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

Topics

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, for companies to export wood, they have to be operating and able to produce it.

These businesses are on their knees because they have been left to their own devices since the crisis began. The forestry crisis started long before the recession. Yesterday, the CEP pointed out that without loan guarantees, the measures in the budget will be useless.

Why are they ignoring the needs of Quebec's forestry industry?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, in order to sell wood, one needs buyers. Right now, demand for our forestry products—softwood lumber and pulp and paper—is soft. We will continue to develop markets for these products.

As for loan guarantees, it seems to me that they just do not want to see them. Anyone can visit Export Development Canada's website. EDC supports industry across Canada in all sectors. It offers loan guarantees, accounts receivable insurance and access to credit. It has made some $20 billion in financial products available to Quebec's forestry industry over two years. Of course, it is easy to avoid seeing the truth. We are not just talking; we are taking action.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to jobs, the statements of the government certainly do ring hollow.

The government's budget actually predicts that we will have a higher unemployment rate in 2010 than we had last year. Half a million people lost their jobs in the recession, 1.6 million people are out of work and 800,000 people stand to run out of their EI premiums and have nothing to support their families, yet we have the same old policies that have not worked.

Where is the plan to create jobs for Canadians so we can get the economy going for them?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I think I join all members of the House to say that we are pleased to see the NDP leader is still full of energy and fight with respect to his important work here.

The budget we presented yesterday is a jobs and economic growth budget. We are moving forward, full speed ahead, firing on all eight cylinders, with Canada's economic action plan. Since July, we have seen 135,000 net new jobs created. With the economy beginning to fire on all eight cylinders through our economic action plan, we see more jobs, more hope, more opportunity. That is why we are moving forward with more stimulus, more construction and more hope.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the victims of the recession are losing a great deal. The banks are the big winners in this budget.

Choices are made in a budget.

The Conservatives have chosen to make the banks, oil companies and the most profitable companies in the country even richer instead of helping seniors get out of poverty by increasing the guaranteed income supplement benefits, as the New Democratic Party has proposed.

Why has the government chosen to help the banks and oil companies instead of seniors in this crisis?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, long before Canada's economic action plan began to bring real benefits to the economy in the country this government gave significant support to seniors.

Since 1999, the level of poverty among seniors in the country has fallen from 7.9% to less than 5%, thanks to the great efforts of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

This government is committed to pensions. We are committed to the old age security. We are committed to the guaranteed income supplement.

We have taken significant measures with respect to helping those who are unemployed, whether it is long-term worker benefits, whether it is additional measures in training, whether it is the great work on work-sharing. We will continue to do that because we need more jobs, more hope and more opportunities.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the matter of the Afghan detainees, the government has come up with a new stalling tactic. At first it was prorogation, now it is appointing Justice Iacobucci to review the documents relating to the transfer of detainees and torture in Afghanistan. Mr. Iacobucci is supposed to report to whom? He is supposed to report to the justice minister. The House did not ask for that.

Instead of playing games with more delay, why will the government not just come clean and give members of the House access to the documents as it has requested? Why so much contempt for Parliament? Why so much contempt for the truth?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about thousands of documents. Government officials are working diligently, as fast as they can, to make all legally available documents available to members.

With respect to the whole question of redacted documents, yes, the hon. member is in part correct. We have enlisted the help of Mr. Justice Iacobucci. The man is beyond reproach. He is held in eminent esteem by Canadians. He will give advice with respect to those documents.

International CooperationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government will reduce funding for international development by $4 billion over five years, in particular by cutting CIDA's budget. The most vulnerable people in the world, who are counting on Canada's help for their basic needs, are the ones who will pay for the financial incompetence of this government.

Will the government finally admit that its incompetence is the direct cause of Canada's diminishing influence on the world stage?

International CooperationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I want the member to know that I totally reject the premise of her question.

The fact is we have doubled aid over the last very short period of time by increasing funding year after year by 8%. We are going to maintain that at the level of $5 billion into the future.

She should be very proud of what this government has done of behalf of Canadians.

International CooperationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I totally reject the premise of his answer.

The fact is that this government wants to talk about development aid when it might help the Prime Minister's image, but when it comes time to lay the cards on the table, we see that Canada's role on the world stage is not a priority for this government.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he is not at all interested in international development and that his plan for Africa is nothing but smoke and mirrors?

International CooperationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, again, I reject the premise of the question. The fact is our government doubled aid to Africa a year before any other G7 country even came close to being able to do that.

I am very proud of the people of Canada, the way they have stepped up, for example, on the question of Haiti. I am even more proud of the way our government said that it would match donations dollar for dollar.

We will take no lessons from the Liberals on foreign aid.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, nobody questions Justice Iacobucci's credentials. His appointment confirms, however, that Canadians cannot trust the government to give them the truth and that its stonewalling was wrong.

Why stop at half measures? Why not use Justice Iacobucci's credentials to give Canadians the full story, by presiding an open, public judicial inquiry that will go beyond simply deciding, in private, what documents remain secret? Why are the Conservatives afraid of a public inquiry into this issue?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think we can all agree on the whole subject of the Canadian armed forces, that they have been conducting themselves honourably in Afghanistan. A transfer agreement has been in place now for three years. If there are any problems with the previous one that was instituted under the previous government, perhaps he should take that up with is colleagues.

With respect to the documents, the reputation of Mr. Justice Iacobucci is beyond reproach. That will be very helpful in terms of looking at these documents, and it should have the support of all hon. members.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, no one is questioning Justice Iacobucci's competence. We are just wondering why the government is using these half measures and adopting ad hoc methods simply to continue to delay things and refuse to release the documents Parliament is requesting.

Why is the government not giving Justice Iacobucci the chance to tell the whole story to Canadians and to chair a formal public inquiry that will finally give Canadians answers? The government is refusing to answer the questions Canadians are asking.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first, with respect to the subject of redacting documents, these are done by non-partisan public servants. Hon. members are apparently questioning that. In response to that and, again, just to ensure the process is completely open and transparent, we have asked Mr. Justice Iacobucci to have another look at that. It seems to me that should satisfy the hon. member.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the job market continues to deteriorate. For instance, White Birch Paper, which has mills in Rivière-du-Loup, Masson-Angers and Quebec City, is under the protection of the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act. Despite increasing layoffs, yesterday's budget does not offer any measures to improve access to the EI system. The CSN pointed out yesterday that 50% of unemployed workers still do not have access to the EI system.

Why does the government refuse to improve access to the system for workers who have lost their jobs or will lose them over the next few weeks?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, here are the facts: we have already extended the benefit period by five weeks for everyone. For long-tenured workers, it has been extended by 20 weeks.

We are trying to improve opportunities for training, so that unemployed workers can learn how to do the jobs of the future.

It is worth noting that the Bloc has voted against all our efforts.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Minister to listen: 50% of unemployed workers do not have access to the EI system.

Not only did the government refuse to improve the EI system and not only did it plunder the EI fund for many years, but it is about to pilfer another $19.2 billion from the fund between 2012 and 2015. That money belongs to the workers and companies that pay into the system.

Why does the government want to steal from unemployed workers instead of helping them?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is very simple. She is wrong. We froze EI premiums at the level they were at two years ago in order to protect jobs. We added five weeks of benefits for people across Canada. It is much easier to get benefits now than in the past. We have protected over 225,000 jobs with our work sharing program, and they voted against it.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is still waiting for $8 billion from Ottawa, including $2 billion for tax harmonization. The unilateral cap on equalization payments by Ottawa last year has caused Quebec to lose $1 billion. The FEUQ has reminded us that we have yet to receive $800 million to completely restore funding for post-secondary education.

What is Ottawa waiting for to make good on its debts to Quebec?

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, Ottawa is not waiting for anything. Ottawa is taking action. With respect to the FEUQ issue, I should note that $125 million was transferred to students in the form of post-secondary education loans, which was very well received.

In times of fiscal restraint, we need to tighten our belts. Money does not grow on trees, as our colleagues seem to think. It must be earned, and not at the expense of provinces and municipalities. No transfers have been affected. On the contrary, transfers to Quebec will increase again this year.

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Let us talk about the municipalities, Mr. Speaker.

Municipal officials are unhappy about the federal government's inflexibility with respect to infrastructure projects. The president of the Fédération québécoise des municipalités said that, by maintaining the March 31, 2011 deadline, the Conservative government was primarily penalizing the Quebec municipalities that have to wait for administrative arrangements to be finalized before any work can start.

Does the government not realize that, by stubbornly maintaining the March 31, 2011 completion date, it is depriving Quebec of several worthwhile projects?

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's question.

We have accomplished very good work with the Province of Quebec. All the money available for the Province of Quebec and its municipalities has been spent.

We have had a good relationship with the provincial government. In all the regions of Quebec, municipalities are ready to act, and the successes will continue until the end.

International CooperationOral Questions

March 5th, 2010 / 11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister said that other faith-based organizations would not face the same intimidation and attacks from the government that KAIROS did. That is not the issue. The issue is KAIROS, after advocating for human rights and environmental progress, issues on which the government has shown no leadership, was maliciously and wrongfully slandered as anti-Semitic by a senior minister of government.

Will the government reverse these crippling cuts and apologize to KAIROS and the churches it represents for its malicious attacks?