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House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberals.

Topics

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend my colleagues from Hochelaga and Joliette on their excellent remarks. I think that they clearly set out the information that we have about the situation related to the motion before us.

For those who are watching, I would like to repeat the text of the motion that was introduced by the Liberal Party on this opposition day. It reads:

That, in the opinion of the House, the Government’s decision to proceed with cuts to the tax rate for large corporations fails to address the economic needs of Canadian families, and this House urges the Government to reverse these corporate tax cuts and restore the tax rate for large corporations to 2010 levels in the upcoming Budget.

This reference to large corporations clearly allows us to vote in favour of this motion since we are of the opinion that SMEs must be given room to breathe and that there is room to ease their tax burdens a little, especially given that, over the past few years, it has been mainly large corporations that have been benefiting from the situation.

We are currently dealing with a Conservative government that gives gifts to certain large corporations. These are large corporations that are making sometimes indecent profits, such as oil companies, banks and businesses with outrageous revenues and profits.

The actions of the Conservative government are indicative of its governance strategy. That is what I would like to speak about. The Conservatives' strategy involves taking every possible means away from the Canadian government so that they can then justify reneging on commitments related to the social safety net or social services. It started with the reduction of the GST from 8% to 6%, and now we are seeing it with the banks.

Let us talk about the Liberal government. They began lowering taxes in 2000. Corporate taxes were at 28%. Taxes were gradually lowered to 21% by 2006. Now the Conservatives want to cut them to 15% by 2012. Each percentage point costs Canada $1 billion in revenue. If this revenue were to go to help low income earners, those who are the worst off, it would be different. But that is not the case. We are talking about banks that have made approximately $46 billion in profits since 2007. That is huge. But the Conservatives still want to hand tax cuts to them and to oil companies that make billions in profits.

In the meantime, the Conservative government continues to apply a policy implemented by the Liberals, which consists in finding money to make up in some small way for the shortfall from people such as those who lose their jobs. We know that when the Liberal government was in power, it wanted to pay down the debt. It gradually complicated access to employment insurance to make as many people as possible ineligible. Earlier, my Liberal colleague said that the government is running a $56 billion deficit. But $57 billion was stolen from the employment insurance fund by the Liberals when they were in power.

If they want to redeem themselves and say otherwise, that is fine, but we need to look at the similarities in their policies.

The same goes for the Liberal Party. When a previous economic statement was tabled, the Liberal members had also voted to cut taxes for large corporations.

My two colleagues spoke earlier about the benefits granted to large corporations. I too would like to talk about the measures the Bloc Québécois has proposed to the Minister of Finance for the next budget.

First of all, we must not raise taxes for individuals or small and medium-sized businesses. Conversely, we must not cut taxes for large corporations. We need to stop giving these gifts to large multinationals, banks and oil companies.

The Bloc Québécois is proposing a series of measures. The wealthiest taxpayers should pay a surtax, specifically 2% for people who earn between $150,000 and $250,000 a year—some members of this House would likely have to pay up—and 3% for anyone who earns over $250,000. This measure alone would allow the government to bring in an additional $4.8 billion. My colleague, the hon. member for Hochelaga, has had the opportunity to present this measure to the Minister of Finance.

Another measure would be to impose a heavy tax on bonuses. In recent years, the public has been shocked to see companies closing or laying off many of their employees, only to turn around and hand out millions of dollars in bonuses.

We are also proposing a review of the federal military procurement policy. We believe that $470 billion over 20 years is excessive. We believe that a different measure is needed in order to support our soldiers, particularly in combat situations. Some of that money should be used to meet the needs of the people.

We must eliminate access to tax havens. At present, as surprising as it may be and despite the lofty commitments of successive Liberal and Conservative governments, it is still possible to put money in tax shelters by using offshore tax havens. Government operating expenditures also need to be reduced. Some of these measures have also been explained by my colleague from Hochelaga. Lastly, we also need to fight tobacco smuggling. Just those two measures alone would allow the government to save billions of dollars.

This morning, the Federation of Independent Business, which Canadian and Quebec businesses are a part of, said it did not want tax increases, and we concur. Where necessary, taxes could even be reduced. Small and medium-sized enterprises are what drive the local and regional economy. Tax cuts would ensure that the economy of proximity—those businesses that sustain communities and truly create jobs—is given priority in any strategy to support the economy.

Since there is a new Speaker in the chair, I will just remind the House that the Bloc Québécois will support the Liberal Party motion and continue to make suggestions for getting money where money is found. Let us stop allowing those who make profits to abuse the system.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

When debate resumes, the hon. member for Chambly—Borduas will have five minutes left for questions and comments.

GananoqueStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend my hometown of Gananoque, Ontario, in my riding of Leeds—Grenville, hosted the 1000 Islands Pond Hockey Tournament and the World Pond Curling Championship.

I had the pleasure on Sunday afternoon of playing in the celebrity hockey game which featured former NHL stars, politicians and local celebrities, along with well-known Canadian, Rick Mercer, who turns out to be a fairly decent goalie when he is not distracted by the camera.

Mr. Mercer taped the event and it can be watched on his show in the near future.

The weekend event brought teams to Gananoque from as far away as Texas and brought spectators to the beautiful waterfront in this 1000 islands community. It gave everyone a new perspective on winter fun in small-town Canada.

I want to congratulate the organizers and volunteers who began their work many months ago, with a special thanks to the hard work of Lori Higgs and Katherine Christensen.

Hopefully we will all be back next year.

Radio-Canada AcadieStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, Louise Imbeault announced that she was retiring as director of Radio-Canada Acadie.

I want to congratulate Ms. Imbeault on her hard work and on everything she has done to promote Acadian and francophone culture. She has been dedicated to this cause for a long time. Her career in the media has spanned 35 years, and, just like my father, she even had the opportunity to work for the newspaper Évangéline, which unfortunately no longer exists.

We are very sad to see Ms. Imbeault leave and we are profoundly grateful to her.

However, her replacement, Michel Cormier, will no doubt do an equally impressive job.

Michel Cormier has a great deal of experience with Radio-Canada. He has been a correspondent in Moscow, Paris and Beijing. He comes from Cocagne, a community near my own, and I know that he is very happy to be returning home to Acadia.

Alex HarveyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to celebrate the extraordinary feat of a young man from my riding whose name is Alex Harvey.

This young skier is the son of athlete Pierre Harvey, who participated in the summer Olympics in cycling and in the winter Olympics in cross-country skiing. A native of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Alex, at the age of 22, has become the world champion after winning a 30 km race in Estonia at the U-23 Cross-Country World Championships.

This outstanding achievement has made him the first Quebecker and first Canadian to win at the Cross-Country World Championships. This skier has been collecting medals for a number of years and will continue to surprise us.

A student in law at Université Laval, Alex Harvey is a model for youth. Brave and determined, he excels in a high-performance sport while succeeding academically.

Again, congratulations on this historic success. On behalf of Quebec and all the people of Côte-de-Beaupré, good luck, Alex, and keep making us proud.

Youth SuicideStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we remember the life of a promising young girl, Daron Richardson, who should today be celebrating her 15th birthday with family and friends but instead sadly took her own life this past November. In an effort to increase awareness around the issue of youth mental health and suicide prevention, Daron's parents, Luke and Stephanie, have shown tremendous courage by making Daron's birthday as the first annual “Do it for Daron” fundraising drive which seeks to identify and treat suicidal young people.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15 to 24 year-olds, making it the second leading cause of death for Canadians among young people. My colleague, the member for Halifax introduced a private member's bill in the House of Commons entitled, An Act respecting a National Strategy for Suicide Prevention which is both crucial and timely.

Suicide may be the second leading cause of death among young people, however, many of the problems associated such as depression, emotional stress and substance abuse are treatable. Often, many young people may not be able to identify these problems, yet by increasing a dialogue around this crucial issue in children's early teens, we can hopefully break down the barrier to youth mental health and suicide.

All parliamentarians should commend the Richardson family on confronting this important issue in the wake of their loss; that is a great gift to our country.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, today the Liberal Party confirmed it would raise taxes when it tabled an opposition day motion calling on the government to raise taxes on job-creating businesses. It is well known the opposition favours higher taxes and irresponsible spending.

Our government believes in keeping taxes low. Our low tax plan is creating jobs for families right across the country.

The Liberal leader has a history of supporting higher taxes. In 2004, he called himself a “tax and spend Liberal”. In 2006, he was the first Liberal to propose a job-killing carbon tax. In 2008, he said a GST hike was still on the table. In 2009, he said: “We will have to raise taxes”. In 2010, he said he will raise taxes on job creators and he even supports an iPod tax.

Canada does not need that risk. That is why we continue to fight to keep taxes low to help create jobs and strengthen the Canadian economy.

Para-AthletesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to salute an exceptional young woman from the town of Kippens in my riding of Random—Burin—St. George's.

At just 17 years of age, Katarina Roxon has accumulated a lengthy list of accomplishments and records as a disabled athlete. She has travelled the world, representing her province and her country and along the way has set numerous world and national records. She has participated in the 2010 Beijing Paralympics, the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the 2007 Parapan American Games and the 2006 IPC World Swimming Championships.

Katarina is now proving that her athletic ability is not limited to swimming, as she is now proving to be equally adept in track and field.

This remarkable young woman is proof that the human spirit can help us overcome any obstacle and that with determination, we are capable of reaching new heights of achievement.

I ask all members of the House to join me in wishing Katarina Roxon all the best as she continues to purse her dreams as an athlete.

Red Tape Reduction CommissionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the economy remains this government's top priority. Since July 2009, Canada's economy has created over 460,000 new jobs and a string of five straight quarters of growth.

Since the vast majority of these jobs were created by small businesses, we need to give these job creators the best opportunity to prosper. This is why the Prime Minister launched the Red Tape Reduction Commission. Our commission is travelling across the country and listening to small business owners on how we can cut unnecessary government red tape.

This government is leading the way when it comes to promoting small businesses. It is no wonder that Catherine Swift, president of the CFIB, said:

The fact that [the] Prime Minister...made the announcement himself shows political leadership from the top.

Canadian small business owners are exceptionally innovative and creative and, from time to time, the best thing the government can do to assist is get out of the way.

We are getting the job done.

CEO of VANOCStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, one year after the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, the CEO of VANOC, John Furlong, is attacking all those who dared to criticize the lack of French during the opening ceremonies.

Denying any responsibility, he has the audacity to even accuse the great Quebec songwriter, Gilles Vigneault, of being responsible for the lack of French because he did not want his song, Mon pays, to be misrepresented. He also has scathing comments about the Commissioner of Official Languages, sports journalist Réjean Tremblay, and the Bloc Québécois for asking him to speak French.

The reality is that Mr. Furlong is incapable of admitting that he failed to plan an opening ceremony that also reflected the French fact, which makes us doubt his sincerity when he said that he wanted French to figure prominently.

Mr. Furlong's comments demonstrate a serious lack of sensitivity and understanding regarding the decision by francophones to communicate in their own language, and he is reverting to an old habit of blaming those who wish to express themselves in French.

Cancer CareStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dr. Suresh Katakkar, who has been appointed as the first medical oncologist with the new BC Cancer Agency in Prince George, B.C. As well, he has been appointed the regional professional practice leader in medical oncology.

Once open, the new regional cancer centre, currently under construction in Prince George, will bring radiation therapy treatment services to northern B.C. residents for the very first time.

The centre is a key component of the northern cancer control strategy, a unique partnership between Northern Health, the BC Cancer Agency, the Provincial Health Services Authority, and is funded by the Province of B.C.

I am very proud of the role my riding office played in facilitating Dr. Katakkar's coming to Canada and, indeed, to Prince George, B.C.

Child CareStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development likes to talk about choice. Let us talk about choice.

Let us talk about average middle-class families with both parents or one parent in the workplace; their income stagnant or worse; with a mortgage and car payments; and having their kids in child care, with each place costing more than $8,000 a year and the Conservatives' so-called child care benefit providing less than $1,000 a year after taxes.

Let us talk about average parents, at home or not, who worry about their kids and know that for them the only real security and opportunity in the future is in learning; who want their kids to have a lot of experiences with other kids, other adults, in a lot of different places and settings; who need their kids to arrive at the kindergarten door ready to learn, and who know that for better child care facilities, and for attracting and keeping better teachers and for better learning for the future, the Conservatives' $1,000 benefit offers no choice.

That is the difference. With the Conservatives: no choice. With the Liberals, whether one is at home or not, in real life: real choice.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, today the Liberal Party moved a motion to raise taxes on businesses that create jobs. It is common knowledge that the opposition favours higher taxes and irresponsible spending, but our government believes in keeping taxes low. Our government will keep taxes low to create jobs for families across the country.

The leader of the coalition has always been in favour of raising taxes. In 2004, he called himself a “tax-and-spend Liberal”. In 2006, he was the first Liberal to propose a job-killing carbon tax. In 2008, he said a GST hike was still on the table. In 2009, he said the Liberals would have to raise taxes.

Now he wants to tax iPods and raise taxes on businesses. Enough is enough.

Fire Safety On ReserveStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honour the work of aboriginal communities in ensuring fire safety.

Recently I had the honour of meeting Timothy Mason, a band constable in St. Theresa Point, a hero, who without equipment and without a second thought ran to a house on fire, used a chainsaw to cut through the wall and rushed in to save an infant. Tragically that fire claimed the life of another baby.

The story of constable Mason and others shows the strength of communities. The broader story points to the failure of the federal government.

First nations face a disproportionate risk when it comes to ensuring fire safety. They have fewer smoke alarms, fewer maintenance people, and inadequate access to equipment. It does not end there.

First nations live in the most deplorable housing conditions in Canada. The substandard quality of housing and the increasing overcrowding puts them at greater risk. The lack of access to water and sewer services leaves communities desperate in their efforts to ensure their safety and health. The situation is even more difficult in isolated communities such as St. Theresa Point.

We need federal action to stop the tragic deaths and to improve fire safety for first nations.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal threats against Canadian small businesses continue.

Today the Liberals are spending their opposition day calling on the government to raise taxes on job creating businesses. The Liberals confirmed again that they will raise taxes, hurting 110,000 businesses.

The Liberal leader, the self-proclaimed tax and spend Liberal, was the first to propose a job-killing carbon tax. He said a GST hike was still on the table and has said, “We will have to raise taxes”.

Last year he said he would raise taxes on job creators, and he even supports a tax on iPods.

Canada does not need that risk. That is why we continue to fight to keep taxes low to help create jobs and strengthen the Canadian economy.

While the opposition favours higher taxes and irresponsible spending, our government believes in keeping taxes low. Our low tax plan is creating jobs for families right across this country.

Youth SuicideStatements By Members

February 8th, 2011 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, Luke Richardson, the assistant coach of the Ottawa Senators, and his wife Stephanie should have been celebrating their daughter Daron's 15th birthday.

However, tragically, Daron recently committed suicide. Like too many families, the Richardsons are living with the grief of losing a child. That is why they decided to speak out about suicide, the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 24. It is of the utmost importance that the public be made aware of this issue.

Given that last week was Suicide Prevention Week in Quebec, the Bloc Québécois joins the members of the other parties in supporting the Richardson family's initiative by participating in “Do It for Daron Purple Pledge Day”.

Let us help our youth to stop suffering in silence by encouraging them to ask for the help they need.

Youth SuicideStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, today would have been Daron Richardson's 15th birthday.

In the wake of the tragedy of losing their beautiful daughter, her courageous parents, Stephanie and Luke Richardson, have launched the first annual Do It For Daron Purple Pledge Day in support of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.

They have drawn deeply on their love for Daron and their profound concern for mental health issues in all of our teenage kids, and rightly so.

Ten to twenty per cent of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder. A staggering 3.2 million kids between the ages of 12 and 19 are at risk for developing depression. Suicide is among the leading causes of death of 15 to 24 year olds, second only to accidents, taking an astonishing 4,000 lives each and every year.

As the father of four, I am asking my colleagues in the House of Commons, many of whom are wearing purple today, to join me in honouring Daron's memory by helping to raise awareness about youth mental health.

Youth SuicideStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague just noted, today would have been the 15th birthday of Daron Richardson, daughter of Ottawa Senators' assistant coach Luke Richardson and his wife Stephanie.

Tragically, in November of 2010, Daron took her own life and the Richardsons, like too many Canadian families, are dealing with the anguish of losing a child. Mental illness can affect anyone at any age. Encouraging awareness of mental health and suicide prevention is thus an issue that rightly crosses party lines.

I am asking that all members of Parliament take part in the first annual Do It for Daron Purple Pledge Day in support of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. Please join me in acknowledging the extraordinary courage of the Richardson family as it inspires difficult conversations to combat the stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a perimeter security deal that has harmonization of entry and exit standards will confer on the U.S. government unprecedented amounts of information about Canadians. I do not think the Prime Minister is being straight with Canadians about this issue. The deal would impose U.S. homeland security standards on this side of the border.

Why is the Prime Minister even contemplating the surrender of Canadian privacy rights to U.S. homeland security?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course no such thing is being contemplated.

As President Obama and I have both stated, what we are working on will respect our respective laws while at the same time ensuring that we take action where necessary to reduce red tape, create jobs and create security in the interests of Canadians. That will sometimes mean pushing things away from the border, but obviously everything we do will be within Canadian law and practice.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, these vague answers do not reassure Canadians. There are fundamental questions about the rights of Canadians to which the government has no answer.

I repeat the question: what biometric information on Canadians will the Conservatives surrender to the Americans? When will the Prime Minister tell Canadians and Parliament the truth?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect us to work to make North America more secure and to improve trade between our two countries. Obviously we plan on complying with all Canadian laws.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would assume the Prime Minister would respect Canadian law, but that is not the issue. The issue is how much private information the Canadian government will hand over to the Americans in the harmonization of entry and exit systems. It is a question to which an answer should be given.

Will we keep control over who gets into Canada in terms of our immigration and refugee policy and will the Prime Minister bring this deal to Parliament before an agreement is signed?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course we will maintain those things. That is Canada's sovereign right.

The reality is this, but maybe the Leader of the Opposition missed it. The anti-free trade bandwagon left the stage a long time ago.

Canadians expect us nowadays to work to ensure we keep an integrated economic space where we have access to the American market, where we protect Canadian jobs and also where we deal with the security threats that both of our countries face. We obviously have different laws and traditions, and those will be respected, but we have shared interests and that is what we are pursuing.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that corporate tax cuts on borrowed money are not the best way to create jobs. The government's own numbers show that public infrastructure projects are eight times more effective at creating real jobs.

With a record $56 billion deficit and when Statistics Canada has said that any effects of further corporate tax cuts on the Canadian economy will be “trivial”, why will the minister not cancel his reckless scheme to cut corporate taxes on borrowed money?