Budget Implementation Act, 2009

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and related fiscal measures

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in December 2009.

Sponsor

Jim Flaherty  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

Part 1 implements income tax measures proposed in the January 27, 2009 Budget. In particular, it

(a) increases by 7.5% above their 2008 levels the basic personal amount and the upper limits for the two lowest personal income tax brackets, thereby also increasing the income levels at which income testing begins for the base benefit under the Canada Child Tax Credit and the National Child Benefit supplement;

(b) increases by $1,000 the amount on which the Age Credit is calculated;

(c) increases to $25,000 the maximum amount eligible for withdrawal under the Home Buyers’ Plan;

(d) introduces amendments to the rules related to Registered Retirement Savings Plans and Registered Retirement Income Funds to allow for recognition of losses in accounts between the time of the annuitant’s death and final distribution of property from the account;

(e) repeals the interest deductibility constraints in section 18.2 of the Income Tax Act;

(f) extends the mineral exploration tax credit for one year;

(g) increases to $500,000 the annual amount of active business income eligible for the 11% small business income tax rate and makes related amendments;

(h) clarifies rules relating to timing of acquisition of control of a corporation; and

(i) creates cost savings through electronic filing of tax information.

In addition, Part 1 implements income tax measures that were referenced in the January 27, 2009 Budget and that were originally proposed in the February 26, 2008 Budget but not included in the Budget Implementation Act, 2008. In particular, it

(a) clarifies the application of the excess corporate holdings rules for private foundations;

(b) increases the amount that corporations will be able to pay as “eligible dividends”;

(c) enacts several regulatory amendments that complement and complete measures enacted in the Budget Implementation Act, 2008;

(d) introduces minor adjustments to the Tax-Free Savings Account rules and the scientific research and experimental development investment tax credit rules included in the Budget Implementation Act, 2008;

(e) implements rules in respect of donations of medicines; and

(f) reduces the paper burden on businesses by allowing a larger number of government entities to share Business Number-related information in connection with government programs and services.

Part 1 also implements other income tax measures referred to in the January 27, 2009 Budget that either were themselves previously announced or flow directly from previously announced measures. In particular, it

(a) implements technical changes relating to specified investment flow-through trusts and partnerships and new tax rules to facilitate the conversion of these entities into corporations;

(b) contains amendments to take into account financial institution accounting changes;

(c) extends the general treatment of capital gains and losses on an acquisition of control of a corporation to gains and losses that result from fluctuations in foreign exchange rates in respect of debt denominated in foreign currency;

(d) enhances the carry-forward for investment tax credits;

(e) implements amendments relating to the computation of income, gains and losses of a foreign affiliate;

(f) implements amendments to the functional currency tax reporting rules;

(g) implements minor tax amendments relating to interprovincial allocation of corporate taxable income, the Wage Earner Protection Program and the Canada-United States tax treaty’s rules for cross-border pensions;

(h) provides for an extension of time for income tax assessments that are consequential to provincial reassessments;

(i) ensures the appropriate application of the Income Tax Act’s trust rules to certain arrangements and institutions under Quebec civil law;

(j) enacts regulatory amendments relating to prescribed amounts for automobile expenses and benefits, eligible medical expenses, and the tax treatment of foreign affiliate active business income earned in a jurisdiction with which Canada has concluded a tax information exchange agreement;

(k) introduces rules to reduce the required minimum amount that must be withdrawn from a Registered Retirement Income Fund or from a variable benefit money purchase pension plan by 25% for 2008, and allows related re-contributions;

(l) extends the deadline for Registered Disability Savings Plan contributions; and

(m) modifies the provisions relating to amateur athletic trusts.

Part 2 amends the Excise Act, 2001 and the Excise Tax Act to implement measures to reduce the paper burden on businesses by allowing a larger number of government entities to share Business Number-related information in connection with government programs and services.

Part 3 amends the Customs Tariff to implement measures announced in the January 27, 2009 Budget to

(a) reduce Most-Favoured-Nation rates of duty and, if applicable, rates of duty under other tariff treatments on a number of tariff items relating to machinery and equipment imported on or after January 28, 2009;

(b) divide tariff item 9801.10.00 into two separate tariff items pertaining to conveyances and containers, respectively, and make two technical corrections, effective January 28, 2009; and

(c) modify the tariff treatment of milk protein substances, effective September 8, 2008.

Part 4 amends the Employment Insurance Act until September 11, 2010 to extend regular benefit entitlements by five weeks. It also provides that a pilot project ceases to have effect. In addition, it amends that Act to provide that the cost of benefit enhancement measures under that Act, provided for in the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009, are not to be charged to the Employment Insurance Account. Finally, it sets the premium rate provided for under that Act for the years 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2010.

Division 1 of Part 5 amends the Financial Administration Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to take, subject to certain conditions, a number of measures intended to promote the stability or maintain the efficiency of the financial system, including financial markets, in Canada.

Division 2 of Part 5 amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act to provide the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation with greater flexibility to enhance its ability to safeguard financial stability in Canada. The Division also adds Tax-Free Saving Accounts as a distinct category for the purposes of deposit insurance. It also makes consequential amendments to other acts.

Division 3 of Part 5 amends the Export Development Act to, among other things, expand the Export Development Corporation’s mandate to include the support and development of domestic trade and business opportunities for a period of two years. The period may be extended by the Governor in Council. Division 3 also increases the Corporation’s authorized capital.

Division 4 of Part 5 amends the Business Development Bank of Canada Act to increase the maximum amount of the paid-in capital of the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Division 5 of Part 5 amends the Canada Small Business Financing Act to increase the maximum outstanding loan amount in relation to a borrower. It also increases individual lenders’ cap on claims. These amendments will apply to new loans made after March 31, 2009.

Division 6 of Part 5 amends a number of Acts governing federal financial institutions to improve access to credit and strengthen the financial system in Canada, including amendments that will

(a) provide new authority for further safeguards to promote the stability of the financial system;

(b) enhance consumer protection by establishing new measures to help consumers of financial products; and

(c) implement other technical measures to strengthen the financial sector framework in Canada.

Division 7 of Part 5 provides for payments to be made to provinces and territories, provides authority to the Minister of Finance to enter into agreements respecting securities regulation with provinces and territories and enacts the Canadian Securities Regulation Regime Transition Office Act.

Part 6 authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for various purposes, including infrastructure and housing.

Part 7 amends Part I of the Navigable Waters Protection Act to create a tiered approval process for works in order to streamline the approval process and to exclude certain classes of works and works on certain classes of navigable waters from the approval process. This Part further amends Part I of the Act to clarify the scope of the application of that Part to works owned or previously owned by the Crown, to provide for the application of the Act to bridges over the St. Lawrence River and to add certain regulation-making powers.

Part 7 also amends the Act to clarify the provisions related to obstacles and obstructions to navigation. The Act is also amended by adding administration and enforcement powers, consolidating all offence provisions, increasing fines and requiring a review of the Act within five years of the amendments coming into force.

Division 1 of Part 8 amends the Wage Earner Protection Program Act and the Wage Earner Protection Program Regulations to provide that unpaid wages for which an individual may receive payment under the Wage Earner Protection Program include unpaid severance pay and termination pay.

Division 2 of Part 8 amends the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act to, among other things,

(a) require the Chief Actuary of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to report on financial assistance provided under that Act; and

(b) authorize the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to suspend or deny financial assistance to all those who are qualifying students in respect of a designated educational institution.

Division 2 of Part 8 also amends both the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act and the Canada Student Loans Act to, among other things,

(a) terminate all obligations of a borrower with respect to risk-shared loans and guaranteed loans if the borrower dies;

(b) authorize the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to require any person who has received financial assistance or a guaranteed student loan to provide that Minister with documents or information for the purpose of verifying compliance with those Acts; and

(c) authorize that Minister to terminate or deny financial assistance in certain circumstances.

Division 3 of Part 8 amends the Financial Administration Act to provide express authority for agent Crown corporations to lease their property, restrict the appointment of employees of a Crown corporation to its board of directors, require Crown corporations to hold annual public meetings, clarify Treasury Board’s duties to indemnify Crown corporation directors and officers, permit more flexibility in the frequency of special examinations of Crown corporations, and require the reports of special examinations to be submitted to the appropriate Minister and Treasury Board and made public. This Division also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 9 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to set out the amount of the fiscal equalization payments to the provinces for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2009 and amends the method by which fiscal equalization payments will be calculated for subsequent fiscal years. It also amends the method by which the Canada Health Transfer is calculated for each fiscal year in the period beginning on April 1, 2009 and ending on March 31, 2014.

Part 10 enacts the Expenditure Restraint Act. The purpose of that Act is to put in place a reasonable and an affordable approach to compensation across the federal public sector in support of responsible fiscal management in a difficult economic environment.

It sets out rules governing economic increases to the rates of pay of unionized and non-unionized employees for periods that begin during the period that begins on April 1, 2006 and ends on March 31, 2011. It also continues certain other terms and conditions at their current levels. It preserves the right of collective bargaining with regard to other matters and it does not affect the right to strike.

The Act does not preclude the continued development of workplace improvements by employers and employees’ bargaining agents through the National Joint Council or other bodies that they may agree on. It also permits bargaining agents and employers to agree to the amendment of certain terms and conditions of collective agreements or arbitral awards.

Part 11 enacts the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act and makes consequential amendments to other Acts. The purpose of the Act is to ensure that proactive measures are taken to provide employees in female predominant job groups with equitable compensation.

It requires public sector employers that have non-unionized employees to determine periodically whether any equitable compensation matters exist in the workplace and, if so, to prepare a plan to resolve them. With respect to public sector employers that have unionized employees, the employers and the bargaining agents are to resolve those matters through the collective bargaining process.

It sets out the procedure for informing employees as to whether an equitable compensation assessment was required to be conducted and, if so, how it was conducted, and how any equitable compensation matters were resolved. It also establishes a recourse process for employees if the Act is not complied with.

Finally, since the Act puts in place a comprehensive equitable compensation scheme for public sector employees, this Part amends the Canadian Human Rights Act so that the provisions of that Act dealing with gender-based wage discrimination no longer apply to public sector employers. It extends the mandate of the Public Service Labour Relations Board to allow it to hear equitable compensation complaints and to provide other services related to equitable compensation in the public sector.

Part 12 amends the Competition Act. The amendments include

(a) introducing a dual-track approach to agreements between competitors, with a limited criminal anti-cartel provision and a civil provision to address other agreements that substantially lessen or prevent competition;

(b) providing that bid-rigging includes agreements or arrangements to withdraw bids or tenders;

(c) repealing the provisions dealing with price discrimination and predatory pricing, replacing the criminal resale price maintenance provision with a new civil provision to address price maintenance practices that have an adverse effect on competition, and repealing all provisions dealing specifically with the airline industry;

(d) introducing an administrative monetary penalty for cases of abuse of dominant position, increasing the maximum amount of administrative monetary penalties for deceptive marketing cases, and increasing the maximum fines or terms of imprisonment, or both, for agreements or arrangements between competitors, bid-rigging, criminal false or misleading representations, deceptive telemarketing, deceptive notice of winning a prize, obstruction of Competition Bureau investigations and failure to comply with prohibition orders or production orders;

(e) clarifying that, in proceedings under section 52, 74.01 or 74.02, it is not necessary to establish that false or misleading representations are made to the public in Canada or are made in a place to which the public has access, and clarifying that the “general impression test” applies to all deceptive marketing practices in sections 74.01 and 74.02;

(f) providing that the court may make an order in respect of cases of false or misleading representations to require the person who engaged in the conduct to compensate persons affected by the conduct, and may issue an interim injunction to freeze assets if the Commissioner of Competition intends to ask for such a compensation order; and

(g) introducing a two-stage merger review process for notifiable transactions, increased merger pre-notification thresholds and a reduced merger review limitation period.

Part 13 amends the Investment Canada Act so that the review of an investment will be applied only to the more significant investments. It also amends the Act to allow more information to be made public. This Part also provides for the review of foreign investments in Canada that could threaten national security and allows the Governor in Council to take any measures that the Governor in Council considers advisable to protect national security, such as prohibiting a non-Canadian from implementing an investment.

Part 14 amends the Canada Transportation Act to provide the Governor in Council with flexibility to increase the foreign ownership limit from the existing levels to a maximum of 49%.

Part 15 amends the Air Canada Public Participation Act in relation to the mandatory provisions in the articles of Air Canada regarding constraints imposed on the issue, transfer and ownership of shares. It provides for the repeal of the provisions requiring that the articles of Air Canada contain provisions imposing limits on non-resident share ownership and the repeal of the provisions requiring that the articles of Air Canada contain provisions respecting the enforcement of these constraints.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

  • March 4, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
  • March 4, 2009 Passed That this question be now put.
  • March 3, 2009 Passed That Bill C-10, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and related fiscal measures, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
  • March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 394.
  • March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 383.
  • March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 358.
  • March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 317.
  • March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 445.
  • March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 295.
  • March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 6.
  • Feb. 12, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
  • Feb. 12, 2009 Passed That this question be now put.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to this stage of the budget.

To say that I support the budget would be a bit of a stretch, but we have decided we will let the budget pass. We believe there are some measures in the budget that are of benefit to Canadians and we have to let the it pass. However, we also have very serious concerns, which have been outlined in our amendment, and we want to ensure that the government is kept on a tight leash. It is about time, too.

We have heard in the last few days about how the $3 billion of infrastructure spending has to be rushed out the door, that there is a special need to get it out there and it is urgent. It is about time the government took action. When the economic storm clouds were gathering in late summer, rather than do something about it, the government called an election.

When President Barack Obama was elected President of the United States in the November election, he was already talking about a massive stimulus package. People in Canada were also talking about the need for the same kind of thing. Instead of doing something then, the government came forward with an economic update that had nothing in it in the form of stimulus.

In December when Barack Obama's plan was already working its way through the United States system and people were getting excited about some of the things they were hearing, Canadians were talking about what we could do in the form of stimulus. Instead of bringing something in then, the government decided prorogue Parliament.

Finally at the end of January, the government decided to do something about it and put something together. I must admit some parts of the budget are better than what we saw in November, but some serious concerns remain. Personally the most serious of those concerns relates to the protection of those who are most vulnerable, so I will address that first.

We have literacy organizations across the country, and we do not hear as much about literacy in the House as we should. Literacy organizations, like Literacy Nova Scotia in my province, were among the first victims of the meanness of the government back in the fall of 2006 when it cut $17.7 million cut from literacy as part of the famous $2 billion cuts that it came out with.

Literacy organizations do not know where the money is. If we talk to the minister, we get one story. If we talk to officials, we get a different story. However, literacy organizations across the country need help so we can be a more productive nation, so we can educate our citizens and so we can provide support for people.

One of the saddest stories I have heard as a member of Parliament is about a person who was offered a promotion. He came to my office. He was employed and doing okay. By some people's standards, he was not doing that well, but he had a job and he was productive. He then was offered a promotion. The problem was he had to take a literacy test. He knew he could not pass it so he had to turn the promotion down. That person is asking for help.

We have literacy organizations across Canada, like the Dartmouth Literacy Network or the literacy organizations in the Annapolis Valley, that do such good work. When we talk to a learner, somebody whose life has been changed by having access to that kind of education, it is amazing we do not do more to support them.

I want to talk about employment insurance, which I have spoken to at other stages of the bill. Five weeks at the end of EI is helpful, but it is a very small measure. There is some money for training, and I give the government credit for that. However, when we think of what the government could have done for EI, it is a shame. There are all kinds of measures. The government could eliminate the waiting period. It could make EI benefits a bit higher percentage of previous earnings. It could equalize access, both regionally and across income groups.

One of the real weaknesses of our EI system is that a lot of low-income part-time workers, who tend to be women, cannot access EI. This is the perfect time to speed that up.

EI is a very positive way to provide stimulus into the economy. In fact, some studies note there is payback on EI. Ian Lee from the Sprott School of Business indicates that EI has a multiplier effect of 1.61%. For every dollar we spend on EI, it goes out and multiplies in the economy, which is higher than infrastructure and dramatically higher than tax cuts.

The tax cuts in the budget are unfair. The tax cuts help me, but in my view I am not the kind of person, nor are any other members of the House, who should be a priority for the government.

The government should have increased the GST rebate. It should have increased the child tax benefit. It should have put money into the pockets of people who most need it. It helps us all because they spend it, not because they want to spend it, but because they have to spend it. That is where the stimulus should be.

I want to talk about another issue that we have started to hear about in the last few days. This week The Chronicle Herald had an editorial with the headline, “Laid-off workers stuck in EI limbo”, and stated, “Thousands of recently laid-off Atlantic Canadian workers are paying the price”, and that is the EI wait lists.

On the weekend I was delighted to see that the Leader of the Opposition, when he was in Nova Scotia for the annual general meeting along with the next premier of Nova Scotia, Steve McNeil, the leader of the Liberal Party spoke about EI very strongly. The headline in the paper the next night was, “Late EI payments to Atlantic Canadians unacceptable”--the Leader of the Opposition--“says”.

This is a very important issue. People are waiting. I have letters from people from across the country who have been waiting for EI. The government says that 80% of EI claims are processed within 28 days. That is not the case and it is not just in the last few days. In December I wrote a letter to the Minister of Human Resources saying that people are waiting for EI. People told me that they are being told that they have to wait the standard 40 days. That is not the worst case scenario; that is the standard processing time. The standard processing time has gone from 28 days to 40 days.

I wrote a letter to the Minister of Human Resources in the middle of December. The mail must be pretty slow, because I have not had a response yet.

I received an email from somebody in my riding on January 27 which states:

Tomorrow, on day 50, I'm supposed to call back and get another update as to what is going on with my claim. When it finally does get processed, I'll drop you a line just to let you know how long it finally took.

I got an email from the same lady a few days later saying:

Thank you so much!! I did get a phone call late this afternoon actually saying my claim had been processed and approved which was a surprise because I got a voicemail when I got home last night saying there may be more delays.

She went on to say:

I just thought you might like to know that it may have been [the member for Dartmouth--Cole Harbour], not Conservative promises, who helped this first nations person get their cheque.

We have received emails in my office from across the country. We have one from the riding of the member for Halifax West, saying:

I am a resident of your riding and wanted to be sure that you were aware of the current situation in obtaining EI benefits. It is virtually impossible to reach an agent on the phone.... On several instances I waited on hold over two hours only to be cut off without reaching an agent.

I want to be very clear. I do not blame the people at Service Canada. They are working very hard. They have had to take on more responsibilities in the last few years. I do not have any problem with the people who work at Service Canada. I do have a problem with the political masters who are not recognizing that more and more people are being laid off, and if they are among the lucky ones who actually manage to qualify for EI even though they have paid into it, they have the right to get EI when they need it.

A person from Vancouver wrote:

Ceased to work at the end of November. Applied for EI January 8, 2009. It has now been 54 days. Still no final decision.”

Here is one from Prince Edward Island:

I have applied for EI sick benefits and have been told it will be eight to ten weeks to process my application and receive benefits.

I have one here from the city of St. Johns in Newfoundland and Labrador saying that our riding office has been helping many constituents who have been waiting six weeks or more in the processing of EI claims. Across the country people are waiting for their EI cheques. Even though they are entitled to get their EI, they are having a very difficult time getting it.

My colleague from Don Valley East asked a question on this in the House, if I am not mistaken. I think my colleague from Cape Breton—Canso asked a question in the House on this, about a constituent of his whose name I cannot recall, but I think it might have been Norma Peck, who was waiting and waiting.

Thank heavens that people have members of Parliament like the member for Don Valley East and my colleague from Cape Breton—Canso, who stand up. My colleague from Madawaska—Restigouche spoke in this House on behalf of somebody who was waiting, I think it was 47 days. Thank heavens there are some members providing leadership for those who actually need help the most.

On employment insurance, there is a great deal more the government could be doing to help people. I expect we will talk about that tomorrow.

I want to talk about child care. Canada is, and I want to be generous, a laggard on child care. In the last few years we have gotten worse. A survey was released in December by the United Nations and of the OECD nations, Canada ranked last out of 25 countries on 10 benchmarks dealing with early learning and child care. We were last.

I would expect that some of the Scandinavian nations that are very progressive in this area would be ahead of us, but many other nations were as well. I believe we only went halfway on one benchmark. The province of Quebec had six out of the ten benchmarks because it has an early learning and child care plan, and I commend that province for that. We need to do more.

The Leader of the Opposition came to a meeting in Halifax on Saturday. We met with about 20 child care advocates. Somebody said that child care does not stop at six either, referring to the measly $100 a month. And education does not start at six. Education has to start at age zero. Education needs to be accessible to all. If any one of us knew of somebody with a child who was six or seven years old and that child was denied access to elementary school, there would be an outcry, and rightly so. Yet every single day in every community in Canada children are being denied access to early learning and child care. That is a shame. That affects our productivity in a huge way.

I am delighted that the Leader of the Opposition has made it clear that when the Liberals form the government, and I hope and expect that will be after the next election, he will bring back an early learning and child care plan similar to the one brought forward by my colleague from York Centre, the former goalie who was minister of human resources and skills development. It was a wonderful plan for child care. He actually implemented it but it was thrown out on the scrap heap to the consternation, dismay and the agony of people across this country to whom $100 does not mean anything. People at our session on Sunday said that the $100 does not help when child care costs $800 to $1,000 a month, but more important, they cannot find a child care space. Child care cannot be delivered in the mail.

I want to talk about a specific organization which does some great work in this country. It is called the Canadian Council on Learning, CCL. This organization is set up to measure how we are doing on education in relation to other countries and the standards that we should have in Canada. This organization has been operating for five years. It has some concerns. It is not a political organization at all. Dr. Paul Cappon heads it up. He is universally respected. He is not a Liberal, nor a New Democrat, nor a Conservative. He is just a guy who cares about education and helping us understand where we are in educating our citizens. This organization was told that its funding was not going to be renewed past the end of March or April of this year. That does not make any sense.

At committee a couple of weeks ago, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development was asked by the chair of our committee, a very good chair in spite of his Conservative label, if the funding for CCL would be extended and what the status of it was. The minister said, “The funding for that has been extended to the end of next year. There will be discussions about the future”.

Two days later her officials came to committee and I raised the issue of CCL. My question was, “I want to ask about the Canadian Council on Learning. On Tuesday the minister indicated that their funding would be extended for another year. My understanding was it was going to run out at the end of March. Our chair asked the question. Is that the fact, that they have another year of funding that will take them to 2010?”

The assistant deputy minister said, “That's correct”. I said, “It is not just that they are using the money they were given before for an extra year, but they have an extra year of funding”, which is what the minister said. The answer was “My understanding is their original funding was reprofiled to extend into 2010”. That is a quizzical thing. I pursued that and said, “Reprofiled under certain governments means different things. Does that mean stretched or does that mean added?” The answer was, “It means there was no increase in the funding they received”.

On Tuesday the minister told us the funding had been extended until the end of next year, yet two days later we found out that was not the case at all. This is an organization like the Centre for Social Development and many others that are doing great work but it seems they have to fight for their funding every year.

I work in the area of human resources, and there are a number of issues that are of great concern to me.

What is happening on the research side is scandalous. The CAUT, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, went to see the Secretary of State and its members were told to shut up. They were told that they have burned their bridges. I can see shock on the faces of members opposite that one of their own would say that to somebody.

As ministers or MPs, there is a certain tone and level of respect that we have for people who are advocating when they come to see us, whether we agree or disagree. I know the people who went to see the minister. I know Jim Turk. He is the head of CAUT. I know the two people who were in that meeting. These are reasonable people. They came to see me while I was on the government side and they have come to see me in opposition. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree, but I would never question their motives or suggest that anybody would use that tone of language in dealing with people who are advocating for issues like education.

I have concerns about the budget and the tone of the government. I have an awful lot of concerns about the direction of the country. My colleagues from the NDP will say that since I have all these issues, maybe I should vote against this budget. I can say with great sincerity that I support the position our leader has taken. There are some measures in this budget, such as the five weeks of EI and some of the infrastructure money if it gets out the door, that could be very positive for Canadians.

We are not supporting this budget so much as we are letting it pass. We are going to keep a close eye on it. This country is headed into difficult times. We may be there now. I can recall two or three times in the last couple of months when I have talked to people who said that they did not think it would get this worse. We hear about further losses with each passing day and week. Yesterday, we heard about the job losses in Hamilton. In my own area, we have lost the Moirs plant, which employed over 500 people. We are all going to be hurt.

We are in this together. This is Canada. We are a rich nation, but we are hurting. However, the strength of this country is that we have a social infrastructure and we believe in it. We believe in national health service. We believe in employment insurance. We believe in social supports that provide assistance to those in need, like the GIS and the child tax benefit.

I think that in a difficult time it is important that we as Canadians focus on those people who are hurting the most. We need to provide support to people who need help. We need to invest in their health, education and the social supports that make their lives livable, whether it is EI, health care, or education for aboriginal Canadians, low-income families and persons with disabilities. These are the people who need our help. Those are the measures we are going to be watching as this budget unfolds. That is how we will be holding the government to account. For now, it is a pass, but it is pretty close.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour says that he is reluctant to follow the government's agenda. He also says that he is concerned about job losses and the fact that people cannot get employment insurance, many of them because this budget does not provide for about half the workers who lose their employment insurance benefits.

I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt on both of those comments that he has made. However, the next item on the government's agenda is the European Free Trade Association agreement. That is coming forward to the House. The shipbuilding industry, including his constituents in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour who work at the Halifax shipyards, is unanimous in saying that there has to be a carve-out on EFTA. If there is not, they will lose their jobs. That will mean that they will be subject to the very meanspirited employment insurance provisions that are contained within this budget.

I would like to ask the member a very clear question. There is a carve-out, an amendment that we proposed in the House. Is he prepared to vote for that amendment that is supported by his constituents in the Halifax shipyards in order to carve shipbuilding out of EFTA, ensuring that more of his constituents will not be subjected to the punitive provisions of EI that are in this budget?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to sit in on the committee last week where EFTA was discussed. The Minister of Industry came to that committee.

The member is right that shipbuilding is an important part of my community. In fact, in Nova Scotia, shipbuilding is a long and honourable tradition. I do not think that this country has done enough to support shipbuilding. The EFTA deal will take us into a deal with four countries, including Norway, who have a very strong, robust and subsidized shipbuilding industry.

Canada needs not to close its eyes to what is happening in the rest of the world but to look at Norway and ask what it did and whether we should do that here. We need a strong shipbuilding policy. Less than an hour ago, I met with members of the CAW, who were here to meet with us and people in our leader's office to talk about the shipbuilding policy we need. Whether it is putting together the SFF and the ACCA or whether it is a national procurement policy that includes direct allocation and continuous procurement, there are solutions. The shipbuilding industry, including those who own the companies, those who manage the companies as well as the workers, is aligned on this issue.

I was very disappointed that there was not more stimulus in the budget. The Minister of National Defence had indicated in December that shipbuilding would specifically be part of a stimulus plan and then we were very disappointed by the budget. In my view, we need a national shipbuilding policy that emulates countries like Norway because we have the people, the technology, and the ability to do it here ourselves.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I finally get a chance to ask my hon. colleague, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, a question.

My colleague has been a passionate proponent of social justice. As we heard from his speech, he talked about the early learning and childhood strategies. I have heard him speak about student loans, helping the poor and helping communities in distress.

I know the budget is difficult for a lot of us because it is such a mixture of good and bad. Could the member give some indication on what he thinks of some of the other measures the Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance put in, the hodge-podge things like the Competition Act, pay equity, Navigable Waters Protection Act and probably EFTA? Is the Conservative government really serious about a stimulus package or is it really playing games on the backs of ordinary Canadians?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is one of the most impressive and passionate members of the House. It is easy for us to be critical, because I know there are many good members on the other side of the House, but I believe the government has been very punitive and is gratuitous in what it put in the budget, particularly on things like pay equity.

If the government were really serious about stimulus, it should remember that we can stimulate an economy, not just through bricks and mortar, but through flesh and bone by investing in people and in the social supports that provide the safety net in this country. That money would not only go to the people who need it, but it would go right back into the economy because they would spend the money.

I think that spending in areas of social need should be the priority of any government in a difficult time.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will to go back to my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour because he did not answer the question.

The member was asked by workers from the Halifax shipyards just an hour ago, and he knows his constituents are impacted by this, to vote for the carve-out to save shipbuilding jobs in his constituency. Is he prepared to vote for the carve-out and, if not, why not?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is because it was ruled out of order. However, I will tell the House, because t I do not have any secrets on this issue, that it is my intention to support the free trade deal with the EFTA countries, but, on top of that, working with my colleagues from Kings—Hants, Halifax West and others in the House.

In the discussions I had today with members of the CAW there was no mention of EFTA. The discussions were about procurement and national shipbuilding. That does not mean that it is not an important issue to them, it is, but they also recognize that after the next election one of two parties will form the Government of Canada. One of them will have a real shipbuilding policy and one of them will not. We will.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member's constituents have been very clear on this. People in Nova Scotia have been very clear that they want the carve-out. The shipbuilding industry has been unanimous. Shipbuilding yards across the country, the owners and the workers have been unanimous, as the member well knows, before the committee on international trade.

Therefore, because it is very much in order to carve out and delete certain clauses of the bill with EFTA that is being brought before the House, the member will need to make a choice between his constituents or a theory. Will the member choose his constituents or will he vote for the carve-out, yes or no?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the committee ruled the amendment on the carve-out out of order. The expectation is that it will be ruled out of order here. If it is not, then I will deal with that.

I would ask my colleague from Burnaby—New Westminster to ask the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore if I believe in shipbuilding. Ask him if he believes that I listen to my constituents and try to do the best that I can for them.

Does the member not think that I want to support my constituents? The discussions I have had with them are respectful. I have never turned down a meeting. If the member were to ask them, I think they would say that the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour stands up for their interests. That is what I did before. I do not hide from that but sometimes it is not as easy.

Members of the NDP would like to have an election every second Friday, which is an easy thing for them. However, we will be the government in this country and we will bring in a shipbuilding policy that will be as good as any in the world, a policy that people who work in the shipbuilding industry and who run the shipyards will be very proud of.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has been an incredibly passionate defender of the shipbuilding industry in his riding and across Canada. In meetings we have had together with shipbuilding companies and labour, they have said that the hon. member and the Liberal Party continue to be strong proponents and defenders of shipbuilding.

Does the hon. member agree that yesterday at committee, when the chair made a ruling on the legal advice of the clerk, to challenge the chair on that would have indicated a lack of confidence in the non-partisan clerk, the clerk who does not work for the government but who works for the House of Commons?

Not only is the NDP member economically illiterate, he has absolutely no idea of the rules and procedures in this House when yesterday at committee he accused the clerk, the legal clerk, of being partisan. The NDP member talks about defending the public service and yet yesterday he attacked the public service.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It is quite well and good to have a political discussion here but to invent something that did not happen, as the member for Kings—Hants just did, is something that merits a withdrawal.

I would ask, Mr. Speaker, if you could ask the member for Kings-Hants to withdraw his comments that are untrue and defamatory.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague from Kings—Hants had it right. We all know the great work and the great support we get from the staff here at the House of Commons. They do not favour one person over another.

What I want to say in closing is that I do not question the motives of my colleague from Burnaby—New Westminster. I have been at that committee and I have seen how it operates. It is not the way I would do it but I do not question his motives or his belief in supporting his constituents.

If he has a reason to believe that I do not support my constituents, then he should table it. He should talk to his colleague from Sackville—Eastern Shore who is passionate about this industry. I think he would tell him that this is a guy who believes in shipbuilding. I have every faith that when the Liberals form the next government, we will bring in a national shipbuilding policy that people can be proud of.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will follow on the comments that were just made in the House. In regard to Bill C-10, they were quite appropriate. However, the reality is that there will be no shipbuilding industry left if the Liberal Party does not stand up for shipbuilding when the carbon amendment comes before this House in the next few days. I certainly hope they will, and the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has indicated that he is considering it, which is very important. We are making some progress.

Where we are not making progress is on Bill C-10.

What we have seen over the past 20 years is a slow and profound crisis in this country. Family income over the past 20 years has been steadily declining. That is even before the very sharp and acute crisis that we have all felt over the past six months and what Canadians have been living through.

Most Canadian families have been living through a slow and prolonged decline in the resources they have to feed their families, to keep a roof over their heads, to do all the things that Canadian families feel strongly about doing and all the things they hold dear.

Under both the Liberals and the Conservatives, we have seen a steady decline in the quality of life and income over the past 20 years. This comes at a time when Canadians are working harder than ever. It is up over one-third during that period but the lowest income Canadians have seen a catastrophic fall in income. On average, they have lost about a month and a half of real wages every year since 1989, which was the year of the implementation of NAFTA. Working class families have lost about two weeks of income per year over the last 20 years. We would find it hard to live on two weeks less of income than what we had 20 years ago. Middle class families have lost about one week.

In short, we have seen a slow and steady economic catastrophe developing and the last six months has put that even more clearly in the public eye. Over the past six months we have seen the collapse of many of our economic sectors, such as the softwood lumber sector, which started with the softwood lumber sellout that cost tens of thousands of jobs across this country, and we continue to pay. We saw with the arbitration last week that it was inevitable under a softwood lumber agreement that the anti-circumvention clause prohibits any sort of support for softwood lumber and the industry. We have seen Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba all having to cough up money.

Two years ago, the NDP said that was exactly what would happen but, unfortunately, Liberal and Bloc members refused to heed what we told them. They ended up voting for a softwood lumber sellout and the result has been a catastrophe.

It is a catastrophe that has hit Quebeckers particularly hard. The people whom the Bloc say they are supporting are those who are losing their jobs and whose communities are having to absorb tens of millions of dollars in penalties because of the softwood lumber agreement.

This catastrophe in an industrial sector could have been avoided if the other parties had studied the agreement more closely.

It is not just softwood and shipbuilding. We are now operating at one-third capacity and that one-third capacity will be killed off under EFTA. We are seeing in the automobile sector that our exports are falling by about a third. It is catastrophic. It is tens of billions of dollars every month in lower exports. In the manufacturing industries we are looking at about a quarter of a million lost jobs over the course of the last few months alone.

We are seeing, in short, a catastrophic and sharp economic crisis that brings to bear a focus on what has happened over the last 20 years. What is the remedy? The Conservatives, with Liberal support, are bringing forward a budget that does not deal with any of those realities. There is no industrial plan or sector-by-sector strategy being brought in.

Essentially, the Conservatives want a $3 billion slush fund to use for whatever political objectives they may have. At the same time, they want to tie any other funding to investments that are first made by municipalities, cash-strapped cities and hard-hit province, so taxpayers at those other levels of government have to cough up first before there is any relief from the federal government.

It is hard to say that this is an economic stimulus package when it is tied funding and there is a slush fund of $3 billion set aside, we fear, for political means. We have been asking for transparency around that money.

My colleague, the member for Outremont, has been calling for that in committee and here in the House. So has the NDP leader, the member for Toronto—Danforth. Yet, the Conservatives refuse any sort of transparency or clarity around the money that they intend to spend. They basically want a blank cheque from Parliament to use that money however they see fit. We saw from the sponsorship scandal that that is not a good idea.

What is in Bill C-10? If it does not deal fundamentally with the economic stimulus and the industrial strategies that we need, what is in Bill C-10? Members in this corner of the House have been saying very clearly what is in it. This is an ideological attack on many principles that the Conservatives have wanted to attack for some time.

Now, because they have a functional majority, since the Liberal Party has given up any sort of opposition role, they are making those attacks. They are attacking collective agreements and not only collective agreements in the public sector but public sector agreements that affect hard-working RCMP officers, stopping them from fairly-negotiated wage increases. All public sector workers and public servants who have been working very hard with less and less over the past few years are stymied. Bill C-10 is effectively an attack on collective agreements.

Bill C-10 attacks students. It treats them very harshly. This is the same government that believes that corporate tax cuts should be shovelled off the back of a truck. However, in this particular case what they want to attack are students who, through no fault of their own, because of a complete lack of support for post-secondary education that we saw develop under the Liberals and continued under the Conservatives, may end up with tens of thousands of dollars of student debt. Instead of the government providing some measure of debt relief, it is treating those student debtors even more harshly.

Bill C-10 allows, basically, for the fire sale of Canadian assets and businesses to go full rein. It is lessening any remaining remnants of foreign ownership qualifications. There actually is a vetting when there are takeovers of Canadian companies. Now they are opening up whole sectors that used to be considered Canadian because it was in the public and Canadian interest to do so. Bill C-10 ideologically attacks that provision for some vetting when Canadian companies are taken over and sold offshore.

We have seen over the past few years company after company purchased at fire sale prices. Canadian companies were bought up because of lax foreign ownership rules. In fact, of the foreign investment that has come into Canada, it is estimated 97% of it goes for takeovers, not for new investment or job creation but a simple takeover of what exists now.

Bill C-10 enhances that fire sale of Canada. So much for standing up for Canada. Conservatives are selling out Canada. We have seen it with the softwood lumber sellout, the shipbuilding sellout, the NAFTA amendments they are bringing forward with the relaxed foreign ownership provisions, so any Canadian company can be a target. The government will simply not stand up for Canadians.

I want to talk about environment assessments. Canadians feel very strongly about protecting our quality of the environment, our quality of life. Yet, Bill C-10 essentially strips environmental assessments from a whole range of projects. That is not in the public interest. No Canadian asked for that. In fact, if the Conservatives had promised that in the election campaign, there would be a lot fewer of them on the other side of the House. However, that is indeed what they are doing because the Liberals are giving them a functional majority with the new Liberal-Conservative coalition.

My colleague from Outremont called it the Conservative-Liberal Alliance party yesterday in the House. We remember the acronym that existed with the Conservative-Reform Alliance party, CRAP. It did not last very long. That was changed. Now we have a new one. Like the member for Outremont said so well, the acronym actually refers to venereal disease. Perhaps the budget is just as painful in its impact on Canadians.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the budget bill, the most ideologically meanspirited attack that we see in Bill C-10, is the attack on the fundamental human right to pay equity. It is simply unbelievable that the Conservatives would try to pretend that in some way, in some Orwellian twist of phrase, they are trying to save pay equity by killing it.

They have stood in the House and tried to confuse Canadians, and have pretended that in some way this is somewhat similar to something that other administrations have brought forward. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a full-fronted attack on pay equity. It eliminates pay equity. It does not in any way protect pay equity or provide recourse for pay equity.

Paul Durber, who is the former director for pay equity for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, said very clearly in his letter just a few days ago that he could not imagine any party in the House knowingly adopting a measure that would contradict such a fundamental value as the equality provision of section 15 of the charter.

It is very clear that this is an attack on pay equity. This kills pay equity. So much for a so-called economic stimulus budget. This kills a fundamental principle of Canadian law and the Liberals are well aware of it. They have said with crocodile tears that somehow they feel that those provisions on pay equity are unfair, but each and every one of them is voting for these provisions that kill pay equity. Canadians will not forgive that incredible shortsightedness and hypocrisy.

Pay equity is being killed and a whole range of other, meanspirited, right-wing, ideological measures are being proposed in the budget. The budget is not one of economic stimulus. The budget is not one that helps Canadians. The budget does absolutely nothing to help the increasing number of Canadians who become unemployed. Not a single, additional person will have access to employment insurance as a result of the budget at a time when tens of thousands of jobs are hemorrhaging out of this country, tens of thousands of people and families are losing their breadwinner.

Yet, not a single new person can claim employment insurance than those who qualified prior to the budget. There is no change to the harsh qualifications that legally the government cannot put in place, but under the budget we are in this Orwellian world where the government now redefines what its legal responsibilities are and redefines employment insurance in a way that half the workers who become unemployed will not be able to access it.

Canadians are not fooled by those few who qualify getting a few extra weeks at the end. They are not fooled by that because they know that in their communities people are losing their jobs as Canadian industries shut down one after the other, after 20 years of completely foolish and irresponsible economic policies from the economic illiteracy twins of the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party putting Canadian industry and manufacturing at risk with catastrophic implications today.

As their neighbours, friends and families lose their jobs, Canadians are not fooled by the fact that there are a few weeks at the end of employment insurance for those who qualify. They are concerned and the reason why they are coming to constituency offices across the country is because they know now that they do not qualify.

This is a meanspirited budget, not a budget that addresses the crisis that we are living in. It is an ideological attack on Canadians and for that reason, New Democrats are voting against this budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, our colleague from Burnaby—New Westminster spoke about how this government treats women. We know that this is not the first time this government has attacked the means that women have to improve their lot in society. It went after women's shelters: of the 16 shelters, there are only four left to support women's groups. And it is now taking on employment equity.

I would like to know what the member thinks about this situation. The Liberals, like all of us and like the NDP, have been highly critical of this measure that would keep women from turning to the courts to have their rights recognized. Even worse, this measure would see fines of up to $50,000 slapped on unions wanting to defend women. What does he think about the Liberals, who have suddenly done an about-face and jumped into bed with the Conservatives, setting women's rights back more than 50 years?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009
Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is disgusting. That is the only word I can use. It is the most hypocritical thing that a political party can do; that is, defend women here in House but vote in favour of a budget that fundamentally attacks women's rights. There is no other word for it. I think that the people in the Liberal Party should be ashamed of their position.