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House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was judge.

Topics

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, 16% of our low-income students have to abandon their post-secondary education because of debt. Instead of helping these young people, this government is going to cut the taxes of the largest, most profitable corporations.

Why is it doing this instead of helping young people who would like to attend CEGEP, college or university?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the former Liberal government reduced transfers to the provinces for post-secondary education by 25%. This government reduced them by 15%. That is the major difference between our two parties and our two governments.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has announced that he will be going to Washington on Friday to talk to the Americans about something he does not seem to want to talk to Canadians about, and that is a secret perimeter security deal with the United States.

Will he confirm that these negotiations are under way? Will he confirm that is what he will be talking to President Obama about? Will he commit to the House to bring this deal back to the House for an open debate before he surrenders Canadian sovereignty?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government will do no such thing. On this side of the House, we are Canadians first and only.

Our relationship with the United States is obviously our most important relationship in the world. It is our closest friend and neighbour. We have a good and productive relationship with the Obama administration and I look forward to having a discussion on a range of issues with President Obama.

TaxationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, on corporate tax cuts the government is both bullheaded and wrong, but there is Conservative precedent for flexibility.

Let us look at when the finance minister was in the government of Ontario. In 2001, he announced provincial corporate tax cuts to come into effect two years later. However, in the face of intervening economic difficulty, his government put those tax cuts on hold. The minister applauded that delay, defended that delay and voted for that delay.

Why will he not do the same thing today and invest instead in families?

TaxationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, actually, if the member opposite checks the record he will see that I was not there for that vote. However, he will want to check that.

We have a low tax plan. On the other side, the self-described leader of the Liberal Party, a tax and spend Liberal, says that he will raise taxes. Why will he raise taxes? So he can spend money on big new programs.

We have a low tax agenda for Canadian families. The average saving for Canadian families so far has been $3,000 over the course of the five years of this government.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, specifically on the corporate tax cuts, the job creation is not there, so says the Bank of Canada. Corporate tax cuts are the least effective way to get immediate growth, so says the Department of Finance. The benefits of these corporate tax cuts are trivial, so says the chief analyst of Statistics Canada.

Why do Conservatives waste $6 billion on imprudent, ineffective extra corporate tax cuts, mostly for big business, while imposing higher EI payroll taxes, mostly hurting small business and killing jobs?

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, here is what John Manley, a former Liberal deputy prime minister said: “Canada needs a significant tax advantage....I do not think we should underestimate” the benefits of lowering taxes on businesses. “We are transforming how Canada is seen by investors....Reforming the tax system...is a hugely positive move”.

Those are the words of John Manley, the former Liberal deputy prime minister. The member for Wascana ought to listen to him.

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I questioned the Prime Minister as to why Quebec has still not received compensation for the harmonization of its sales tax. The response received was not very enlightening. Nevertheless, it seems that almost everything has been resolved with regard to this issue: Quebec is collecting a single tax and tax on tax has been eliminated.

Are products that are taxed by Ottawa but not by Quebec, for example, books, the problem here? Can the Prime Minister provide us with a clear answer?

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government is in favour of harmonizing sales taxes with the provinces. We have reached agreements with a number of provinces. To date, Quebec has decided to do things differently, namely, by signing an administration agreement rather than a harmonization agreement. However, Quebec has expressed interest in actually harmonizing its taxes and we are negotiating in good faith to resolve the problem.

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Diapers and nursing products are other examples of products that are taxed by Ottawa but not by Quebec. Is the problem with the harmonization agreement a result of the fact that Ottawa wants to make Quebec apply sales tax to diapers and nursing products? Does the Conservative government not want to help Quebec families?

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, to harmonize taxes, we must have only one tax. We cannot have two. That is what we are negotiating with the Province of Quebec. Frankly, I appreciate the discussions and I am certain that Mr. Charest does as well. He does not expect us to conduct negotiations with the Bloc Québécois in the House of Commons.

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Québécois does not need anyone's permission to defend the interests of Quebec, and certainly not that of Jean Charest.

There is a difference between managing a tax and having the power to impose a tax. Quebec does not tax books because we want to support a cultural policy. Quebec does not tax diapers in order to support our family policy. That is what it means to exercise fiscal independence. It seems that some of our social choices are being questioned in the negotiations. Can the Minister of Finance confirm that the negotiations with Quebec broke down over that? Otherwise, what is the holdup?

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, negotiations between Quebec and the Government of Canada are going very well. We have had some good discussions with the Government of Quebec on the matter, but a lot of work remains. We hope to continue our discussions and make some progress.

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's policy of not taxing diapers and books stems from its political choices. The federal government has nothing to do with that. Minister Bachand has asked the Prime Minister to intervene to get negotiations moving.

Since we cannot trust the federal finance minister, who gives Ontario preferential treatment, will the Prime Minister step in and get negotiations moving right away?

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we have a list of items we are discussing with the Government of Quebec. Discussions are continuing.

HealthOral Questions

February 1st, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, throughout the country, pharmacists are finding it more and more difficult to obtain medications like penicillin and tetracycline. The situation is very serious and worse than ever. This shortage is making doctors' and pharmacists' jobs more difficult, and patients are worried. The budget must include solutions to this problem. Will the budget take into account the need to end this shortage of drugs?

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I met with the Canadian Pharmacists Association. I also asked my department to look into effective ways of predicting possible shortages.

As a regulator of prescription drugs, we are responsible for assessing the safety and efficacy of the quality of drugs and products that are sold in Canada. We are continuing to look at this very issue with the department and the association.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, 90% of pharmacies are now facing prescription drug shortages, yet Health Canada has no plan to deal with the crisis, no system even for accounting for the shortages. We are flying blind here. Pharmacists, doctors and hospitals are left to scramble. Canadians are having trouble finding even basic medications.

When will the government finally wake up to this problem and go to the provinces with a real plan to deal with the prescription drug shortages, one that would deliver drugs to Canadians when they need them and at affordable prices? Are we going to see this in the budget?

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government works with the provinces and the territories to improve the management of pharmaceuticals, recognizing that they are responsible for the delivery of health care systems to their residents. At the same time they are also responsible for making the decisions for what would fall into their provincial formula. Our government will continue to work with the provinces and territories.

In past years, since we formed government, we have increased the transfers to the provinces and the territories by 30%. We will continue to work with the jurisdictions to address this issue.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister is completely abdicating her responsibilities to make sure there are adequate medications available to Canadians across this country, working with the provinces. A shortage of doctors, a shortage of medicines, and frankly, a shortage of leadership on health care; that is what we are facing from the government. The budget has to address these issues so that communities can deliver the health care that Canadians need.

The Prime Minister can send a signal in the budget. He can work with the provinces and territories to train more doctors and nurses and do something about the shortage of drugs.

Will he respond to the NDP prescription on this one at least?

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government continues to make health care a priority. During the Liberal decade of darkness, health care transfers to the provinces and territories were cut. Instead, our government has maintained funding for the provinces and territories. Since our government was formed, we have increased transfers to the provinces and territories by over 30%.

Let me read a quote from a member of the former Liberal government:

I think, in hindsight, the Chrétien government--even though I'm a Liberal--cut perhaps too deeply, too much offloading, with the benefit of hindsight. And there were some negative effects.

Who said that? It was the member for Markham—Unionville.

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, an International Monetary Fund report confirms what the Parliamentary Budget Officer has been saying, that the Conservative deficit projections are all wrong. Both the IMF and the PBO say the country will be in deficit for the next five years.

Every single deficit projection of the finance minister has been wrong. Government departments have not even planned to achieve the announced spending freeze in the budget. Is the minister just crossing his fingers?

How can Canadians believe anything he says about the deficit or the finances of this country?

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the hon. member may want to check the report to which I think she is making reference. She will see that the report refers to all governments in Canada, not just the federal government. She will see also that the IMF says that this federal government is on track--

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

That you're fudging the deficit, Jim.