Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act

An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011 and other measures

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

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 of this enactment implements income tax measures and related measures proposed in the 2011 budget. Most notably, it

(a) introduces the family caregiver tax credit for caregivers of infirm dependent relatives;

(b) introduces the children’s arts tax credit of up to $500 per child of eligible fees associated with children’s artistic, cultural, recreational and developmental activities;

(c) introduces a volunteer firefighters tax credit to allow eligible volunteer firefighters to claim a 15% non-refundable tax credit based on an amount of $3,000;

(d) eliminates the rule that limits the number of claimants for the child tax credit to one per domestic establishment;

(e) removes the $10,000 limit on eligible expenses that can be claimed under the medical expense tax credit in respect of a dependent relative;

(f) increases the advance payment threshold for the Canada child tax benefit to $20 per month and for the GST/HST credit to $50 per quarter;

(g) aligns the notification requirements related to marital status changes for an individual who receives the Canada child tax benefit with the notification requirements for the GST/HST credit;

(h) reduces the minimum course-duration requirements for the tuition, education and textbook tax credits, and for educational assistance payments from registered education savings plans, that apply to students enrolled at foreign universities;

(i) allows the tuition tax credit to be claimed for eligible occupational, trade and professional examination fees;

(j) allows the reallocation of assets in registered education savings plans for siblings without incurring tax penalties;

(k) extends to the end of 2013 the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for investment in machinery and equipment in the manufacturing and processing sector;

(l) expands eligibility for the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation and conservation equipment;

(m) extends eligibility for the mineral exploration tax credit by one year to flow-through share agreements entered into before March 31, 2012;

(n) expands the eligibility rules for qualifying environmental trusts;

(o) amends the deduction rates for intangible capital costs in the oil sands sector;

(p) aligns the tax treatment to investments made under the Agri-Québec program with that of investments under AgriInvest;

(q) introduces rules to strengthen the tax regime for charitable donations;

(r) introduces anti-avoidance rules for registered retirement savings plans and registered retirement income funds;

(s) introduces rules to limit tax deferral opportunities for individual pension plans;

(t) introduces rules to limit tax deferral opportunities for corporations with significant interests in partnerships;

(u) extends the tax on split income to capital gains realized by a minor child; and

(v) extends the dividend stop-loss rules to dividends deemed to be received on the redemption of shares held by certain corporations.

Part 1 also implements other selected income tax measures and related measures. Most of these measures were referred to in the 2011 budget as previously announced measures. Most notably, it

(a) accommodates an increase in the annual contribution limit to the Saskatchewan Pension Plan and aligns its tax treatment with that of other tax-assisted retirement vehicles;

(b) clarifies that the “financially dependent” test applies for the purposes of provisions that permit rollovers of the assets of a deceased taxpayer’s registered retirement savings plan or registered retirement income fund to an infirm child or grandchild’s registered disability savings plan;

(c) ensures that the alternative minimum tax does not apply in respect of securities that are subject to the election under section 180.01 of the Income Tax Act;

(d) clarifies the rules applicable to the scholarship exemption for post-secondary scholarships, fellowships and bursaries; and

(e) amends the pension-to-registered retirement savings plan transfer limits in situations where the accrued pension amount was reduced due to the insolvency of the employer and underfunding of the employer’s registered pension plan.

Part 2 amends the Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 to implement the softwood lumber ruling rendered by the London Court of International Arbitration on January 21, 2011.

Part 3 amends the Customs Tariff in order to simplify it and reduce the customs processing burden for Canadians by consolidating similar tariff items that have the same tariff rates and removing end-use provisions where appropriate. The amendments also simplify the structure of some provisions and remove obsolete provisions.

Part 4 amends the Customs Tariff to introduce new tariff items to facilitate the processing of low value non-commercial imports arriving by post or by courier.

Part 5 amends the Canada Education Savings Act to make the additional amount of a Canada Education Savings grant that is available under subsection 5(4) of that Act available to more than one of the beneficiary’s parents, if they share custody of the beneficiary, they are eligible individuals as defined in section 122.6 of the Income Tax Act and the beneficiary is a qualified dependant of each of them.

Part 6 amends the Children’s Special Allowances Act and a regulation made under that Act respecting payments relating to children under care.

Part 7 amends the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act to provide that the maximum aggregate amount of outstanding student loans is to be determined by regulation, to remove the power of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to deny certificates of eligibility, and to change the limitation period for the Minister to take administrative measures. It also authorizes the Minister to forgive portions of family physicians’, nurses’ and nurse practitioners’ student loans if they begin to work in under-served rural or remote communities.

Part 7 also amends the Canada Student Loans Act to authorize the Minister to forgive portions of family physicians’, nurses’ and nurse practitioners’ guaranteed student loans if they begin to work in under-served rural or remote communities.

Part 8 amends Part IV of the Employment Insurance Act to provide a temporary measure to refund a portion of employer premiums for small business. An employer whose premiums were $10,000 or less in 2010 will be refunded the increase in 2011 premiums over those paid in 2010, to a maximum of $1,000.

Part 9 provides for payments to be made to provinces, territories, municipalities, First Nations and other entities for municipal infrastructure improvements.

Part 10 amends the Canadian Securities Regulation Regime Transition Office Act so that funding for the Canadian Securities Regulation Regime Transition Office may be fixed through an appropriation Act.

Part 11 amends the Wage Earner Protection Program Act to extend in certain circumstances the period during which wages earned by individuals but not paid to them by their employers who are bankrupt or subject to receivership may be the subject of a payment under that Act.

Part 12 amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to repeal certain provisions that provide for mandatory retirement. It also amends the Canada Labour Code to repeal a provision that denies employees the right to severance pay for involuntary termination if they are entitled to a pension. Finally, it amends the Conflict of Interest Act.

Part 13 amends the Judges Act to permit the appointment of two additional judges to the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Part 14 provides for the retroactive coming into force of section 9 of the Nordion and Theratronics Divestiture Authorization Act in order to ensure the validity of pension regulations made under that section.

Part 15 amends the Canada Pension Plan to include amounts received by an employee under an employer-funded disability plan in contributory salary and wages.

Part 16 amends the Jobs and Economic Growth Act to replace the reference to the Treasury Board Secretariat with a reference to the Chief Human Resources Officer in subsections 10(4) and 38.1(1) of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.

Part 17 amends the Department of Veterans Affairs Act to include a definition of dependant and to provide express regulation-making authority for the provision of certain benefits in non-institutional locations.

Part 18 amends the Canada Elections Act to phase out quarterly allowances to registered parties.

Part 19 amends the Special Retirement Arrangements Act to permit the reservation of pension contributions from any benefit that is or becomes payable to a person. It also deems certain provisions of An Act to amend certain Acts in relation to pensions and to enact the Special Retirement Arrangements Act and the Pension Benefits Division Act to have come into force on December 14 or 15, 1994, as the case may be.

Part 20 amends the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to allow residents of Canada to temporarily import a rental vehicle from the United States for up to 30 days, or for any other prescribed period, for non-commercial use. It also authorizes the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting imported rental vehicles, as well as their importation into and removal from Canada, and makes other changes to the Act.

Part 21 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to clarify the legislative framework pertaining to payments under tax agreements entered into with provinces under Part III.1 of that Act.

Part 22 amends the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act to change the residency requirements of certain commissioners.

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

  • Nov. 21, 2011 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
  • Nov. 16, 2011 Passed That Bill C-13, An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011 and other measures, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
  • Nov. 16, 2011 Failed That Bill C-13 be amended by deleting Clause 182.
  • Nov. 16, 2011 Failed That Bill C-13, in Clause 181, be amended (a) by replacing line 23 on page 206 with the following: “April 1, 2012 and the eleven following” (b) by replacing line 26 on page 206 with the following: “April 1, 2016 and the eleven following” (c) by replacing line 29 on page 206 with the following: “April 1, 2020 and the eleven following”
  • Nov. 16, 2011 Failed That Bill C-13 be amended by deleting Clause 181.
  • Nov. 16, 2011 Failed That Bill C-13 be amended by deleting Clause 162.
  • Nov. 16, 2011 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-13, An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011 and other measures, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
  • Oct. 17, 2011 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
  • Oct. 6, 2011 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-13, An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011 and other measures, not more than three further sitting days shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the third day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak in the House today at third reading of the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act.

Before continuing, I thank the House of Commons finance committee for its timely consideration and adoption of this important legislation. It represents an ambitious and positive response by our government to today's economic challenges, an approach that gives Canadians confidence that we are on the right track. Canadians know that our government is focused on what matters, and that is jobs and the economy.

Both the IMF and the OECD agree that Canada will have one of the fastest-growing economies in the G7 in 2011 and 2012. Approximately 600,000 net new jobs have been created since July 2009, and over 90% of these new jobs are full-time. Canada has the highest rate of employment growth in all the G7 countries. While the government recognizes that there are still too many Canadians looking for work, Canadians are doing relatively well when the difficulties other countries are having are taken into account. We must continue to implement our low-tax plan to protect the economy and create jobs, and this legislation will help us to meet our objectives.

Our plan has given Canadians more flexibility to improve their quality of life, even when times are tough. It leaves more money where it belongs, which is in the pockets of taxpayers. That is why the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act would provide targeted tax relief where it would be needed most to help Canadians.

For example, volunteer firefighters play a critical role in our communities and often put themselves at great risk to keep their neighbours safe. Almost 85,000 volunteer firefighters provide their services to protect the lives and property of Canadians living in both urban and rural communities across Canada. This bill recognizes their courageous service by introducing a new 15% tax credit on an amount of $3,000 for volunteer firefighters who perform at least 200 hours of service for their communities a year. Eligible volunteer firefighters who currently receive honoraria in respect of their duties will be able to choose between the new tax credit and the existing tax exemption of up to $1,000.

As a member of the finance committee, I have had the opportunity to hear from a number of witnesses as we have studied the bill. Indeed, John deHooge, fire chief for the city of Ottawa, told the committee:

“Canada's Fire Chiefs have been advocating for tax relief for the Volunteer Fire Service since 2003. The proposal adopted by the Government of Canada in Budget 2011 was the proposal that the CAFC had presented to the federal government...In our view, tax relief for Canada's volunteer firefighters is a key part of the solution to addressing the recruitment and retention challenges facing Canada's Volunteer Fire Service.

We would like to recognize the government for its commitment to pass this initiative into law....This measure will help with the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters across the country, which will in turn help protect Canadians and our communities”.

I want to take a moment to thank him for his service. I know he has put many decades into protecting the interests of Canadians.

This goes to show that our government is actively listening to the concerns of Canadians. While the Liberals and the NDP voted against this program, the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs have told us that this is a crucial measure to ensure the retention of volunteer firefighters, which will keep Canadian communities safe.

That is not all we have done to support Canadian communities and the families that sustain them. The keeping jobs and economy growing act recognizes the often daunting expenses facing parents trying hard to provide their children with the best possible opportunities for growth and development.

The arts are an important part of a well-rounded education that all too often are out of reach for hard-working families. Recognizing this challenge, the legislation contains a children's art tax credit, which provides parents with up to $500 per child in eligible fees for programs associated with arts, cultural, recreational and developmental activities that are not eligible for the existing children's fitness tax credit.

I am especially pleased to tell Canadians and members of the House that the age limit is extended to age 18 for children eligible for the disability tax credit and provides an additional $500 to acknowledge the additional costs of these programs for children with special needs. This measure builds on our government's strong record of helping parents and their children.

The 2007 children's fitness tax credit, which provides tax relief for fees paid for children's physical fitness activities, has already become a very big hit. Close to 1.4 million children benefit from the children's fitness tax credit each year. I am pretty confident that the children's arts tax credit will have the same positive impact on Canadian families.

So far Canadian parents, who pay hundreds of dollars for music lessons each year across Canada, have expressed their support for this program, not to mention the local small businesses that provide the lessons. It is really helping to give an extra push to encourage the arts.

In the words of Sam Mills, an Edmonton dad, “I would do it anyway but maybe definitely we would do it for the whole year instead of just half the year”.

Listen to Regina to what music teacher, Bob Mossing, whose School of Music will really be positively impacted by the credit, has to say, “This is could be the life saver of our program”.

The next phase of Canada's economic action plan provides even more support for families. Overall, families have gained from the tax relief our government has provided to all Canadians since 2006. Those tax relief measures include the GST reduction to 5% from 7% and popular personal income tax relief measures like the tax-free savings account.

Through our strong record of tax relief, the average family saves over $3,000 a year; however, our Conservative government recognizes that some Canadian families need more help.

That is why the next phase of Canada's economic action plan includes a number of key measures to help Canadian families, in particular, a 15% family caregiver tax credit on an amount of $2,000 for caregivers of all types of infirm dependent relatives, including, for the first time, spouses, common-law partners and minor children.

I am proud that caregivers support this measure. The Canadian Home Care Association said, “In introducing tax credits for family caregivers and improving the medical expense tax credit, the federal government is responding to the reality that Canadians want to remain independent at home for as long as possible.”

In conclusion, the Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act helps to support Canada's economic recovery. Our government is focusing on the issues that are important to Canadians: job creation and economic growth.

I urge all members to support this vital legislation in order to ensure the success of our economic recovery for Canadians and their families. I look forward to questions from my colleagues across the way.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government implemented this through a ways and means motion a few months ago. What the member has said, although I respect her right to speak in the House on the bill, is simply not true. What we have seen over the past few weeks is considerable economic hardship for an increasing number of Canadian families. In the month of October, as members well know, 72,000 Canadian families lost a full-time breadwinner. That is a catastrophic figure. The finance committee was told that by some of the economists who visited a few days ago. They said that the loss of jobs was at recession levels.

The government has created less than 200,000 jobs since May 2008. The unfortunate fact, as members are well aware, is the labour market actually grew by 450,000 job seekers. Therefore, the government is actually 250,000 jobs behind from just standing still.

Given all that, will the government change its orientation from what is an austerity budget, which would cut services from middle class and poor Canadians, and rethink its economic agenda, because it is clearly not working?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately my colleague is absolutely wrong on all counts. He talks about catastrophes. If we look at what has happened since the recession, had the government not put in place all these measures that helped to produce jobs in our country, measures like the accelerate capital cost allowance that helps businesses create jobs, there would not have been 600,000 jobs created.

If it were up to the NDP, there would have been major catastrophes. It would have taxed corporations $10 billion more, which would have cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. It would have increased the GST from its current 5% to 7%, or even more. That would have cost Canadians more money for everything, from groceries, to clothes, to all of their personal needs. If we had listened to the NDP, we would be looking at a doubling of the CPP. Even for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which is a big producer, representing small businesses that create jobs, its CPP costs would have increased by 60% to 70% . It would have been catastrophic to our country and we would never have survived the way we have.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the member's remarks. The fact is, and it states so in a November 17 article in the National Post, that federal spending has been up 22% since the Prime Minister took power. However, the spending watchdog says, “the large increase in expenditures over the past five years can be attributed to the economic downturn but also to a minority Parliament for most of that time”, meaning the Conservatives are trying to buy an election. “You've had a lot of instability and historically, [governments] spend like a drunken sailor in minority”, says the federal director of Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Given all that spending, what worries me is that the gap between the rich and the poor is increasing, and it shows through in everything the government does.

The member went on at great length about the volunteer firefighters tax credit, but it is not a refundable tax credit. If a person does not have money, then the tax credit does not apply to him or her. Why not be fair? Is a firefighter who is—

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to thank my colleague for the question this time because it is about the third time the Liberals have asked this very same question. It just brings up the hypocrisy of that party. The hypocrisy exists because firefighters have been asking for years to have this very tax credit put forward. The 13 years that the Liberals were in power, they did absolutely nothing to address the concerns. In fact, the fire chief, who was in committee, said very clear this was exactly the tax credit for which they asked. Where the Liberals denied them year after year of any kind of tax benefit, not a single measure, we are doing it exactly the way they asked us to and we are going to be proud of it.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Jay Aspin Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-13 and sharing my time with the parliamentary secretary this morning.

It is a privilege to contribute to this debate and speak in support of Bill C-13, keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act, which is the next phase of Canada's economic action plan. This bill will support Canada's economic recovery and promote job creation. It will support communities and invest in education and training. It will help Canadian families and respect their hard-earned tax dollars.

The bill is a low tax plan for jobs and economic growth. It is a continuation of the sensible fiscal policy that remains at the heart of our Conservative government's economic agenda. Our government is focused on what matters to Canadians, creating jobs and promoting economic growth.

While we see so much financial instability in governments around the world, Canada has become a leader on the international economic stage. We have the strongest job creation record in the G8. Close to 600,000 net new jobs have been created since July 2009. We have renewed our triple A credit rating, and according to the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, we will have the strongest economic growth in the G8 and G7 over the next two years. Forbes magazine has ranked Canada as the best country in the world to do business. I can assure the House, one of the most important things to the people of my riding is to be gainfully employed.

The Canadian economy is intimately connected with the economies of the world and we must remain aware of the fragile economic situation in Europe and the United States. We are not isolated from potential economic problems that remain outside our borders. That is why we must stay the course and implement the next phase of Canada's economic action plan.

Bill C-13 will promote Canadian job creation and economic growth. The hiring credit is precisely what small businesses have been calling for. The one time credit of up to $1,000 will be the catalyst for additional hiring, not only in my riding of Nipissing--Timiskaming but for small businesses throughout Canada.

Not only are we creating new jobs, we are enhancing programs to help businesses keep the workers currently employed through initiatives such as the work sharing program, the wage earner protection program, and the targeted initiative for older workers.

Small businesses are the engine of job creation in this country and our Conservative government is delivering results to them. Our Conservative government is also supporting the Canadian manufacturing sector. We are extending the accelerated capital cost allowance for two years, so that companies can write off investment in manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment. This will allow them to grow their businesses and to procure top of the line equipment that will bring them to the forefront of international technological innovation. In an era of economic uncertainty, this tax measure gives manufacturers the confidence to invest in their future.

Bill C-13 is also doing more to support local communities. We are putting into law a permanent annual investment of $2 billion in the gas tax fund in order to provide predictable long-term infrastructure funding for municipalities. This is something municipalities have been asking for year after year. They want to know they have the source of funding to do the many projects that are necessary to provide the infrastructure for continued economic growth. Making this investment permanent and annual will benefit the many towns and communities in my riding of Nipissing--Timiskaming and in the ridings from coast to coast to coast.

Our Conservative government is also enhancing the wage earner protection program, so that workers are covered and protected from employer bankruptcy and receivership. This is a program that has been very well received and utilized.

Our Conservative government also recognizes the economic benefits that come with investing in education and training. We are supporting universities, colleges, skilled trades and apprenticeship programs.

This legislation forgives student loans for new doctors and nurses in underserved rural and remote areas. A portion of the federal component of their Canada student loans, $40,000 for doctors and $20,000 for nurses, will be forgiven so that these doctors and nurses can practice and support the rural communities of our country that need them the most.

This will ensure that rural and remote communities, such as those in my riding of Nipissing—Timiskaming get the adequate medical services they deserve and require.

This is a plan that will support Canada's economic recovery and promote job creation. It is a plan that will support communities and invest in education and training. It is a plan that will help Canadian families and respect their hard-earned tax dollars.

This is a low tax plan for jobs and economic growth, and I support it.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Raymond Côté Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the hon. member's speech.

As I have already said in this House, job creation is of great concern to me.

The government can trot out raw numbers and brag about them, but the fact remains that when we take a closer look at the numbers, there are some disparities. The raw numbers do not necessarily reflect the quality of those jobs. When I look at the job creation measure for small businesses in the government's bill, I see another measure that, unfortunately, is missing the mark. Instead of applying to every job created, this measure can apply to companies that fail to create any jobs and just tweak their employment insurance contributions.

I would like the hon. member to tell me why the government is not trying to integrate our job creation proposal into this bill, because it would apply to every job created, instead of allowing companies to get money illegitimately.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Jay Aspin Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member cannot get picayune about this. We have to look at the broader economic picture and our record. The proof is in the pudding: 600,000 net new jobs have been created.

The IMF indicate that we are among the best in the world. Forbes recognizes that Canada is the best place to do business. The NDP plan would simply add $10 billion in taxes to Canadians. If we were to follow that course, we would be in the shape of Greece, or possibly Italy or Spain.

Clearly, our plan is the right plan and our plan is working.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary who spoke previously took a lot of liberties when she was responding to questions. The Liberal Party has always stood for volunteer firefighters. I had private members' bills in the House many times on that issue.

I have to ask the member who just spoke, is this Conservative member suggesting, on the volunteer firefighters bill, that a volunteer firefighter who does not have the income, who does not meet the threshold, is less deserving of a refundable tax credit than someone with money?

If the service is done, a firefighter deserves the refund. Is the member saying that lower income volunteer firefighters should be disregarded, that their service is not as valuable as those with money? Is that what he is saying?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Jay Aspin Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, all volunteer firefighters deserve this tax credit. The hon. member said he had a bill. I guess his caucus did not support it.

As I mentioned, this is part of a full package to get our economy working. It is working. The first phase of this work generated all kinds of jobs. It generated accolades from all over the world. We cannot get picayune on this.

Our plan is working. It is the right plan for Canadians. We are proud of our plan and we are going to move on to the second phase of Canada's economic action plan.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by referencing the previous member's comments about the economic action plan.

No one on the Conservative side of the House should deny that the job loss figure that we saw in the month of October of 72,000 full-time jobs should not be a source of worry. That eviscerated the Canadian economy, yet Conservative members have been patting themselves on the back.

The reality is that the jobs that have been created over the last three years under the Conservative government's plan actually pay much less than the jobs that the Conservatives lost. Tragically, we are now seeing an acceleration in the number of jobs lost. Some 72,000 jobs were lost in a single month. That is more than 2,000 jobs a day and we are seeing a continuation of that in the month of November.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer talked about 100,000 jobs evaporating out of the Canadian economy in the coming months. The Governor of the Bank of Canada talked about a huge slowdown. The government must be looking through rose coloured glasses and pretending that everything is just fine. That is simply not true. Conservatives who doubt it should talk to small business people and to workers right across this country from coast to coast to coast.

Canadian families are worried. They are dealing with historic debt loads that we have not seen in our country's history. We are talking about the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the last few weeks. Nearly two million Canadians are looking for work across this country. One million Canadians have to rely on food banks to make ends meet. Maybe everything is fine and rosy in the Conservatives' Ottawa bubble, but the reality is that Canadians need action. Our role in the House is to put forward powerful solutions to deal with the economic malaise that we are experiencing.

I need to comment on the government's actions around Bill C-13. The budget bill is a 650-page document. It is not the same budget bill that was presented last spring, even though the government does have ways and means orientation on it. We are talking about a 650-page bill and the government's refusal to accept any amendments.

Beyond the government's refusal to accept any amendments, last week it invoked closure. The Conservatives will rise and say it was not closure but time allocation. It is the same thing. They should not try to play with Canadians in that respect. They invoked closure before one second of debate could happen in the House on amendments that had been brought forward.

The Conservatives did allow some discussion on one amendment and then they used their sledgehammer and removed any possibility of even one second of debate on other amendments on a 650-page budget bill that most Conservative MPs have not read.

The government has refused to allow the kind of debate that has been a democratic tradition in this country since well before 1867, even prior to Confederation, but certainly in the House of Commons since 1867. We have not seen closure used to this extent. The government has used closure 7 times in 35 sitting days. It is a record that even the Liberals, at the height of their arrogance, were unable to match. It is appalling.

To tell Canadians that they have no right to hear debate on a 650-page budget bill and that they have no right to hear what amendments were brought forward on the budget bill is doing a disservice to Canadians and showing profound disrespect for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. That really is the setting of what the government has done around Bill C-13.

When the Conservatives campaigned last spring, they put on their sweater vests and talked about moderation and about listening to Canadians. They said that they would be a moderate government.

What has happened since May 2 is absolutely the contrary. The Conservatives use closure in a way that we have never seen in the long democratic tradition in this country. They shut down debate not only on a wide variety of bills that could have been better served with more debate and discussion in the House of Commons, but on budget bills as well.

It is a very disturbing development. Last spring the government promised moderation and respect for democratic tradition. However, now that we are getting into the crux of the matter with a vigorous debate on behalf of the 102 members of the NDP official opposition, the government resorts to closure every single time. Why is that?

The government is resorting to closure because it loses the debates. As we bring forward our ideas, we talk about the content of what is being brought forward by the government. The Conservatives realize that their arguments, the talking points from the Prime Minister's Office, simply do not hold weight. The government could extend sitting hours or use a number of alternatives to allow for a democratic debate to take place, but it chooses the sledgehammer of shutting down that debate.

I just came back from British Columbia and I certainly heard great and growing concern on the part of Canadians that our debate and our rights as democratically elected representatives in the House of Commons are systematically being shut down. It is something that is increasingly worrisome to Canadians.

Let us examine the context of the bill that the government refuses to debate and has invoked closure on. As well, any discussion at the amendment stage and debate at third reading will be shut down within a few hours.

Before the government brings the sledgehammer down at the end of this afternoon, the reality is that this is an austerity budget brought forward at a time when we are experiencing economic slowdown. There were 72,000 full-time jobs lost in the month of October alone--this at a time when nearly two million Canadians are looking for work.

Over the last few years, we have seen a steady erosion in the quality of jobs available in the Canadian economy. We reference this point in the House continually. Conservatives can deny it, but Statistics Canada is very clear that the jobs the Conservatives lost paid more than the few jobs they managed to create.

The Conservative government created less than 200,000 jobs over the course of the last three and half years, since May 2008. This was at a time when the labour market grew because our population grew by 450,000. The government created barely 200,000 jobs, but lost 72,000 full-time jobs last month alone. The Conservatives were a quarter of a million jobs short even from just maintaining the level of employment that we had in the labour market back in May 2008. We have seen an erosion both in the quantity of jobs and in the quality of jobs. It is a doubleheader.

Also, the Conservatives like to make stuff up. They will throw out a figure from the back of a napkin and say that they have created hundreds of thousands of jobs. These arguments thrown out by the Prime Minister's Office, as happens so often, do not hold water. When we go to the actual Statistics Canada figures since May 2008, we see quite the contrary. Fewer than 200,000 jobs were created, but the labour market grew by 450,000. The employment percentage has gone down by 2% since May 2008. In terms of quality, the jobs created paid $10,000 less than the jobs the Conservatives have thrown away through what I can only call economic mismanagement.

That is the context of the budget, the 650 pages that the Conservative government does not want Canadians to know about. The context of Bill C-13 is that it is a time of economic slowdown.

The Governor of the Bank of Canada, the Parliamentary Budget Officer and many economists agree that we are in a slowdown. The Conservatives can deny the Statistics Canada figures for the month of October, but they have been disastrous. There is no other way to put it. For Conservatives to rise in this House and say that everything is fine and rosy and not to worry about a thing simply belies the reality that is happening on the ground and across this country.

What did the Conservatives then bring forward? They brought forward an austerity budget that, aside from a few small tax credits, will continue massive, significant and ongoing corporate tax cuts. What it means is that for middle-class and poorer Canadian families from coast to coast to coast is that there would be significant cutbacks in the services that they enjoy.

On the one hand, we are talking about billions of dollars in corporate tax cuts for this year, and then, on January 1, even more corporate tax cuts going forward. The Conservatives' only economic strategy is shovelling money out to what are very profitable industrial sectors, but for middle-class and poorer Canadian families, it is cutbacks in services, getting less and having less support. We can talk about a whole range of things, but the reality is that it is an austerity budget.

Was that appropriate last spring? I do not think so. The government promised that it would be listening to Canadians. It is profoundly inappropriate in the fall, as we go through a profound economic shutdown with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, for the government to say, “That is quite all right; we're just going to continue and give more corporate tax-cut spending. We're going to spend another $4 billion on January 1, but we're not going to address the fundamentals underlying the Canadian economy”. Nothing in this budget does that.

What are the fundamentals? We have talked about the job loss. We have talked about the poor-quality jobs that the Conservative government has shepherded in to replace the better-quality jobs it lost. The government has lost family-sustaining jobs and replaced those with low-wage jobs, often part-time, often temporary, though we will never hear Conservatives rising and actually talking about the fact that most of the jobs they are creating are part-time or temporary. They try to put the temporary jobs in with permanent full-time jobs, and that way, on the back of a napkin, they try to mislead Canadians about what is actually happening. However, Canadians are aware of what is happening, because they see the economic slowdown occurring right across the country. They see the layoffs and they see the small businesses having to struggle now.

In British Columbia, one of the biggest problems that our small-business sector has had to contend with over the last few months was the HST imposed by the Conservative government on British Columbians. Thankfully, British Columbians rejected handily the HST in the summer referendum that we forced. We can be thankful for that, because the HST imposed by the Conservatives was just another nail in the coffin for the B.C. economy. As a long-time member of the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce and as a proud member of the Burnaby Board of Trade, I can tell members that this single action led to significant job loss in British Columbia.

The Conservatives' imposition of the HST should never be repeated; however, it is in the same context. They refused to consult with British Columbians in the same way that, on this budget bill, the Conservatives are refusing either to consult the opposition or even to consult Canadians on an austerity budget that is profoundly inappropriate.

What is the other context of what we are going through as a Canadian economy? Far from the pretensions we have heard in the few minutes of debate we have had thus far today on finance and budgetary matters, the IMF has actually said that Canada is among the worst among all industrialized economies--doing worse than Spain and Italy, the economies that are in trouble--for the current account deficit on balance of payments. As members well know, that deficit means that we are importing finished goods, job-creating goods, and exporting raw materials. In their so-called economic management, Conservatives have made a hallmark of shipping raw resources out of this country like there is no tomorrow. They would just ship them out and import finished goods.

Now our current account deficit on balance of payments, which is a key indicator of the health of the Canadian economy, is going to be among the worst in the industrialized world. It is because the government does not understand that shipping raw resources out and importing finished products, value-added products, means over time an erosion in the strength of the Canadian economy. It is worse than Spain and worse than Italy.

Not a single Conservative will address the issue, because they are scared about Canadians finding out the truth about their shipping out raw materials and what that has meant to the overall health of the Canadian economy. In this bill, nothing addresses that fundamental weakness. There is nothing that addresses the fundamental weakness of industrial sector after industrial sector.

I come from British Columbia, where the softwood lumber industry hemorrhaged tens of thousands of jobs after the government signed the softwood lumber agreement, which we have called the softwood lumber sellout. What that did was, again, give priority to the shipment of raw logs out of British Columbia and other regions right across the country. When we look at the forest industry generally, we see that raw log exports have increased substantially. That has happened because the government signed, yet again, an agreement that would facilitate the shipping out of our raw materials. What that means, again, is that our ongoing current account deficit is getting worse and worse.

When we look at the overall economic health of the Canadian economy on the eve of the government's invoking closure in just a few hours on Bill C-13, we see that we have hemorrhaged tens of thousands of jobs in the last few weeks, we have millions of Canadians looking for work and we have poorer quality of jobs. Every job the Conservatives lose, if they replace it, is replaced by one paying much less: almost $1,000 less a month, almost $10,000 less a year.

We have a crisis in exports. The Conservatives love to stand in this House and say that they signed a bunch of agreements and did some ribbon-cutting. That is not an export strategy. They have clearly failed. When we look at the current account deficit on balance of payments, we see that they have clearly failed, and failed worse than any other industrialized country.

Those are figures that tell the truth about what the government has done and what it has not done in dealing with the financial and economic challenges that the country faces.

What is in the bill, what we have, are austerity measures that are not in keeping with our current economic situation at all and that will hurt middle-class and poor Canadian families.

What we have includes the one big initiative that the government has not chosen to reference so far: the elimination of the democratic voting subsidy. As we all know, this per-vote subsidy was a tool in the hands of every single Canadian. They could choose the party that they voted for, and one dollar per vote would basically go to the party of their choice between elections. It is a very democratic, very pragmatic approach to democratizing our political system.

There are also a huge range of tax credits and supports that exist, and the Senate is used as a home of patronage. The Conservatives are not cutting any of those elements. What they are doing in this bill is bringing an end to the one element of political subsidies that actually is democratically distributed. The cost is $30 million, but the government is continuing with nearly $400 million in subsidies that mainly go to the Conservative Party. For shame.

I imagine that is why the government is invoking closure. It is because the only significant budgetary measure that it has is the elimination of the per-vote subsidy. There are a few measures that we support, but the significant one, the elimination of the per-vote subsidy, is another nail in the coffin of democracy under the Conservative government. That is why we are speaking against and voting against Bill C-13.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, that was quite a list of accusations. I am impressed when I hear all these plans and solutions to the problems.

At the outset I want to say that we in the Conservative government never said that we were not immune to what is happening in the world. However, if we look at the figures, we have 600,000 net jobs of which 80% are full time. I challenge the hon. member to compare that to our closest trading partner, the United States.

The member also talked about the need to increase corporate taxes and the need to address those problems by taxing the corporations.

We sit on the same committee and have heard from a number of these organizations, small and medium businesses from the mining sector, the extraction sector, the banks and the insurance companies. Does the member know of anyone within those sectors who would support the NDP's job-killing plan of raising taxes? Does he have the support of those people who he claims he would be helping by doing these things?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, given that 72,000 full-time jobs were lost in the month of October, one can only say, when looking at Bill C-13 and at the Conservatives' strategy, that they are job-killing plans.

I like the hon. member, and know that he is not preparing the notes. It is the Prime Minister's Office that puts out a figure and then pretends that the government has created x number of jobs.

StatsCan states that from May 2008 the Conservative government has created less than 200,000 jobs and that the labour market grew by 450,000 job seekers. That is not a line from the Conservative Party or the NDP but from StatsCan, the judge that is right. Therefore, the number of job seekers, the unemployed, grew. The reality is that the government was a quarter of a million jobs short from just treading water, from just standing still.

Rather than more corporate tax cuts, we need an intelligent approach that does not cut services to the middle-class and poor Canadian families. That is what we stand for on this side of the House.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about the corporate tax cuts for a second.

In the year 2000, the corporate tax rate was 38% and the Americans' was 36%. Under the Paul Martin government, it was lowered from 38% to 20%, which put us in the middle of the G20 and, in fact, in the middle of the G7 among tax rates.

The present government has dropped it from 20% to 15%. That is taking $16 billion a year out of the fiscal capacity of the government to address the problems that we have today and the problems that I see every day relative to seniors.

We made the proposal to cancel the January 1, 2012, tax cut. We hear all this talk about tens of billions of dollars in costs. Companies are already paying that $3 billion to $4 billion right now. This is not a new tax. Let us talk about the present time. The present time says that we should cancel that because there are things that need to be done.

The government needs a manufacturing strategy going forward to address the infrastructure alone of $130 billion.

I ask the member to comment on that.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 21st, 2011 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek has been a strong advocate for seniors in the country. I commend him for all of the work that he has done on behalf of seniors.

What the Conservatives are saying is that the tens of thousands of seniors living in poverty in the country need to continue living in poverty because it wants to bring in more corporate tax cuts. It is saying to the one million Canadians who rely on food banks just to get through the month that they will need to keep going to food banks because it wants to bring in more corporate tax cuts. It is saying to the 72,000 Canadians who lost full-time jobs in the month of October, almost half of whom will not have access to employment insurance, that it needs to cut their benefits so that it can bring in this further corporate tax cut.

I could go on and talk about prisons and the F-35s.

Speaking as a financial administrator, which is what I was before I came to the House of Commons, I have never seen such appalling bad judgment on spending as we have with the Conservative government. It is more prisons, the F-35s that are untendered and the massive corporate tax cuts.

It is the middle-class and poor Canadian families who are paying the price for the government's irresponsible attitude when it comes to fiscal policy in the country.