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House of Commons Hansard #208 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was witnesses.

Topics

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

February 11th, 2013 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been months and the NDP has yet to explain the $21 billion carbon tax found on page 4 of its platform. This tax would raise the price on everything that Canadian families in Mississauga—Streetsville pay for, including gas, groceries and electricity.

Our government has a low tax plan for jobs and growth across the country, a plan Canadians support. In fact, thanks to our government's efforts a Canadian family of four now keeps over $3,000 more of its money in its own pockets.

Why does the NDP leader and his party want Canadians to pay billions for his risky economic policies?

The SenateStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister once promised, “I will not name appointed people to the Senate”. The Prime Minister has now broken that promise 58 times, and the Conservatives defend their negligence of their duties with make-believe ads on the NDP. As a new member, I find this all very sad.

Conservatives have had 789 sitting days in government, and they have called their Senate bills for debate only 18 times over seven years. Canadians know that maintaining the status quo in the Senate is in the vested interests of two parties, parties that use taxpayer-subsidized senators to do partisan work for them. However, thankfully Canadians have the NDP, the only party that opposes the entitlements of Conservative and Liberal senators, the only party that stands firm against patronage and the only party that stands shoulder to shoulder with Canadians on accountability.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal Party asked Canadians for a mandate to implement a job-killing carbon tax, they flatly rejected it. No matter to the NDP leader; he is ignoring Canadians' position and is peddling a similar, more expensive carbon tax. In fact, if he gets his way, the NDP leader would impose a new $20 billion job-killing carbon tax. This new tax would kill Canadian jobs and hurt Canadian families by making everything cost more, from gas to groceries to electricity.

Did he check with his northern Ontario caucus on this tax? The fact is that Canadians do not want the NDP's $20 billion carbon tax, and our government will continue to stand up against this NDP policy that would kill jobs and stall economic growth. As long as the NDP continues to push its $20 billion job-killing carbon tax, the leader will continue to be as unpopular as the Liberal Party, if he is not there already, especially in northern Ontario.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has now appointed more Conservative cronies to the Senate than even Brian Mulroney. Bagmen, defeated candidates and party hacks are doing political work on the taxpayers' dime.

Senator Mike Duffy has been caught claiming a generous P.E.I. housing allowance while holding an Ontario health card. That is to say nothing of Mr. Patrick Brazeau.

How many more disgraceful incidents like these will it take before the Prime Minister admits that this pork barrel patronage project, otherwise known as the Senate, should be abolished?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we know that the Senate board of internal economy, which of course is mirrored with a parallel institution here in the House of Commons, is looking at the whole issue of residences right now. As a matter of fact, I think the NDP, both on Thursday and Friday, applauded the government's decision to move in that direction and also to bring in an internal auditor to look at this question.

However, the leader of the NDP, of course, conveniently forgets the fact that every time the Canadian people have elected a senator, their elected prime minister, our Prime Minister, has appointed that person to the Senate. The evidence is in Senator Unger, Senator Brown and of course, Senator Black, who are all members of the Senate, elected by the Canadian people. That is the direction our government is going in, and we will continue to do so.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about thieves. Together, the Liberals and Conservatives pillaged $57 billion from the employment insurance fund to give handouts to the richest companies. The government used that $57 billion as though the money belonged to it, not to workers and employers.

How do the Conservatives justify the fact that they are cutting access to EI, when workers and employers contributed more to this fund than they ever received in benefits?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, let me say that I agree with half of what the Leader of the Opposition said about how the Liberals stole $50 billion from taxpayers when they were in power.

It is also true that our government increased access to employment insurance for Canadians who need it. That is what we promised during the 2006, 2008 and 2011 election campaigns, and that is a promise this government has kept.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources said that the employment insurance program is too lucrative. That comes from the same minister who said that EI is an incentive to remain unemployed.

It is therefore not surprising that the Minister of Human Resources has implemented an inhumane reform that attacks unemployed and seasonal workers without consulting the provinces and the economic sectors affected.

Pressure from the people is intensifying, and the federal minister is meeting with her Quebec counterpart today. Will the Conservatives listen to the political and economic stakeholders and abandon this botched reform?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has levelled these accusations in the past, and Canadians have quite simply rejected them during elections. When we look at the reforms that our government has brought forward and implemented, we see that the objective was to give Canadians access to employment insurance when they need it, no matter where they live. That is what our reforms are doing. The economic and regional results indicate that the current reforms make sense for every region of Canada.

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board recently stated that there was no legal way to renew Kevin Page’s term. That is completely false. The Federal Accountability Act is clear. It refers to the PBO’s renewable term.

Last April, the Prime Minister said “I expect ministers to always tell the truth”.

So why is the President of the Treasury Board not telling the truth?

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

2:20 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, I have already stated clearly in the House that we want a Parliamentary Budget Officer who is impartial and who can give credible opinions on budgetary matters.

The Parliamentary Librarian has hired a headhunting firm. We have no intention of removing the PBO’s office from the purview of the Library of Parliament.

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board can make things up, but we have read the Federal Accountability Act and the law contradicts him. It says, “renewable term”. Conservatives are no longer satisfied just attacking Kevin Page personally, starving him of funds and denying him information. Now they make up facts about the law.

The budget is fast approaching and extending Kevin Page's term is the sensible thing to do, so why are Conservatives attacking the PBO and undermining fiscal accountability?

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

2:20 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, I have said in this place that there are numerous methods of accountability that we take seriously in the chamber, be it the estimates, the public accounts or the budget process. However, we also want a parliamentary budget officer who is non-partisan and a credible source of opinion on fiscal matters. I understand that the Library of Parliament, an institution of 100-plus years in this place, has retained a search firm. We welcome its deliberations, but we will not see any changes further from that.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, buried in all of last week's rubble about Duffy and Brazeau, robocalls and push polls, there was some hard reality about the struggling Canadian economy. Consumer debt got worse, 22,000 jobs were lost, trade was down again and housing starts dropped by 19%; all signs of a weakening economy. This is no time for complacency.

To counteract Canada's economic deterioration, will the government present a new budget before the end of February?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I am genuinely pleased that the Liberals are so excited for a budget they want Christmas to come early. They can rest assured our budget will be tabled along the regular timelines.

However, while I have a moment, I am pleased to certainly let the member for Wascana and the House know some of the things that have been said very recently about the Canadian economy. Tom Donohue, who is the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, “The great Canadian miracle is something we should follow [in the United States]”.

Indeed, the Canadian economy has created over 900,000 net new jobs since the worst part of the recession. We have lowered taxes over 140 times for Canadians and our budget will reflect this growing success in the Canadian economy.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, government boasting is meaningless to those who have lost their jobs or cannot afford a mortgage or a pension or cannot get their kids into higher education. Saying we are not as bad as some others is settling for mediocrity.

Will there be a budget in February? Will it freeze job-killing Conservative EI payroll taxes? Will it make family tax credits available to all Canadians not just the more wealthy? Will it tear down barriers to skills and learning? Will it invest in infrastructure and housing?

Will the budget do these sensible things?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I did not say we are better than the others. We are, in fact, the best in the world when it comes to job numbers. The World Economic Forum and the OECD confirm that Canada's job numbers are the best in all the G7. It does not mean, of course, that we can be complacent.

We have put in place our economic action plan. We will be bringing forward responsible measures in budget 2013 and we will keep doing what we promised Canadians we would do should we be entrusted with a majority government, which is to take care of the Canadian economy so that Canadian families can take care of their responsibilities.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the economy is in enough trouble without the government adding to the problem by pushing ahead with its ill-advised EI reforms, which have been criticized by Quebec’s seasonal employers, including Charles-Henri de Coussergues, the president of the Association des vignerons du Québec. Workers are troubled by the reforms and, in his own words, “they are discouraged and I am losing this workforce”.

Claudine Pedneault, the owner of Les voitures d'eau hotel in Isle-aux-Coudres, had this to say: “We are angry.... Some of my employees have been with me for 20 years. I am afraid of losing them....”

Will the government listen to these people and put an end to EI reforms that kill jobs?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the changes that have been introduced clarify the responsibilities of EI recipients. The aim of the EI program is to provide support to people while they are looking for another job. We are helping them to find a new job by expanding the job alert and job bank systems. We want to help workers find jobs.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Cooperation's office is a renowned black hole for funding proposals. In fact, very few see the light of day and those that are funded are increasingly out of step with Canadians. How did Crossroads, an anti-gay organization, get sign-off from the minister to operate in a country that Canada has strongly criticized for its persecution of its gay citizens?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, we fund results-based projects, not organizations, and projects are delivered without religious content, including this particular project.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of results-based projects, the Conservative government has taken a dislike to organizations like KAIROS and Development and Peace that work for the welfare of people around the world and that have achieved tangible results in the field.

Meanwhile, religious groups that promote their own ideology have made inroads with these same Conservatives.

Has the time not come to stop making a mess of things at CIDA and issue clear, objective criteria for partnerships—

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, that premise is absolutely bogus. As I said earlier, we fund results-based projects, not organizations, and religion has nothing to do with any of that.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, a procurement contract for Cyclone helicopters was signed nine years ago, but the goods have yet to be delivered.

The Minister of National Defence has called this contract “the worst procurement in the history of Canada”. Okay. But then the minister granted an additional $117 million in funding to Sikorsky.

Although the Conservatives like to suggest that they could support the NDP's proposal to create a defence procurement agency, we still have no helicopters.

When will they finally deliver the goods?