House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jobs.

Topics

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Madam Speaker, it is important what we do for our seniors. We have taken measures to help our seniors. I could give a whole speech on things that this government has done to help seniors and those who have been in need for many years, since we formed government back in 2006.

However, when I hear about taxing corporations, we all know that corporations do pay a lot of tax. How many times do we open up a newspaper and read that jobs are returning. I just spoke a few moments ago about jobs returning to Canada. We are seeing this, we are seeing an improvement, we are seeing advances in advanced manufacturing, and we are creating new jobs in this country. Raising taxes on job creators is not the way to bring those jobs to Canada.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to dispute one point made by my hon. colleague from Leeds—Grenville relating to the per vote subsidy.

Quite often, when I went door to door, I talked to people who were not going to vote for me. They wanted to vote for a candidate who did not have a chance of winning. They did not have a lot of money to spend on things like donating to political parties. However, they felt that if they voted for somebody, even if they did not win, their vote counted for something because $2.00 would go to the political party they really wanted to support.

I do not think it is taxpayers' dollars that are going to political parties. It is the action of a voter. It is making votes count. I think that is important.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Kingston and the Islands, a neighbouring riding, for the question. Many of the people who work in Kingston and vice versa, in Leeds—Grenville, live in each of our ridings, so there is a lot of crossover there.

However, I can tell members that this is something that the people in my riding of Leeds—Grenville found highly offensive. They wanted to see an end to this. They wanted to ensure that political parties raise their own money. It is hard work raising money. We have to work hard. If we just expect that we are going to fund our political party solely on public subsidies and do no work to raise money on your own, then I am not sure that is what Canadians want. I know the people in my riding were very happy that we are doing this. In fact, I was speaking to someone just yesterday who said that this cannot happen fast enough.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the intervention of my colleague from Leeds—Grenville, who is doing some tremendously good work, both with the Canada-U.S. group and here in Parliament on behalf of his constituents. In his intervention, he mentioned the eastern Ontario development program and our government's renewal of that program.

First, would he elaborate on the importance to the community? Second, I think his constituents need to know how hard he has worked, in terms of ensuring that this program is renewed. Third, would he comment as to how he feels about the opposition voting against that measure?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for Essex for that question because it is a very important issue.

In my riding of Leeds—Grenville, we are served by three community development corporations. They oversee the funding that goes to the eastern Ontario development program. This is money that goes to the smaller communities in order to start up and advance. It helps businesses grow and provides training. There are many components of this fund, and I know that it makes an impact. It is creating real jobs in our communities.

However, the benefit of this is that the decision on how this money is spent is decided by the local boards. The boards know our communities. They reflect our community priorities. It is money well spent. In fact, I would venture to say that it may even be the best investment in job creation in this country.

Bill C-13—Notice of Time Allocation Motion
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I would like to advise that an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Order 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the second reading stage of Bill C-13, An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011 and other measures.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stage.

I would like to give the House the courtesy of knowing that I intend to propose that three further days of debate be allotted, including today. I understand that this is more than the average time for a budget bill at second reading for at least the past two decades. In fact, it would be more hours of debate than any Liberal majority government's budget bill got during this time.

My aim is to provide the House with sufficient debate on these important economic measures, including a hiring tax credit for small businesses. At the same time, it would bring certainty to the process and aid members of the House on the finance committee in managing their busy work schedules.

Bill C-13—Notice of Time Allocation Motion
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

On a point of order, the hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Bill C-13—Notice of Time Allocation Motion
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I believe the government House leader was rising on a point of order. I would like to provide comment on the point of order that he raised.

Bill C-13—Notice of Time Allocation Motion
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

It is a minister's prerogative to give notice of this. This is not a question of debate. The minister gave us notice and we will move on.

Bill C-13—Notice of Time Allocation Motion
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, on a point of order.

We do govern based on traditions and so forth inside the chamber. I think that we should be concerned when government brings forward legislation and has this natural instinct to bring in some form of closure or limit on debate inside the chamber. First of all, the government should try to come up with consensus before it takes quick action--

Bill C-13—Notice of Time Allocation Motion
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. When this motion comes before the House, there will be 30 minutes allotted for questions to the minister. At that time, the hon. member can raise his concerns.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Rivière-du-Nord

Bill C-13—Notice of Time Allocation Motion
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Madam Speaker, before addressing some aspects of this bill, I would like to congratulate my NDP colleagues for their clear and pertinent suggestions in response to the government's empty proposals.

In my presentation, I will be using some words that the Conservative government hates, such as “tax”, “poverty” and “social programs”. Canada is not far behind the U.S. when it comes to the dubious distinction of having the largest gap between rich and poor, and the provisions of this bill will make no difference. This trend is the result of changes in both markets and government policy. It is worrisome not only in terms of intergenerational equity and equality among people, but also because of the quality of life and economic development issues.

Income disparity between rich and poor has increased more quickly in Canada than in the United States over the past 15 years and, with the arrival of this Conservative government, became even more noticeable. Among developed nations, the American society is the most unequal, more so than the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia and Japan. Canada comes next, in fifth position, where the richest get 40% of revenues and the poorest 20% of the population only gets 7% of the income.

This growth in income disparity is not unique to Canada. It is prevalent among countries that have adopted neo-conservative policies over the past few years. Experts say that this phenomenon is related to the set of factors at play in market forces and to the institutional framework. Some of the market forces involved are globalization of the economy, which leads to low-skilled workers in rich countries competing against those in poor countries. The initial result is that, in the case of the former, there are job losses and salary reductions. I will come back to salary reductions and the loss of purchasing power by Canada's middle class. Technological change also contributes to this trend. However, I would like to focus on the nature of neo-conservative policies.

One of the most frequently cited factors related to the institutional framework is the weakening of unions. The balance of power between workers and employers has been eroded in recent years. We need better unions to ensure better social justice in Canada. Mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth—such as taxation—that ensure that all wealth does not flow into the same pockets, have been weakened. Social programs are another means of redistributing wealth.

I will speak about unemployment and give a few statistics. I know that our friends across the way like to pat themselves on the back. I know that they live in a bubble and see everything through rose-coloured glasses. There is a crisis all around us in western economies. The United States has an astounding amount of debt and is almost unable to pay it back. Every day, Europe is on the brink of a crisis and here in Canada, they are boasting, saying that everything is going well, saying that the economy is humming. But their bubble could burst at any moment. The Conservatives' illusions are very fragile.

I want to come back to the issue of unemployment. If we were to ask the Conservative members how many people in Canada are unemployed, I am not sure that many of them would be able to give the exact number. But here it is: 1.5 million people in Canada are unemployed. There was a significant increase in July. If we count all the people who are looking for work and those who are receiving employment insurance benefits, the unemployment rate is 11.1%. In July, that rate was 9.4%. But they are saying that everything is fine, so nothing is being done about it.

They say that cutting corporate taxes will create jobs. That is not true. It is entirely untrue. The facts complete disprove such claims.

Just look at the example of Ontario, where the combined federal-provincial corporate tax rate was cut by 45% between 1999 and 2010. During this same period, investments in equipment and machinery dropped from 8% to 5%. The money these companies saved in taxes was not reinvested in the economy, did not create jobs, and was not used to buy machinery. Where did this money go? It went into hedge funds. It went into speculative bubbles. And what happens to bubbles? Sooner or later, they burst.

I want to come back to the issue of unemployment. The Conservative government keeps repeating that we have recovered from the recession. The official employment rate in 2011 was 61.9% and 63.4% in 2007. We have not yet reached the pre-recession employment rate. It is clear that the Conservative strategy of doing nothing is not exactly helping kick-start the economy.

“Inequality, poverty and the middle class”—that is the title of this part of my speech which, I am sure, our friends across the way are extremely interested in. I see one who seems quite interested.

Inequality has increased in Canada because the income of the wealthy—and, even more so, of the very wealthy—has increased faster than all other groups. The gap between the average of the richest 20% and the poorest 20% in Canada also grew from $92,300 in 1976 to $117,500 in 2009.

The gap between the rich and poor does not speak to the situation of middle-income Canadians. It appears that this group did not fare much better over that time, according to the Conference Board of Canada [an organization that is generally well respected by the government]. The median income of Canadian households increased from $45,800 in 1976 to $48,300 in 2009, which represents a very modest increase of only 5.5% over 33 years.

The middle class is what drives our economy. Middle-class Canadians from Montreal's south shore were told today that, not only would their purchasing power not increase, but they would have to pay a toll every day when they cross the bridge to go to work. What an excellent way to encourage the middle class and to help Canadians get out of debt. I have not mentioned it yet, but household debt is skyrocketing; we have one of the highest rates of the OECD. Instead of coming up with solutions to increase the purchasing power of middle-class households, the government is putting tolls on bridges.

If I were in their shoes, I would be very discouraged by today's announcement. It will cost them $50, $60 or $100 a week just to go to work. That is unbelievable. Why were things simpler in the past? We built a bridge and people crossed it. Now the government is coming up with all kinds of stories. It is trying to convince Montrealers that it is paying for a bridge for them. The federal government will not be paying for this bridge. It is the people of Montreal and of the south shore who will end up paying for it.

This brings me to the end of my speech, as I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.

Bill C-13—Notice of Time Allocation Motion
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

October 5th, 2011 / 6:25 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his enlightenment about the bridge and its application.

I would like to do a little arithmetic because it seems that our friends on the other side need help with that. They do not like statistics but sometimes they help enlighten the debate, so I am going to quote some statistics.

In July 2007 approximately 16,848,300 Canadians had jobs. In 2011 that number is 17,344,200--

Bill C-13—Notice of Time Allocation Motion
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order. Because I will have to interrupt the House at 6:30 p.m., I would like to give the hon. member an opportunity to respond very briefly.

Bill C-13—Notice of Time Allocation Motion
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Madam Speaker, I love my colleague's question.

I am not so sure about the exact argument. We would like to see this government use the budget to show some concern for economic recovery, naturally, and some concern as well for social justice and for improving social programs and social housing. This budget should ensure that Canadians who lose their jobs or become ill do not end up in extreme poverty. We would like to see measures in this budget to make Canada a more generous country where there is more solidarity. That is not the case.