March 24, 2011

LIB

Peter Milliken

Liberal

The Speaker

Does the hon. member for Cape Breton—Canso have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   International Women's Day
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?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   International Women's Day
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LIB

Peter Milliken

Liberal

The Speaker

I understand there is an agreement to grant two minutes each to members who have indicated that they will not be seeking re-election.

I will recognize members in order of seniority.

The hon. member for Mississauga East—Cooksville.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   International Women's Day
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LIB

Albina Guarnieri

Liberal

Hon. Albina Guarnieri (Mississauga East—Cooksville, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, after 22 years, thank you for allowing me to take but a few moments to thank all members of this House, past and present, who have stood tall in their efforts to help a short person.

When I arrived here in 1988, I found an inspiring place where partisan rancour might boil in this chamber but the collegial spirit filled the halls.

I recall asking rather pointed questions of a minister, Perrin Beatty, then walking back to our offices in the West Block together talking about the issues of the day, family and life. It was rather like the old Warner Bros. cartoons with the wolf and the sheepdog, but I am not sure which of us was the sheepdog.

However, I have tried to maintain that view of this place ever since, and found many friends among the many parties.

I think most every one of us comes here with the willingness to raise the potential of Parliament to change the lives of people. I look back on my years here and just about every fond memory comes from the many occasions when members from all parties banded together to support a cause or a bill. Sound and fury often drowns the more tender tones of consensus that I have been privileged to experience over the years.

I remember being in Holland and witnessing the emotional connection that all four party leaders had for our veterans and their determination to make a difference in their lives.

As I take my leave, I feel the need to thank three Prime Ministers: Paul Martin for a huge leap of faith in allowing me to join his cabinet; Jean Chrétien for giving me the experience of the 1992 constitutional committee and for not throwing me out of the party for my sometimes contrary voting record; and finally, our current Prime Minister for giving the families of murder victims a measure of justice and peace through consecutive sentencing.

From now on I would thank all hon. members in advance for looking straight into the camera so that I can watch with a keen eye, miss everyone with a heavy heart and be thankful again for all the fond memories of my decades in this House.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Resignation of Members
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CPC

Jim Abbott

Conservative

Hon. Jim Abbott (Kootenay—Columbia, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about the greatest job, the greatest people and the greatest country. Being a member of Parliament, we have access to decision-making and decision-makers, national and international. The experience of being a member of Parliament is as big as this world.

I am thankful to our Prime Minister for my appointment to the Privy Council and for his confidence in me in the task that he had appointed to me.

I am thankful for the support and confidence of my constituents since 1993.

I am thankful for the support of my assistants here today in the chamber, Krissy and Chelsea Côté. Believe it or not, Krissy has been with me all 17.5 years. I am thankful to my assistant in my Cranbrook office, Wendy Kemble. I am particularly thankful to Ken Miller, who got me into this in 1991 and is still with me today as our electoral district president.

I am thankful for the support of my friends in the party, the people who put up the signs in the snowbanks and do the phoning. I would not be so proud as to think that they just support me. They support principle, political principle, and I thank them for that.

Most important, I am thankful to my family, to my wife Jeannette, three children, their spouses and seven grandchildren.

Above all, I am thankful to God for supporting me every day in every way during this period. My faith in Christ is my enduring pillar.

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Subtopic:   Resignation of Members
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CPC

John Cummins

Conservative

Mr. John Cummins (Delta—Richmond East, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it has been an honour and a privilege to serve in this place. One does not get here on one's own merit. If that were the case, I would not be here. We get here because some folks have confidence that we will represent their best interests.

I would like to thank them.

First, I would like to thank Preston Manning who provided the inspiration for me to seek elected office in 1988 as a Reformer; Dr. Pat Pettman and others who encouraged me to run again in 1993; Alex Soroka who managed so many of my campaigns, and Eric Sykes and Jim Northey who did the same; the good people of Delta and Richmond who have supported me all these years; but mostly, my wife Sue who has been steadfast in her support, my daughter Carolyn who was just two when I was elected, my older daughters Erin and Kristy, and my son Martin and the grandkids.

Success in this place depends on good staff and I have been fortunate in that regard. Brian Derrah, friend, lawyer, researcher extraordinaire, has served me well for over 17 years on the Hill, as well as Michelle Cormier, Gail Galloway and Kelly Williams. Most important, Karen Siefken and Karen Wilson have served my constituents with devotion in the Ladner office. They were indispensable. I thank them and others, including collaborators Phil Eidsvik and Dennis Brown.

I thank the staff on Parliament Hill for their kindness, concern and dedication to duty, especially the folks at the Library of Parliament whose solid research can make us look awfully good.

I thank the good people at Air Canada who have done their best to make an onerous travel schedule doable and the staff at the Ottawa Marriott, my home for close to 15 years. Last but not least, I thank my colleagues and the Prime Minister for his outstanding leadership.

Not long after I was elected, I had a significant decision to make and I looked to the hon. Ron Huntington, a former member of this place, for counsel. His advice was to choose not just what served my purposes that day but to choose what I would be comfortable with when I left this place. I have followed that advice.

My hope when first elected was that when my time here was done the folks at home would say, “He kept his word. He represented us well”. That remains my fondest hope.

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LIB

Keith Martin

Liberal

Hon. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, 17.5 years can certainly fly by in the blink of an eye. Fewer than 1 in 100,000 Canadians has the privilege and honour of standing in this House to represent the hopes, wills and aspirations of our citizens. We are all blessed to have that opportunity.

I have seen much in the last 17.5 years and I will miss much from this House.

I want to first thank each and every member. I have had the privilege of being a member of a two political parties. Some members have been colleagues on that side and on this side sit in this House today. Sometimes our profession gets besmirched but, as all of us here know, everyone in this House works doggedly hard in the interests of our citizens and in the interests of our country. We may have differences, and vital differences of what those differences may be, but all of us, to a person, to a man and to a woman, give our heart, our soul and put our life into this House and into our country for the future of our country.

I hope that at the end of the day we can work together. We have differences and we must have those knock-down, drag-out battles. Those battles must occur, but I hope that the serious and vital issues of our country will be dealt with, not only for the interests of our citizens here at home, but also for what happens half a world away. We know that like a pebble in a pond, what happens in our country is like a ripple that goes beyond our borders. Our borders are porous. What happens far away affects us here at home. Of all the things we are most privileged to have a chance at is to reach out and help in those in our country and in our world.

I want to thank each and every member for being a colleague.

Last, I want to thank my parents, Colleen and Cyril; my four brothers, Neil, Andrew, Paul and Darryll and their families; and my partner Gina who is here today. Without their endearing support and help, we could not do what we do.

I wish all my colleagues the very best of luck in the future. I know they will all do great things. I am thankful for their camaraderie and collegiality. Carpe diem.

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CPC

Chuck Strahl

Conservative

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it has been written that to everything there is a season. In my political career, everything came together some 17 years ago when I was first elected to the House of Commons. While I can assure members of my good health and although I still feel honoured and privileged to be a member of Parliament, I have decided I will not seek re-election when Canada next goes to the polls.

I was 36 years old when this adventure started, and all four of our children were still at home. Now they are all grown up, married, and Deb and I have 10 grandchildren. I vowed I would leave politics one day with the one thing that mattered most when I entered into it: the love and respect of those closest to me. It is thanks mostly to my wife, Deb, who is the anchor and love of my life, that this will happen. It is my life's greatest achievement.

I was elected first as a Reformer and quickly learned that listening to and serving the public had its own unique rewards. My constituents are passionate about their issues and politics and working with them has been an ongoing inspiration and motivation. They are wonderful, commonsense people and I will forever be grateful for their encouragement and support.

One of the best parts of political life is the friends we make along the way. A whole new world of people we would never have met otherwise have become near and dear to us. Not just political partisans either, but interesting, thought-provoking folks from all kinds of backgrounds, religions and regions. Like the rock solid friends we have always had in our home town, these new friends have become an integral part of our lives. We are richer and better people for their loyal companionship.

Of course serving in cabinet has been an exceptional experience. I will always be grateful to the Prime Minister who went out of his way to assure me that he not only wanted me to be a minister, but he was confident I could do the job. He appointed me right on the heels of my serious encounter with cancer, and his encouragement to me at the time was, “Don't let people tell you that you can't still contribute – don’t let them push you aside”. Cancer survivors need to hear words like that and they need to know in their heart that they are true. I thank the Prime Minister for those words. My health has been good ever since.

Throughout it all, my staff have been exceptional. The workload, the high expectations and public pressure on these people is enormous, but they have consistently risen to the occasion and they have all served Canada with distinction. Any good reputation I may have garnered over the years is due in large part to their efforts. The same can be said for so many of the professional civil servants I have worked with in three separate ministries, and the Clerk and her staff are on that list as well. Our country is fortunate to have these people toiling on our behalf.

In all ways, large and small, my experiences these past 17 years have reinforced the conviction that Canada is one of the most blessed countries in the world. Full of abundant natural resources and a generous, stoic people, consistently peaceful and generally prosperous, we are among history's most fortunate. What a great country.

One day, and perhaps soon, I will leave this place and my role here behind. I will leave with mixed feelings, because I love serving our country and its people. But for everything there is a season, and I am convinced this is the right time for me and Deb to seek out the next, wonderful purpose that God has in mind for us.

I thank one and all for the honour and privilege of serving together in the common service of our constituents and country.

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CPC

Stockwell Day

Conservative

Hon. Stockwell Day (President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, thank you for your services and your patience with us, and especially, sometimes, with me.

I thank our colleagues also for allowing us this time. I thank colleagues from all parties who have shown me many times, in an undeserved way, measures of respect, which I will always appreciate and value. Often we do not get, maybe with some good reason, certain levels of respect beyond these doors, but I can say of my colleagues, all of whom I have met and worked with, that famous Latin phrase certainly applies: Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam, “They desire a better country”. I can say that of the people with whom I have served.

I also have to reflect in a primary way and say that I thank God. I thank God that I can stand here and thank God and that I do not fear the fate of a dear colleague of ours only weeks ago, Shahbaz Bhatti, who for that crime paid the ultimate price. I thank God that we are an assembly where people can stand and say that they do not believe in God, that they can share equal ground in this place and that others beyond this place, who write and comment, can even ridicule either of those two positions and also not worry about that fate. Our forefathers paid a great price for that freedom.

I, too, thank my constituents. Responsibility and representation for one's constituents is truly the highest order of democracy. Recognizing that and recognizing the vote is a sacred trust is something that guides us all and must continue to do so. When I think about how we sometimes conduct ourselves here, myself included, I wonder, is this why my constituents sent me here. That elderly gentlemen whom I talked to in the voting line in one election said, “This is the only chance I get to have my say”. I thank those constituents for the times that we have been able to do that and to represent them.

I thank the people who have worked for me and volunteered, and also different staff through the years, for the way they have been able to put up with me, the way they have helped me in my times of failing. On the few times I have had successes, they have been the ones who have literally got the puck to me so occasionally I have been able to put it in the net. I thank them.

I thank the people who serve in this place, who clean this large building, who take care of our security, who do all the things that we do not have time to do to make this place look presentable and represent the democracy for which it stands.

I thank the Prime Minister because of his respect for democracy. It is somewhat sad that people do not get to see how, in our places of discussion, we are able, as individual MPs, to bring forward the views of our constituents to argue and even to change his mind on issues when it comes to matters of importance to our constituents.

Last, Mr. Speaker, and I see you leaning forward and I know it is not to burst out in applause, I want to thank my family. My sons were younger when my wife and I first made the decision to go into provincial politics, recognizing that at the federal level we would not have wanted to leave them for long periods of time. It would have been a disaster in the house if we had not been there. Despite the fact that we were close during those years geographically, there were still times I had to apologize. Now that we are blessed with many grandchildren, I do not want to start another cycle of apologies. I have that in consideration.

My wife is here today so I have to be on my best behaviour, as I tried to be during question period. I have said many times that I might not have the perfect marriage, but I do have the perfect wife. Any deficiencies in the relationship are mine and the perfections are hers. She is president of the National Parliamentary Spouses Association. She shares a title of president with me. I can honestly say she is more popular among members here than I am. It was a former head of state of the nation of Israel who said of a good woman “her children rise up to call her blessed and her husband rises and praises her”, and I praise her this afternoon.

I close thinking of the words of my father, who passed away not that long ago. When we would go camping with him as kids and it would come time to tidy up as we packed up the tent, we would pick up all our stuff. However, there were times when he would tell us that there was some paper over there in the bush or there was an empty can over there by that tree and we would tell him that we had not put it there. He would remind us by saying, “Always leave the campground in a little better shape than when you found it”. I hope I have been able to do that.

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Subtopic:   Resignation of Members
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LIB

Shawn Murphy

Liberal

Hon. Shawn Murphy (Charlottetown, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, and colleagues in the House of Commons, I was elected to the House in November 2000 and have had the pleasure and honour of representing the riding of Charlottetown during the past four Parliaments. This has been a tremendous honour for me and one for which I will be forever grateful to the voters who live in that great and historic city of Charlottetown.

I have decided that I will not be a candidate in the next general election and, like the speakers who spoke before me, it is with mixed emotions that I address the House today, which will likely be my very last time.

I look back on the last ten and a half years with many fond memories, dealing with great people and, most important, having the opportunity to debate and decide upon some of the issues, great issues, that affect our country. There are many who helped me greatly along the way.

First are my parents, the late Bill Murphy and Kathleen Murphy. Unfortunately, my father died prior to me being elected to Parliament. I am sure if he had lived longer, he would have enjoyed watching the many debates that took place in the House.

My wife, Yvette, has been so tremendously supportive over all these years. When I first was elected to Parliament, Yvette really did not follow politics all that closely. Now she is a political junkie. I am sure there has to be some de-programming sessions available out there for people like her and me, and we will both sign on, but not until June of this year.

Our children, who were students when I first was elected and who are now adults, Kevin, Paul and Brian, have always been at my side with their support when that support was needed.

I have hundreds and hundreds of volunteers in the riding of Charlottetown who helped me out during and between campaigns. I am not going to name them, but I want to thank each and every one of them.

To be an efficient, effective and productive member of Parliament, it really comes down to staff. I have been truly blessed with tremendous staff members who came to the job with the goal of serving the people of Charlottetown.

I will mention Corinne Reid who, after working with me for many years in a local law firm, joined me for the last ten and a half years in the constituency office; Barry MacMillan, who taught me the role of a politician as opposed to the role of the public servant; Mary Gillis, my administrative assistant, who has worked here for the past eight years and has done a tremendous job; and Lisa Callaghan, Michael Currie and the many others who have worked for me over the years and have all remained my close friends. I want to thank them. They have each contributed so much.

I want to thank all the clerks, analysts and other individuals who work for Parliament, some of whom are here today, and you, Mr. Speaker and your staff.

Finally, I want to thank my colleagues here today, from this Parliament, the 40th Parliament and the previous three Parliaments, from all parties. I want to thank them for all their guidance, their support, the many words and acts of kindness and the encouragement they have shown me over the past ten and a half years. Most important, I want to thank them for their friendship. I will miss this place. I will miss each and every one of them.

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Subtopic:   Resignation of Members
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BQ

Raynald Blais

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Raynald Blais (Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, it is with a twinge of sadness that I address you today. I am winking slightly when I say that the reason I am in politics today is somewhat the Liberals’ fault, because of employment insurance in particular. I would also like you to know that the most important thing I take with me, after being here for four years as the assistant to Jean-Yves Roy and as a member since 2004, is two words: respect and honour.

I have always thought that no matter who comes to see us in our offices to ask for help, be it large or small—and ultimately, I do not think there are large or small cases, there are just cases—the first thing we have to do, and I think that most if not a large majority of the people here do this readily, through their staff, is treat the people who come to see us with respect, regardless of their political allegiance or their problem.

The second is honour. It is an honour to have been able to represent the people of Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine. I am very honoured. And I would invite you to visit the Îles-de-la-Madeleine in the next few weeks, for the seal hunt, which will start soon, or in the summer. The Îles-de-la-Madeleine and the Gaspé are wonderful places, and one day they will enjoy the benefits of greater development.

In closing, I would simply like to say that the work I have been able to do is also a matter of teamwork with my staff, both my assistants in Ottawa and my constituency assistants.

It is our supporters who make it possible for us to be elected, when that happens, or to be re-elected. I would like to thank the people in the Gaspé and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, whom I will be seeing again soon. I am coming home.

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Subtopic:   Resignation of Members
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BQ

Serge Ménard

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Serge Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I have been thinking a lot about my future for the last while and have concluded that after 17 and a half years in active politics, the time has come to retire. I will therefore not be a candidate in the next election.

I will be 70 this fall. I am still in good shape, both physically and mentally, but at the dawn of a new decade, I can say my years are numbered. I would like to take a few of them, therefore, for the things I have always wanted to do but for which politics left me too little time.

First, spend more time close to my family. Then visit the two little twins our daughter has given us, their little cousin our son just had, and the grandchildren that will undoubtedly follow. Spend more and better-quality time with my wife of nearly 40 years, who has suffered too much from the absences forced upon me by the diabolical pace of political life. Share in some of the joy of my own children, who have become loving, capable parents, responsible adults, and professionals who are much appreciated in their workplaces and who also devote time to volunteer work in the community.

Travel, for sure. Read, listen to music, and take advantage of the wonderful cultural life in the city where I live. Spend more time with friends and more time doing my favourite sports: cycling and skiing—good balance sports. I will be just as active, but less stressed out.

I was most honoured to serve as a minister in Quebec City and a member of Parliament in Ottawa. Those are great privileges, given to few. I did my very best to be equal to these onerous responsibilities. The time has come, however, to leave that privilege to younger people.

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Subtopic:   Resignation of Members
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NDP

Bill Siksay

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Siksay (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, it has been an honour to represent the people of Burnaby—Douglas. As a gay man, it has been an honour to represent the queer community in this place.

My work here has been possible thanks to that of many others, including comrades in my offices: Jane Ireland, Sonja van Dieen, Ayesha Haider, Caren Yu and Andrea Emond, Lynn MacWilliam, Corie Langdon, Gillian Chan and many interns. Their professionalism, creativity and service to the community and this institution have been outstanding.

I am inspired by my leader and caucus and many party activists. I salute my brothers and sisters in my union, CEP 232, for their dedication to ensuring that what we desire for ourselves we seek for all.

I want to thank the employees of the House of Commons without whom I could not have done this job.

I want to thank my family, my partner Brian Burke, my parents Bill and Pat, in what we came to know as the “Whitby office”, and to thank Keith Gilbert, Brad Teeter, Russ Neely and my brother David and his family for their steadfast love and care. I have also been blessed with the best riding association, thanks to the commitment and talents of many folks, including Lil Cameron, Lila Wing, Michael Walton, Marianne Bell, Jaynie Clark and Doug Sigurdson.

I will miss working in solidarity with dedicated people. The transgender and transsexual communities have taught me so much about our humanity and courage. I wish we had a bit more time. I have learned much from peace, anti-war and nuclear disarmament activists; from gay and lesbian couples determined to walk through the front door of the important institution of marriage; from those detained and working to repeal security certificates; from war resisters; from local activists on homelessness and poverty, the environment and industrial and transportation safety; from animal rights activists; from the labour movement and refugees, immigrants and temporary workers and their allies; from supporters of CBC/Radio Canada and those seeking more open government.

My predecessor, Svend Robinson, once remarked that the highest duty of a member of Parliament was love. Love should be our daily agenda, a daring, justice-seeking and tender love. Some day, even here, we will find that path where all that we do we do for love.

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Subtopic:   Resignation of Members
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BQ

Christian Ouellet

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Christian Ouellet (Brome—Missisquoi, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I have had the honour of representing the people of Brome—Missisquoi in the House. I am proud of being a sovereignist and proud of being a Quebecker and a member of the Bloc Québécois. On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I have had the honour and pleasure of being responsible for the social housing and homelessness files, as well as natural resources and the environment. I have derived great satisfaction from my debates with all the hon. members, and I thank them for it. I also appreciated your way of presiding over the House, Mr. Speaker.

I leave very content with my time here and with having worked with a leader, the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, who is both so exacting and so nice. I thank him for having made a place for me on his team. I would like as well to thank all my colleagues for their support and solidarity.

I also want to take advantage of this opportunity to thank the voters for their confidence in me. Finally, my greatest thanks go to my wife, Estelle, for her support, her help and her love. I will now have the great pleasure of returning to live by her side.

Thanks to all and sundry, and farewell, Mr. Speaker.

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Subtopic:   Resignation of Members
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LIB

Peter Milliken

Liberal

The Speaker

I would like to thank all those hon. members who spoke today.

I know that all colleagues have enjoyed them very much and I congratulate each member who has spoken. Since I am joining this group, I will say something tomorrow.

At 5:30 p.m., there will be a reception in Room 216.

I invite all hon. members to join us for a celebration of the work of the members who have spoken today. I hope they can all come and that other hon. members can join us.

We will have an opportunity to say goodbye to our colleagues then. The reception will start at 5:30 p.m. in Room 216.

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LIB

Peter Milliken

Liberal

The Speaker

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act and the Pension Act.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Message from the Senate
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The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.


CPC

Kelly Block

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

I would like to make one thing very clear: this budget is a good budget. As a member of Parliament, I take my job very seriously. I represent the wonderful riding of Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar and I am honoured to have the important role of ensuring that this government delivers for my riding.

This budget delivers.

Unfortunately, the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition has already formed. It has indicated that it will vote against this budget. Let us look at what it is they are voting against.

They are voting against seniors. What is worse, they are voting against the poorest of the seniors. Through the prebudget consultations held in my riding, I heard one thing over and over, that seniors need more assistance.

We listened. There is real affordable help for seniors in this budget, but the NDP, with its Liberal leader, has said no to help for seniors. This is a great shame because the NDP used to stand for something. Its members claim to stand up for the little guy, but when push comes to shove they would rather try to grab power in a coalition government supported by the Bloc Québécois than support measures that make sense for Canadians.

Another common theme raised in the prebudget consultations in my riding is that we need to stay on track, keep taxes low and eliminate the deficit. That is exactly what this budget does.

While the opposition coalition is coming out firmly against the best interests of Canadians and the best interests of Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, our Conservative government is delivering to Canadians exactly what it promised, focusing precisely on the priorities of Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, this budget would see an increase in transfer payments to Saskatchewan of $1.2 billion. That is $1,182 for every resident of Saskatchewan. I asked the only Liberal member in Saskatchewan, the member for Wascana, how he would explain to his constituents that he voted against this.

This budget provides for tax relief for Canadians. In fact, the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition will vote against $60 million in tax relief. It is voting against a family caregiver tax credit, which would provide $2,000 for caregivers, or over $13 million for Saskatchewan families, and against an investment of $3 million toward the development of community-based end of life care. This is something I am particularly proud of as a founding member of the parliamentary committee on palliative and compassionate care.

I ask the following: How can someone claim to support hard-working Canadian families and vote against measures such as this? How can someone who claims to represent the middle class vote against the children's art tax credit, which would provide families a tax credit of $500 per year? That is another $19 million for Saskatchewan that the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition would rather families did not get.

What about our volunteer firefighters? Do they not deserve some credit for putting their lives at risk to help our communities? We have put a $3,000 tax credit for them in the budget, and the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition members just cannot find it in their hearts to support it.

Conservatives know that we cannot go on with deficit spending indefinitely. Our Conservative government knows that fiscal responsibility is important to Canadians. That is why we are staying on track to eliminate the deficit by 2015 without implementing risky and reckless new spending programs that would force us to raise taxes or keep us in a deficit for our children and grandchildren to pay off. That is why we have taken action.

We have already cut the deficit by a third from last year and are on track to balance the budget by 2015. What we are not doing is balancing the budget on the backs of the provinces. We are not cutting transfer payments to Saskatchewan. In fact, we are increasing them.

Our Conservative government knows that health care and education must be properly funded. The Liberals cut funding for health care and for education, but we did not. We know what is important to Canadians and we will keep fighting for their priorities. We know that infrastructure is of vital importance to cities like Saskatoon and rural municipalities like Delisle, Asquith, Biggar, Herschel, and the many others that make up my great riding.

This budget has delivered for municipalities. We are making an annual investment of $2 billion in gas tax funding permanent, so municipalities would be able to forecast accurately the funding for their community.

However, the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition voted against that as well. Actions speak louder than words, and it looks like the opposition does not support sustainable and stable infrastructure funding for rural municipalities. We should not be surprised because the Liberals and the NDP have a history of voting against what they claim to support. The Bloc, on the other hand, has always been very clear on its intentions, and that is to vote against the best interests of Canadians because the Bloc only cares about one thing, breaking up this great nation of ours.

I would not want to make these claims without backing them up. We know that today Canadians are still burdened with a costly, wasteful, inefficient, and useless long gun registry because the elected members of Parliament for the NDP broke their promises. They promised and even campaigned on scrapping the long gun registry. When push came to shove, though, the NDP could not be trusted. It pretends to understand rural Canadians, but it does not.

As for the Liberals, it is almost a waste of time to point out the hypocrisy. Everybody knows that the Liberal Party is the party of broken promises. Among them is its promise to remove the GST. That is another of the promises made, promises broken.

Conservatives do not make empty promises. We said we would cut the GST to 5% and we cut the GST to 5%. We promised we would fight to scrap the wasteful long gun registry and we have fought to do so. If the NDP did not flip-flop on campaign promises, the long gun registry would be gone right now.

We promised to work to reform the Senate. We have introduced legislation that would limit senators terms to eight years and provide an opportunity for Canadians to vote for their senators. The NDP claimed to support Senate reform, but when push came to shove, it voted with the Liberals instead of with its constituents.

I call on members opposite who claim to represent their constituents and not their leaders. I call on them to support this budget. Do not vote against Canadians. Do not vote against seniors and families, and jobs and growth.

If members vote against this budget, then they are sending a clear message to Canadians. If Canadians want a member of Parliament who will represent their interests and their priorities, they should elect a Conservative in the next election.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   The Budget
Sub-subtopic:   Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
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LIB

Keith Martin

Liberal

Hon. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, before I put my question to the hon. member, I did omit one thing in my final speech. First, I really wanted to thank the constituents of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca for their enduring support. Second, I wish to thank those who work in my offices, Jeff Silvester, Vikki Simmons in Victoria, as well as Jesse Dickinson and Jeff Guignard in my office here. Without their help and support, I could not have done what I have. And, to the volunteers over the 17.5 years who have enabled me to do what I have done, our victories are their victories, and I thank them so much for what they have done.

To my hon. colleague, I wonder if she does not agree that we need an innovation agenda in our country where there are going to be strategic investments in the private sector for research and development, education and infrastructure. Does she have an idea of how the private sector could be incented to make those strategic investments so we could improve our productivity?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   The Budget
Sub-subtopic:   Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Permalink
CPC

Kelly Block

Conservative

Mrs. Kelly Block

Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my congratulations to the hon. member as well and wish him all the best in all of his future endeavours.

As far as the member's question goes, we are making tremendous investments in research and development. We are making tremendous investments through the P3.

We do understand that Canadians do not want an election. Because of these investments, we do not want an election while our economy is in recovery. We know that these investments are very important in terms of business development and in terms of our country moving forward.

This is why we have introduced the next phase of Canada's economic action plan, a plan that will ensure that we go forward through business development and by encouraging the private sector to get involved in research and development.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   The Budget
Sub-subtopic:   Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Permalink

March 24, 2011