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House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it is necessary to have more of a cheering squad on this side because there is such a resounding cheering squad on that side of the House for one sector of our entire Canadian economy. What I would like to hear from that side is just a tiny semblance of an appreciation that the rest of the world, including our major trading partner, the United States, is moving in the direction of a cleaner energy economy. Jobs can also be created in other sectors.

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the cuts to the environment are negligent and reprehensible as they destroy 50 years of safeguards. The budget eliminates the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. It was originally established to advise the Prime Minister but it regularly produced reports that challenged the environmental policies of the government, particularly around climate change. The budget also commits $8 million over the next two years to help the Canada Revenue Agency target registered charities that the government believes are overly political.

I wonder if the hon. member thinks that the national round table is being silenced to eliminate dissent, and that charities, which are environmental critics, are being targeted.

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's support for trying to bring attention to the desecration by the government of 40 years of development of environmental law and policy in this country. Absolutely, it is reprehensible.

However, we cannot just look at the round table. We need to look at it through successive budgets. First the Conservatives killed the Canadian environmental network which provided support to all the small local organizations, including hunters and fishermen, so they could have a voice in Ottawa. Obviously, they want to get rid of the round table because it does credible, scientific, well-founded analysis, which they are not interested in.

What can we say? One by one, the Conservatives are destroying the very foundations upon which a credible regulatory process in this country was established and which I was proud to take overseas and market. Now we will not have that credible system.

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, when we discuss the energy industry in Alberta and we discuss what is happening there right now, we should go back to 2007 when the industry itself was proposing to increase the upgrading in Alberta to three million barrels a day. That was the projection. What did the Prime Minister say in the 2008 election? He said that he would stop the export of raw bitumen out of this country.

We have a Conservative government in Alberta and a Conservative government in Ottawa. They had the right path to take three years ago. What happened to those guys? Why did they abandon good jobs for Canadians and the opportunity to upgrade the industry? What kind of managers of the system are those people turning out to be?

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is truly a strong advocate for moving in the direction of renewable energy, particularly for the far north. I appreciate his contributions. I only wish the government would listen to his sage advice.

Indeed we did hear the Prime Minister say during the election in 2008 that he would under no circumstances allow the export of raw bitumen to a nation that has lesser standards than Canada. We heard the Prime Minister many times stand and remonstrate against China and say, “Why would we take action on climate change when we have China, the bad actor?” However, here the Conservatives are spending our public resources, taxpayer dollars, to fast-track a system that will send our raw bitumen and our jobs down a pipeline to China.

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to be the last person to stand on this particular budget 2012, which is our plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

Before I start into some technical parts of the budget, I have to make an observation about what has happened over the last few days. I have to note that the NDP official opposition only had one member who could even speak to this budget for three days. I have to appreciate his stamina, but reading tweets and emails for hour after hour leads me to believe that the NDP really did not have all that much to say against the budget.

We often hear concerns about time allocation because the opposition has so many people who need to speak to the issues. But again, I did find it very strange to watch that approach to this budget.

I have to look at the response by the Liberals. They had many opportunities to suggest an amendment that would be important to Canadians. What did they do? They chose to focus on the Prime Minister's retiring allowance. Soon after they actually made that amendment, they had to apologize when they realized their own party was responsible for the implementation of the policy.

In actual fact I think it is very telling that the debate over the last few days has really just been about tweets and minor amendments. It must mean we have this budget right.

What we need to do is understand how we plan to return to a balanced budget without raising taxes. It is important to start, first all, with reflecting on some of the extraordinary challenges we have faced in the last few years.

Between 2006 and 2008, we paid down $38 billion in national debt and reduced the tax burden to the lowest level in 50 years.

I did have to look at budget 2009, because I think it is an absolute critical piece to understanding where we are. This was when we were entering an extraordinary recession, called the great recession. Across the world, people were very concerned.

Our Minister of Finance, in budget 2009, said the following: “We are in the midst of an extraordinary global economic slowdown.... We will spend what is necessary to stimulate our economy to protect our future prosperity through Canada's economic action plan.... We will be spending for the purpose of stimulating the economy and to make many long-term investments that we would have had to make at any rate”.

He said we would not fall into permanent deficit, but lay out a plan to move out of deficit and back to surplus within five years.

Again, this was as we were heading into the recession. He had extraordinary insight in terms of what we needed to do to deal with it and move forward. He said that our stimulus spending was temporary and confined

I am so proud of the government. If we look at our current plan and look at the stimulus and how it really was confined to those two years, we did what we needed to do and we moved forward. The next thing he said was that we anticipated the budget balance would improve sharply, starting in 2011-12.

What have we seen? Dramatic improvements.

He said, “Once the economy recovers, we will ensure deficits incurred over the next five years are repaid and the debt burden is firmly on the downward track.... To accomplish this, we will set rigid spending targets, keeping program spending on average below the rate of nominal GDP growth.... We will do what is right and necessary for the good of our country, without placing the burden on our children and grandchildren”.

That was 2009. Again, I think we can see there was a plan, and that plan is working.

People look at this document we have in front of us, and some people wonder how it came about. It is important to recognize that this is not something that is crafted in offices. This is crafted through consultation across the country.

As members of the finance committee, we travelled from coast to coast to coast. We listened to Canadians. We put forward suggestions. Most members of Parliament met with their constituents. They had round tables, crafted and put in proposals. There are a couple in here that I would reflect upon that come from riding in Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

When I was first elected, Manny Jules, who was from the first nations land management, met with me and talked about economic prosperity. He talked about the ability for first nations property rights.

We announced that the government intends to move forward with legislation that would allow interested first nations to consider private property ownership within the current reserve boundaries.

It was interesting. The finance committee met with Mr. Jules and it met with four chiefs in Kamloops. We talked about how we could help them create economic prosperity.

Mr. Jules said very clearly that this is not something that is for everyone. It needs to be voluntary. However, again this was something that came from constituents. It came from chiefs in my riding. We believe we can create a future for our communities with something like this, so we saw that into the budget. It could be part of some transformation for the Indian bands, the first nations communities that choose this as an option.

Another simple story I like to look at involves the red tape reduction commission. In Kamloops, again, we heard from a business owner who said, “It was Christmas. I hired a temporary worker for a couple of weeks. I missed doing a report to Revenue Canada. The penalty that I was hit with was extraordinary. It was inappropriate”. They were really concerned about what they deemed a very unfair penalty assessed by CRA.

I note that in this budget we have a new policy to ensure these penalties are charged in a manner that is both fair and reasonable. When a business is unable to comply in a timely manner with a reporting obligation related to certain information returns, such as T4s, reduced penalties will be applied when the number of late returns is small.

So, that is one example of something significantly altering for a lot of people and a small example of an irritant, but these are examples of Canadians' input being reflected in the budget.

In summary, I am very proud to be part of a government that actually set out a path to see us through the global recession in 2009. We came out of the recession in better shape than most countries. We now have a path forward, in terms of doing exactly what we said we would do; that is to get back to a balanced budget and to create growth, jobs and long-term prosperity.

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

It being 5:15, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the ways and means Motion No. 7.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Financial statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

In my opinion, the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #180

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed from March 30 consideration of Bill C-310, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), as amended, be concurred in at report stage.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in Bill C-310 at report stage under private members' business.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #181

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

It being 6:08 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-313, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (non-corrective contact lenses), as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There being no motions at report stage on this bill, the House will now proceed without debate to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in.

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Food and Drugs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to)