This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

President of the Treasury BoardStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it seems that the only time Canadians can believe the President of the Treasury Board is when he is not saying anything because every excuse he comes up with for how he blew that $50 million it is like he tweets himself into a bigger hole.

We now know that he ran the 242 projects through his office. We now know that he signed the letters of rejection to cut that down to 32. So, the “Oops, sorry, Auditor General, the dog ate the paper trail” just does not cut it. Neither does the excuse, “Talk to my big brother at Foreign Affairs; he will cover up for me”. Or, my favourite whopper of them all, which is, “If I ran a parallel process, I would turn myself over to the cops”.

He did run a parallel process. Now that he is leading the reckless attacks on the pensions and services Canadians rely on, will he admit that he misled the Auditor General, will he cough up the paper trail and will he apologize to the Canadian public for the misuse of their money?

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week in Switzerland, the Prime Minister highlighted Canada's economic strengths and framed the choices Canada faces as we work to secure long-term prosperity for our citizens.

Our top priority is jobs and economic growth. Canada will make the transformations necessary to sustain economic growth and prosperity now and for the future. We will continue to keep taxes low, to make key investments in science and technology to sustain a competitive economy and to advance our trade linkages. We will make it a national priority to ensure that we have the capacity to export our energy products beyond the United States, specifically to Asia. We will undertake significant reform of our immigration system, balancing our humanitarian obligations with family reunification and with economic and labour force needs.

We will be taking measures in the coming months to ensure the sustainability of our social programs and fiscal position.

Canada's choice will be to seize and to master our future and to be a model of confidence, growth and prosperity in the 21st century.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are bracing themselves for the deepest round of cuts since Paul Martin, cuts to services Canadians need, like the OAS and EI. These cuts will hurt people, hurt seniors, hurt jobs and hurt our communities.

When will the Prime Minister tell Canadians the bad news, on his next trip to Switzerland or somewhere else in the world?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government received a mandate to gradually reduce our deficit to zero. We will do that while protecting the social programs that Canadians cherish. That has been the commitment we have made to the Canadian people. At the same time, we will ensure that our vital programs are sustainable for the long term and for future generations.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister went to Switzerland to tell a millionaires' club that the Conservatives are planning to slash old age security benefits. That is offensive and insulting to seniors. Rather than tackling poverty among seniors, the Conservatives are attacking seniors themselves.

Why does the Prime Minister want to cut old age security benefits? Why?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is not at all the case. Let me be clear: we do not intend to cut benefits for seniors. On the contrary, we will protect our seniors. At the same time, we will ensure that the retirement income system remains sustainable for all Canadians and for future generations.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that answered my question.

We know full well that the next budget will be about choices. The government could choose to help seniors and strengthen the pension system, but instead, it will continue to give big companies tax cuts. Billions of dollars have been and will be spent on megaprisons and F-35s that do not work, and seniors will end up footing the bill. That shows a real lack of respect for our seniors who have given so much to Canadians.

Seniors want to know why this government is putting them on the chopping block first. Why make that choice?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the NDP leader did not listen to my answer. The truth is that we are not cutting seniors' programs. On the contrary, we will reduce the deficit to zero, as we promised during the election campaign, without cutting seniors' benefits. At the same time, we will ensure that the retirement income system remains sustainable for future generations.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, if this continues, it will be Goodbye, Charlie Brown, that is for sure, because this government cares more about CEOs than it does about seniors and families. It has given the gift of additional generous tax cuts to large corporations, which are already raking in huge amounts of money.

This is the same government that is telling seniors that there is not enough money to allow them to retire in dignity. Seniors can no longer trust this government.

Why is it giving more presents to CEOs, while shutting out seniors and families? Why is it betraying Canada's seniors?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false. What we plan to do is protect the retirement system in place for our seniors, the people who built this great country. But we must ensure that this system will be there for future generations. We will protect those generations and our retirement system.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is saying that they will do to pensions what they did to Service Canada.

The government is choosing to spend billions on a misguided prison agenda and tax giveaways to profitable corporations while planning to cut billions from old age security and the services Canadians rely on at the same time as a quarter of a million seniors in Canada live in poverty and hundreds of thousands of Canadian families are out of work and struggle just to get by. Seniors cannot trust the government.

If the Prime Minister was so concerned about cutting OAS, why did he not say anything about it during the election? Why did he hide his agenda during the last election campaign?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has it all wrong. We are not cutting. What we are going to do is preserve the system that exists for Canadians, the retirement system that already exists. Seniors will not lose a penny.

However, we need to ensure that going forward we have a sustainable system. The old age security system is not sustainable now. We will make it sustainable for generations in the future.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the Prime Minister did address this question during the election campaign. The Prime Minister stated categorically during the leaders' debate and as recently as November that the government would not be touching transfers to individuals and transfers to seniors. He explicitly said that.

Now the minister comes up with the Davos answer.

There is an election answer and a Davos answer. Which is it? Is the Prime Minister committed to sustaining seniors or is he committed to breaking his election promises and breaking faith with the people of Canada? Which is it?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government ran on very clear commitments and we are acting on those commitments. Our commitment is to reduce our deficit to zero gradually without cutting transfers to individuals or to provinces. That has been very clear.

At the same time, we do have the opportunity to look ahead, to look at the challenges that these programs face in the future and to ensure that these programs will be available and viable for the future generations that need them.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Canada cannot have it both ways.

On exactly the same day as the Prime Minister was giving his statement in Davos, the President of the Treasury Board was reassuring everyone that there would be no cuts to the provinces and there would be no cuts to transfers to individual seniors.

What the Prime Minister is saying today and what we are hearing very clearly from the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development is the exact opposite.

It is the Davos renege. It is the politics of deceit and abandonment that--

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The right hon. Prime Minister.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the leader of the Liberal Party is challenged when it comes to listening to the answer. We have been very clear that as we reduce the deficit, we will not be cutting transfers to either the provinces or individuals.

At the same time, everybody understands that there are demographic realities that do threaten the viability of these programs over the longer term. We will ensure that these programs are funded and viable for the future generations that will need them.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my ability to listen to the answers is not the problem. The problem is that the answers change. It depends on what is happening. If it is an election period, we hear a lot of promises.

The demographic shift did not happen overnight. The demographic shift was a factor during the election, and that is when they made their promises. Not just the Prime Minister, but every member of the Conservative Party made exactly the same promises. That is why we are calling it the politics of abandonment and deceit.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if we are talking about deceit, let us talk about the Liberal Party's record. The Liberals made record cuts in transfers to the provinces and individuals.

Our government's commitment is clear: we are going to eliminate the deficit without cutting transfers to either the provinces or individuals. At the same time, we have a responsibility to future generations to ensure that these programs are viable in the future, and that is what we will do.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives failed in their commitment to the 2004 health accords, including expanding home care, reforming primary care and getting prescription drug costs under control.

Now the Prime Minister has made the situation worse by telling the premiers that he will unilaterally reduce the Canada health transfer.

Fixing our health care system must be done by collaborating with the provinces. That is what Canadians expect. Why is the government slamming the door in their faces?

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, as stated before, our government is committed to a universal, publicly-funded health care system. Unlike the previous Liberal government, which gutted health care transfers, we have actually increased funding to record levels.

We have also announced a long-term, stable funding arrangement with the provinces and the territories that will see transfers reach historic levels of $40 billion by the end of the decade.

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives cannot escape the reality that their take it or leave it ultimatum is in direct opposition to the principles of the Canada Health Act. Canadians are rightly worried that it will lead to greater privatization, undermining the foundation of medicare. Canadians do not want to see one health care system for the wealthy and one for everyone else.

I ask again, why is the government abandoning its leadership role in health care and making Canadians pay the price? What happened to its commitment to accountability?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, as indicated by the recent data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the federal transfers are projected to grow faster than average provincial spending on health care.

I will continue to work with my provincial and territorial colleagues to make sure that Canada's health system is more sustainable, and to improve accountability and deliver better services to Canadians.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have reason to fear the next Conservative budget because the cuts announced could be double what is expected.

The President of the Treasury Board, a man known for his great transparency, is talking about cuts of 10% resulting in the loss of $8 billion in public services. This government simply does not understand the reality. Blindly cutting the budget is not the solution. Eliminating good jobs is not the solution. Reducing the quality of services is not the solution.

Why is this government going to continue to make families and workers pay for six years of poor Conservative management?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave our government a solid mandate to make decisions on their behalf and to appraise the situation.

I would say to the hon. member that with this mandate, as the Prime Minister has said today, we have and are working on a plan that will get us to balance within a reasonable period of time. It is a reasonable and fair plan for Canadians as well as this House to consider.