained our objectives and our long-term goals.

Some adjustments had to be made because of the global economic situation. For example, we saw our investments expedited through the economic action plan, which has seen 19,000 infrastructure projects initiated across the country. I submit that by rising to the challenge, we have given Canadians and the world confidence that Canada is a great place in which to invest.

I would also like to point out that prior to budget 2010, our government undertook one of the largest prebudget consultations in history. We invited ordinary Canadians to share their thoughts, suggestions and priorities with us. I personally held a prebudget consultation town hall in my riding of Newmarket—Aurora and held numerous round tables and drop-ins.

I can personally attest that the input I received was duly considered by our Minister of Finance. In fact, many of the suggestions put forward in my riding were contained in budget 2010. Suggestions such as conducting value-for-money audits of departmental spending, strengthening the laws governing intellectual property and copyrights, and launching a digital economy strategy were all submitted by residents of Newmarket and Aurora.

The strategic investments our government has been making through our economic action plan are paying off. New jobs, new partnerships and new products have resulted from investments such as that involving the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce which received assistance from the community partnership fund.

That project involves a unique partnership between the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce, the Newmarket Public Library, Southlake Regional Health Centre and the town of Newmarket and has created shared digital infrastructure. Not only did this project create immediate jobs, but it was leveraged so that the chamber now works with local businesses to assist them in opening new markets and developing a competitive edge in the knowledge-based economy.

Small and medium size businesses employ half of Canada's workforce and are leading the way out of the recession. Budget 2010's commercialization innovation program for small and medium size companies will also support this sector by helping these companies develop and market new technology, thereby creating new markets and new jobs.

This is just one of the many specific strategic actions that our government is taking to help businesses today create the jobs of the future. A jobs and growth budget: that is what we planned and that is what we have put forward.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the member for Newmarket—Aurora what she, as a small business owner, thinks of the new payroll tax that will be imposed on small businesses. I would like to read to her what the CFIB said:

--the budget's assertion it does not increase taxation is nonsense. While taxes are frozen for the calendar year 2010, every employed Canadian and every Canadian business that has staff will experience a significant Employment Insurance premium hike starting in January 2011.

EI premiums are a form of job-killing payroll taxes--one of the most harmful forms of taxation to small business.

I would like to know what she thinks about that new tax.