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House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Montcalm.

Disability InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Manon Perreault NDP Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the disability insurance plan is not fulfilling its mandate. People with serious disabilities cannot access it. Over the past five years, more than half the disability insurance claims have been rejected, and half of these people still do not have a job three years later. The program evaluation report indicates that 48% of beneficiaries live below the poverty line.

Will the government undertake to improve support for the disabled and put an end to this injustice?

Disability InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government has done more than any other government to help the disabled. For example, we signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and we introduced the disability savings plan. We also introduced several other measures to help these people and their families.

Tourism IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, today our government delivered on our commitment to launch the very first federal tourism strategy. Would the hon. member for Beauce and Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism please tell the House how our government is working with the tourism industry to help create jobs and growth for Canada?

Tourism IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for his recent nomination as the chair of the Parliamentary tourism caucus.

I am very pleased today to have announced the federal tourism strategy, which will ensure that the Canadian government's efforts to support the tourism industry are coordinated. We know that the tourism industry in Canada creates jobs and wealth for Canadians. This is further proof that we are concentrating on what is important to Canadians: economic growth and jobs.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jonathan Tremblay NDP Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Charlevoix and Haute-Côte-Nord have been hard hit by the economic downturn and seriously penalized by the termination of the employment insurance transitional measures. The minister has to understand that these measures were brought in because the economic reality and the labour market in these regions were not the same as in the Lower St. Lawrence and the north shore. By terminating these measures, the Conservatives are ignoring the reality in the regions and showing that they do not have a plan to help workers.

When will the government extend the employment insurance transitional measures?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member said, these measures were transitional. The purpose of these measures was to help people who were having a great deal of difficulty finding a job because the unemployment rate where they lived was much higher than in other areas. For some time now, the unemployment rate in the region has been identical or comparable to other areas. The transitional measures are therefore no longer necessary. These people have the same opportunities as others in the area.

Border CrossingsOral Questions

October 6th, 2011 / 3 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, on one hand, the government is negotiating a secret security perimeter agreement worth $1 billion to make the Americans happy. On the other, the government is reducing the hours of border crossings and customs offices or even closing them, which has negatively affected security, the economy and tourism in dozens of communities close to Jamieson's Line, Franklin Centre, Côte-de-Liesse, Morses Line, Drummondville, East Pinnacle, Granby, Glen Sutton and Port-Cartier.

How can the minister justify these cuts, which are hitting the people who use these services hard, when it can find $1 billion for the Americans?

Border CrossingsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of our ongoing initiatives with respect to our discussions on free trade and security with the Americans.

We are also looking at ports of entry across the country, those on the 49th parallel and elsewhere. We believe that Canadians expect us to handle their money appropriately.

We are looking at the situation, and in cases where it is no longer justified to have those border crossings open, they will not be open.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Advocate Abdul Mannan Khan, State Minister, Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to ask the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons what his plans are for the rest of the week, as well as for when Parliament resumes following next week's recess, during which we will all be working in our ridings. In particular, I would like to know when the next opposition day is scheduled, for we have not yet been told.

Furthermore, my hon. colleagues know as well as I do that, for the second time in two weeks, the government is using a guillotine to cut off the normal debate process in our Parliament. We find this extremely worrisome, since it has become quite common with this government. Now that they have a majority, the Conservatives' contempt for Parliament is clear. I would also like the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to tell us when, in his mind, there has been enough debate.

The government is using the term “enough debate”. For the second time in two weeks, it is using a guillotine to cut off the normal work of parliament that we were elected by Canadians to do.

Bill C-13 was cut off after exactly three hours of debate. That is a budget bill. It is one of the primary reasons we get elected to the House and after only three hours of debate, it is cutting it off.

I would like, on behalf of all Canadians and the House, to understand when, in the opinion of the majority Conservatives, there has been enough debate.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in response to the question.

I want to start by extending my best wishes to the opposition House leader. I fear that this may be my last Thursday question from him, as I understand he might be embarking on new endeavours during the next week. We have worked together exceedingly well, to the surprise of many, I might say, and perhaps even to the disappointment of some. In any event, it is fair to say we have exceeded everyone's expectations in that regard.

Should it turn out that someone else asks next Thursday's question, allow me to offer him the best of luck. I know he is a determined competitor in every endeavour he undertakes and that he will still be around here, though perhaps in a somewhat different role.

As for the business of the House in the coming week, we will continue debating the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act this afternoon. That bill is designed to include many measures that were discussed in the last budget and the previous election, such as the small business hiring tax credit, extending the accelerated capital cost allowance for investments in manufacturing equipment, creating a new family caregiver tax credit, forgiving loans for new doctors and nurses in underserved areas and introducing a new children's arts tax credit for music, dance and art lessons.

Further to the motion adopted in the House this morning, the government will continue with the third and fourth days of debate on this bill on Friday. Then we will be in our constituencies for a week and we will return on the following Monday.

The House leader has asked me how much time is enough when we are doing the work we were elected by Canadians to do. The work we were elected by Canadians to do was to actually deliver on that budget and its terms that were discussed during the election campaign across the country earlier this year in the same fashion as our commitment to deliver on our tackling crime bill. The tackling crime bill was part of our commitment that we undertook to deliver to Canadians, and we intend to do that.

This bill will have been debated more than the average time at second reading than a typical average budget bill in the last 20 years, in fact more time than for any budget bill under a majority government during the past two decades, which I believe were Liberal majority governments.

On Tuesday, October 18, we will begin debate on the copyright modernization act.

In terms of the next allotted day, I will at some point allot that. We have not yet taken a decision on that.

In closing, let me wish all members a happy Thanksgiving. I know the opposition House leader in particular will put that week to great benefit.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend and colleague across the way for his concern, but I would also like to point out something that may have already been brought to your attention.

Contrary to the Standing Orders, the Minister of State for Agriculture used the name of an hon. member, in this case, mine. I understand that you did not hear him because I know you well enough to know that, if you had, you would have instantly risen to remedy the situation. We are not permitted to rise on a point of order during question period and so we count on you. I understand what happened but I would still like you to remind us of the rule that applies to everyone, particularly to ministers, who must set an example.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member is right. I missed that during question period, but this is a good opportunity to remind the members of the House that it is not permitted to refer to members by their names. We must refer to them by the names of their ridings or their titles only. I am certain that the hon. minister will remember this in the future.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. I must have gotten carried away in a heated debate. I was clearly referring to the hon. member for Outremont. I take your point, Mr. Speaker.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. As you know, it can be at times noisy in the House and I think the Minister for Consular Affairs may have had difficulty hearing the question I asked, which was about Mr. Philip Halliday from Digby, Nova Scotia, who is in a Spanish prison.

I would like to give her the opportunity, if you would permit, Mr. Speaker, to answer the question.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Halifax West for his courtesy. I have been back and forth with the House technicians about the sound for the last two weeks, so this is a good demonstration of why we need it to be fixed.

I appreciate my colleague from Halifax West raising this matter. Our colleague from West Nova is also in regular contact with me about the situation with Mr. Halliday. We are extremely concerned about this. We continue to be very active on this file and are continually monitoring the situation with regular consular visits to Mr. Halliday.

I can assure my colleagues from Halifax West and West Nova that this is very much a top of mind issue for our office and we will continue to work vigorously on it.

Statement by MembersPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to respond to a point of order that was raised by the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca on September 29.

I have reviewed the transcript of what I said during statements that day and the transcript of the point of order raised shortly afterward by my hon. colleague. Clearly, the comments that I made were in reference to the recent second reading vote on the safe streets and communities act, which the member himself opposed. I believe that after careful consideration, Mr. Speaker, you would find that the comments I made in no way accused the member of supporting criminals or criminality and did not impugn his character, as suggested in his point of order.

I am aware that this is a sensitive and sometimes personal topic for many Canadians. However, I do stand by my comment made on September 29, that by opposing the safe streets and communities act the member and all of those who joined him in voting against the act were in fact putting their constituents at risk by maintaining the status quo.

I would encourage the member and his party to reflect on the important measures contained in our bill and to change his vote in support of the safe streets and communities act at report stage and third reading in the coming weeks.

Statement by MembersPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I appreciate the hon. member assuring the House that he was not impugning anybody's character. I would ask all members, especially during S. O. 31s, to err on the side of civility when they are making their statements, especially when they are singling out a particular member.

I thank the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale for that clarification.

Tabling of DocumentPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Having been elected to this place for a number of years, I am aware of a lot of the traditions in the House. When an individual refers to a document, particularly an internal government document, it is only fair that the document be tabled in the House.

I am sure the minister meant well, but he indicated that all was well with cutting the search and rescue centres in Quebec City and St. John's. This document will explain to the minister, to members of the House and to the general public the danger to safety that is involved with these closures.

I would ask for the unanimous consent of the House to table this document so we will all be aware of the dangers of closing the search and rescue centres in Quebec City and St. John's.

Tabling of DocumentPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. member for Cardigan have the unanimous consent of the House to table the document?

Tabling of DocumentPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-13, An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Kildonan—St. Paul has six minutes left to conclude her remarks.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, as I said when I first spoke this morning to Bill C-13, it is so important to get this implementation bill passed. It is important because there has been a great deal of debate, starting as early as March when the first phase of this bill was tabled in the House.

We have not only gone through debate, but we have also gone through a full-fledged election. In that election, the members on all sides of the House ran on the budget and explained it very thoroughly to everyone. After that, Canadians were well aware of what we stood for on this budget and brought us back to Parliament with a majority government. That was a clear message from the rest of Canada that Canadians wanted to have this budget.

What things were they supporting? One of them was 600,000 jobs. Those 600,000 jobs have been created due to the fiscal management under the Prime Minister and under this government.

What are some of the other things that are so important? I would ask members opposite to think about some of these things because this would impact all communities across our nation, both on this side and on the opposite side of the House. I think Canadians are paying attention to this debate in the House today. I think that in the municipalities, for example, in my municipality of West and East St. Paul, Canadians are very supportive of a permanent annual investment of $2 billion in the gas tax fund to provide predictable long-term infrastructure funding for municipalities. Too often, municipalities had to wait to see what the transfer payment would be, and they put that very money to good use. This is in this implementation bill.

Also, the volunteer firefighters are waiting for their tax credit, which is waiting in the bill.

As everyone knows in the House, we have an aging demographic. It looks as if within the next 10 years as much as 25% of our population will be in the older age sector. The government, in its implementation bill, has introduced a new family caregiver tax credit to assist caregivers of all types of infirm and dependent relatives. It is very important to have that tax credit available. When family members need specific help, there is an expense to that help. Having this caregiver tax credit would be very important for them. We also propose to remove the previous $10,000 limit on the amount of eligible expenses caregivers can claim under the medical expenses tax credit in respect of financially dependent relatives.

The children's arts tax credit is waiting in the implementation bill. In prior budgets, we gave tax credits for sports. Members of my family and many of my constituents participate in soccer, basketball, hockey and other wonderful sports for which Canadians are so well known. However, there was a cry from the communities all across Canada asking, “What about the arts? What about the music?” In this implementation bill is this tax credit waiting to be launched and implemented. However, without the support of members opposite to get this through right away, that tax credit is held in abeyance.

Education and training are of paramount importance. I know many school children are considering what they are going to be doing when they grow up. Even my own daughter wants to go into medicine and there are many new doctors and nurses who want to go to underserved rural and remote areas.

In this very important implementation bill, Bill C-13, there is the opportunity to forgive loans for new doctors and nurses who make those choices. I just visited Churchill. I was up north and I looked at the wonderful medical facility and talked with the nurses up there. I was discussing this particular part of the budget bill and they said that this would attract people into remote northern areas. I think this is very important.

Also, for students going to university, it is very expensive. That is also in the implementation bill.

There are many good things in this implementation bill, such as phasing out the direct subsidy to political parties. Canadians are saying that they want their tax dollars used for roads, infrastructure, all the things that they need. They do not want to give their tax dollars to political parties so they can do their political things and run for office. Political parties need to take responsibility.

I hope to see this implementation bill pass very shortly.