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House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, we all agree that the best antidote to household debt is a good job. Unfortunately, the Conservatives are doing almost nothing for the two million Canadians who need one.

The government persists with its generous tax breaks for highly profitable oil companies, and yet takes a wait-and-see attitude toward creating jobs for the employed or getting the economy going again.

Canadians want action on jobs now. Why will the finance minister not act?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the member opposite knows, our unemployment rate is too high, but it is much better than that in the United States, and that has not happened in more than a generation.

The economic action plan actually is working and continues to work. We have about 600,000 net new jobs in Canada today since the end of the recession. We have the strongest job growth in the advanced economies in the world.

All of that is true. Should we do more? Yes, and we are with the accelerated capital cost allowance; the new tax credit for small businesses, more than 500,000 of them, to hire people; and the continuation of our tax reductions, which is just the opposite of what the NDP proposes, which is to raise taxes again.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, a review of public accounts shows that the government spending on professional and special services, including the use of consultants, has gone up from $7.24 billion to well over $10 billion, a cumulative increase of over $7 billion.

I would like to ask the Minister of Finance what he thinks the chances are that the $20 million consultants he just hired will come back and say, “Do you know what is a good way to save money? Cut the use of consultants”.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we know that the member opposite from Rosedale was very fond of big government during his days in Ontario: big government, big deficits, big debt. It was so bad he hung on until almost the last day because he knew the people of Ontario were going to throw him out of office because of his big deficits, big debt and accumulated public debt.

Yes, we are having experts from outside look at government spending. Yes, we should. Government should not be the sole judge of the way it is run. We need advice from the outside.

For every dollar spent--

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I am not sure how the hon. member for Toronto Centre heard the minister's answer, because there was quite a lot of noise. I would ask all hon. colleagues to listen to the answers.

The hon. member for Toronto Centre.

Canada-United States RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

I think most of the noise was coming from the Minister of Finance, Mr. Speaker.

I wonder if the minister could now explain--

Canada-United States RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canada-United States RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, order. I know it is a Wednesday, but we will have to listen to the question before we can listen to the answer.

The hon. member for Toronto Centre.

Canada-United States RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

I did not know knuckle grazing could cause so much noise, Mr. Speaker.

I wonder if the minister could tell us, in negotiating with respect to perimeter security, why, when faced with the buy American problem, why, when faced with the labelling problem, would ending trade discrimination not be part and parcel of those negotiations?

Canada-United States RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on reducing barriers to trade, not raising new barriers, as some parties in the House have suggested.

Sixty per cent of our GDP is comprised of trade. One in five Canadian jobs is directly or indirectly related to trade, so any suggestion that we should be adding to the barriers that face our businesses is absolutely wrong.

Canada-United States RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister misunderstood the question I asked. Being a charitable man, I will repeat the question in my second language.

What I am trying to say is very simple. At a time when we are facing a real risk of discrimination against the Canadian economy with regard to our exports to the United States, why not make this issue of discrimination part of our negotiations with the Americans on security?

Canada-United States RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe the member listened to my answer. Had he been listening to the Prime Minister two days ago, he would know that the Prime Minister was very clear. The border vision initiatives are about deepening and strengthening the world's greatest trade relationship. Given our strong and mature relationship with the United States, we can separately address our concerns regarding the buy American provisions. This government will stand up for ordinary, hard-working citizens. Why will those members not?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are outraged that the government is spending $90,000 a day for a consultant to help plan cuts to services that Canadians rely on. If we add it up, we could keep 230 front-line employees on the job for over a year.

Why is the government throwing money at high-priced consultants while cutting staff who actually deliver services to Canadians?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know this would be contrary to NDP ideology, but there actually is some waste in government. Governments can actually reduce their expenses. We should not do it ourselves solely. We should get advice and expertise from the private sector. For every $1 of spending on experts, we expect $200 of savings, which is a pretty good deal.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the International Monetary Fund has reversed its predictions about Canada's economy, and is now warning that our unemployment rate is just going to keep climbing. While Canadians worry about the economy, Conservatives are throwing $90,000 a day at high-priced consultants, planning even deeper cuts. The minister is turning his back on communities that depend on these positions. When will Conservatives focus on Canadian families instead of throwing money at high-priced consultants?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are focused as a top priority on jobs and the economy. The record on jobs is about 600,000 net new jobs as a result of the economic action plan.

Let us see what the IMF actually said. Here is what the spokesman said just yesterday: “Canada is actually matching up quite well on a relative basis...growth rates are 2%, the recession was not too deep, they haven't had a financial crisis to the extent that the U.S. has had or the Europeans are having it, and so, all in all, Canada is actually doing quite well.”

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are spending $90,000 a day for a high-priced outside consultant to plan service cuts. These cuts will have a direct and negative impact on Canadians, especially in rural regions. Seniors without Internet access and with limited access to public transit are being left behind by the government.

When will the government realize that paying private contractors top dollar to do its dirty work while short-changing seniors is certainly not the change Canadians were looking for?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the deficit reduction action plan is necessary as we move on the fiscal track to balanced budgets. The member opposite should know that there is some waste in government, that it is possible to review programs, that not every program should go on forever, that sometimes there are new programs, sometimes there are programs that have completed their usefulness.

Certainly, it is the obligation of government to get the best advice we can, including the advice we will get from outside consultants. As I said, for every $1 spent on experts, we expect $200 of savings.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, our seniors deserve better.

By significantly reducing the services offered at Service Canada centres, the Conservative government is showing no consideration whatsoever for our seniors. Apparently, according to the minister, anyone who cannot communicate with Service Canada over the Internet is unworthy of the 21st century. That is unacceptable.

Can the minister tell us here today how the cuts to Service Canada will better serve our seniors?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want to modernize our employment insurance system, especially the processing of claims. At this time, processing is done mainly on paper. This is not working. With an automated system, Service Canada employees will have more time to help seniors, and this will be more affordable for seniors. We promised Canadians that we would respect their money and that is what we are doing.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of spending $90,000 a day on learning how to cut public services, the government should put more resources into investigating how the Canada Revenue Agency bureaucrats were able to help a convicted fraudster escape paying taxes.

Money laundering, $12 million in cash spent in casinos, and CRA private documents found in his safe in a building belonging to a mobster; after these troubling allegations, can the government explain what is going on at the Canada Revenue Agency?

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to clarify that many of these allegations date back more than a decade. They are not new allegations. CRA officials are working with the RCMP, and the investigation is ongoing.

We do appreciate that this is a very serious issue and we will not tolerate these types of activities as they are alleged.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government is so determined to make cuts, then perhaps it could cut off fraudsters instead of cutting services to honest citizens.

Canadians work hard for their money. We cannot blame them for being worried when they see how badly public funds are being managed. We have to shed light on what is happening at the Canada Revenue Agency.

Can the government assure us that it will get to the bottom of things and investigate these serious allegations?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member and the House that the RCMP is investigating this matter. It is a very serious matter. CRA officials are working with the RCMP, and we will get to the bottom of the issue.

G8 SummitOral Questions

September 21st, 2011 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, while senior bureaucrats in the Summit Management Office, Infrastructure Canada and Industry Canada categorically told the Auditor General they had no direct involvement in the G8 legacy fund, we know that is not true. Either they were misrepresenting the facts, or perhaps they were simply moved beyond the reach of the Auditor General.

Here are simple questions for the President of the Treasury Board. Did the bureaucrats who participated in the secret meetings in Muskoka not have an obligation to come clean with the Auditor General? Were any of these key players later promoted, for example, Mr. Sanjeev Chowdhury, for keeping to this code of silence?