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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

The EconomyStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, year two of Canada's economic action plan is all about protecting and helping create jobs now and for the future.

This includes protecting and creating jobs with initiatives such as making Canada the first tariff-free zone for manufacturing in the whole G20. Not only will this reinforce our Conservative government's commitment to open and free trade, but it will keep and grow businesses in Canada. Twelve thousand new jobs alone will be created by this one action that we have undertaken.

While the opposition appears less than supportive of our action plan, Canadians are cheering because it creates jobs. The C.D. Howe Institute said:

Eliminating all tariffs on inputs is an absolutely brilliant move....in terms of attracting investors but also in taking a leadership role in establishing an agenda aimed at trade liberalization and broad-based economic growth.

I encourage all parties opposite to get onside and support our Conservative government's pro-growth, pro-jobs plan for Canada's economy.

Girl Guides of CanadaStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to invite my colleagues to come and celebrate 100 years of girl guiding in Canada at an event on the Hill this evening.

Over the last century, hundreds of thousands of girls and young women have been touched by guiding.

They have had the opportunity to learn new skills, to develop lasting friendships, to improve their leadership skills, to tackle challenges and to experience adventures, all while they learned about the world around them in a supportive environment.

I was one of those girls. as were many women in the House, and I am proud to say that much of what I am today I owe to guiding.

I ask members of the House to join me and Girl Guides of Canada, Guides du Canada, in 200 West Block after the vote for a fun evening of celebrations, activities and refreshments, including cookies.

I urge them all to come and meet the guides from their communities and together we will celebrate a century of much accomplishment.

Elimination of TariffsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, today, our government announced that it would be taking action to eliminate all remaining tariffs on manufacturing inputs and machinery and equipment. This will keep us ahead of the pack and show the rest of the world that we are open for business.

These measures will help keep and create good manufacturing jobs here in Canada, and lead to the creation of 12,000 jobs in the years to come.

Eliminating these tariffs will encourage companies in Quebec and Canada to acquire the equipment they need to become more competitive; companies and workers will be able to compete and win in markets around the world.

Our government has made a commitment to keeping Canada open for trade and investment and we have followed through with concrete measures.

Quebeckers and Canadians can count on our government to keep the economy and jobs our number one priority.

Prince Rupert, British ColumbiaStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to pay tribute to the great city of Prince Rupert, British Columbia that on March 10 will be celebrating 100 years. Rupert lies on the traditional territory of the Tsimshian Nation which has occupied the land since time immemorial.

The city began its life as a transportation, fishing and logging hub and continues this great legacy today. More than half of the people living in the Prince Rupert area are of first nations ancestry and the community continues to enrich the entire northwestern region and country.

As a vital fishing port, a key port in the second world war and a centre of transportation and commerce, the next 100 years promises to be full of promise and contribution to our economy and our region.

I wish the hard-working and generous people of Prince Rupert a happy 100th birthday.

The EconomyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, year two of our economic action plan will help solidify Canada's economic recovery by implementing new stimulus to create jobs now, investing in creating the jobs of tomorrow and planning a return to balanced budgets once the economy recovers.

However, the Liberal leader does not like our jobs and growth budget. The Liberal leader would rather raise taxes. We know this because he said it before. He has said, “We will have to raise taxes”. Unfortunately for taxpayers, the Liberal leader's caucus is full of believers in his high taxes scheme.

The member for Parkdale—High Park said that Canadians are prepared to pay a bit more taxes but we know that is not true. Higher taxes and unaffordable spending do not create jobs. They do not encourage economic growth.

The economy is the top priority of Canadians and that is why our government is dedicated to its recovery and continued growth.

Pierre VadeboncoeurStatements by Members

March 9th, 2010 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 11, Quebec lost a great essayist, trade unionist and sovereignist: Pierre Vadeboncoeur.

Mr. Vadeboncoeur made a name for himself through his writing, often lampooning his subjects in Cité libre. As a left-wing intellectual, he believed that freedom of thought is critical to our future. He hoped to counteract the collective alienation of his people, which led him to become a sovereignist. He joined the labour movement and the CSN, where he served as legal counsel for 25 years.

He fought his battles through his writing, penning La Ligne du risque and L'Autorité du peuple, among many other works. He received many awards, including the Athanase-David prize in 1976 and the Victor-Barbeau prize in 2001.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I would like to express our most sincere condolences to his family and friends. May his pursuit of freedom and independence inspire the people of Quebec for many years to come.

Vu PhamStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Glen Pearson Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, too often it takes an incredible tragedy for us to recognize the honour and heroism exemplified by our police officers across the country, the men and women who protect our families and serve as pillars to our communities.

Yesterday, in my community, one of those pillars was prematurely cut down. Vu Pham was only 37 years old when he was shot and killed in the line of duty just north of London. He leaves behind his wife and three young children.

Adopted by a Canadian family from his birthplace in Vietnam, this remarkable officer represented the absolute best of what we hope for as a nation.

There is a gap in our community today where a deeply dedicated man once lived. Let us seek to fill it with our own commitment to better the public space. Let us have no more negative statements this afternoon. I ask only that we seek to honour a life lived to its highest in mutual respect.

Vu PhamStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, together with all Canadians, I was deeply saddened by the news yesterday of the passing of Constable Vu Pham of the Ontario Provincial Police. My deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends and colleagues.

This event is a harsh reminder of the dangerous conditions faced daily by the men and women of our law enforcement agencies as they work to protect the safety and security of all Canadians.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the men and women in law enforcement across the country for the brave work they do.

Out thoughts and prayers are with Heather and their three sons as they deal with this tragic loss. God bless.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, every day brings new information about the Afghan detainee scandal.

Yesterday we learned that the government was preparing its damage control strategy in March 2007, months before torture was reported in the press. That means that the government knew full well that credible reports of torture would eventually come to light, so the government's credibility is shot. It is caught in a scandal of its own making because it will not tell Canadians the truth.

Why will the Prime Minister not put an end to this charade and call a public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there are so many inaccuracies in that question that I do not know where to begin. However, let me begin with the so-called revelation of the Leader of the Opposition.

This matter was in fact discussed by senior departmental officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs months ago. Obviously they were preparing contingency plans that ultimately led to a new and enhanced transfer agreement.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the issue here is getting to the bottom of this matter.

Justice Iacobucci has no mandate, no subpoena powers and no tools to do the job. Allegation follows allegation, including the allegation that the government allowed rendition to occur. This is a serious matter.

We have now learned that the government was more concerned with preventing political fallout, with the media management of this, than preventing torture.

Justice Iacobucci is ready to serve. Why will the Prime Minister not give him the powers to hold a full public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, from the opposition, unsubstantiated allegation follows unsubstantiated allegation, including the fact, which on this particular story the Leader of the Opposition was not aware of, that this had already been discussed months ago.

The fact is that Justice Iacobucci will have access to all relevant documents, all documents referenced in the opposition motion as well as other documents. This government will ensure that everything is looked at and that public confidence in the work of our public servants can remain high.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned that the government had a plan to manage the media regarding the Afghan scandal months before it came out.

The government was more concerned with protecting its image than preventing torture. Now it is concealing the truth from Parliament and from Canadians.

Why is the Prime Minister not asking Justice Iacobucci to hold a full public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, clearly the Leader of the Opposition has been misinformed in this matter, which was reported months ago and has already been discussed by senior departmental officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs. It was part of their efforts to establish a new agreement or strengthen the existing one with the Afghan government.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the recently revealed information gives rise to some serious questions that deserve serious answers.

The Prime Minister can always try to hide, as he has been doing for some time, but Canadians want answers.

Did the government authorize the transfer of detainees to the Afghan authorities knowing that they would be tortured? Did the government agree to a transfer policy that involved interrogation and torture?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government has already indicated that it would make all the information available to the committee as quickly as possible and in a responsible manner. To that end, we have asked Mr. Justice Iacobucci, who has an impeccable reputation in this area dealing with documents, to lend us his assistance, and that should have the support of all hon. members.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, as government excuses grow weaker, the evidence continues to grow stronger that the government was fully aware of the risk of torture in Afghanistan. Rather than preventing torture, it was more concerned with its talking points.

Given recent revelations, did any minister ever receive information that indicated that Canadian officials were handing over Afghans for the specific purpose of extracting information, information that Canadian interrogators could not obtain?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the priority of the government has never changed, and that is the safety and the security of the men and women serving in the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. That has never changed.

In an effort to ensure parliamentarians have all the documents they need, the public servants are working very hard on this. They will be getting the able assistance of Mr. Iacobucci. Again, this should have the support of the hon. member.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the government announced that it was abolishing vacant positions. Now that is really something.

Meanwhile, the same government is announcing and creating new layers of bureaucracy such as a body to review bureaucratic spending and a Canada-wide securities commission, which will cost $165 million starting this year.

Does the Prime Minister realize that by creating more bureaucracy, he is adding to his budget spending? Is that how this government proposes to save money?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board announced yesterday that several hundred positions and government appointments would be eliminated. This is the first time this has been done in years.

As for the Canadian securities commission, all around the world, governments are working to strengthen the systems that monitor financial institutions and operations. It is our duty to do the same thing in Canada. We are working with the provinces that want to work with us.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is quite right to say that this is a first: it is the first time I have seen a government abolish vacant positions.

The government could recover $3 billion if it prohibited the use of tax havens, but it prefers to abolish vacant positions. It could do away with tax benefits for the oil companies, which would save $3.2 billion, but it prefers to abolish vacant positions. It could cut military spending by $1 billion, but it prefers to abolish vacant positions.

Will the Prime Minister admit that what is lacking is not solutions, but political will?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the first step in abolishing positions is not to fill them. If the leader of the Bloc would care to suggest any other positions that should be abolished, I encourage him to do so.

The Bloc leader talks about subsidies for the oil companies. This government has cut taxes for all businesses in Canada, not just the oil companies. This is another example of grandstanding by the Bloc.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is fooling the public by announcing that it is cutting vacant positions.

To achieve a balanced budget, the Bloc Québécois has proposed a surcharge on the richest taxpayers, those whose taxable income is greater than $150,000 or $250,000.

Instead of making bogus announcements at Tim Hortons everywhere in Canada, when cutting a modest $1 million, why does the government not tax the richest to the tune of $4.8 billion?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc's position on Canada's finances is clear: it wants to increase taxes for everyone. That has always been the policy of the Bloc and its coalition partners, but that is not the Conservative's policy.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of cutting $1 million worth of nonexistent positions, the government should tax the bonuses of the top earners. Just by taxing total capital gains on stock options the government could collect $1 billion. That is 1,000 times more profitable than the bogus announcement it made yesterday.

Why is the government refusing to increase taxes for top earners?