House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ndp.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for clarifying another false assumption by the NDP, continuing on all of the false assumptions that we see in this motion today.

NDP members seem to be so concerned about corporations actually making a profit. I might share with this House that the oil and gas sector provides--

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

I regret to I interrupt the hon. member, but he must now share his time, as he had stated 15 minutes ago, with the hon. the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry.

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to respond to the motion of the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.

Let me preface my comments by stating that I am in no way intending to diminish the challenges facing the manufacturing or the forestry sectors. Rather I want to clearly show Canada the hypocrisy of the member's motion and underscore the radical socialist agenda that the NDP is trying to peddle to Canadians.

Let me state at the onset that the government takes the issues facing the manufacturing industry very seriously and we are addressing them head on. We have brought forward billions of dollars in assistance and every time the NDP has voted against these measures.

What is key to the manufacturing sector and the forestry sector is the need to have the right economic fundamentals so our companies and firms can put their full attention and efforts into responding to these world challenges. It is clear that Canadian manufacturers are determined to compete and succeed in the global economy. The NDP does not seem to comprehend that if Canada does not have an internationally competitive economy and tax structure, Canada will not attract new investment, the economy will go into recession and jobs, which rhetorically the NDP members say they would like to defend, will dry up.

When the economic fundamentals are working, businesses have the best opportunity to make their mark and succeed.

Thanks to this Conservative government, the fundamentals of Canadian economy are working and jobs are being created. While other global economies are experiencing uncertainty, we are alone in the G-7 in maintaining ongoing budget surpluses and falling debt burden. Our unemployment is at the lowest in 33 years and our overall employment grew by roughly 360,000 jobs in 2007.

Yes, there are challenges, but also opportunity to ensure that all Canadians share in the benefit from our economic success. Certainly this desire extends to include the manufacturing sector overall. It is not an easy task. While the new jobs generated by our economic gains in thriving sectors offset losses in other sectors, the problem is more complex than that. Otherwise the significant measures the government has introduced to encourage skill development, such as the apprenticeship tax credit and the apprenticeship incentive grants, would represent a sufficient response. However, in a country as large and diverse as Canada, these challenges have a real and profound impact on small communities that have come to rely upon a particular manufacturing plant or mill.

The government took action to respond to these kinds of adjustment pressures. The $1 billion community development trust represents our government's support for provincial and territorial efforts to build a stronger, more prosperous future for communities and workers affected by current economic volatility. The trust allows provinces and territories the flexibility to invest in those projects that best help vulnerable communities and individuals, while respecting Canada's international obligations.

Do not take my word for it. Five provinces, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, have stepped up to leverage the money provided in the trust since it was announced on January 10. We have every confidence this money will be put to good use. By working together, the federal, provincial and territorial governments can best help take the economic challenges we face today and turn them into economic opportunities tomorrow.

The community development trust is one way the government has responded to the needs of workers, businesses and regions affected by economic difficulties.

Despite the NDP's rhetoric, the government has delivered much more. Conservatives delivered the targeted initiative for older workers, which the government seeded with $72.5 million from budget 2006 and has recently expanded with a further $90 million source from budget 2008. Here is another initiative to be delivered at the community level.

Canadian industry needs the skills and knowledge of workers 55 to 64 years of age, especially in the communities that rely upon single industries. While these workers are laid off because of the economic problems in the industry, we need to find some way to keep their knowledge and skills in the labour market.

These are examples of ways in which we have taken tangible action to address the challenges the hon. member mentions in his motion, but we have done much more.

The hon. member refers to tax measures. His motion falsely insinuates that our tax policies do not benefit Canadian companies in all sectors, including those in manufacturing and in forestry. Only the NDP cannot comprehend that cuts to the general corporate tax rate are advantageous to manufacturing and forestry companies. These tax cuts will help manufacturing and forestry companies be more competitive, create wealth and, most important, create jobs for ordinary Canadians.

With the tax measures introduced by the government, manufacturers and processors will receive over $9 billion in tax relief by 2012-13. Our initiatives will give Canada the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G-7 by 2010. Furthermore, we have also extended the accelerated capital cost allowance for investment in machinery and equipment in the manufacturing and processing sector for three additional years.

This was a key recommendation of a unanimous 2007 industry, science and technology report, supported by the NDP member for Windsor West. When it came time to stand up and be counted, the radical socialists voted against their own critic's recommendations. It is unbelievable.

We have allocated $33 billion to the building Canada infrastructure plan, including $2.3 billion for trade related infrastructure and $2.1 billion for gateways and corridors, of which at least $400 million will be in support of a new Windsor-Detroit crossing, an important crossing for manufacturers.

Our 2008 budget also has introduced improvements to the SR and ED tax credit program and provides $34 million more per year for collaborate research for specific industries, including manufacturing, important elements that will contribute to improving innovation so Canadian companies can compete with the best.

For auto manufacturers, we are investing $250 million over five years to support R and D projects that will produce green automotive technologies. Coming from Oshawa, I know how important that is.

We are also helping our manufacturers to extend their business globally. We have improved Export Development Canada's export guarantee program to assist small and medium sized manufacturers in fulfilling export contracts. This is in addition to the $174 million over two years to increase security and minimize delays at our borders. These measures brought forward by this Conservative government will surely benefit our industries, including manufacturing and forestry, attract new investments and will create jobs in Canada.

For the forestry industry, we have resolved the costly and prolonged softwood lumber dispute. The agreement eliminates U.S. countervailing and anti-dumping duties. It brings an end to costly litigation. It protects provincial forest management policies and it has returned over $5 billion to Canadian producers. Again, sadly, the NDP voted against this deal.

We have also provided $127.5 million to strengthen the long term competitiveness of the sector and a further $200 million to facilitate action to combat the mountain pine beetle.

We have provided $25 million for a forest communities program that will assist 11 forest based communities to make informed decisions on the forest land base. Budget 2008 allocated $10 million over two years to promote Canada's forestry industry to international markets as a model of environmental innovation and sustainability.

Over the past two years this Conservative government, led by our Prime Minister, has indeed taken important steps to set the overall business climate so our industries can grow and become more globally competitive.

What today underscores is the hypocrisy of the NDP toward Canada's manufacturing and forestry industry and workers and the radical socialist agenda that it is trying to peddle to Canadians. However, Canadians will not have the wool pulled over their eyes. Canadians know this government is showing leadership and is delivering for manufacturers and forestry workers and industry when it needs it the most. It is the NDP that must stop playing games with the lives of workers and should start supporting the government's endeavours.

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, Manufacturing and Forestry Industries; the hon. member for Kitchener Centre, Afghanistan.

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I want to speak to some of the things the hon. member brought up in his speech.

He referred to a competitive advantage that we would have with tax cuts in our country. In reality, one of the biggest competitive advantages we have in the country, vis-a-vis our major trading partner, is our public medicare system. To corporations in the country, that represents a significant advantage over American companies, and it is something we have to maintain. To maintain it, we need revenue and we need to have the balance of corporations supporting the revenue flow to these types of activities.

What we see now is a huge corporate tax cut. Does this help my riding? We have a diamond mining industry. Last summer I spent an extensive period of time interviewing the chief executive officers of different mines. Was their concern corporate tax cuts? No. Their concern was public investment in infrastructure that would allow those mines to stay open longer, that would allow those mines to exploit the resources.

Where will we find the dollars to invest in my territory to pull off the kind of continued resource development that can lead to profits in our country and a fair share for Canadians?

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member's question further delineates the hypocrisy of the NDP.

The hon. member talks about infrastructure needs. I am so proud of the government. The government has invested a record amount in infrastructure. We are talking about $33.1 billion in new infrastructure, the biggest single investment in infrastructure since the second world war. What did the NDP members do? They stood up proudly and voted against it.

The member said that the health care system was important to Canadians. I am passionate about that. The Canadian health care system is my background. How is it supported? It is supported through the taxation base of the Canadian taxpayers and our corporations. To have a solid base, we have to be competitive internationally.

Whether he realizes it or not, Canada competes globally. We are not in a vacuum. We must be players in the world and in the world economy. The government is taking strong action to make sure Canada is not a follower but a leader in the new world economy.

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be brief.

I am obviously not surprised to hear yet another Conservative member boasting of his government's leadership and talking to us about pride, since self-praise has become their trademark.

What I really want to know is, how can such language be used when the Conservative government has completely ignored an entire sector of the economy, Quebec's forestry and private woodlot owners, and when we are dealing with an unprecedented crisis that will go on for a very long time? To the Conservatives, this crisis does not exist and they did nothing about it in their budget.

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, the forestry sector right now in Canada is facing unprecedented challenges. We know there is an economic slowdown in the United States.

The government took leadership. Early on we settled the softwood lumber dispute, a dispute that went on while the former Liberal government sat on their hands and did absolutely nothing. The Liberals could not negotiate a deal if their lives depended on it.

With the softwood lumber dispute settlement, we returned over $5 billion to the softwood lumber industry, something that was unprecedented. More important, we ended the costly litigation.

With the forestry sector, we took the leadership with our community development trust. If she had listened to my speech, she would have heard that. She would have noted that the provinces that have signed on to this are taking an initiative, leveraging that money from the Conservative leadership to ensure their sectors will remain strong.

The independent member, a former member of the Bloc, will never deliver a thing for Quebec. She will always be yelling from the outside. She will never be inside.

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to share my time with my new colleague, the hon. member for Toronto Centre. I am also very pleased to tell you that the Liberals will be voting against this NDP motion.

The simple fact of the matter is that Liberals understand that wealth creation and social justice are both important, whereas the federal NDP, mired in the class wars of the 1960s, does not care about wealth creation and does not understand the first thing about it.

We on this side of the House understand that Canada, in a global economy, is in competition with many countries, not least of which is the United States, to attract capital and jobs to this country and to retain our domestic capital and companies.

We understand that living next door to the world's only superpower we have to create a special Canadian advantage, so that we can be able to level the playing field and compete with the United States.

Until recently, we did have a Canadian advantage. It was called a weak currency. It was cheaper to do business in Canada and business flowed into Canada taking advantage of our cheap currency. We do not have that any more.

Therefore, we need to create a new Canadian advantage to attract capital and jobs to this country and that new Canadian advantage, according to the Liberal Party, and we said this weeks before the government did, is to create a low corporate tax rate, a corporate tax rate substantially lower than the United States, something in the order of 10 percentage points.

That we believe will replace the weak currency as a new Canadian advantage and will serve this country well to improve productivity, competitiveness and attract jobs into this country.

I was a student in England in the late 1960s and the rhetoric of the NDP members is still back in the class war of the 1960s. Their rhetoric sounds just like the rhetoric of the Labour Party under Harold Wilson in the late 1960s.

The NDP members should understand that other social democratic parties around the world in Scandinavia and Britain, and I would include a lot of provincial NDP governments led by fine people like Gary Doer, Ed Schreyer, Allan Blakeney and my new colleague, have evolved too. As governments, they have to understand the realities of the world.

Just to show that NDP members are innumerate, the numbers cited by the member for Outremont, claiming that Canada had lower corporate taxes than Scandinavia or Britain, are totally wrong because we have to include the corporate tax rate for the whole country, not just the federal government.

Therefore, Canada's corporate tax rate in 2007 according to the IMF is 36% versus 25% in Denmark, 26% in Finland, 28% in Norway, 28% in Sweden, and 30% in the U.K. So, the member is out to lunch on the numbers which is typical of the federal NDP.

The true numbers indicate that the reconstructed social democratic movement of the world understands globalization, understands global realities, and those countries have adjusted. They understand that in order to create wealth, jobs and productivity we have to compete with lower corporate tax rates and those countries have done it.

The federal NDP members are in the class war mentality where any corporate tax cut is just seen as a sop to the rich. They do not understand, as their Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, British fellow social democrats learned long ago, that we have to create wealth before we can redistribute it, and that in order to compete in this world and get jobs it makes sense to have lower corporate tax rates.

There is a certain chicken and egg question here. Why are the federal NDP members almost alone in the world in being the Neanderthal version of the global social democratic movement? Are they Neanderthal because they have never formed government and therefore never had the opportunity to learn about realities, or have they never formed government because everyone knows they are Neanderthal?

I suspect it is a little bit of both. They are Neanderthal because they have never been government and they have never been government because they are Neanderthal. I suspect that will go on for some time, but I will leave it to academics to analyze this sociological chicken and egg question.

Before the Conservatives become too enthused with my speech, let me say that if the NDP is clueless on wealth creation, the present Conservative government, and I would not say the same about all Conservatives, is clueless about social justice.

Just as the NDP has never seen a social program it did not like, the Conservatives have never seen a tax cut that they did not think was the panacea for all Canadian problems.

Whereas the reality is that Liberals are in favour of corporate tax cuts. We came to that conclusion before the government did. We do not think that corporate tax cuts alone are sufficient to solve all the problems of the Canadian business world.

That is why we, unlike them, thought that the recent Ontario budget was a good budget because the provincial Liberals addressed business taxes by eliminating the capital tax, but they also understood the importance of investment in infrastructure, investment in training and retraining, and providing jobs for displaced workers and helping communities in distress. The provincial Liberals also understand, as we do, the importance of direct support for the manufacturing sector.

One litmus test to which the finance minister did not have an answer, but we now know that his answer was no, was whether he would match the $17 million offered by the Ontario government to keep the Windsor auto plant open. He said no because he has an ideological aversion to that sort of thing. He thinks that tax cuts alone are sufficient to do the job, when it is perfectly evident that tax cuts alone are not sufficient to do the job.

We on this side of the House are not only going to vote against this silly NDP motion, we are indeed proud to vote against this NDP motion. At the same time, this does not imply support for the extreme laissez-faire ideology put forward by the government.

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

April 2nd, 2008 / 4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, in listening to the NDP I could not help but recall Churchill's famous quote. I think the NDP goes back a lot further than 50 years ago. It sounds like it is going back 100 years with its rhetoric. The quote of Churchill was that: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” That is the type of quote that I thought really registered with some of the rhetoric that I heard today.

I do appreciate the point that the member raised about corporate tax rates. Being of Irish ancestry, the miracle in western Europe over the last 20 or 25 years has been the Republic of Ireland. Let us look at the performance of that economy, from 1986 up to the present, and at the current level of income, the growth rates and unemployment rates and so on.

I am sure that the member for Markham—Unionville, who is a professional economist, knows more about what went on in the Republic of Ireland than I do. I have read some things about it. There have been terrific results for that society. People are returning to Ireland from all over the world. It is a place to be and it has a terrific record to bestow upon itself.

It seems to me that the corporate tax rate in the Republic of Ireland, if I am not wrong, is 12%. At different times the corporate tax rate has been as low as 10%. I wonder if the member from Markham could comment on the miracle of Ireland and--

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The hon. member for Markham—Unionville.

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me make two quick comments. I agree with much of what the hon. member said, although he does in a sense typify the Conservative attitude that corporate tax cuts are enough in and of themselves to do everything.

Corporate tax cuts played a significant role in the Irish miracle. He should also understand that there was a long term investment in post-secondary education which was critical. Also, the existence of the European Union which provided a huge market plus the subsidies the European Union gave to Ireland played a role.

Yes, the corporate tax cuts were a very significant element, but they were not in and of themselves sufficient to do the job.

As for the equal sharing of misery, if the federal NDP ever became the Government of Canada, I agree it would be the equal sharing of misery, given its Neanderthal understanding of the economy.

Once we get to progressive social democratic parties, such as in Sweden, Norway and the U.K., then I think they could do very well. In fact, one reason why the NDP will never come to power is that the Canadian Liberal Party is not unlike the new Labour Party in Britain.

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to briefly say that if corporate tax cuts were the panacea to all the problems to help Canadians in this country, I would like the hon. member to explain to me why in my province, since I moved there in 1988, we now have an increase in the number of food banks.

We now have fuel banks to help people stay in their homes. We have obscene lineups now for medicare. Many children cannot get proper education. Seniors cannot get the help they need. Pharmacare prices are out of control and this from the panacea of corporate tax cuts of $100 billion in 2000 which are continuing. Every single time we hear that we are told that it is going to make Canadians prosper.

I would like the hon. member to tell my constituents, with increases in the number of food banks, fuel banks, school supplies we have to buy for kids now because their parents cannot afford it, pharmacare and medical waiting times, why have all these things increased under the Liberals' leadership and now the Conservatives?

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member must not have heard what I said. My point was explicitly that according to our side of the House corporate tax cuts are not a panacea. He just said we thought they were a panacea.

My point is that corporate tax cuts are a panacea, they will solve everything if one is a Conservative. If someone is a Liberal, corporate tax cuts are a very important part of wealth creation, so we favour them, but we are equally concerned about social justice and the environment.

That is why we favour major social programs like child care, like Kelowna, like our 30-50 poverty plan. Our leaders announced a hugely aggressive poverty plan to reduce total poverty by 30% and child poverty by 50% in five years. But to do all those things, we also need to create the wealth and that is the part of the equation the NDP never--

Opposition Motion—Corporate Tax Cuts
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Toronto Centre.