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House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for York West.

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will not hold my breath waiting for the answer.

The Conservatives have clearly missed it while they were on extended leave but Canadians started the consultations with us some time ago. We have heard from desperate Canadians all across Canada who are demanding action, not just more talk.

Changes to the bankruptcy act are urgently needed today to protect tens of thousands of Canadians who will lose their only source of livelihood at retirement while the Conservatives sit idly by.

Will the Conservatives get past their recycled promises and start taking action on pensions today, not tomorrow?

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member may be aware, we have already amended the BIA, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, with the changes for super priority for unpaid wages.

As she may know, my colleague and his department are also conducting their cross country consultations and discussions with the provinces.

As the hon. member may be aware, 90% of all pensions are under the jurisdiction and competency of provincial governments but we intend to work with the provinces and territories on this very important issue on behalf of Canadians.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, for a long time, the Conservatives have been in the habit of hiding their tax hikes. In 2006, they increased the lowest tax rate, but they falsely claimed to Canadians that they had lowered it. In their 2010 budget, they are increasing employment insurance premiums every year for the next four years, but they refuse to admit it.

Why do the Conservatives not tell the truth when they increase taxes for Canadians?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, unlike the tax and spend views of the Liberal Party, we do not believe Canadians should be paying more taxes. Since coming to office, we have actually reduced the overall tax burden by an incredible number: $220 billion. Not only that, but we have no intention, like the party opposite, of increasing the GST.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance said that employment insurance premiums are “one of those job-killing taxes, a direct tax on employers and employees”.

The minister knows that an EI premium is a tax, a job-killing tax. Why will he not admit what is obvious to everyone in this chamber? This is a matter of truth, honesty and character. For once, will he tell Canadians the simple truth? The government is raising their payroll taxes.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, what we have done as part of the economic stimulus is frozen EI premiums for two years. This is a very substantial benefit for employers and employees as part of the economic action plan. However, after that, as with the other stimulus items in the economic action plan, they will come to an end.

Why will they come to an end? It is because it is a time for a return to private demand to replace the public demand and the emergency demand over the two years of the economic action plan. Then we can move back to balanced budgets, avoiding anything but a temporary deficit. That is the plan, that is the budget and that is what we will do.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government is continuing to focus on economic growth and creating jobs in year two of Canada's economic action plan. Our plan is getting results with 135,000 jobs being maintained or created this year alone. Year two of the action plan will build on this success with $19 billion of stimulus money being pumped into Canada's economy.

Could the Minister of Finance update the House on what our government is doing to help create jobs in the important manufacturing sector?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question from the member for Oakville, a riding that has a lot of manufacturers, including small and medium sized manufacturers in southern Ontario. We did highlight today the fact that Canada will become a tariff-free zone for manufacturers as a result of budget 2010.

We will eliminate all job-killing tariffs on manufacturing inputs, machinery and equipment, which will make Canada the first country in the G20 to eliminate all manufacturing tariffs. As in many other ways, including fiscal management, the banking sector and the financial sector overall, Canada is leading the way in the G20.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, last year the government used its budget to scrap environmental reviews of infrastructure projects under the Navigable Waters Protection Act. This year, the budget hands over even more of its environmental duties to industry-friendly agencies. The National Energy Board, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Natural Resources Canada will now lead environmental assessments of major energy projects. It is a blatant conflict of interest.

Why is the government putting the foxes in charge of the henhouse?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's assertions are wrong but I would encourage her to work with us as we try to streamline and improve the environmental assessment process.

I would draw to her attention that the kinds of changes the government will be bringing forward were called for by the commissioner for environmental sustainability in 2009, the report on the smart regulator in 2005, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and the Council of the Federation and the premiers in virtually every year since 2000.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the same Minister of the Environment who once criticized Quebec for doing too much to protect the environment.

Can he tell us who asked him to scrap the Navigable Waters Protection Act, a century-old act?

He is clearly trying to pass the responsibility for environmental assessments on to the National Energy Board, which does not have the experience or the ability to protect the environment for future generations.

Is that not his real goal, to sacrifice the environment on the altar of his energy projects?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the member does not accurately portray the proposed changes under discussion or that will be made.

There is no intent to transfer to the National Energy Board jurisdiction from other agencies. The intent is to streamline the regulatory process, the environmental process.

Every respected commentator in this country who has looked at this has criticized the overweight of duplicative regulatory and environmental processes in the country. They have called for streamlining to achieve environmental objectives, as well as to advance economic objectives. We will strike that balance and we will do it properly.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, when we began questioning the government about possible cases of torture of Afghan prisoners, they replied here in this House that there was absolutely no truth to the allegations.

Yet we have learned from the media that before the torture had even become public, the government had already prepared notes to justify its inaction.

How did the government have the nerve to call us friends of the Taliban for denouncing the torture, when at that very time it was trying, not to prevent the torture, but to cover it up?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is a bunch of nonsense coming from the hon. member. We have been open and transparent. We try to be as helpful as possible. Public servants have made documents available to the committee and now we will be ably assisted by Mr. Justice Iacobucci on this. This should have the support of the hon. member.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada has failed in its obligations under the Geneva conventions.

Does the minister realize that, in light of these revelations, there can be no hesitation? All documents requested by Parliament must be handed over as soon as possible, and a public inquiry must be held.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Again, Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member and the House that all legally available documents have been made and will continue to be made available. If there are any comments, questions or confusion about this, we will be ably supported by Mr. Justice Iacobucci.

Again, this should have the support of the hon. member.

JusticeOral Questions

March 9th, 2010 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, members of the government are always quick to comment on any court judgment that does not align with their “get tough on crime” rhetoric. They always say, “You do the crime, you do the time”.

What then is the government's comment on a dangerous driver in possession of illicit drugs who gets off with no record and a $500 slap on the wrist?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Justice.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I almost do not know where to begin to comment on such an irresponsible question.

The government initiated the director of public prosecutions for the very reason to ensure there would never be any political interference in any prosecution in this country. That should have the support of the hon. member. She should get up, withdraw and apologize for that comment.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, what a hypocritical answer the minister gives. The government tries to pass the buck and the Conservatives are conspicuously silent only when the law is being flouted by one of their own. Even the judge thought this was a break.

Why the double standard? Nothing stopped them from commenting before. Does the government really believe that the punishment fits the crime?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is about as low as one can go, in my opinion.

The hon. member is talking about a provincial prosecution in front of a provincial judge within the appeal period and she is asking us to comment. That is completely irresponsible and she should apologize to the House.