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House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was business.

Topics

Homelessness Awareness NightStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 21, in more than 20 cities across Quebec, organizations that help the homeless will be holding activities as part of the 22nd Nuit des sans-abri.

The public is invited to spend a night filled with warmth and emotion under the stars, in the company of street people. Every night, people live, sleep and die on Canadian streets. The Nuit des sans-abri is a special opportunity to break through indifference and diminish the stigma of homelessness by showing our support for the homeless.

The Conservative government brags that our economy is the best in the G8. Unfortunately, persistent poverty is on the rise in this country and the number of homeless people and people using food banks is growing.

I invite the Conservative government members to come down from their ivory tower and join the homeless on the street on October 21. Perhaps some contact with reality will make them less arrogant and more open to the needs of the less fortunate.

Fauja SinghStatements By Members

October 17th, 2011 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Conservative Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize an incredible athlete of Sikh origin, Fauja Singh. Fauja Singh broke nine—yes, nine—world age group records this past week in Toronto. He broke the 100 metre, 200 metre, 400 metre, 800 metre, 1,500 metre, 3,000 metre and 5,000 metre world age group records.

As if these records were not enough, Fauja Singh went on to become the oldest person to ever complete a marathon. At over 100 years of age, Fauja Singh ran the Toronto waterfront marathon, 42 kilometres, in 8 hours, 11 minutes and 6 seconds. Aside from his remarkable physical abilities, Mr. Singh selflessly gives back to local communities through charities such as Guru Gobind Singh Children's Foundation, which has a mission to help children meet basic needs.

On behalf of all Canadians, especially those from my riding of Brampton—Springdale, I want to congratulate Fauja Singh on his remarkable achievements.

Dr. Richard TaorStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honour the distinguished 44-year career service of Dr. Richard Taor. For 34 of those years, Dr. Taor served the people of Channel-Port aux Basques and surrounding communities in my riding of Random—Burin—St. George's. He cared for his patients with immense compassion and devotion.

As a rural doctor in Newfoundland and Labrador, he overcame challenges to ensure that those in his care received the treatment they needed. His tireless service and staunch work ethic meant his patients received the best medical care possible. Dr. Taor is known for never rushing his patients and always taking time to listen.

Dr. Taor came to Channel-Port aux Basques in 1977 from England. He was welcomed with open arms to an area that he admits he knew almost nothing about. Although his services were pursued by larger communities, he remained loyal to the people who needed his help most. He will be missed as a doctor in the area, but will remain a friend and neighbour.

I ask all members to join me in thanking Dr. Richard Taor for his years of service and in congratulating him on a well-deserved retirement.

Riley SenftStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing more powerful than a Canadian family dedicated to an important cause, such as fighting cancer.

Thirty years ago we were inspired by Terry Fox. In the House we saw first-hand the struggle of Jack Layton, supported by family members like the member for Trinity—Spadina. More recently Canadians celebrated with Riley Senft, a 32-year-old whose West Vancouver family together confronted the challenge of prostate cancer. Riley's grandfather died of prostate cancer in the fall of 2010, and his father Rod, a leading Canadian businessman, is undergoing second-time treatment for this disease.

Bruised but unbowed by cancer in the family, Riley ran over 6,600 kilometres from coast to coast, speaking in communities as he went. Buoyed by his father, his mother Jeannie and his siblings Derek and Lauren, Riley has raised over $500,000 in the battle against prostate cancer. Over 1,000 people greeted Riley in West Vancouver this month to celebrate the completion of his astonishing run.

May we now rise as well to acknowledge this outstanding Canadian.

Alexandra DodgerStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise with a heavy heart to remember the life of a friend whose journey was tragically cut short this past Saturday at the age of 27. Alexandra Dodger was killed after being struck by a car near her home in Ottawa.

Alex was an extraordinary woman who was passionate about life and was determined to improve the lives of those around her. She cared deeply about giving a voice to the voiceless. Alex had just graduated from law school at McGill earlier this year and started a promising career with Amnesty International. Alex dedicated so much of her time to many causes, one of which was the Ontario New Democratic Youth, where I had the pleasure of working with her and where we became friends. There is no doubt in my mind that Alex was destined to do great things and was going to bring forth positive change.

I will cherish our time spent together and miss all the times that we will never have. On behalf of myself, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and all our staff, many of whom knew Alex well, I would like to extend our deep and sincere condolences to Alex's family, friends and colleagues, but especially to her mother and grandmother, who must now endure what no parent or grandparent should have to.

International TradeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, negotiations towards a comprehensive economic and trade agreement between Canada and the European Union are the most open, collaborative and transparent negotiations this country has ever seen. Two weeks ago, the Minister of International Trade even appeared before the committee, at his own request, to give an update on the negotiations.

Today's demonstrations once again reveal the sad reality: these special interest groups are simply opposed to free trade. The benefits of a Canada-European Union free trade agreement are considerable: a 20% increase in bilateral trade and a $12 billion annual boost to Canada's economy, not to mention the 80,000 new jobs that would be created in Canada.

By supporting these special interest groups, the NDP is going against the interests of workers and doing precisely what it has unfortunately always done in the past: opposing free trade. As history has shown, protectionist measures only impede growth and kill jobs.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of Labour gets upgrades from Air Canada managers to fly first class, she sides once again with management, picking winners and losers in the labour dispute.

The Conservatives claim that they believe in the free market, but they are happy to take away the rights of workers to market their value freely.

Could the government explain why it is choosing sides and interfering in the bargaining process?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I will address the fact that the preface of the hon. leader of the opposition's words was incorrect and that the accusation is false. She should know better and so should the NDP. I expect an apology on the matter.

With respect to the Air Canada dispute, the government has reviewed all of the options that were available to it. Because the two parties have failed at the table and because the economy is still fragile, we have referred the matter to the Canada Industrial Relations Board for its considered opinion.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that kind of answer is making people mad. The Occupy Wall Street movement is spreading throughout the world and to Canada because people are tired of seeing their leaders give billions of dollars in tax cuts to big business. Even the Governor of the Bank of Canada says that these frustrations are legitimate.

Is the message getting through to the Prime Minister?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, it is fortunate that all Canadians have the right to peacefully express their views.

Canada does not, by the way, have the degree of economic inequality that we are seeing in other countries that have perhaps started this movement. We have a very progressive tax system that favours the vulnerable in this country. We have a social system that supports the unemployed. We have universal health care.

There is a great deal of difference in what we put in front of Canadians and offer to Canadians that they should be thankful for.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, inequality is growing in Canada. The middle class is paying more while the top 1% is earning more. People are fed up. They are occupying Wall Street, they are occupying Bay Street, they are occupying Ottawa, yet the Minister of Finance is dismissing them. “All is good, all is well; move along”, he says.

Why will the Prime Minister not listen to them and cancel his corporate tax cuts?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, as part of our economic action plan we put in place reductions in taxes for all Canadians. We have taken almost one million low-income Canadians completely off the tax roll. We have 650,000 more Canadians working than at the end of the recession. That economic action plan is working for Canadians.

I would remind everyone in the House and all Canadians that the NDP voted against every aspect of that.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the IMF, an ultra-conservative institution, published a study indicating that in countries with more income equality, periods of economic growth are more stable and last longer. The Conservatives are doing the opposite: they continue to give gifts to the wealthiest, making the middle class fall further behind.

Instead of throwing money at big business, why not invest in our communities? Why not?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, the only gift that this government has given to Canadians is an opportunity that has provided 650,000 more jobs. That is more jobs than were lost. We have recovered all of the output that was lost.

The hon. member raised the IMF. Let me quote the IMF, other than just her selective quotes. It says that relatively, Canada's healthy economic fundamentals create a sounder fiscal financial position than in many other countries in the world. That is what we should be listening to.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are just not listening. Canadians are sending a message.

The growing inequality between the top 1% and everyone else has to stop. Jobless rates are critically high, especially for young people and new Canadians. Every day life gets more expensive, and Conservatives stand by while retirement savings tumble with the stock markets.

When will the Conservatives stop padding the pockets of the top 1% and take real action for the 99%? When will they cancel their multi-billion-dollar corporate tax giveaways and invest that money to reduce inequality? When will they do that?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, indeed, if there is one Canadian still looking for a job, that is too many. That is why we will be voting tonight on our economic action plan part two. We hope that hon. members on the other side will support it.

There are credits in there for small businesses for new hires to get more people back to work. There is a lot more continuation of what we have been doing that is actually working to help create jobs for Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, to the same minister, he is talking about tax credits to small business of roughly $165 million, which sounds terrific, including all of his talk about how the government has never increased any taxes. However, could the minister please explain why his government is persisting on the truly retrograde path of taxing small business an additional $2 billion and employees $2 billion at the same time the economy is so fragile?

Why is the government giving people $165 million and taking $2 billion out of their pockets? Where is the logic in that?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to answer that. I think most Canadians know that the Liberals, I believe, were the ones who suggested putting in place the 45-day work year. We heard from businesses that it would not be a good idea and so we made sure that did not happen.

However, we needed to ensure that the EI fund became actuarially sound. We are going to do that. We are not going to do what the previous Liberal government did, which was to borrow that money and not give it back.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem remains. There is noise and wind coming from the other side, but that is all right. The government cannot deny that it is problematic to impose a new $2 billion tax when the economy is extremely fragile.

How can the minister explain this complete contradiction in the Conservative Party's policy?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, the contradiction comes from the questioner because he was part of a party that wanted to create a 45-day work year. That would not have been good for employees. That would not have been good for companies in this country.

The last thing we want to do is raise costs to businesses. They are employers, and that is why we continue to reduce their costs. That is what will get more people back to work and that is the main focus of this government: jobs and improving the economy.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister can fantasize however much he wants after being prompted by some of his colleagues to come up with these fantastic theories.

I just want him to focus for a moment. I know he can do it--

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The member has the right to pose the question.

The hon. member for Toronto Centre.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the question is very simple. Why would you persist in a payroll tax, which everyone in the country knows is a killer of jobs? Why would you persist with a payroll tax just at the moment when unemployment is a big issue?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I would remind the hon. member to address his questions to the chair and not directly at his colleagues.

The hon. minister of state.