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House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was prorogation.

Topics

MAIN ESTIMATES, 2010-11Government Orders

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. I will have to stop the member there. Resuming debate, the hon. member for Hochelaga.

MAIN ESTIMATES, 2010-11Government Orders

6:50 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, a budget is an important and powerful event in the life of a government. And this is my first federal budget in as a member of this House.

Of course, I have seen them prepared and defended in the National Assembly. I have also commented on budgets from both Quebec and Canada on information networks, but never here. This is my first budget and these are my first budget estimates.

We are disappointed because we did not hear the word “Quebec” mentioned in the speeches from the President of the Treasury Board and our Liberal colleague. It was not mentioned once; they are ignoring us.

I see that members on the other side appear happy with this budget. Good for them. This is their budget, not ours. A budget prepared by someone else does not interest us. The Liberals and the NDP can say that they would have done it differently, improving this and deleting that. They see themselves reflected in it. Even though they have differences, they see themselves in it, but we do not. Immediately after the minister's budget speech, I made my first comment, which the minister commented on. It was about the word “rien”. He understood the translation, which was “nothing”. There was nothing for the marginalized, nothing for informal caregivers, nothing for pensioners, nothing for housing, nothing for the homeless. Volunteers got a medal with a picture of the Prime Minister on it. There were a few crumbs and there was nothing about the environment. They created a new structure to eliminate structures. That is what the government did in this budget.

I concluded by saying that we deserved better and that we did not get it.

The President of the Treasury Board has finished his work. He showed us that we did not get what we wanted. One hundred and five days after the budget speech, my sovereignist beliefs and convictions have only become stronger. Quebec would be much better off if it had full powers. The minister said that Canada's economy shines. Where? Certainly not in Hochelaga.

At the start of the 1990s, 20 years ago, some middlemen tried to get us to sign the minimum agreements at Meech Lake. Obviously, this planted the seeds of hope, and then, when hopes were dashed, despair set in. Unbelievably, these middlemen—I will say it again—missed their mark. In 1995, I was there. In the 1995 referendum, were it not for a theft—yes, I will call it that—that has been well documented since then, we would have won our independence. If the process had truly been democratic, we would have had our sovereignty, but because this is a democracy, we accepted the result of the referendum campaign without pulling out our guns.

But the Bloc Québécois does not want to be paranoid. We must look what our reality is in 2010. We can forget about seeing an offer from Canada that addresses the aspirations and needs of Quebeckers. We are being told to act like doormats and let everyone walk all over us. That's it, that's all. But we say no, never.

Seven months ago the House Clerk returned the writs from my election to Parliament and after seven months—that should be five months, since there was a two-month lockout—I have to say that by coming here, I know Canadians and their representatives better. They are fine people. Canada is not a gulag; it is not Mongolia, but it is still a country that does not belong to us.

A recent, widely-published survey by academics and the media showed that 62% of Canadians do not want to reach out to Quebec. They are not interested. And we are supposed to wait for them to extend a hand? Come on, it will never happen.

Reforming Canada is an illusion. We do not want just a special status, but they do not want to give us anything more. They do not want to give us new powers; they will even erode the powers that we have in our own jurisdictions, for example, with the securities commission. They are stealing our authority. Canada is building a country. Let them do it their way and according to their ideals, but we do not want this country.

Canada is the way it is, and we do not see ourselves in it. It is like the budget. We need to make Quebec what we want it to be. Twenty years after the Meech Lake accord, the only notable change is that we need to build Quebec the way we want to and not wait for results from the others because they do not want to give them to us. Nation building is often done through Quebec bashing, which is unacceptable to us.

Language, culture, communications, citizenship, immigration. That is what we want to control. But there are no offers from the other side, no new powers. They should at least respect what we have. I talked about the national securities commission which runs counter to the wishes of the National Assembly, corporate Quebec, other provinces and international opinion. We are told that they do not want to have the massive mobilization that is occurring in Quebec. They are digging in their heels more and more.

Given that new offers and new powers are not forthcoming, we would at least expect them to pay the bills. They are not even doing that. They refuse to pay $2.2 billion to Quebec for tax harmonization; they refuse to give Hydro-Québec the $250 million per year paid to Ontario Hydro; they refuse to put a cap on equalization, which represents $337 million; they refuse to give Quebec $238 million in equalization payments given to other provinces; they have not yet paid the $137 million case we won in 1991 in the court of appeal and the administrative tribunal.

The thinking is clear. We must take control of our destiny. We must build a country where French will truly be appreciated. We want to control our immigration and citizenship policies. We do not wish to just defend and support our culture, we want to help it develop.

Meanwhile, the Bloc is not getting these allocations. The Conservatives will stand behind their allocations. That is fine, but we will steadfastly oppose them. For their part, the Liberals do not know where they are and therefore do not know where they are going.

A certain number of items have already been discussed in this House and I will conclude by stating that they cannot walk all over us, that we are not paranoid, that Canada is not Mongolia, that we will not get out our guns, that we have said no to the middlemen and that it is time to adjourn. And all this, to a House of Commons as it rises.

But tomorrow, what will the headlines in Quebec say? Halak has been traded for two unknowns.

MAIN ESTIMATES, 2010-11Government Orders

7 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak in the debate on Bill C-44, which would approve $260 billion of public spending.

The G20 summit has yet to begin and already downtown Torontonians are suffering. People are writing to me about how outraged they are that the government has the gall to waste $1 billion of their hard-earned tax dollars that could have been much better spent. One person wrote, “It makes me feel absolutely nauseous and furious that my tax dollars are being so callously wasted. I am a senior, on a fixed pension, who lives on a budget, and when my bank account is in deficit I would not dream of throwing huge lavish events to impress foreign friends, acquaintances, and their entourages”.

Another person wrote to me about the unfairness of the employment insurance system. I note that employment insurance is in this bill. This person used to work for CTV. After being employed full time for 20 years, he was laid off. Although he diligently paid his employment insurance premiums, his benefits are being cut off because there is a limit on the amount of time that a person can be on EI, regardless of how much the person has paid into the system. He would have been better off stashing his EI premiums under his mattress than counting on the government to be fair. In essence, although he paid into EI for 20 years, he cannot access his own money because the government needs a fake lake, multiple gazebos and toilets.

Then there is the issue of compensation. Thus far the government is refusing outright to reimburse home and business owners for property damage. It is refusing to reimburse them even though in the $260 billion budget we are debating, there is $1 billion for the G8 and G20 summits. They were told that payment would not be provided for losses and damages that are insurable under normal insurance coverage.

The government is so out of touch with the lives of ordinary Canadians. It does not understand that once a claim is submitted, the premiums skyrocket. What the government does not seem to get is that ordinary Canadians are still climbing out of the recession and cannot afford any increase in monthly expenses.

I asked the minister in question period today why the government refused to commit to providing compensation for damages suffered because of the G20. His response was that the government was not “legally bound to pay compensation”.

The government may not be legally bound to pay compensation, but how can it not believe it is morally bound to provide compensation to small business owners and condo owners, whose livelihood and homes are at stake, and for what? For little more than a glorified photo op. There is little action to tackle climate change and little action to make poverty history.

Right at the peak of Toronto's tourist season, the United States has issued a travel alert warning its citizens not to visit Toronto during the G20 summit.

Small businesses in the city depend on tourist dollars every year, but because of the summit, Toronto's major tourist attractions are being shut down. Gone are the 100,000 baseball fans expected to be downtown that weekend to see Doc Halladay's return to Toronto. Gone are the cultural tourists who wanted to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario that weekend. Gone are the visitors who would like to see a musical in Toronto's great entertainment district. Because of the summit, the show will not go on. Mamma Mia!, what is wrong with the government?

While we have been told that loss of business will be covered, people are being asked to fill out a six-page application and to submit it into a black hole. Their application will not be acknowledged for months. Then they will be forced to wait for up to seven years to find out if their application has been approved. Seven long years. Imagine that.

Business owners are also expected to provide three years' proof of revenue. What about new businesses? There are a lot of new businesses in downtown Toronto in the entertainment district.

The government should apologize to working Canadians for running off on a shopping spree with our money. It should apologize to small business owners for sinking $1 million into a fake lake but not committing a penny to compensate for property damages caused by the G20.

More important than an apology, we need a commitment from the government to take a tiny portion of the $260 billion in this bill that is about to be approved to help compensate Torontonians in a fair and timely manner.

The minister also talked about our ranking in the OECD. I want to leave a figure with the House as we adjourn for the summer. We are ranked dead last of all the OECD countries on government investment in children and in building affordable child care. That is a true fact. We are ranked last.

Not only are we ranked last according to the OECD, we are ranked last in the UNICEF report. UNICEF said that we are doing poorly in how we work with our kids, how we invest in our children, and in trying to make poverty history for children. More and more working families are waiting fruitlessly for affordable child care.

I would say to those out of touch members of Parliament who have been heckling me for the last 10 minutes that child care in downtown Toronto that is high quality costs a total of at least $13,000 to $14,000 a year. Is there one single penny in this bill that will actually go to extra dollars for affordable child care? There is none whatsoever. There is no extra money to create what is desperately needed for working families today.

That is why of the OECD countries, we are dead last. Yes, it is easy for male members of Parliament to continue to heckle. They do not understand that 70% of females in this country, working mothers, need affordable child care.

Can—

MAIN ESTIMATES, 2010-11Government Orders

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, order. The member raises a good point. There are a lot of secondary conversations going on. The member for Trinity—Spadina has one minute left. If we could just allow her a little bit of quiet so that she could make her points, it would be much appreciated.

MAIN ESTIMATES, 2010-11Government Orders

7:05 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are members of Parliament who are quite out of touch with the daily lives of Canadians, whether they are seniors who need more pension funds, or they are unemployed, or they are working parents who need affordable child care.

That is why we are not supporting this budget bill.

The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.

Opposition Motion--ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. It being 7:10 p.m., pursuant to an order made earlier today, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #77

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the amendment lost.

The next question is on the main motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #78

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion lost.

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

moved:

That the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, less the amounts voted in Interim Supply, be concurred in.

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

All those opposed will please say nay.

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

In my opinion, the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #79

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:50 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

moved that the bill be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Main Estimates, 2010-11Government Orders

7:50 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe if you were seek it, you would find agreement to apply the vote from the previous motion to the current motion.