December 2, 2008

NDP

Jack Harris

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot of talk about supporting people with RRIFs. I wonder if the members opposite could tell us why people who are on old age supplements could not be helped. We were told the other day that $100 a month for seniors on the old age supplement would eliminate about 80% to 85% of the poverty among seniors in the country.

Why did we not hear that from the government in its economic update and not just about people who have retirement savings?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic and Fiscal Statement
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CPC

Merv Tweed

Conservative

Mr. Merv Tweed

Mr. Speaker, as a government we have done many things that address the retirement age group of people. The splitting of an income has created better opportunities. We have increased the level at which they can become tax free, and that continues to go up. We have actually increased seniors' ability to withdraw their RRIFs from 69 to 71, which was necessary at the time to help address some of the issues.

Not everyone has an answer in a day but what we have proposed to Canadians is very positive. I think that when they see our budget in January, Canadians will understand what we are trying to do and will support it.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic and Fiscal Statement
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BQ

Serge Cardin

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Serge Cardin (Sherbrooke, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, first, may I say that I will be sharing my time with...

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic and Fiscal Statement
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?

An hon. member

Stéphane Dion?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic and Fiscal Statement
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BQ

Serge Cardin

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Serge Cardin

I will be sharing my time with the member for Terrebonne—Blainville, and certainly not with the stranger across.

We have just come from an election; it was only 48 days ago. An election represents not only an opportunity but also a responsibility for members and candidates to go into their ridings; to talk with the people, to meet with social and economic groups, and all the different institutions. It is necessary to find out the real needs of the people; to learn about their hopes, but, above all, we must be able to identify solutions and take action to apply those solutions.

Of course, considering the election results; in the light of the government’s Speech from the Throne, and also the economic statement, it is obvious that the necessary and indeed essential work of talking to the people has not been done. I should allow for a caveat. If the work was done, the Conservatives did not listen. If, in fact, they did pay attention to the needs of their residents; if they did actually listen, their leader probably spoke louder than their own voters. If none of these things happened and they came forward with solutions other than the solutions proposed by the Bloc Québécois, it must be because they do not have any ridings like those in Quebec. Those are ridings that have Teflon protection, so that they are not affected by reality. However, I am sure the financial, economic and social problems affecting Quebec must also affect all of Canada.

Why then are they acting this way? Clearly, what they have presented to us is not an economic statement. It is really an ideological statement. It is an ideology that finds its roots in the tar sands. One can imagine what would grow there, what would come out of it and what the Conservatives are feeding on. That must really fog up their glasses, because we must recognize that the vision of this government is very, very short.

We have gone from one minority government to another. It is true that during the last election the Conservatives insisted it was their intention to elect a majority government. That was the reason they called the election. Now, having been denied that result, and frustrated at the fact that the great majority of voters said no to them—however, I should not exaggerate; there are limits to everything—they bring forward an economic statement that clearly shows how blind the government is to the need for urgent action. While all the governments in the world are taking action against the crisis, this Conservative Reform government—or Reform Conservative government, whatever you call it, it is the same thing—does exactly the opposite.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic and Fiscal Statement
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?

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic and Fiscal Statement
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BQ

Serge Cardin

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Serge Cardin

Let us talk about that, since I heard an echo from the distant prairies, by way of Quebec. Take the example of the person who did not go to talk to the people, or if he did go, did not listen to them. He is not aware of the needs of the people in his riding. He only repeats the policies of the Conservative reformers that he has been spreading throughout Quebec and he never stops hitting the people of Quebec over the head.

Instead of tabling a plan for economic recovery, rather than providing oxygen, the Prime Minister has chosen to suffocate the economy.

The Conservative leader decided to ignore businesses, regions and people. We cannot accept that. Instead of tackling the economic crisis, the Reform-Conservative government decided to provoke a democratic crisis for strictly partisan reasons by eliminating political party funding. The Prime Minister also decided to attack workers by suspending their right to strike, and to attack women by making the right to pay equity negotiable. It is easy to conclude that, in an attempt to more easily impose his ideology, the Prime Minister wants to suppress political parties, unions, women and all forms of opposition, including, primarily, the voice of the people.

See you later, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic and Fiscal Statement
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CPC

Barry Devolin

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin)

After question period, the hon. member will have four minutes to complete his remarks. Moving on to members' statements. The hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic and Fiscal Statement
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CPC

James Rajotte

Conservative

Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton—Leduc, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to a great Canadian icon who passed away today, Ted Rogers, founder and CEO of Rogers Communications.

Ted Rogers was one of a kind, a communications visionary, a business icon, an entrepreneur without equal, a philanthropist and a proud Canadian who was respected near and far.

Our nation's geography presents natural barriers to us as a people. The work of Ted Rogers in radio, cable and wireless helped bring us closer together. We must also remember his commitment to his community and to future generations, as exemplified by the School of Management at Ryerson University.

Ted Rogers was also a devoted family man. On behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada, we send our deepest condolences to his wife, Loretta, and his children, Edward, Lisa, Melinda and Martha.

At a difficult time such as this, it is especially important to remember Ted's enduring rallying call, “The best is yet to come”.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Ted Rogers
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LIB

Frank Valeriote

Liberal

Mr. Francis Valeriote (Guelph, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are witness to the spectacle of a Conservative Party doing everything it can to cling to power.

The Conservatives introduced an economic statement last Thursday. Since then, they have scrambled, panicked and raced away from it, with one cabinet minister topping the next in their rush to disavow, drop and abandon the proposals they claimed were vital to the interests of our country.

Canadians see the Conservative Party laid bare in its desperate quest to cling to power, so desperate that it has resorted to secretly taping the meetings of other parties. To the Conservatives, no policy is so important, no principle so sacrosanct, no law so unbreakable that it cannot be tossed on the trash heap as the Prime Minister digs his fingernails into the door frames of 24 Sussex Drive, trying to hold on when it is clear he can no longer govern.

When he was opposition leader, he used to claim that a government had to be able to face the House of Commons on a vote every day. Will the Conservatives face the House today?

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Conservative Party of Canada
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BQ

Christian Ouellet

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Christian Ouellet (Brome—Missisquoi, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, in light of the recent economic statement, we are forced to admit that the Conservative government remains totally indifferent to the demands of the Bloc Québécois, which is calling for concrete actions to be taken to help the manufacturing sector.

The automotive industry is one of the hardest hit by the economic crisis. A number of companies will have no choice but to close down, and this is the case for a company in my riding. Dana, a car parts manufacturer in Magog, and one of the few still operating in Quebec, will have to cease operations and lay off 130 workers.

The government steadfastly refuses to do anything to help the workers who have fallen victim to the crisis in manufacturing. It ought to have broadened access to employment insurance and done away with the waiting period. As for assistance to companies, it ought, most definitely, to have offered incentives to purchase equipment, for example.

This House and the public have every reason to have lost confidence in this government.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Manufacturing Sector
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CPC

Jeff Watson

Conservative

Mr. Jeff Watson (Essex, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, on October 14, Canadians spoke with their votes. This government under this Prime Minister was re-elected with a clear and stronger mandate to address the global economic crisis.

Canadians rejected the Liberals, handing them their worst share of the vote since Confederation. Canadians rejected the NDP and its job-killing economics. Both the NDP and the Liberals rejected a coalition on the campaign trail.

Now they want to connive, aided and abetted by the separatist Bloc, to overturn the results of an election held only seven weeks ago. They want to impose a prime minister rejected by the people four to one and a coalition for which nobody voted. Worse still, the Liberals and the NDP will give the Bloc a separatist veto on all spending and national decisions.

We will use every legal means possible to keep the separatists out of power and keep Canada moving forward. This Conservative government is standing up for Canada.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Opposition Coalition Proposal
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NDP

Brian Masse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, November 9, beloved Windsor Constable Robert Jones passed away after a difficult battle with liver disease.

A police officer for more than 20 years, he was best known for his work as a community service officer. He ran the force's VIP program, which brings officers to local schools to speak to grade six students and to organize police weeks. He was very popular with teachers and students throughout the city.

Under his leadership and initiative, the program was expanded beyond traditional public and separate schools to other private institutions for the first time. His involvement in the community included coaching basketball at the South West Francophone Basketball Association and L'Essor High School, where his son Xavier is on the team. His daughter, Bienka, attends Royal Military College on a basketball scholarship.

He will be missed by his wife, Nathalie, his children, siblings and the entire community. He was a true leader and police officer that inspired many children and guided others to more hopeful choices, a significant loss to all of us, but an example we shall always remember and aspire to be.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Robert Jones
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LIB

Massimo Pacetti

Liberal

Mr. Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are witnessing the spectacle of the Conservative Party's efforts to keep power within its grasp.

The government has had its chance. All parties in the House have promised to work together for the good of the Canadian economy. The Prime Minister had the opportunity, a unique opportunity in the history of this country, to proceed with measures that would have had the support of every party in this House. Instead, the Prime Minister has used the economic crisis as a pretext to impose right-wing policies, policies he did not have the courage to present during the last election campaign.

Everywhere in the country workers are losing their jobs, particularly in manufacturing and forestry. Yet the Prime Minister's main concern has been to wonder how he could use the situation to the advantage of the Conservative Party and its ideology. That was his main concern.

The country needed someone to deal with the economy, but thePrime Minister is preoccupied with politics. That is why he has lost the moral authority to govern, and that is also why he has lost the confidence of Canadians.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Conservative Party
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CPC

Scott Reid

Conservative

Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, on September 9, 2004, the three opposition leaders wrote to Her Excellency, stating that if the House failed to support the government, she should consult the opposition before dissolving the House. However, that is where the parallel with today's situation ends.

The September 9 letter was issued almost a month prior to the recall of the House and served to successfully pressure Paul Martin to amend the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne rather than to lose office to a coalition. All talk of coalition vanished from the moment the Address in Reply had been approved.

At the start of 2005, when the opposition again threatened to bring down the government, everyone understood that the only possible result would have been a dissolution.

The timeline in 2004-05 was only marginally longer than the one facing us today. Thus, as yesterday, I submit that if the House votes no confidence in the government, it will be against precedent for the opposition coalition to take power and, thus, new elections will be the only constitutionally permissible outcome.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Opposition Coalition Proposal
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BQ

Maria Mourani

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Maria Mourani (Ahuntsic, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, 150 years ago, in Ahuntsic, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart founded an important academic institution that is now called the Sophie Barat Secondary School. Our thanks go out to all the women who, in 1858, inspired by Madeleine Sophie Barat, created this place of learning, which is still thriving today. I wish to thank all the nuns who have worked there over the years for their extraordinary dedication.

What began as a girls' school has become co-ed, public and secular. As a proud testament to Quebec's progress, and with its team of teachers, administrators, students and parents who volunteer, it is a source of pride and a jewel in Montreal's public education system.

I urge this remarkable Quebec institution to continue to adapt to the needs of the times, in service to our most precious resource: our children.

Long live public education for everyone, and long live Sophie Barat Secondary School.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Sophie Barat Secondary School
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CPC

Andrew Saxton

Conservative

Mr. Andrew Saxton (North Vancouver, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the people of North Vancouver for exercising their democratic right and trusting me to represent them.

This week Canadians are witnessing an unprecedented attack on our democratic institutions. The most basic principle of our democracy has been assaulted, the principle that voters choose the government.

October 14 was election day. Across the country, people went to work, drove to the polls, had dinner with their families and then turned on the television to hear the news. That is how democracy works.

The results were clear. TheLeader of the Opposition was rejected with his party's lowest vote percentage since confederation. He did not just lose the confidence of the public, he also lost the confidence of his own party and he resigned. Then he found two new parties. All it took was a few secret meetings, and now he thinks he should be prime minister, with the help of the separatists and the socialists.

This is not democracy. It is time for the people to speak.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Opposition Coalition Proposal
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LIB

Bonnie Crombie

Liberal

Mrs. Bonnie Crombie (Mississauga—Streetsville, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Canada has seen job losses in manufacturing and forestry during the Conservatives' time in office. The job losses are real and they are expected to continue.

With every major industrialized country in the world taking action to invest in their economies, their infrastructure and their workers, Canadians expected action from the Conservatives. Instead, they got politics. Instead of helping working families, the Prime Minister attacked pay equity, attacked labour rights and figured out how to best help the Conservative Party.

The funny thing is suddenly the Conservatives have the time and the interest to organize rallies and petitions to fight for their jobs. Where were they during the weeks between the election and the economic update, when they should have been putting that kind of energy and enthusiasm into protecting the jobs of Canadians?

The Conservatives now realize the economic statement was a mistake. Unfortunately, when they are running a $1.5 trillion economy, they do not get any do-overs.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   The Economy
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CPC

Kelly Block

Conservative

Mrs. Kelly Block (Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to thank the voters of Saskatoon--Rosetown--Biggar for democratically electing me as their member of Parliament.

We all know elections matter. During a campaign, the leaders and the parties draft platforms, debate ideas and seek a real mandate from the public.

Just a few short weeks ago, the Leader of the Opposition campaigned on a platform that was rejected by the Canadian people. While campaigning, he rejected the idea of a coalition government. In fact, he said that the NDP would damage the economy. Now, as the price of power, he is inviting that party to do just that.

Back then he was fighting the separatists. Today he wants to give the Bloc a veto over all federal legislation.

He simply must not impose a radical government without the people's consent. This cannot happen. Not in the middle of a global crisis. Not any time. Only the people can decide. Only--

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Opposition Coalition Proposal
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LIB

Peter Milliken

Liberal

The Speaker

The hon. member for Windsor--Tecumseh.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Opposition Coalition Proposal
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December 2, 2008