House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question for the member for Medicine Hat is with regard to innovation.

The member talked about education, innovation and training. I want to let the House know that last week I visited a company in my riding of Mississauga South called Electrovaya. It manufactures lithium ion batteries for plug-in electric vehicles. In the last year alone, it doubled its staff to over 100 and part of that had to do with the fact that it received funding, through the Department of Industry, Science and Technology's clean energy fund, for this project.

I wonder if the member for Medicine Hat has a similar story to tell about his riding or from his travels where innovation and our policies in that area have helped out a business.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am really pleased to hear that the innovation moneys we are providing to companies across Canada is working, in particular in the riding of Mississauga South. That just shows that our government is listening. We are putting our budget dollars in the right place to ensure we can grow the economy and create jobs.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

October 17th, 2011 / 11:30 a.m.

NDP

Jasbir Sandhu Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have an opportunity to speak to Bill C-14, especially after having had a chance to talk to a number of constituents in my riding last week to see the real picture of what is happening at the ground level.

The week before the break I heard my Conservative colleagues talk about how we are ranked number one by the IMF, Forbes magazine and a number of different organizations internationally and how we are doing so well compared to the G7.

I also heard my colleagues talk about spending $50 million here, $50 million there, $200 million here. Those are hollow words. If we look at what is happening in our communities, that is not translating into jobs. The Conservatives do not believe in statistics and real facts. They are cherry-picking some of the numbers to highlight that they are working toward a great plan. The problem is they do not have a plan. The Conservatives do not have an economic action plan that will help our communities and create jobs locally. Basically, they pretend to have a plan through a piecemeal process.

After having had a chance to visit in my community, I would suggest that the Conservatives get out of this Ottawa bubble and visit real communities and people to see what is happening. There are two million Canadians who are unemployed or underemployed.

I had a chance to visit the South Fraser Community Services Society last week. I commend the members of its staff for the wonderful job they do under very difficult circumstances with the resources and tools they have available. The South Fraser Community Services Society provides valuable services to the community. It provides shelters for homeless people. It helps them with their medical needs. It provides counselling and helps people find permanent housing. The staff is wonderful. I was pleased to see what they are doing for the community.

The Conservatives talk about the prosperity of this country. What is troubling is that 20% of the people using shelters are employed but are not making enough money to pay for housing. Not only are there those who are unemployed in this country, but there are also the working poor who are not making ends meet. In the bubble within which the Conservatives live, they do not see what is happening in the communities. In my community I did not see the prosperity the Conservatives speak about.

The Conservatives talk about a great trickle-down economics plan, but it is not trickling down to average families in my community. The Conservatives talk about a different Canada which I did not see in my community.

The Conservatives talk about cutting corporate taxes and giving billions of dollars to their friends yet they are raising taxes on working families. For example, over the last year gas prices have been rising almost daily. The oil companies are making big money. There is tax on gas. More money is being siphoned from average families who are having difficulty making ends meet.

If we look at the price of food, what I am hearing from my constituents is that the bag of groceries they are buying with today's dollars is not enough to carry them through the week because taxes are being raised on a number of items. If the pricesof food goes up, the tax also goes up. The government is giving away billions of taxpayers' dollars to corporations yet it is taxing the working families who are having a tough time making ends meet.

We need real action to create jobs. The Conservatives simply do not have a plan. We need to provide relief for families who are paying higher taxes, higher gas prices and higher grocery bills. We need to provide relief for students. The Conservatives say they are investing in universities but it is piecemeal investment. It does not make sense because they do not have a plan. Basically, their plan is to give away billions of dollars to corporations. They have done that consistently over the last seven or eight years.

I hear my friends across the aisle talk about the economic engine that drives our country. On this side of the House we know that economic engine is small business, the mom and pop operations that drive our economy. I do not know why the Conservatives are against small businesses. If they believe in an economic strategy and that small businesses create jobs, then we need to provide relief for small businesses.

There is $500 billion sitting with corporations but they are not investing. When small businesses make money and prosper they spend their money locally. They do not send it to another country. Yet we do not have a plan from my friends across the aisle.

The tax rate for large corporations has been cut enough over the past years. We need a real economic action plan that would provide relief to families, that would invest in our communities, and that would create local jobs to help this country move forward. Clearly, the Conservatives' plan, which is not a plan, is not moving our country forward.

Further reducing taxes for large corporations basically gives away billions of dollars, money which comes from families, working class people and small businesses. That is not fair. We need a real economic action plan. I suggest that my colleagues across the aisle get on with it and invest in local jobs. They should get out of this Ottawa bubble and visit their communities to see what is happening.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised by my colleague's attitude this morning. He is generally a positive guy but he is grumpy today. Maybe he had a bad constituency week.

My colleague is implying that there is no plan. If he would take the time to look, there have been 650,000 new jobs created. There is no better plan for a person who is trying to make ends meet than a good job.

The member also complains that there are no targeted investments. Bill C-13 includes green energy investments. As well, there are targeted investments in communities. The permanent gas tax funding will help municipalities with long-term planning and initiatives.

What the member is really missing are the amazing investments that the bill makes in education and training, forgiving loans for new doctors, helping apprentices in skilled trades and improving federal assistance for students. These are all fantastic initiatives.

Why would the NDP be against helping students and our next generation get the kind of good jobs that they need to support their families?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Jasbir Sandhu Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague across the aisle has correctly stated that I am grumpy. I am grumpy because I have spoken with my constituents and the Conservatives' economic policy is not trickling down to my constituents. They have elected me to be their voice. I am grumpy because my constituents have told me what matters to them. Clearly, the Conservatives' action plan is not helping.

With regard to the employment numbers, the government now claims to have created 660,000 new jobs. That is also a distortion. We know the Conservatives do not believe in facts and stats. We have barely seen 200,000 new jobs since the pre-recessionary employment high point in 2008, yet the labour force has grown by 450,000.

Basically, the Conservatives fudge the numbers or cherry-pick them. That is not--

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order. The hon. member will know there may be other members who wish to ask a question.

The hon. member for Vancouver Quadra.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Surrey North for his capable exposition of his party's position and his support for small business. This being small business week, I do want to add my concern about the Conservative budget picking large business over small business.

The billions of dollars that would come out of the treasury and into the coffers of larger more profitable businesses is a choice the Conservatives are making. It is their choice to spend that money on large businesses rather than make those funds available for small businesses. What small businesses would receive is a tax hike.

I ask my colleague from Surrey North how would businesses in his riding deal with the 5.6% increase in EI premiums next year that would be taking a further $1.2 billion out of businesses? How would those small businesses feel about having their payroll taxes go up?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Jasbir Sandhu Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have seen over the years the large giveaways to large corporations and money being taken from the small businesses which will be facing a payroll tax in the new year. I am glad the member brought that up because that is what the Conservatives believe in. They believe in taking money away from small businesses and families, taxing them, and giving it to their friends. Frankly, that is not fair.

I have talked with a number of small businesses in my constituency. They are already hurting. They were hurt by the government when it introduced the HST. That hurt our construction industry quite a bit. We are barely recovering from that. That is where small business is hurting. Clearly, the Conservatives are bent on giving away billions more dollars to large corporations.

We have a corporate tax rate that is one of the lowest in the G7 and G20. We are competitive. We do not need to give more money away to large corporations.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's economic action plan has assisted Canada to have the strongest job growth record in the G7 with nearly 600,000 net new jobs having been created since July 2009. The IMF projects that Canada will continue to have the strongest economic growth among the G7 over the next two years. We are not immune from the global economic turbulence and that is why we have to stay the course and implement the next phase of Canada's economic action plan.

In the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing bill, our government is focused on what matters to Canadians: creating jobs and promoting economic growth. The incredible investments our government has made in my community of Mississauga East—Cooksville have enabled us to weather the economic turbulence with major investments that have enhanced the lives of those living in our community.

Mississauga, Ontario is one of Canada's most diverse and quickly growing cities. Canada's economic action plan invested in the city specifically in Celebration Square. This square will do what Mississauga has struggled to do for years: develop a city-wide spirit. The public square of the 1950s where people could go to meet and enjoy their community is back and thriving in Mississauga. Thanks to Canada's economic action plan, this dream was realized and the square is now fully functional and is being used by tens of thousands of people, bringing the population of one of Canada's largest cities together.

Canada's economic action plan investments have redeveloped the Lorne Park, Lakeview and Burnhamthorpe libraries. We have rehabilitated more than 20 roads and invested in transit priorities and garage repairs. We have added additional lighting in 73 parks and neighbourhoods, resulting in safer play spaces and communities for all our citizens.

Mississauga has had its old water mains replaced, reservoirs rehabilitated and its Meadowvale north pumping station expanded. Community centres have been resurrected. Entire communities have been raised from the ground up because our government's economic action plan was in place to help those who needed it the most.

There were 60,000 net new jobs created in September. Over 90% of those are full time and over 80% are in the private sector. Many people who were struggling before the economic action plan are now enjoying a better life because they are working at jobs they love and participating in Canadian life.

Canada's economic action plan has produced the results that Canadians needed, but the global economic turbulence means we must stay the course. We must continue on the road we are currently travelling in order to maintain the strength and stability that we are building. The second phase of Canada's economic action plan is a much needed continuation.

We will invest in job creation and economic growth by providing a temporary hiring credit for small businesses. We will expand tax support for clean energy generation to encourage green investments. We will extend the mineral exploration tax credit for flow-through share investors by one year to support Canada's mining sector. We will simplify customs tariffs in order to facilitate trade and lower the administrative burden for businesses. We will eliminate the accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for investments in manufacturing and processing machinery to support the manufacturing and processing sector. We will eliminate the mandatory retirement age for federally regulated employees in order to give older workers who wish to remain in the workplace the opportunity to choose the option that works best for them.

The second phase of Canada's economic action plan will help families by introducing a new family caregiver tax credit to assist caregivers of all types to participate and make memories with their loved ones who fall terminally ill. We will also remove the limit on the amount of eligible expenses caregivers can claim under the medical expense tax credit in respect of financially dependent relatives. We will continue to help families by introducing a new children's arts tax credit for programs associated with children's cultural, recreational and developmental activities.

We will invest in education and training by forgiving loans for new doctors and nurses in underserved rural and remote areas. We all want Canada's students to succeed in the global economy with the help of the best education possible. We will invest in our students by improving federal financial assistance for students so they can continue to gain the education they need to continue toward their dreams. We will make it easier to allocate registered education savings plan assets among siblings without incurring tax penalties or forfeiting Canada's education savings grants. We are doubling the in-study income exemption from $50 per week to $100 per week, benefiting over 100,000 students by allowing them to work more without negatively affecting their loans.

We are going to support communities by legislating a permanent annual investment of $2 billion in the gas tax fund to provide predictable long-term infrastructure funding for municipalities. We are going to enhance the wage earner protection program to cover more workers affected by employer bankruptcy or receivership. This government will support the tireless hard work of volunteer firefighters by introducing a volunteer firefighters tax credit.

This government will respect the taxpayers by phasing out the direct subsidies of political parties and closing numerous tax loopholes that allow a few businesses and individuals to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

The government will support seniors by enhancing the GIS, enhancing the new horizons program, and extending the eco-energy retrofit program.

We recognize the vital role that small businesses play in the economy and job creation. That is why we declared 2011 the year of the entrepreneur. We are committed to helping entrepreneurs grow their business and succeed.

The next phase of Canada's economic action plan includes a number of measures to further enable small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow and create jobs. This includes a new hiring credit for small businesses. This is a temporary one-time credit. This credit will help up to 520,000 employers defray the costs of additional hiring. We will reduce the red tape and support youth entrepreneurs by investing $20 million in them. This builds on the government's significant action to reduce taxation for small businesses. We will reduce the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%. These reductions will help create jobs and economic growth for Canadian families and communities by making Canada the greatest country in which to develop a business.

Canada has seven straight quarters of economic growth. We will remain on track to balance the budget by 2015. This builds on top of the action the government has taken since 2006 to support Canadians. We have cut taxes over 120 times since forming government. We have cut the lowest personal income tax rate to 15%. We have removed over one million Canadians from the tax rolls. We have increased the amount Canadians can earn tax free. We have reduced the GST from 7% to 5%.

We have also introduced enhancements to the universal child care benefit, the child tax credit. We have introduced a fitness tax credit. We have brought in the landmark tax-free savings account, the most important personal savings vehicle since RRSPs.

We introduced the registered disability savings plan to help families who have children with disabilities. Families are benefiting from other new targeted measures, like the first-time home buyers' tax credit and the public transit tax credit.

This government's strong record—

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order. I regret to tell the member that the time allocated for his remarks has expired. We will now move on to questions and comments.

The hon. member for Kings—Hants.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has cited the small business hiring tax credit. Given that that tax credit is only worth about $165 million, and given that the Conservatives raised payroll taxes on small businesses by $600 million last January and plan to raise the payroll taxes for businesses by $1.2 billion this coming January, and given that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is saying that these increases will cost jobs, will the member admit that these payroll tax hikes of almost $2 billion in fact will cost more jobs than the $165 million pittance of tax relief the Conservatives purport to offer small businesses?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Toronto Board of Trade said:

—[it] welcomed new initiatives to spur small-business productivity and hiring, such as the Hiring Credit for Small Business. “SMEs are the engines of job growth”.... “Spurring productivity and employment growth among SMEs, as this Budget does, should help Canada's economic recovery”.

We presented this plan to Canadians during the last campaign and Canadians spoke very clearly on our plan.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

Noon

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member from the other side for his speech. The government is saying that everything is good and that its economic action plan is working. But we still have 1.4 million people unemployed. If we include those who are underemployed or who have given up, we are talking about 2 million people. What is worse is that the youth unemployment rate has nearly doubled. Last summer, it reached 17.4%.

Could my colleague tell us why the government is saying that everything is good and that it will continue in the same direction?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

Noon

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government has a strong record of responsibility to Canadians. It is evident that we must focus on the economy because still there are many Canadians out of work. That is why we need to implement the next phase of Canada's economic action plan to secure our economic recovery for all Canadians today and in the years ahead. That includes looking after those who are currently unemployed, giving tax credits to small businesses, giving them incentives that would increase employment and productivity, and to create the right environment for businesses to stay in Canada.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

Noon

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo
B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his very articulate words in support of moving this important bill forward. He talked about seven quarters of growth. The unemployment rate in 2008 was high, but it is much lower now, although it is still higher than we want it to be.

The opposition has said there is no plan, but we have a plan. Could the member talk about our plan in terms of moving the economy forward?