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House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Madam Speaker, he said that he may be the good Généreux, but I know the difference between good and bad. I wish him luck, because this could be his last or second-last day here in the House. We have a good Bloc Québécois candidate who will be able to rise to the challenges that he has not been able to meet for the Quebec City region. We will have people who will be able to speak. Speaking also brings power. During the election campaign we will speak about the good things and, especially, the bad things the Conservatives have done.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, after listening to the litany of projects in the Quebec City region that have come to nothing under the Conservative government, I would like to ask my colleague what she thinks of members who say that it is important to be in power, to be in government.

Does that mean that there are first-tier and second-tier members throughout the country?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. It says a lot about what the Conservative members think of democracy. Members have to be elected to Parliament, they have to be in government. The Conservatives have not understood that the opposition is there to monitor the government’s actions. They would prefer it if there were 308 Conservative members in the House who got to make decisions without ever being criticized.

They have not understood what a true democracy is. It always makes me smile when I see the Prime Minister go to another country and say that he is going to help it. I will not single out any particular country. The government wants to bring democracy to other countries, but perhaps it should start by taking a look at Canada. That is what we are asking for. The situation is quite shocking. Things often get heated because the Conservatives have no respect for the work done by opposition members, whether they be Liberals, New Democrats or members of the Bloc Québécois.

Rather than saying that a particular member is whining, the Conservatives should consider that the member is analyzing an issue, consulting different segments of the population that they do not consult, and relaying those perspectives back to them. A democracy means allowing people to speak. Yesterday, we were told that we were not capable of reading a budget. That attitude is truly contemptuous of how seriously all members here take their work.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, the government has cancelled and closed the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences. For a number of scientists studying climate across Quebec and the north, it is very important. Does the member think that is a terrible loss to Canada?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Madam Speaker, this is a very important issue that the Bloc Québécois takes quite seriously. It is our hope that the Conservative Party will really put its heart into this rather than simply continuing to put a spin on the situation, as is its wont. Any action that the Conservatives have taken to help the underprivileged amounts to peanuts. All they are offering is crumbs. I hope that the public will understand the issues at stake in the election campaign, including the democratic deficit. The Conservatives are also trying to gain the favour of the most fragile groups in society, which is dangerous.

Act of BraveryStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to pay tribute to a brave young man from my riding of Kildonan—St. Paul.

On December 4 last year, Kole Devisscher was driving along the Red River when he noticed a young boy struggling to pull himself out of the frigid water. Kole immediately sprang into action to rescue 10-year-old Ralph Chartrand. With only a tow rope in hand, he put his own life in great jeopardy as he ventured out onto the treacherous ice. Astutely, Kole made a loop with the tow rope and guided the young boy into putting the rope over his shoulders, before pulling him out of the river.

By risking his well-being for the life of another, Kole Devisscher truly embodies the values of what it means to be a Canadian. He is a true hero and an inspiration to us all.

As a result of his courageous actions, I am honoured to nominate him for the Governor General's Medal of Bravery.

I invite all members to join me in applauding Kole's bravery.

Susan Audrey Van BibberStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

On February 28, the Yukon lost one of its great matriarchs, Susan Audrey Van Bibber (Chambers), née Dickson, at 99 years of age.

We could not possibly write a history of the Yukon without mentioning her legendary contributions and those of her 154 descendants and the many others she took under her wing.

She was a hard-working, tough, gritty Yukon woman, trapping, wrangling and chasing horses well into her eighties.

She was a wonderful cook, making incredible moose stew, and her cinnamon buns were gone as soon as they came out of the oven.

Sue was entertaining storyteller, and her family and friends could see the world through her eyes as she wittily shared her endless stories of people and places spanning a century.

Sue's pride and joy was her family. She was loved and will be sadly missed by her husband of 67 years, Alex Van Bibber, and those remaining of her 9 children, 46 grandchildren, 73 great-grandchildren and 26 great-great-grandchildren.

We all miss Sue. May God bless her. Massi.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Madam Speaker, the federalist parties are unable to respond to the aspirations of Quebeckers and constantly minimize the achievements of the Bloc Québécois, even though there are numerous examples of the Bloc Québécois achieving concrete results for Quebec.

Only yesterday, Bill C-35 on immigration consultants received royal assent. It is thanks to the work of the Bloc Québécois members that the act contains a “Quebec clause”, which means that all immigration consultants in Quebec will have to meet Quebec’s requirements, which include fluency in French.

Without the hard work of the Bloc, there would be two categories of immigration consultants in Quebec today: those accredited by the federal government, who would not be required to be fluent in French, and those recognized by the Government of Quebec. Fortunately, the Bloc was here to get concrete results for Quebec and for the French language.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Madam Speaker, New Democrats want to make this Parliament work. That is why we proposed a practical, doable plan to lift seniors out of poverty, provide pension security, and to ensure that Canadians have access to doctors and nurses.

The problem is that the current Conservative government is only interested in playing games and undermining our democratic institution.

My constituents do not want an election. They need help to make life more affordable.

New Democrats listened, but Conservatives did not. They are too busy behaving as if they are above the law. Is it any wonder we have another instance of abuse of power with the Prime Minister's own former top aide, Bruce Carson?

Just yesterday, I returned a call from a constituent in Capreol, Mrs. Greaves, who had called me to say that she was totally disgusted and insulted by the budget. She said that the $600 in the budget barely addressed her needs. Mrs. Greaves is 72 years old and is still working as a nurse because she has no choice. That is no way to treat our seniors.

It is not too late for the government to change its course and adopt the NDP's practical, doable plan for--

The BudgetStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. member for Abbotsford.

Purple DayStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, epilepsy is a disorder affecting over 300,000 Canadians and 50 million people worldwide. It is one of the most common neurological disorders, but sadly it is misunderstood by many. That is why I rise to call attention to Purple Day, an occasion on which we raise awareness of this life altering condition.

As an epilepsy sufferer herself, nine-year-old Cassidy Megan founded Purple Day in 2008 as a way to foster support for others suffering from the same condition. Purple Day informs the public of the symptoms and causes of epilepsy, teaches us how to respond to seizures, raises money for research and demonstrates to those with epilepsy that they are not alone.

It might surprise members to know that a member of my immediate family suffers from this disorder.

Although many who suffer from epilepsy benefit from recent advancements in research, much remains to be done. I am confident that some day we will discover a cure for epilepsy.

I call on all members to join me on March 26 in commemorating Purple Day.

Dining Out for LifeStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, today we celebrate Dining Out for Life, which benefits people living with HIV-AIDS in British Columbia. The event is B.C.'s largest fundraiser by restaurants, raising over $3 million in the last 16 years.

Today over 250 restaurants from Whistler to White Rock and across the Fraser Valley will contribute 25% of their sales to people living with HIV-AIDS. This event is a great example of the generosity of Vancouverites, B.C.'s restaurants, and sponsors like B.C.'s own Sumac Ridge winery in coming together for a great cause.

The Gastown and Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver has the largest HIV infection rate in North America, with 30% of the local population affected. There are currently over 6,000 Vancouver residents living with HIV-AIDS.

The proceeds from Dining Out for Life go to support A Loving Spoonful and Friends for Life, two organizations that are making a difference in the lives of those with HIV-AIDS. A Loving Spoonful has provided over 100,000 meals to the most needy, and Friends for Life is a wellness centre where people come together for compassion and support. This year—

Dining Out for LifeStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Simcoe North.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, in January I held several meetings in my riding with constituents to consult on the budget. My constituents were clear.

They asked for support for low income seniors. Our budget has delivered on that, with a guaranteed income supplement top-up of $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples.

They asked for an extension to the eco-energy retrofit homes program. Again, our budget has delivered, with an investment of $400 million.

They asked for tax credits for small businesses to create jobs and to reduce red tape. Our budget has delivered, with a $1,000 small business hiring tax credit and the Red Tape Reduction Commission.

My constituents have rarely shown interest in partisan political games, but they are concerned about their jobs, their families and their futures.

I ask the members opposite to listen to the priorities of Canadians, set their political ambitions aside and support this budget.

HomelessnessStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, a group of students at the University of Sherbrooke recently took part in “Five Days for the Homeless”. They collected thousands of dollars to support services for homeless persons.

For five days, nine students slept outside and relied solely on the generosity of the public to meet their needs. Through this initiative, these young people were able to raise awareness of homeless and poverty among people in their community

People who work with the homeless took this opportunity to remind me of their fears for the future of the HPS program. Unfortunately, their fears were confirmed by the 2011 budget, with the Conservatives still refusing to index and improve programs to combat homelessness as well as social housing programs.

The Conservatives should spend a few days sleeping in the open air, and then they would realize, given the miracles that the workers achieve with these funds, that the minimum we owe them is indexing and a funding increase.

Violence Against WomenStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are things that are absolutely unacceptable. For example, an opposition coalition that puts political self-interest above the needs of Canadians is absolutely unacceptable.

A sponsorship scandal that lined the pockets of Liberal bagmen with millions of Canadian taxpayer dollars, that too is absolutely unacceptable.

Then there are things that surpass unacceptable and enter the realm of barbaric. So-called honour killings of women clearly transcend the definition of unacceptable. This practice deserves to be repudiated for the evil and barbaric thing it truly is.

I hope the disgusted reactions from all across Canada to the misguided attempts at political correctness by the member for Papineau have taught him the difference between unacceptable and barbaric. That member seems to be following in the footsteps of his father, Pierre Trudeau, whose political legacy was called disastrous and destructive for Canada's economy, unity and international reputation in the National Post yesterday.

HealthStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of my constituents of Brampton—Springdale, who are demanding action on the issue of health care. Families are frustrated at having to wait for hours and hours at the Brampton Civic Hospital located in my riding. Seniors are suffering because they have to wait for months to see specialists and receive the medical care they require.

The average wait time at the hospital is 17.5 hours. The doctors and nurses are working tirelessly, but the fact is demand is growing. Bramptonians deserve better. They deserve a government that will actually invest in more doctors and nurses and work with the Brampton community to have a second hospital to ensure that the growing demand is met.

We need a government that is going to put health care at the top of the agenda, because that is what Canadians and all Bramptonians deserve. Brampton families and seniors demand a government that will invest in more doctors and nurses and reduce wait times in health care.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, in yet another chapter of partisan politics, the Liberals are proving to the public that they are not concerned about policy or people, but are just in it for themselves.

After the tax exemption for volunteer firefighters was presented in the budget this week, the member for Malpeque was falsely claiming that it was a Liberal idea.

That is really interesting because, on October 8, 2003, he voted against that tax credit put forward in my private members' bill, Bill C-325. The bill, which I originally introduced in December 2002, failed by a narrow margin of 96 to 99. Ninety-seven of the 99 members who voted against it were Liberals.

Does it matter whose idea something was? Are we not here to get things done for the people of Canada? How can Canadians trust Liberal members who at one time vote against something but change their position when they feel some political advantage is possible?

Is this not just another deliberate effort to mislead on the part of the Liberals? This is a question voters will need to consider when they choose their next member of Parliament.

Government PrioritiesStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, 85-year-old Vera Cudjoe is anxious and worried because she cannot afford her $260 hydro bill. She tried turning off the heat to save money but got desperately sick.

Vera was a nurse and the proud director of the first national black theatre. She worked hard her whole life but the current old age security and guaranteed income supplement payments simply are not enough to live on.

Instead of helping seniors like Vera by removing the tax on home heating, the Prime Minister would rather take care of his buddies like Bruce Carson. Thanks to taxpayer dollars, Carson has two houses, a condo and a Benz for his escort fiancée, while Vera cannot even afford heat.

That is just one example of the Conservative government's twisted priorities. No wonder Canadians believe Ottawa is broken. No wonder the Conservative government no longer has the trust of ordinary Canadians.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, our Conservative government tabled a responsible budget that will help seniors and families, strengthen our communities and bring more doctors to the regions of Quebec. We tabled a budget that meets the priorities of people in all regions of Quebec: to improve the guaranteed income supplement; invest in innovation, education and training; and create a new tax credit for family caregivers. These are some concrete examples of how the budget will help the people in our regions.

Unfortunately, the coalition led by the Liberal leader is threatening to bring down the government and vote against a budget that they did not even take the time to read. By so doing, they will deprive thousands of Quebeckers of the tax breaks to which they are entitled.

Employment InsuranceStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, transitional measures were put in place in 2000, after the employment insurance economic regions were inadequately reconfigured. Certain regions, like the Bas-Saint-Laurent–Côte-Nord region, have had a blended unemployment rate for more than 10 years, which was adopted in an effort to correct this error until the next reconfiguration. On March 12, 2011, the government started gradually phasing out these transitional measures.

But many unemployed and seasonal workers will not qualify unless these transitional measures are extended. Instead of undertaking a sweeping reform of this outdated system that does not reflect the current reality of workers, the Conservatives are keeping thousands of people in suspense and in poverty. The 2011 budget does not extend the transitional measures, which would have been good, as would a fair reform of the employment insurance system. Once again, the Conservatives are showing their contempt for the regions of Quebec and—

Employment InsuranceStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Honoré-Mercier.

Government AccountabilityStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have had enough; they are fed up. They can no longer put up with a Conservative government that is so out of touch with the priorities of Canadian families. Canadians are fed up with seeing the Conservatives scorn and disrespect democratic institutions like this House, like Elections Canada, like the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Canadians have had enough of the Conservatives taking them for fools, trying to ram down their throats things like costly fighter jets, American-style megaprisons and gifts to the richest corporations. Enough is enough. The Conservatives have shown too much contempt for democracy and for our Parliament, and it must stop. It is time they were held accountable. It is time for Canadians to judge them on their poor choices, their bad faith and their attacks on our democracy. We no longer have confidence in this government, nor does this House. Canada deserves better.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Liberal leader was asked by reporters if he would form a coalition with the socialist NDP and the separatist Bloc Québécois. Of course, the Liberal leader avoided the question.

The Liberal leader signed on to a coalition before and he will do it again. His own personal ambition comes ahead of Canada's stability.

The Liberal leader and his coalition partners want to return to reckless policies that failed Canada decades ago, raising taxes to pay for spending we simply cannot afford. The reckless tax-and-spend approach would kill jobs, stall our recovery and set Canadian families back.

The coalition still has a choice: Its reckless ambition for an unnecessary election or the important measures in the next phase of Canada's economic action plan, a low tax plan for jobs and growth, to support Canadian families and to complete our economic recovery.

We encourage the coalition to join with us, put the interests of Canadians first and help us complete the economic recovery.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

March 24th, 2011 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, well beyond high school, advanced skills and learning are absolute necessities for Canadian young people in a very competitive world, but it is expensive. Two-thirds of Canadian families do not think they can afford to send their kids to university, college, technical school or on apprenticeships. Their futures are at risk.

In the Conservative regime's twisted priorities, why is it spending a thousand times more on stealth fighter war planes than on students trying to go to school?