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House of Commons Hansard #168 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was conservatives.

Topics

Leader of the New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, tonight, the leader of the NDP will be blowing out the candles on his birthday cake. Unfortunately, he has just one wish: to impose a carbon tax on Canadians that would kill jobs and increase the price of gas, electricity and almost everything. That is the sad reality.

Such a tax would increase the price of gas for his own family, who will be travelling from Outremont to Stornoway to celebrate this wonderful occasion. It is sad, because the carbon tax proposed by the NDP would increase the price of birthday cakes, candles and even pinatas.

Nevertheless, we do wish the leader of the NDP a happy birthday.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but the party is over for the Conservatives.

Yesterday, the Auditor General confirmed that, for months, the Prime Minister hid the fact that he was going to cut $10 billion from old age security. The Conservatives like hiding information. The Parliamentary Budget Officer is having to fight the Conservatives in court to get information that he is entitled to.

Cuts of $5.2 billion? Where? Why? How? Parliamentarians also have the right to know. Why is the Prime Minister hiding this key budget information?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the first part of the question about the Auditor General, I have to say that the changes to old age security will not be made until 2023. These future changes will ensure that this program remains viable for generations to come.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I can guarantee that this will not happen in 2023 because the NDP is going to replace the Conservatives and we are going to reverse that decision.

It is as though he did not want Canadians to know what awaits them. The Parliament of Canada Act guarantees the Parliamentary Budget Officer access to all economic and financial information, and $5.2 billion in cuts qualifies as economic information. By refusing to disclose this information to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the law and order party is knowingly breaking the law.

I am calling on the Prime Minister to remove the legal barriers and immediately disclose all this financial information. It is the law.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is our government that created that law. Clearly, we will continue to give Parliament all the information in the usual way. The Parliamentary Budget Officer also has access to all this information.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, they made the law and we are asking them to start respecting the law.

The Conservatives were forced to come clean on their $10 billion cuts to old age security. They have not learned their lesson. They are still trying to avoid oversight by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The law clearly gives the PBO access to all government financial data but the Conservatives are hiding behind excuses worthy of a kindergarten playground, not of the Parliament of Canada.

Why will the Prime Minister not co-operate with the Parliamentary Budget Officer? What does the Prime Minister have to hide?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is necessary to remind the opposition that there are no changes to old age security until the year 2023. In fact, seniors' pensions are being fully protected.

In terms of the second question on the role of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, it was established by this government and we understand that role very well. All information is given to Parliament through the normal channels and all that information is available to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are hiding information from the Parliamentary Budget Officer; they are hiding information from the members of this House; and now, they are hiding information from Canadians regarding the environmental impact of weakening the Navigable Waters Protection Act. They have even deleted a government web page about this.

Instead of deleting a web page that indicates what the law should protect, why not tell Canadians what the law will no longer protect?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Transport Canada website has always indicated that the Navigable Waters Protection Act is an act respecting the protection of Canadians' right to navigate. I repeat, to “navigate”. That has not changed. The department reviewed its website and removed some erroneous information.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, even the minister's own department knows that this bill plays an important role in environmental protection, despite his late night website rewrite to purge references to the environment. The Conservatives have snuck a raft of changes into the bill that were never mentioned in the budget. They are taking money from the pockets of Canadians and taxing health benefits. All these components need to be studied by the appropriate committees and not some kind of look but do not touch type study.

Will the government allow amendments to its massive omnibus bill to change and fix the problems that are in the bill?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as members know, as a matter of process, there was a willingness on the part of the opposition to take the pension part out, and we voted on that the other day. If there are some other areas of the budget where there is unanimous consent, where the opposition members wish to ask the government to take something out and pass it unanimously, right away, then we can look at that.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party hid its plans to change old age security from the people of Canada during the last election. It hid the impact of the cost from the Parliament of Canada since the time it was introduced.

Now that we finally have the report of the Auditor General, the Auditor General tells us that by the year 2030, the full savings, the full impact of the cuts the government will make will be three-tenths of 1% of the gross domestic product of Canada.

Is it really worth it?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the sustainability of the pension plan for Canada's seniors and future seniors is always a matter that is worth our attention.

As the member well knows, in the process of balancing our budget, we are ensuring that the pension benefits of seniors are protected. We are also ensuring that changes are made for future generations to ensure that these programs will be in place and will be sustainable for many years to come.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's figures clearly demonstrate that the crisis that the government proclaimed is not a crisis at all.

The numbers clearly show that there is no crisis in the system and that, contrary to what the Prime Minister is saying, the government is not protecting pensions and old age security for Canadians.

The government is simply reducing benefits, while it continues to proclaim that there is a crisis.

There is no crisis.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote the Auditor General's report, which states:

Analyses by the Department showed that the OAS program was one of the factors that could cause a deterioration in budgetary balances in the long term...

That is why, in order to protect seniors' benefits, we have taken action to ensure that this crucial program will be in place and will be sustainable for future generations.

TaxationOral Questions

October 24th, 2012 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the government were really interested in dealing with the financial situation, why would it not be looking harder at the HSBC case, which is a documented case of tax evasion?

The government has the name of 1,785 accounts of Canadians. There have been no prosecutions in this case. There were no prosecutions in the Liechtenstein case, where 96 cases were dealt with and no one was prosecuted, no one was fined, and nothing has taken place with respect to this situation.

How can the government tolerate this kind of tax evasion by the wealthiest of Canadians?

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, the government tolerates no such thing. Tax evasion is a very serious crime.

Revenue Canada has mechanisms to thoroughly investigate and to try to recuperate any moneys that are illegally sheltered. The government will continue to take these measures, because we expect all Canadians, including the wealthiest Canadians, to pay the taxes they owe.

At the same time, on this side, we endeavour to ensure our taxes are as low as possible and keep our economy growing strong.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am going to try again to clarify the confused, muddled position of the Conservative government on clarity in the Investment Canada Act. One minute, it says that clarity is not needed. The next minute, anonymous sources are saying that Conservatives want to redefine the net benefit test.

Apparently the Conservatives want a two-track system. This is worrisome to anyone who saw them run their single-track system off the rails last Friday night at midnight in the Petronas decision.

Two-track, single-track, off-the-track, are the rules going to be in place before the decision on Nexen, yes or no?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, we improved the rules in 2007. We put in new guidelines for the state-owned enterprises. We put in a national security provision in 2009 and tools to communicate, also.

As I said in regard to the proposed transaction, this will be scrutinized very closely. Each decision taken by the government is taken in the best interests of Canadians.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is not the interests of Canadians the Conservatives have in mind; it is the best interests of the Conservative Party and its friends. That is why the Conservatives keep mishandling these issues. It is no way to run an economy. Clarity on net benefit should have been in place years ago. We did the work and the government dropped the ball.

The NDP has been pushing for a clear and transparent net benefit test for years and the government has mishandled decisions on Canadian—

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster still has the floor.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives cannot bear to hear the truth. Since they are mishandling these files, why are they flipping a coin? Why are they doing it on the back of a napkin? Why are they so irresponsible?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, we are open for foreign investment and each investment has to provide a net benefit for our country. However, on clarity, the members on the other side of the House are anti-trade, anti-investment and they offer a carbon tax that would put a $21 billion burden on the shoulders of Canadian taxpayers. We will not go down that path.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, they can continue making up stories when they do not have an answer for us.

It was not until the business community, stock exchanges and the NDP criticized the decision-making process for foreign investments that the Conservatives considered completely overhauling the legislation. The Globe and Mail has confirmed that foreign state-owned enterprises will face greater scrutiny even though we still do not know what criteria are used in the process.

Can the minister tell us if the new rules will apply to the CNOOC takeover of Nexen?