House of Commons Hansard #163 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economy.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, our economy faces real challenges that call for a real response, but rather than spring into action, the finance minister has gone into lockdown, hiding the books, and refusing simply to come clean with Canadians.

However, here is the reality. There are 1.3 million Canadians out of work. Jobs grew more slowly than population last year in Canada, and that was supposed to be a good year according to the Conservatives. We have also lost 400,000 manufacturing jobs, which the government is doing nothing to replace.

When are we going to see an actual plan from the government? When are we going to see a budget? When is he going to come out from under the covers and do his job for Canadians?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, because of the instability of the oil market, we will not present a budget before April. We need to have all of the facts. That is the prudent thing to do. The opposition apparently would prefer to leap forward with its plans to increase taxes, increase the debt, and drag down our economy. We are presenting a policy that will advance the prosperity and the security of Canadians now and for future generations.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what is worse, having bad policies like the Conservatives do or having no policies like the guys down in the corner.

There is a clear choice and distinction between us and the Conservatives. The Conservatives believe in handing out billions of dollars to 15% of the wealthiest Canadians, but New Democrats believe in affordable child care for every Canadian family. Conservatives believe in putting all their eggs in one basket, but New Democrats believe in a diversified manufacturing sector. Conservatives believe in massive handouts to the wealthiest corporations, but New Democrats believe in helping small businesses that create 80% of all new jobs here in Canada.

When are the Conservatives going to get with reality and side with good policies and right ideas that will help Canada out today?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we believe in lowering taxes on small business and New Democrats voted against that. We believe in lowering taxes for families and they say it is a bad idea. We support the national shipbuilding procurement strategy and they voted against it. We believe in expanding free trade with Europe and they are going to vote against it. We believe, of course, in supporting our automotive sector with the automotive innovation fund, and they have voted against it.

Every single time we have taken measures that have been praised around the world for supporting the creation of jobs in the Canadian economy, it has always been the NDP that has been against them. Some 1.2 million net new jobs have been created since the recession. We have done that while lowering taxes, not raising taxes. We have a balanced budget, and the Canadian economy will be strong well into the future.

LabourOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the introduction of my bill to protect unpaid interns, the government has begun taking this problem seriously. However, we are still waiting for concrete measures to limit unpaid work.

Will the Conservatives take action to ensure that student and other interns are treated as full employees and are protected, as they should be, under the Canada Labour Code?

LabourOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, stakeholder consultation is very common on legislation that is before Parliament. The minister has asked me to meet with stakeholders across the country to discuss the issue of internship as it relates to the federally regulated workspace.

LabourOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has presided over a youth jobs crisis and the solution for so many young people has been to work for free. The federal Labour Code gives every single employee rights and protections. The problem is that unpaid interns are not considered employees under the code, so they do not have the right to refuse unsafe work. They do not have the same protections from sexual harassment in the workplace. Surely, the minister must agree with the NDP that these same protections should apply to all interns, paid and unpaid.

LabourOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to keeping Canadian workplaces safe, fair, and productive, and it is why our economic action plan 2014 invested $40 million to support up to 3,000 internships in high-demand fields.

I want to point out that whether it is the youth employment strategy or support for internships, the $40 million I mentioned, the NDP does not support these measures. It needs to start supporting our government and the positive measures that we take.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, for years the government has sat back and watched as manufacturing jobs bled from a sector desperate for help. Over 350,000 families suffered through the worst sector meltdown in a generation. Just today, St. Thomas, Ontario, lost another 1,500 jobs. Canada's manufacturing exports have plunged 7% since 2005, while U.S. exports have increased by 70%. Clearly, the only thing the government is good at manufacturing is empty rhetoric.

Instead of manufacturing false blame, will the Conservatives commit to a real plan to help our families?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it was the leader of the Liberal Party who, in Windsor last week, said that the Canadian government should move away from supporting manufacturing altogether. The policy of the Liberal Party is not neglect but is actually proactive abandonment of the manufacturing sector. That is, of course, mindless.

Our policies are working for Canadians. Let us let the last word on this go to Jayson Myers, the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters CEO. He said:

...the programs the Conservative government has put in place do support manufacturing, and do it very well.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the only thing this government manufactures is excuses. The reality is that the finance minister says he needs to delay the budget until he has heard from the economists. If the minister listened, he would hear TD Bank, and now the PBO, saying that he is heading toward a deficit, yet the minister insists that he can balance the budget while giving income splitting as a gift to the rich and without program cuts.

Now that he has heard from the economists, and they are contradicting him, will he stop dithering and table a budget to clear up this uncertainty he has created?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the PBO indicated that Canada is well within the margin of being able to balance the budget, and in fact, we will do so. We will base the forecast on the private sector, as we have always done. We will continue our plan, which is a low-tax plan, for jobs and growth, and we will reject the policies of the opposition, which would raise taxes, increase debt, and burden our children and grandchildren with today's expenses.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, if the minister is so sure that he can introduce a balanced budget this year without spending cuts, and deliver income splitting to the rich, why does he not introduce the budget as usual, in February? Clearly, according to what he is saying now, there is no fiscal reason or economic reason not to do that.

Is the real reason for delaying the budget to April a political one: to table a budget, perhaps in the middle of the Mike Duffy trial, to try to distract Canadians from yet another Conservative scandal?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has said, we base our decisions on the economic reality. The reality is an instability in oil prices, which results in a need to get our information, which we will do.

We present a budget once a year. We present our fiscal update once a year. We will balance the budget. We will honour our commitment to keep taxes low for Canadians, and we will reject the opposition's attempt to increase the debt and burden our children and grandchildren with today's expenditures.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I submitted a formal question to the minister on the order paper requesting the cost of the military mission in Iraq, and I was expecting a serious answer. Instead, the minister's response was that he will only provide the information his department has 90 days after our time in Iraq is complete, whenever that might be.

Can the Minister of National Defence confirm that his department is actually in possession of the cost estimates but that he just will not release them?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what I can confirm is that our men and women are actively deployed in the fight against terrorism. As I have already indicated, there are costs already allotted within the budget, and any incremental costs will be tabled.

However, I think one thing we can all agree on is that even spending a dollar fighting terrorism in that part of the world will be opposed by the NDP.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Conservatives promised, Canadian soldiers are presently on the front lines in Iraq in a combat role.

Furthermore, according to the defence department, only Canada has put itself in this situation.

The real question here is not whether our soldiers should return fire, but why the Conservatives have put our soldiers in this position without informing Canadians of the true nature of the mission in Iraq.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is completely off base with this. We have been very clear on the government's decision to involve fighter jets out of Kuwait. We have been a part of that. We are advising and assisting with our special forces.

We have put this matter before Parliament, because it is the right thing to do to stand up to terrorism and co-operate with our allies. Why does this never have the support of the NDP?

VeteransOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were all pleased to hear the minister tell us yesterday that veterans would be his priority. However, that alone will not restore trust. Clear answers and firm commitments are required. I will repeat the question I asked yesterday.

Will the government take concrete action, reach out to our veterans and reopen the department's regional offices, as our veterans are demanding? Yes or no?

VeteransOral Questions

January 27th, 2015 / 2:45 p.m.

Erin O'Toole Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC

Mr. Speaker, as the member well knows, by the end of this year, veterans will have the opportunity to seek mental health support at 25 offices from coast to coast. It is about meeting the new and rising needs of our veterans and offering services for veterans who are in their 20s and 30s as well as for veterans in their 80s and 90s. We are meeting these evolving needs.

VeteransOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, every Canadian knows that there is a moral and social obligation to care for those men and women we ask to put themselves in harm's way. However, it is only the Prime Minister and the Conservatives who do not believe that there is a moral and social obligation to care for them, especially now those in Iraq.

My question, very simply, is for the Minister of Veteran's Affairs. Does the government believe that there is a moral, social, legal, and fiduciary responsibility to care for the heroes of our country who the government asked to put in harm's way?

VeteransOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Erin O'Toole Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC

Mr. Speaker, I met the hon. member in 1997, when I was a lieutenant at the air base in his riding. That was in 1997. A few years later, he voted in this place for the new veterans charter. What we have to realize, between 1997 and today, is that we have to meet the new and ongoing needs of our veterans. There is a tremendous obligation, recognized as far back as Robert Borden, but we are not frozen in time. We have to meet the needs now and in the future, and we will.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on January 1, our government's enhanced universal child care benefit took effect. Families will now receive even more benefits from our government.

Would the Minister of Employment please update the House on how families will benefit from the latest tax cuts from our budget?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Don Valley for his question and his support for tax fairness for families. The package introduced by our government of course will focus benefits, two-thirds of them, on low- and modest-income families. One hundred per cent of families with kids under the age of 18 will benefit, with an average benefit of nearly $1,200 a year. A family earning less than $30,000 will receive an average benefit of over $1,200. A single parent with two kids, earning $30,000, will receive over $1,500 in benefits.

This is one of the largest and most significant tax benefits for Canadian families ever. It will strengthen families. It will help parents with the cost of living. We are proud of our family tax cut.

Canadian Security Intelligence ServiceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were shocked to learn about the high-flying travel at CSIS. Director Michel Coulombe has racked up tens of thousands in travel expenses, including a $750-a-night hotel bill. Meanwhile, CSIS case officers looking at high-risk travellers are overstretched and under-resourced. Does the minister really think this is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds?