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House of Commons Hansard #120 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regard.

Topics

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's Minister of Finance, Raymond Bachand, recently stated that compensating Quebec for harmonizing its sales tax requires the political will of Ottawa. What is the Prime Minister waiting for to put an end to this unfairness and use the next budget to provide fair compensation to Quebec?

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government favours sales tax harmonization. However, the final decision rests with the provincial governments, which have a choice about joining us. To date, the Quebec government has chosen to retain a single sales tax, but we are currently negotiating this matter. We still hope to arrive at a solution that respects the agreements we have signed with the other provinces.

FinanceOral Questions

January 31st, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the last two budgets, Quebec's loss was Ontario's gain. The federal government owes Quebec more than $5 billion according to Quebec's finance minister. This is beyond negligence by the federal government. It is contempt. In addition to the $2.2 billion for the harmonized sales tax to match the compensation given to the other provinces, there is the $1.5 billion for equalization and Hydro-Québec, $800 million for post-secondary education and $127 million in stabilization payments.

When are they going to pay their debts?

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. Bloc finance critic is welcoming us back with a question that is rather redundant. It has been answered many times before.

Let me remind him that actually the transfers to Quebec have increased 44% under this government. That is the plain and simple answer. I am not sure what his question is all about other than just to remind Canadians how much we do support Quebec.

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the junior finance minister should do his homework: these disputes have been going on for years. It is high time these matters were resolved.

The stabilization program issue has been dragging on since 1991-92. Even though two courts ruled in favour of Quebec, in 2007 and in 2008, we are still waiting for the federal government to pay Quebec its fair share. How can the government give billions of dollars to Ontario and nothing to Quebec?

It is Quebec's turn now. Does the minister understand that?

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I can certainly understand that. I also understand there were no math lessons on the beach in Mexico, where the hon. member was getting his wonderful tan.

Let us go back to the facts. Quebec will receive $7.6 billion in equalization this year alone. That is a 60% increase over when the Liberals were in power. Once again, I am not sure what he is complaining about.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, since Parliament last met I have been travelling across Canada talking to Canadian families who are still struggling to get by in the context of the recession. While the Conservatives are declaring today, once again, mission accomplished on the economy, Canadians who are still trying to make ends meet know that is just hogwash.

Statistics Canada came out and showed very clearly that the full-time jobs that had been lost in the recession had not fully recovered and that the growth in employment, such as it is, was in low-paying part-time jobs. People cannot cover their bills that way.

Will the government commit to practical proposals by the New Democratic Party to help the middle class deal with the recession?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since the recovery began, the Canadian economy has created nearly 400,000 jobs, which is frankly unmatched by virtually any other developed country.

This does not mean mission accomplished. There is still much to do to get the employment situation to the point where we want it. However, this government's conviction is clear that maintaining low tax rates for our employers is critical to continued job creation and to continuation of the recovery. Obviously we are not going to raise taxes on employers.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has a choice to make: help families or call an election. The NDP is prepared to work to help retirees and future retirees, for example. A number of them have seen their pensions shrink because of the recession. The government could help these people by increasing the guaranteed income supplement. That is simple and easy to do.

What does the Prime Minister choose, helping our seniors or helping the banks yet again?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our government did help Canadian families, not only by cutting taxes, but also by expanding benefits such as the family allowance and by increasing employment insurance benefits during the crisis. Our government sees only one choice: helping families. And I encourage the leader of the NDP and the other opposition parties to not think about an election, but instead about helping families.

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister wanted to help out families, he would be doing something to deal with their health care concerns. We have emergency rooms that are overcrowded. We have prescription drug costs going through the roof. Home care is completely inadequate. Four million people do not even have a family doctor. One practical step that the Prime Minister could take would be to support the NDP proposal to train more family doctors and nurses so no family has to go without that primary health care on which they count.

Why is the government refusing to help Canadian families with something such as health care, which is so basic to all of them?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is refusing to do no such thing and always encourages positive suggestions on things like health care.

We operate in a federal system in which health care is the primary responsibility of the provinces. However, we have been working constructively with our provincial colleagues. In spite of the recession and in spite of the budgetary challenges of this government, we have increased the health care funding for our provinces by 30% and intend to ensure that funding increase continues into the future.

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried about the rising health care costs in our aging population. They know that we must prepare to invest more in the health care that Canadians need.

With a record deficit, rising health care costs and on the eve of negotiations with the provinces on health transfers, why are the Conservatives going ahead with their reckless corporate tax cuts? Why are they putting our health care system at risk by gutting our capacity to invest in it?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting question coming from the hon. member who I believe has actually run on promoting private health care. However, that is not the plan of this government.

Our plan is to get back to balanced budgets. However, part of that is reducing the costs for businesses in our country. Those are the job creators. Those are the people who drive this economy. By reducing their costs, they hire more people and it helps build our economy. It is that simple.

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government increased transfers and put $41 billion of new money into health care. The Liberals cut corporate taxes in times of surplus when Canada could afford it, giving Canada the second lowest corporate tax rates in the G7.

However, now that the Conservatives have spent Canada into a record deficit, Canadians do not want the government to borrow more money to pay for more corporate tax cuts.

Why will the Minister of Finance not listen to Canadians and cancel his reckless scheme to cut corporate tax rates on borrowed money?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, it is always interesting to be able to read a quote back to an individual who has made some very interesting statements in the past. The member for Kings—Hants said, “Liberals believe that government, through government spending, can create better opportunities in Canada to keep Canadians here. I believe that if the government reduces taxes we can create better opportunities here”.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we learned that the fighter jet the government wants to buy, the F-35, cannot be refuelled mid-air unless, of course, we spend hundreds of millions of dollars more.

When will the Prime Minister wake up and launch an open competition to save taxpayers billions of dollars and to create thousands of guaranteed jobs?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. In fact, the F-35 will have refuelling capability and capacity. Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the plane, has confirmed that the F-35 can handle different types of refuelling systems, including the one currently used by our forces.

We are at least five years away from receipt of that first aircraft. We are working with Lockheed Martin and all the members of that consortium. I do not know why the member opposite and his party want to cancel the program that they started in 1997.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the point is not whether it can be refuelled, it is the fact that the government forgot that there are hundreds of millions of dollars of extra cost because it did not plan for it. It is getting more expensive every day. Today we discover that this plane cannot be refuelled except by paying hundreds of millions of dollars more. How many hundreds of millions more and what else has the government forgotten to factor in?

When will the government come to its senses, hold a public competition, save Canadians billions of dollars and guarantee thousands of jobs?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, any modifications with respect to refuelling will be done within the current budget allotted for the F-35.

What would cost our country a billion dollars, if not more, would be to cancel the procurement process that the member's party began.

We have seen this before. We have seen this story and it is a nightmare. It is called the Sea King replacement. Members opposite, in that case, cost the country a billion dollars and we still have not received those helicopters.

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2010, on its website, Export Development Canada invited businesses here to invest in Tunisia, stating that Tunisia's political and economic environment was stable.

Is the minister not worried by the fact that his analysts came to that conclusion not long before the revolution in Tunisia?

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as we know, there have been significant changes in the political environment in Tunisia recently. Canada has enjoyed good export success in the past. Our hope is that as the situation normalizes there in the future, once again that kind of relationship could be established for the benefit of the citizens of both countries.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has said that members of the Ben Ali family are not welcome here, yet it has not frozen their assets in Canada.

Is the government aware that by not taking immediate action, the assets of Ben Ali's brother-in-law, for example, could fly off to tax havens and it would then be too late to recover them?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as my colleagues know, we have been very clear about our relationship with Tunisia and with the family members. We have said time and time again, while respecting the rule of law, that these people are not welcome in Canada. We will look at every possible option to ensure that their assets are frozen.

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' complacency and partisan attitude have made fraudster Vincent Lacroix a free man. The Bloc Québécois proposed many times that we fast-track the bill to abolish parole after one-sixth of a sentence is served. The Conservatives refused every time.

Does the government realize that it is responsible for the early release of Vincent Lacroix, who bilked thousands of small investors?