IN THE HOUSE ~ Question ~ EI and Conservative government budget

41st Parliament, 2nd Session ~ Question Period

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we actually believe in reducing poverty, not increasing it. That is the difference between the two.

    The finance minister has been benched all week, but he forgot to mention to his $800-a-plate Bay Street lunch crowd that the economic update shows that his supposed budget surplus is actually based entirely on surpluses in the EI account. Instead of helping the unemployed, the minister has decided to raid EI funds to cover the cost of his income-splitting scheme and pad his budget.

    Why is the minister balancing his budget and giving tax cuts to the wealthy few on the backs of unemployed Canadians?

    Hon. Joe Oliver (Minister of Finance, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to present to Canadians our economic and fiscal plan, which shows how well Canada is doing in a fragile world. We are doing better than other countries. Our economy is growing better. Our 1.2 million new jobs is better. We have half the debt to GDP of the G7. We have a AAA rating. Next year, we will have a surplus. We have already been able to give four million Canadian families tax breaks, tax breaks that they need. Also, 780,000 small businesses

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