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House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, instead of answering the concerns raised by the Occupy movement, the Conservatives are boasting that Canada's level of inequality is better than others, but the very conservative Conference Board has a different take: Canada has the highest increase of inequality of 16 peer nations, including the United States.

Surely the Prime Minister is aware of this. Instead of bragging about its record, where is the plan to reduce inequality in Canada?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as this government has said repeatedly, our focus is on jobs and growth. I would take this opportunity to note the job creation figures last month, which indicate that Canada has now created over 650,000 jobs since the recession. This is of course one of the best records in the developed world.

We have important measures that are before the House right now to continue making sure we have jobs and opportunities for all Canadians so they all participate in Canada's recovery.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in the past 10 years, more than 30% of economic gains went to 1% of the population, the wealthiest people. That is the result of the fiscal policies adopted by the Conservatives, and the Liberals before them. The middle class is becoming poorer, fewer people are working, the gap between rich and poor is widening, and profitable big business is receiving billions of dollars in tax cuts.

Is the Prime Minister aware of the inequality he is creating in the country?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have reduced taxes for all Canadians. In any event, the NDP, because of its ideology, voted against tax cuts, including those for the poor.

The Canadian economy has created more than 650,000 jobs since the recession. That is the best performance in the developed world, and that is how we are ensuring that Canadians participate in the economy and the economic recovery.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government is mocking Canadians when it says that 650,000 new jobs have been created since the recession. That is false and the Prime Minister knows it. That is why the unemployment rate is higher now than before the recession. That is why the unemployment rate is rising and the employment rate is declining. The Prime Minister should stop deceiving everyone and tell us the truth.

Where is the job creation plan?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the figures I gave are correct. Everyone knows that. We have brought before the House other measures to create more jobs. However, just last night, the NDP again voted against these job creation measures.

The NDP seems to misunderstand its role when it stands up and votes against job creation measures. It is not supposed to just occupy the House. It is supposed to do something for the Canadian people.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

October 18th, 2011 / 2:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Wheat Board is the largest and most successful grain marketing company in the world. It is a Canadian success story with a proven track record of providing the best possible returns for farmers and minimizing their risk.

We can prove our arguments with detailed, empirical evidence, but there is no business case for dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board. There has never been one shred of evidence that farmers will be better off without the Wheat Board.

In these uncertain economic times, how can the government be so reckless and irresponsible as to turn the prairie farm economy on its head without even doing a cost benefit analysis?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the first thing the member for Winnipeg Centre should do is check his research. The Wheat Board is actually the third largest exporter just in Canada. Viterra is first, Cargill is second and then it is the Canadian Wheat Board. That is how much it has slipped in value to western Canadian farmers. That is why we are nowhere on solid ground with western Canadian farmers. Moving ahead with marketing freedom will get that done, despite that member.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Americans certainly understand what an advantage the Wheat Board is to farmers because 13 times they went to the WTO and complained that it was an unfair trade practice it was such an advantage, and 13 times the WTO ruled that there was nothing unfair about Canadian farmers acting collectively to stand up in their own best interests.

If the Wheat Board is not such an advantage to prairie farmers, why is the American agri-food business so eager kill it and, the big question is, why is the government willing to do its dirty work for it?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

It is very interesting, Mr. Speaker, that the first person out of the gate announcing value added in western Canada is a western Canadian. Murad Al-Katib, with Alliance Grain Traders, has announced a $50 million investment for durum production in the lower part of Saskatchewan where the durum is grown. He will create 60 value-added jobs. I do not know why the member opposite is against farmers and against jobs in western Canada.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

One practical step that could be taken to deal with the lack of progressivity in the tax system, which, by the way, was referred to yesterday by the Minister of Finance as a big plus for Canada, would be to make the non-refundable tax credits refundable. Those tax credits apply to kids who are taking piano lessons, kids who are on the margins. Their parents are so poor that they cannot pay taxes.

Why will the Prime Minister not change the bill before the House and ensure those kids can get those benefits?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear the NDP call for the embellishment of tax credits that it voted against.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

An hon. member

We are Liberal.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Conservative Calgary Southwest, AB

I should say the Liberals. I get confused.

There are a number of additional tax reduction measures before the House that are very important to small business and to job creation across this country, strongly supported by stakeholders. I would encourage the NDP and the Liberal Party to stop opposing those measures.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, one thing is clear and that is that, despite the Prime Minister's confusion, when the Conservative Party has the opportunity to make a change that will make the tax system far more progressive, it does not want to make that change.

I will repeat the same question: why not give tax credits to the poorest people in the country? That is how to make the system more progressive. That is what the government needs to do.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party is talking about tax credits that his party voted against. These are important measures for Canadian families. Other measures that are important to job creation, the business community and SMEs are now before this House. I encourage the Liberal Party to reverse its position and support these tax credits, which are very important for the Canadian economy.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's position with respect to the Wheat Board becomes even less understandable when the American ambassador announced today at lunch that there would be no change in buy America and that buy America would be the policy there.

We have a thickening of the border, a continuing attack on the marine tax and other continuing attacks on the Canadian economy and the Prime Minister at this moment decides to make the biggest, single, unilateral trade concession it could make, this by a government that has been trying to get rid of the Wheat Board for 15 years.

The Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the logic of the Liberal Party, judging from that question, is that, because the Americans want to buy certain products in the United States, we should not allow Canadian farmers to sell their own products.

The Liberal Party should ask itself why it does not have a single representative whose riding is predominantly in rural western Canada. It is because it does not listen to western farmers. This is something western farmers have been needing and demanding for decades, and that day is finally here.

Research and DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, a group of experts has said that $3 billion is handed out every year in tax credits for research and development and that this does not have any significant impact on economic growth and business development. Yet the government continues to provide ineffective tax credits.

Will this government recognize that it would be better off creating a plan to help businesses innovate and create jobs?

Research and DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on encouraging businesses to do more research and development because not only will that help the business itself but it will create more jobs for Canadians, and that is what we want.

We did launch a panel to review our programs to see how we could make them better to get more results for Canadians. This is very important to Canadians so we will look at the report and consider all the recommendations quite seriously.

Research and DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to The Globe and Mail, nearly one-third of funds allocated to research and development is used to pay consultants, because the claims process is extremely complicated. These billions of dollars are also used to review claims that are questionable or even misleading.

When will this government come up with a plan to create innovative jobs instead of lining the pockets of consultants?

Research and DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why we launched the panel.

If we can get businesses to do more research and development, develop new products or a new process on which they make a product now, or perhaps find a new market for existing products, that will create high-paying, high-value jobs for Canadians. That will improve the quality of living for Canadians. That is what the government wants. That is why we are looking at the panel.

Last night, the NDP voted against improving the quality of life for Canadians.

Research and DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Jenkins report released yesterday confirmed that this government's innovation strategy in its research and development support policy is a failure. This government is the worst performer among major industrialized countries as far as direct public investment in research and development is concerned. This government is a laggard in terms of the number of patents issued. It is ranked last in terms of the number of doctoral graduates and is among the worst performers when it comes to businesses' financial contribution to research and development.

What is the government going to do to finally address this pitiful situation?

Research and DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, as I just mentioned, we did launch an R and D panel to review all of the government's programs that encourage small and large businesses to do more research and development. The panel reported yesterday. It is a great report. We are looking at it. It is a very serious issue for Canadians. We will give it serious consideration.

We will improve the quality of life of Canadians because that is what we on this side of the House want.

Research and DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we believe in research and development and sound industrial policy. On that side of the House, the facts speak for themselves.

The government has failed on patent development. It has failed on supporting PhDs. It t is pouring billions into blind corporate tax cuts and costly tax credits that have failed to stimulate research and development. Canada is last in direct R and D public investment among all industrialized countries.

Will the government commit now to increasing direct R and D public investment? We have said it. The reports are saying it. When will the government do the right thing?