June 3, 2008

CPC

Lawrence Cannon

Conservative

Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois' enthusiasm for reforming the Canadian federation is impressive indeed. A few weeks ago, the Bloc Québécois leader was in Quebec City to inspect the sprinkler system at the armoury. He wanted us to fix it.

Also, several weeks ago, the Bloc Québécois leader demanded that Canada be fully bilingual and Quebec, unilingual francophone. Now the Bloc Québécois leader has made yet another senseless demand.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Federal Spending Power
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LIB

Judy Sgro

Liberal

Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the government's so-called climate change plan has been called a fraud by every economist, environmentalist and scientist who has analyzed it.

However, when Ontario and Quebec work together, take action and come up with a plan, what does the minister do? He attacks it and calls it a rogue initiative. The minister has failed to do anything to ensure emissions are actually reduced.

When is he going to quit attacking his provincial colleagues for taking action and come to the table with an aggressive national climate change plan?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Environment
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CPC

John Baird

Conservative

Hon. John Baird (Minister of the Environment, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, we have a forward-looking plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an absolute 20% for the first time ever in Canada. Big industry will have to get aboard and do its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Premiers are prepared and are certainly welcome to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in any way, shape or form they like. However, one thing we will not allow them to do is to opt out of a tough national plan for absolute greenhouse gas reduction. We will not allow our plan to be watered down.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

Judy Sgro

Liberal

Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we should start by taxing the minister's hot air.

The government goes on the attack when it is caught doing nothing on the economy, democratic reform or climate change. We have the Minister of Finance telling people not to invest in Ontario and the House leader calling Ontario's premier the small man of Confederation. Now the environment minister is attacking Ontario and Quebec for doing something that he has failed to do, which is to take concrete action in spite of all of his bluff and thunder.

When will the government stop discrediting premiers who believe it is their responsibility to be part of the solution?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Environment
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CPC

John Baird

Conservative

Hon. John Baird (Minister of the Environment, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, far from it. I reject the premise of the member's question. Yesterday I stood in this place, as I did just five minutes ago, to defend my premier and his vision on how we fight climate change.

My premier, D. McGuinty, the provincial Liberal member for Ottawa South, believes that a carbon tax is wrong for Ontario, that it is bad, and I agree. That is why we are going to force the big polluters to clean up their act and we are not going to go after seniors living on fixed incomes.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

Marlene Jennings

Liberal

Hon. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that British Columbia's carbon tax plan was consistent with the Conservative plan.

It is not very often that the Canadian government sends the two biggest provinces packing. Yet that is what the Minister of the Environment is doing by attacking Ontario and Quebec for their joint plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Is it too much for his pride to see Premier Charest and Premier McGuinty succeed where he has failed, that is, in putting forward a viable plan for the environment?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Environment
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CPC

John Baird

Conservative

Hon. John Baird (Minister of the Environment, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, we remain committed that the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to follow the “Turning the Corner” plan, which last year required big corporations to reduce their emissions by 6%, this year by a further 6% and next year by a further 6%.

The leader of the Liberal Party of Canada wrote in the Edmonton Journal last year, “I promise you I will not bring in a carbon tax”. Now he is breaking faith with the people of Canada and doing what Liberals do, which is they love to raise taxes.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

Marlene Jennings

Liberal

Hon. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have just two words to say to him: income trusts.

The Minister of the Environment should admit that it is his government's lack of vision that is forcing the provinces to do his job for him.

Will the minister admit that his so-called pale green plan is inconsistent with international consensus? Does he not realize, as Premier Charest does, that it is better to lead the way rather than lag behind the international community?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Environment
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CPC

John Baird

Conservative

Hon. John Baird (Minister of the Environment, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I certainly do agree with Premier Charest. I wish governments at the national level in the country had taken action. Thank goodness, we have a government that is taking action.

We are taking action to force the big polluters to clean up their acts. We are taking action by setting up a national emissions standard, the first legally binding emission standard for automobiles in Canadian history.

When the history of our country is written, people will look at two things: the rhetoric of the Liberal Party opposite, which accomplished nothing, and they will look at the real action by those of us on this side of the House, who delivered.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Environment
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CPC

Gary Goodyear

Conservative

Mr. Gary Goodyear (Cambridge, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, if the Liberal leader does not repay the loans he received during his leadership race by the end of today, those loans will become illegal donations.

If the Liberal leader cannot manage his own finances, how does he ever expect to manage the finances of the country? Canadians know exactly who will be pulling the Liberal leader's strings if he does not repay these elite and powerful favoured few.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Board President tell us what the government is doing to provide against and crack down on these illegal donations?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Elections Canada
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CPC

Pierre Poilievre

Conservative

Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, today we are calling on the Liberal leader to table in the House of Commons the special arrangement he is seeking with Elections Canada, including this. How much does he owe to the wealthy elites? What have the wealthy elites asked in return for their money? When will they be paid off? What penalty has Elections Canada applied for this breach?

The public has the right to know which vested interests are pulling the strings of the Liberal leader. It is time he came clean with Canadians.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Elections Canada
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I came to Parliament 11 years ago with some urgent priorities, the inferior status of women and fixing unemployment insurance among them. Perhaps it is because of the pathetic under-representation of women in the Conservative caucus, an unbelievable 11%, that the government refuses to fix employment insurance for women.

Let me rephrase the first ever question I asked in the House of Commons. Will the government set targets and timetables to fix the EI system? If not, will it admit that it has simply given up on those who desperately need its help?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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CPC

Monte Solberg

Conservative

Hon. Monte Solberg (Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, first, I know I speak on behalf of all members in congratulating the member on making her decision. We thank her for her service in this place.

I also know this party is very committed to ensure that women in our country have equal access to employment insurance today. Almost 80% of women have access to employment insurance and 98% have access to special benefits.

More important, we are ensuring that all Canadians, including women, have access to training that will help them step into a job in one of the hottest job markets in our history.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, a former deputy minister of finance in Nova Scotia has called the $54 billion removed from Canada's employment insurance fund the biggest theft in Canadian history.

Shouldering the greatest share of the burden, the EI fund needs $15 billion to support itself, yet only $2 billion is budgeted.

Will the government address the scandal that 68% of women contributing to EI are denied benefits when they become unemployed through no fault of their own, or is it determined to create a permanent legacy of discrimination against women?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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CPC

Monte Solberg

Conservative

Hon. Monte Solberg (Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, during the Liberal years, it was the Bloc and the NDP that were arguing to spend even more of that money taken from workers. Therefore, if it was the Liberals who were saying “stick 'em up” to hard-pressed workers, it was the Bloc that was standing as the lookout and the NDP that was driving the getaway car.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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LIB

John McCallum

Liberal

Hon. John McCallum (Markham—Unionville, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the first quarter drop in GDP means Canada could be halfway to its first recession in 16 years. Our first quarter performance was the worst in the G-7. Consumer confidence has plunged to a seven year low. Today GM has announced 1,000 more job losses in Oshawa.

With these devastating job losses in his own backyard, will the finance minister finally end his ostrich-like preaching that all is well and stop denying that the Canadian economy is in serious trouble?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Economy
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CPC

Jim Flaherty

Conservative

Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the member for Markham—Unionville could not be more wrong. The Canadian economy is strong. The economic fundamentals in our economy are strong. Our budget is balanced. We are reducing debt and taxes. We are certainly not going to impose a massive new punitive tax on Canadians through a carbon tax, advocated by the member for Markham—Unionville and by his party.

We have a strong labour market in Canada. We have 120,000 net new jobs this year alone. In fact, we have labour shortages in most regions of the country.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Economy
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LIB

John McCallum

Liberal

Hon. John McCallum (Markham—Unionville, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding these economic weaknesses, we on this side have great confidence in Canada, but Canadians have zero confidence in the minister. He told companies not to invest in Ontario. Today General Motors took his advice. He squandered an inherited $13 billion surplus, taking Canada to the verge of deficit.

I know the Prime Minister is short on bench strength, but since he will be filling the hole in foreign affairs, will he today commit to also fill the leadership void in finance?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Economy
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CPC

Jim Flaherty

Conservative

Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, we certainly advocate that the Government of Ontario reduce business taxes. We certainly advocate that it take that step toward harmonization and that it take the incentive we offered with respect to capital taxes, which was a good move by that government. The tax burden on new business investment in Ontario is the highest in Canada and that is not good for business.

However, if we look at the report on the first quarter, and I suggest my friend opposite read it, wages and salaries are up 6.2%, corporate profits are up 9.9% and business investment is up 2.2%.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Economy
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LIB

Pablo Rodriguez

Liberal

Mr. Pablo Rodriguez (Honoré-Mercier, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, perhaps between trips in his flying limousine, the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec could come back down to Earth. The reality on the ground is that the gross domestic product, the measure of our economy, slipped in the last quarter—it did not increase, it slipped. If that happens again in the next quarter, we will be in a recession.

In that context, has the minister made any provisions to support our businesses and secure our jobs, or will he allow his budget to be slashed without saying a word?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Regional Economic Development
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June 3, 2008