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House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

The EconomyStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday was the Logan Lake High School graduation in my riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla. My thoughts were certainly with those young students. Graduation is a special time with their hopes, dreams and aspirations all before them.

It is not lost on me that the work we will do in this 41st Parliament can have an important role in their future. If we are to succeed, these students will need jobs and a strong economy. However, often the policies that encourage economic growth and investment are opposed.

If we oppose economic growth and investment, are we prepared to accept increased taxes and debt or reduced services? Often we are not.

I ask that in this 41st Parliament we stay mindful of grandparents to be able to retire with dignity, mindful that we cannot leave an unpayable burden of debt to our children and mindful that now is our time as parliamentarians to work together to build a bright future for all Canadians.

EmploymentStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking the people of Beauharnois—Salaberry for the confidence they showed in me on May 2. The people have chosen the NDP, a party that addresses their interests and works for families.

Since 2004, in Beauharnois—Salaberry, five major companies have closed their doors, leaving more than 2,200 people out of work. I am talking about Cleyn & Tinker, Huntingdon Mills, Gildan, Goodyear and Rio Tinto Alcan. What is more, the Lake St. Francis National Wildlife Area has had its budget cut by 60%. With an employment insurance system that is inaccessible to far too many people, making ends meet is not easy for many workers back home.

I am committed to making the creation of high-quality, full-time jobs my priority. The government has to convert its rhetoric into concrete measures for workers—

EmploymentStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Mississauga South.

Mississauga SouthStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Conservative Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to tell members about some of the great events that I was privileged to attend this past weekend in my riding of Mississauga South.

After the official opening of the Port Credit Farmers Market, I was delighted to attend an re-enactment of a citizenship swearing-in ceremony at the Canadian Pavilion of Carassauga.

The Mississauga rotary club's annual lobster festival followed, where about 750 guests cracked open thousands of claws and dipped 2,800 pounds of east coast lobster into vats of artery-clogging melted butter.

On Sunday, I attended Canoe the Credit, a fundraiser for the youth corps of the Credit Valley Conservation Authority. Its slogan, “Our Credit is Good”, sums up perfectly how we feel about this beautiful river. I would like to thank the young people for caring about water quality in our community.

As we can see, Mississauga South is a vibrant and energetic place to live. I feel immensely fortunate to represent the wonderful people of Mississauga South.

Slave LakeStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the town of Slave Lake, Alberta has been devastated by wildfires. Much of the town has been burned, including many homes and businesses. The outpouring of support from all over Alberta and the country has been appreciated. I am particularly proud of central Albertans who have volunteered their time and donated needed items.

Jo Dumont, the owner of Dumont Fitness in Red Deer, along with Shelley Boston and Tom and Jordana Simms helped to organize what they thought would be a small relief effort for Slave Lake. Soon after the word got out, the endeavour became a major project. The Red Deer gym became a hub for central Albertans to donate food, clothing and bottled water, eventually sending five semi-truckloads of goods from Red Deer to the Slave Lake area.

Central Albertans have a great history of helping their neighbours and pulling together when disaster strikes. I witnessed such community spirit first-hand after the Pine Lake tornado and it has been repeated again.

I would like to congratulate Dumont Fitness and all of the donors for helping the people of Slave Lake.

Newton—North DeltaStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am so humbled and honoured to have been given the confidence of the citizens and families of Newton—North Delta to represent their concerns in the House. Although my riding is one of the most diverse ridings in this country, their concerns are exactly the same as the concerns that voters expressed throughout the country.

My riding is made up of families that are diverse culturally, ethnically, linguistically and economically, but every one of these families, when I met them on their doorsteps, expressed a deep concern for the future of their children and our way of life in Canada, from the cost of tuition to the cost of care for their parents and the elderly, from the price of child care and gasoline to the general cost of living. They are very worried. They are worried about their pensions, their jobs and about our public health care system. They are generally worried about their standard of living and the future of our country.

I make a commitment to be their voice—

Newton—North DeltaStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Mississauga—Brampton South.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Conservative Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am humbled to rise for the first time in the House. May I thank my neighbours, the great voters of Mississauga—Brampton South, for their kindness and support. I promise to repay their trust with an immense amount of hard work.

To start, our Conservative majority government is providing support for families in a number of ways: a new children's art tax credit on up to $500 in eligible fees; a new family caregiver tax credit on an amount of $2,000 for caregivers of all types; an enhanced medical expense tax credit removing the limit on the amount of eligible medical expenses that can be claimed on behalf of a financially-dependent relative; an extension on the eco-energy retrofit homes program; and full-time students will now be allowed to earn more money without affecting their loans by doubling the in-study exemption to $100 per week and giving them a tax break on certification fees.

Our strong, stable national Conservative majority government is delivering for Canadian families.

Social EconomyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Paulina Ayala NDP Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is no value more Canadian than lending a helping hand to others. There is no better shared ambition than making sure that everyone is happy.

As a result, countless professionals and volunteers devote their talents and energy to building support networks that, each day, transform the lives of Canadians by helping them to maintain their dignity and hope.

However, the government must provide financial support equivalent to the well-recognized generosity of Canadians.

When we see the efforts that stakeholders in the social economy are making to manage their minuscule budgets, it is difficult to understand how the government can “strengthen compliance requirements with respect to certain organizations” and “limit unintended or excessive benefits”, as it proposes in chapter 4.2 of its budget.

Rather than sowing seeds of doubt, the NDP proposes that we provide unfailing support and encouragement to those devoted to working for the common good.

SeniorsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am humbled to stand for the first time in the House of Commons to represent the people of Simcoe—Grey, who elected me.

Our strong, stable national Conservative majority government is continuing to support seniors through the next phase of Canada's economic action plan. We are enhancing the GIS. Now, eligible low-income seniors will receive additional annual top-up benefits of $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples, helping more than 680,000 seniors across Canada. We are enhancing the new horizons for seniors program by providing an additional $10 million to promote volunteerism, mentorship and the social participation of seniors, and to expand awareness of elder abuse.

We are expanding the targeted initiative for older workers through an additional $50 million to extend that initiative. We are eliminating the mandatory retirement age for federally regulated employees. This gives seniors more choices.

Our strong, stable national Conservative majority government is standing up for seniors.

Multiple SclerosisStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, wilful blindness is evident when there are things we could know and should know but somehow we manage not to know. The human capacity to ignore what is in front of us is staggering. A Harvard study asked subjects watching a basketball game to count the number of passes. No one noticed a woman in a gorilla suit standing at centre court for nine seconds.

The government has been made aware that over 12,500 treatment procedures for CCSVI have now been undertaken worldwide in over 50 countries and that some MS patients report improved quality of life, including reduced brain fog and fatigue and improved circulation and motor skills, following the procedure. We need evidence-based medicine in Canada.

Why then is there the refusal to undertake a nationally funded, multi-centre clinical trial to determine if treating CCSVI will improve the quality of life of MS patients?

Multiple treatment trials are under way in the U.S. It is time for Canada to act.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the next phase of Canada's economic action plan will provide assistance to families and communities.

For example, we are enhancing the guaranteed income supplement for seniors who rely almost exclusively on old age security benefits and on this supplement.

The new annual top-up benefit will improve the financial security of more than 680,000 seniors across the country.

We are creating a tax credit for family caregivers of all types of infirm dependent relatives, including, for the first time, spouses, common-law spouses and minor children.

We will also create a children's arts tax credit to help parents pay for artistic, cultural, recreational and developmental activities for their children.

In good times, as in bad times, the government has always made responsible choices to ensure a better quality of life for all Canadians.

Public TransitStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan NDP York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the voters in York South—Weston, who sent me here to advocate for them. I will do my utmost to bring forward their issues in this House, like public transit.

Public transit supports economic activity, improves productivity and, done right, it helps clean the air. In York South—Weston, public transit is an important public service, as it is across Canada.

Unfortunately, public transit is not a priority of the government. Aside from the gas tax rebate negotiated nearly a decade ago by then-FCM president, the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth, the current federal government refuses to support this crucial element of our economic life. This must change if we are to help Canadians in their daily life.

The federal government must develop a national public-transit strategy so that sensible investments in public transit like electric light rail can be made to meet the needs of millions of Canadians.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on the economy, supporting hard-working Canadians and their families and completing the economy recovery.

Yesterday, we introduced the next phase of Canada's economic action plan, a low tax plan for jobs and growth. Here is what is being said about it.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities said:

We applaud the Government of Canada for committing in today's budget to develop a new long-term infrastructure plan in partnership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), provinces, territories, and the private sector.

The Canadian Association of Retired Persons noted that it was very happy to see the increase in the guaranteed income supplement, an issue that it had raised many times before and that was finally being addressed.

The Certified General Accountants Association of Canada stated:

—we're happy with today's federal budget because many—including families, seniors and small businesses—will benefit from the measures announced today.

We remain focused on supporting hard-working Canadians and their families.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what is most disappointing about the throne speech and the budget is that the government refuses to acknowledge the employment crisis. There are 300,000 more unemployed people than there were before the recession. The jobs that the government is boasting that it has created are temporary, precarious and part-time.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to acknowledge the failure of his job creation policies, which the people need right now?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by congratulating the member for Toronto—Danforth for becoming the Leader of the Opposition. This is a historical first for his party. He should be proud.

Creating jobs remains a major priority for this government. We have one of the best records in this regard among developing countries, and we will continue to move in that direction.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my congratulations to the Prime Minister as well for his successful election.

The government seems to be pinning its entire solution to the job situation on one response: the reduction of corporate tax rates to big profitable companies. However, the strength of our education system, the skills of the workforce, the reliability of our health care system, the state of our infrastructure, these are all vitally important issues when investors make decisions and, as an economist, I am sure the Prime Minister would know.

Why not--

EmploymentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The Right Hon. Prime Minister.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course, the government's emphasis on job creation involves many priorities, not just keeping taxes low, which is critically important, but also, as the throne speech and other government documents have said, critical investments in infrastructure, investments in research and education, investments in trade, making sure we open markets to Canadian businesses.

These priorities explain why Canada has one of the best job creation records among the developed countries in the post-recession period.

The BudgetOral Questions

June 7th, 2011 / 2:20 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has labelled his $17 billion in cuts to the budget over the next five years as modest. He said his critics are living in a fantasy world if they think that these will affect essential services.

What about the unemployed who cannot get the benefits they need? Are they living in a fantasy world? What about the seniors who have seen their pensions disappear? Are they living in a fantasy world? What about families without family doctors? Are they living in a fantasy world?

I have a simple question. What services will Canadians have to do without when the Prime Minister is finished his cuts?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course, Canadians expect us to manage their tax dollars wisely. We are looking at budget reductions in the neighbourhood of less than 2% across the entire size of government, 5% in operational expenses over a three-year period. Canadians expect us to cut this kind of fat and find these kinds of efficiencies.

This government has been very clear. We will not cut pensions. We will not cut transfers to the provinces for major programs such as health care.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is trying to scare people with the deficit issue. However, a year ago, the minister's deficit projections were off by $13 billion. He has changed his mind three times in six months. He lacks credibility.

Before cutting programs and services, should the Minister of Finance not put his books in order and give the people the real figures?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are in the process of balancing our budget and eliminating the deficit.

If members do not mind, I would like to quote the IMF, which said very clearly:

—Canada's overall fiscal outlook...stands out as among the best in the G20.

That is proof that our economic action plan did its job. It is proof that the next phase of our economic action plan has some wherewithal to deal with the problems that we see here in Canada.

I would hope that the opposition members would side with us and vote for our budget.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, she should tell that to the millions who are unemployed or underemployed. It is simply not good enough.

The government's plan for billions in corporate tax cuts means only one thing: cuts to programs and services that Canadians rely on, cuts to seniors living in poverty and cuts for struggling families, or is it really cuts to health care? These cuts are not worth the cost.

Will the minister cancel his reckless across-the-board corporate tax giveaways and invest in the things Canadians count on, like health care, infrastructure and the small businesses that create jobs?

Will he do that?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in March we presented the next phase of Canada's economic action plan. It was a positive plan to keep taxes low. That is what Canadians were asking for.

This plan is now going to support the creation of jobs. It is going to support Canadians in every effort that they want to push forward. Almost every organization has supported the fact that we want to lower those corporate taxes so that corporations can actually produce those jobs.

If those taxes go up, as proposed by the NDP, consumers will pay and workers will pay.

We will not do that to the Canadian public.