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House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the member opposite realizes, provincial sales tax is a matter of provincial responsibility. It is not a matter of federal responsibility. It is a decision for the Government of British Columbia and the people of British Columbia, as it has been in the past in Ontario and in the provinces in Atlantic Canada that chose to harmonize over time. This is not a decision for the Government of Canada.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government just does not get it. Raising taxes on B.C. families took away any bragging rights the Conservatives may have had on tax relief. Even Premier Clark acknowledges that the HST is hurting B.C. families.

Facing an unprecedented referendum on getting rid of the HST, the B.C. government is now promising changes. However, the fact remains that the HST is a tax shift from companies on to working families.

Will the Conservatives--

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Finance.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Not only does the government get it, Mr. Speaker, but the voters of Canada got it on May 2, based on a very strong mandate. The voters of Canada made a choice between a high tax plan and big spending programs of the NDP, and a low tax plan, jobs, growth, creative Canada, education, skills training and encouraging small business and larger businesses in Canada to create jobs.

It is a strong mandate from the people of Canada. They made their choice.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the agriculture minister has again stated that he will ignore the Wheat Board Act, refuse to hold a plebiscite giving wheat and barley farmers a vote on their livelihood and will unilaterally abolish the Wheat Board.

Forming government with the support of only 24% of Canadians eligible to vote does not constitute the plebiscite set out in the act.

Why does he refuse to ask the very people who will be devastated by his decision if they support the Wheat Board's demise? What is the minister afraid of? Why does he plan to ignore the law?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, western Canadian farmers gave us a strong mandate to move forward in this direction. I cannot understand why the member for Guelph would deny western Canadian farmers the same options, responsibilities and privileges that his farmers enjoy.

TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, farmers in Ontario have the right to vote.

After four years of study, a federal rail service review reported last October that shippers of grain, forest products and other commodities are getting seriously inferior services. The problem is an imbalance in market power, which strongly favours the railways.

After a further delay of six months, the government agreed last March to correct that imbalance. It only takes a simple amendment to the Canada Transportation Act but the throne speech was oddly silent on that issue.

Will the government commit unequivocally to enact that new legislation before the end of this calendar year?

TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are currently working on moving ahead with these recommendations. The safety of all transportation in the country is a major priority for our government and, as usual, we will deliver the goods.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, more than five weeks ago a pipeline spilled 28,000 barrels of crude oil on lands claimed by the Lubicon first nation. This massive spill poses a risk to its health and water supply. By cabinet directive, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development must help first nations facing such emergencies. Chief Noskey has requested federal support for independent expertise on damage assessment and remediation.

Can the minister explain what action he is taking to protect the health and interests of the Lubicon first nation?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, obviously our departmental officials have been in contact with and working with the leadership of the Lubicon first nation. I would also like to point out that we have done much in the way of water and water regulations. We have done most of that work through working with the Alberta treaty first nations and we will continue to do so.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Mackenzie River Basin is home to countless first nations and Métis communities. They rely on the basin for sustenance and transport. Both the Northwest Territories government and the Dene Nation have raised concerns about transboundary impacts of this spill and of oil sands developments in the basin.

As the government is mandated to guard the rights and interests of aboriginal peoples and to address transboundary impacts, when can we finally expect to see federal leadership on the Mackenzie River Basin Agreement?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the critic in the NDP. I did not welcome her and I look forward to our upcoming meeting.

The progress on that initiative is going forward. I have had contact and an early briefing on that. I would like to continue the dialogue with the member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, mental health is shaped from the earliest days of life and is influenced by many underlying factors in a child's environment. Would the hon. Minister of Health please inform the House how our government is helping equip children with the ability to deal with difficult situations and improve their social relations, problem-solving skills and academic performance?

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Barrie for all of his good work on the mental health issue.

On behalf of the hon. Minister of Health, I am pleased to inform the House today that our government announced a significant investment to support a mental health project for school-aged children. Today's funding announcement will go toward improving the emotional and social health of children aged 6 to 12 years of age, as well as parents, teachers and community partners located in 25 schools in Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Alberta.

This project is part of our government's investment to understand what works best to promote positive mental health among vulnerable populations across Canada.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I used to work with small businesses who helped people save energy and money in their homes. They would be disappointed by the non-answer given Tuesday in response to a question about the eco-energy retrofit program for homes. Here is a program the government cut and brought back and cut and brought back. People cannot run small businesses that way.

Since the Conservatives claim to care so much about stability, why do they not stay true to their words and help small businesses by committing to make this program stable for five years instead of just one year?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of the $10 billion investment that our government has invested in clean energy and a cleaner environment. We are proud of the eco-energy program. It is helping thousands of homeowners across the country make their homes more efficient and it has helped small businesses across the country as well.

We are very proud of the significant investments that we continue to make in clean energy, which is supporting renewable energy development across this country.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

June 8th, 2011 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Champlain Bridge is an infrastructure that is vital to Quebec's economy. Experts found that there is an urgent need to replace it and to include a sustainable transportation system for the future. Yet nothing is being done. There is no money in the budget for this and there is no plan. Everyone is wondering when the needs of the south shore will be met.

When will the government finally announce the construction of a new bridge that includes sustainable transportation, such as a light rail system?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, our government is well aware of the importance of this file to the greater Montreal area.

First, I will ask the hon. member to carefully reread the budget. In fact, $228 million has been allocated for bridges in the Montreal area. So, if the future of the Champlain Bridge is so important to him, he should vote in favour of the budget.

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, today politicians of the European Union passed a motion calling on Canada to drop the World Trade Organization challenge against their unfair and improper ban on Canadian seal products. We also know our challenge at the WTO regarding seal products is about protecting and advancing the financial security of Canadians.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade please tell the House if Canada intends to back down on this challenge?

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, first of all, allow me to congratulate the member for Kildonan—St. Paul on her re-election to this House.

Canada's position on seals is a completely separate matter from ongoing negotiations with the European Union over our comprehensive economic trade agreement. Furthermore, the EU ban on virtually all Canadian seal products is inconsistent with the EU's international trade obligations. That is why the Canadian government has initiated the WTO dispute settlement process and we will be moving ahead with our WTO challenge.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, a family in my riding is at risk of being deported in one week if the Minister of Immigration does not intervene. Four years ago, members of the Castillo Olivares family fled their home country of Mexico, where they were the victims of violence and their lives were being threatened. They have three children who have integrated well here, and the parents are employed.

In light of the urgency here, why is the minister refusing to use his discretionary power to allow them to remain in the country?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member on her election.

Under the Privacy Act, the minister is not authorized to comment on specific cases. That said, we have an extremely fair process for asylum seekers that has a number of levels of appeal, including the ability to apply to become a permanent resident on humanitarian grounds. I imagine that this family has gone through all of those steps, but our system must treat every case fairly, and that is what we are doing.

Canada PostOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post has rejected the union's latest offer to settle the dispute and as the pressure tactics continue, the government's silence on the matter is worrisome.

Does the minister responsible for the Canada Post Corporation not realize that with his silence he is condoning the actions of Canada Post, when he should instead be sending a clear message that the government also expects a negotiated solution, which is the only way this public service might be enhanced, including in small communities?

Canada PostOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, indeed we have been there. We have had mediators at the table with the two parties encouraging them to resolve their dispute. Oftentimes the best results to these situations of dispute are found between the parties.

We are very frustrated that it is continuing on, so we have put more effort and emphasis on making sure that the parties themselves know the importance of this matter to the Canadian public.

I have met with the president of Canada Post and with the president of the union. We continue to encourage them to get a deal done.

Income Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-201, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (travel and accommodation deduction for tradespersons).

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to reintroduce this bill on behalf of Canada's building and construction trades as well as their indentured apprentices for the third time since I was first elected.

The building and construction trades have been lobbying for this bill for over 30 years and it continues to be one of the key priorities at each and every one of their legislative conferences.

In every Parliament the government has made vague promises of progress to come, then each Parliament ends without concrete action. The time to rectify that situation is now.

The ask is simple: allow tradespersons and apprentices to deduct travel and accommodation expenses from their taxable income so that they can secure and maintain employment at a construction site that is more than 80 kilometres away from their home.

At a time when some regions of the country suffer from high unemployment while others suffer from temporary skilled labour shortages, this bill offers a solution to both. Best of all, it is revenue neutral for the government because the cost associated with the income tax cut is more than made up by the savings in employment insurance.

Now that the Conservatives have a majority in the House of Commons there are no more excuses. The government can and must support this bill and act unequivocally to support Canada's building and construction trades.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)