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House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last month, unemployment rose in Canada. Our economy shed over 5,000 more jobs.

More and more Canadians are giving up because of the lack of job opportunities. To reach the same proportion of working Canadians as before the recession, we actually need to create 420,000 new jobs.

Canadians need a job strategy now. Where is the job plan?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would encourage the Leader of the Opposition to get her facts correct. There are more people working in Canada today than before the recession, the only advanced country where that is the case, and that is because the government remains focused on jobs. We are making targeted investments in the Canadian economy, in things like research and innovation, keeping taxes low, opening trade markets and, of course, ensuring we do not see the kind of deficit and debt problems in Canada that have caused this global recession throughout the world.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister created a structural deficit by giving the gift of tax cuts to big business, and he has not changed course. Contrary to what he says, these companies are not investing and are not creating jobs. A full $500 billion is sitting in corporate coffers and could be used to create jobs. The Conservative strategy does not work.

Where are the investments? Where are the jobs?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, more Canadians are working now than before the global recession. Canada is practically the only industrialized country to have achieved this, and that is because of our commitment to keeping taxes low, not only for companies, but also for individuals and families. This government clearly understands that raising taxes does not create jobs.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister needs to face reality: unemployment is on the rise. Some 1.4 million Canadians are unemployed. The student unemployment rate this summer was over 17%.

Instead of wasting money on gifts for large corporations, when will the government introduce a job creation program?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I certainly deal with my colleagues in the G7 regularly. We have a serious situation in Europe and some weakness in the U.S. economy.

However, the plain fact is that we are the envy of the advanced economies in the world with respect to job creation. We have created almost 600,000 net new jobs since the recession ended. More than that, 80% of those jobs are full-time jobs for Canadians. Our job record is second to none.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, what the Conservatives have created is the largest deficit in Canadian history and they have still fallen short on job creation. Their strategy of something for nothing corporate tax giveaways has failed Canadians. Another 420,000 jobs would need to be created just to keep the same proportion of jobs we had before the 2008 recession.

Why will the finance minister not stop these reckless corporate giveaways? Why will he not target support for the real job creators?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know who the member opposite thinks the real job creators are other than small businesses in Canada that pay taxes. Does the member opposite think governments create jobs by hiring people in the public sector? It is the small businesses, which is why we have a hiring credit for small business in the budget this year. I hope the member will support the budget.

Our record with respect to job creation is among the best in the developed economies. We realize that our unemployment rate is still too high and that we need to keep working at it, but the way to get there is not to have a $10 billion tax increase on business, which is what the opposition has suggested.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, through all the rhetoric, a few facts emerge which I think Canadians will all understand. The first fact is that 1.4 million people are officially unemployed and there are many hundreds of thousands of others who have been discouraged from working.

The second fact is that the economy contracted in the last quarter and the economy right now clearly is not growing. Those are undeniable facts.

Last year, the government produced an economic statement on October 12. Would the Prime Minister commit that he will introduce an economic statement and that it will deal directly with the jobs crisis in Canada?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the member will know well, we just had an election where the government made it very clear that it will continue with its priorities on the economy. Its priority is to create jobs and growth.

Obviously, we have a fundamental difference here with the opposition of all stripes. We understand that jobs cannot be created by raising taxes. We will keep taxes low in this country as part of our job creation strategy.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister refuses to face the facts, which are very simple: the state of the economy is not what it was back in June or what it was in May. The economy is currently contracting here in Canada, in the United States and in Europe.

I will ask the Prime Minister again: will he commit here today to ensuring that Canadians receive a clear economic statement from the Minister of Finance before October 12?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has a very clear economic policy that is recognized around the world. As I have repeated many times, the global economy, the global recovery, remains very fragile. Of course this means that Canada does face some serious risks and this government will act appropriately at all times. Once again, we cannot create jobs with the kind of debt that exists in other countries, in Europe and the United States. These debts are one of the major problems causing the global recession. We do not want to have such policies here.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government leaked the other day the fact that the deal on the perimeter security deal has now been inked between the United States and Canada. We now have just learned that President Obama's plan for reinvestment in the United States includes several buy American provisions that will cost Canada tens of thousands of jobs when it comes to infrastructure in North America.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister how the government could possibly have signed any kind of agreement or come to any kind of agreement with respect to perimeter security and at the same time allow the administration in the United States to carry on direct discrimination against our country?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if I have inked a deal with the United States I certainly do not remember doing it.

The fact is that this is an important initiative to sustain, not just our security but obviously our access to the American market on which so many Canadian jobs are based.

The member will also know that the Minister of International Trade has been very strong in saying that we certainly do not support the protectionist measures that are included in the latest American bill as we have opposed those in the past and will continue to do so. When we do so on this side, we do so as the only party that has an unadulterated record of commitment to free trade.

G8 SummitsOral Questions

September 19th, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians trust the Auditor General to protect their hard-earned tax dollars. After all, it was the Auditor General who exposed the Liberal sponsorship scheme.

I have a simple question for the President of the Treasury Board. If any bureaucrats, political staffers or even ministers attempted to keep the Auditor General in the dark or mislead her about the spending and misspending of money around the G8, would the minister not agree that would constitute a very serious breach of public trust?

G8 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again we have from that member and from the New Democratic Party the same old, same old.

Let me tell you this very directly, Mr. Speaker. Canadians spoke out against this type of politics and these types of attacks in the last election. They voted for a government that would make job creation and economic growth a priority and that is exactly what this government is doing.

G8 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Auditor General tried to investigate the $50 million in pork barrel spending in Muskoka, she was unable to find a paper trail because she was not told that the projects were run through the member's constituency office and was not told that senior bureaucrats participated. It was NDP researchers, with the help of honest municipal councillors in Muskoka, who broke the code of silence.

Who directed these bureaucrats to keep silent and who told them to show such disrespect for the Canadian taxpayer?

G8 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing new here. What I can say is that 32 projects were funded by Infrastructure Canada. There were 32 different contribution agreements for each project. All of these projects were finished on time and on budget and every dollar was accounted for.

We appreciated the good advice we received from the Auditor General on ways we could be even more transparent and do things better.

G8 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that some deputy ministers provided inaccurate statements to the Auditor General.

The Foreign Affairs summit management office said it was not involved in examining project funding and yet we have learned today that this is not true. One senior deputy minister was a member of the local area leadership group.

Did the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Foreign Affairs instruct their officials to hide their involvement in managing the fund?

G8 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

No, Mr. Speaker.

G8 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the 2008 election campaign, the current President of the Treasury Board chaired meetings of the local area leadership group. He headed up a group that would spend considerable amounts of money in his riding, at a time when he was running for office.

Can the minister explain why he felt it was appropriate or even normal to chair meetings of the local area leadership group in the middle of an election campaign?

G8 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the same old, same old. There is nothing new here whatsoever.

The Auditor General came forward with her report, and we thank her for her work. She came forward with specific recommendations on how we could be even more transparent to Parliament, specific recommendations on improving program administration. The good news is that 32 public infrastructure projects were all constructed. They all came in on or under budget and they are all public infrastructure benefits that will benefit the people of that region for many years to come.

G8 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General was kept in the dark about the minister's homemade funding process. Deputy ministers signed off on inaccurate statements. The summit management office was misleading about its involvement with funding meetings and the minister went ahead with these slush fund meetings, in the middle of an election campaign. Allocating funding out of the backrooms of constituency offices is not ethical government.

Will the minister finally apologize to Canadians for this abuse of their trust?

G8 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I only have 35 seconds and I could not possibly go through every inaccuracy in the member's question.

There were 32 different contribution agreements all signed to support 32 infrastructure projects. All of those infrastructure projects are public. They all came in on or under budget and they will benefit the people of that region for many years to come.

G8 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, FedNor employees were involved in the $50 million personal spending project of the President of the Treasury Board.

The minister asked the region's mayors to provide feedback on the funding criteria.

Let us be clear: the mayors were asked to set the criteria for money they would receive.

Will the minister clarify his involvement and that of FedNor employees in the management of this slush fund?