Prime Minister-Council of the Federation


Question Period Senator Jane Cordy January 27th, 2015

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, before I ask my supplementary, I want to thank you, leader, very much. Before Christmas I asked a number of questions about the Davidson family in Alberta. I had an email a couple of days before Christmas indicating that the problem had been resolved and that Mrs. Davidson now has a caregiver for her son. I sincerely thank you for the help that you and your office have given on that file. Since I asked my question publicly, and I could have done so privately, I thought I should thank you publicly as well.

With regard to my supplementary to Senator Cowan's question, which you haven't answered, you spoke about the track record of this government. I guess the track record I see includes budgets that have been in deficit since this government has been in power. When I think back to the Chrétien-Martin years, the problem was how to spend the surplus, which in hindsight was a pretty good problem to have. In fact, when your government took over, there was a $13 billion surplus, which was long gone even before the recession hit.

Falling oil prices are creating serious problems, which you stated earlier. When I went to fill up my car yesterday, it cost only $40, which was great for me but not for the economy of Canada. We tend to think of Alberta, the oil province as being most affected. However, it's not just affecting Alberta; it's affecting all of the Atlantic Provinces. My province of Nova Scotia will suffer from the lack of revenue. In addition, a high number of Nova Scotians, particularly young people, travel back and forth to jobs in Alberta. If Alberta starts to cut back, those jobs held by people outside the province will likely be the first jobs to go.

Getting back to Senator Cowan's question, which you didn't answer, the premiers are going to be in Ottawa. The premier of my province, Premier McNeil, is greatly concerned about the effects of low gas prices on the economy. Why will the Prime Minister not get in his car — and he doesn't even have to drive as he can be dropped off by his driver — and meet with the premiers for a short period of time? If the economy is serious enough that the budget is not to be brought down until later in the spring, would it not be natural for the Prime Minister to consider it polite and prudent to meet with the premiers of this country?

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