House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

The House resumed from October 6 consideration of the motion that Bill C-13, An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-13. On behalf of my riding of Etobicoke North, the beautiful community where I was born and raised, I must first fight for jobs. It is an absolute priority for me, my office and our community. It is heartening to see some modest employment growth in today's statistics but it does not bring us back to where we were before the recession.

I want members to know that we have helped many residents with resumés. I personally spend hours correcting each line of cover letters and resumés. We help with job-finding skills. We send people to career agencies and we help find them jobs.

I am particularly proud that we have secured a new jobs program to help more people in our community find work. However, it is not enough. The reality is that more Canadians face economic insecurity compared to a few short years ago. This threatens Canada's economic growth and fiscal balance. We need concrete proposals to stimulate job creation right away.

Twenty per cent of my riding is engaged in manufacturing, the second-highest percentage for the country's entire 308 ridings. What new support can the government offer young Canadians? This past summer, it was heartbreaking to meet with so many young graduates who were distraught because they were unable to find work. Many of these graduates were the first person in their family to go to college and university. The only thing harder than meeting with the graduates was meeting with their grandparents who begged for help to find their grandchildren a job. We must reduce the worst youth unemployment rate in a generation.

We must also build the jobs of the future. This means we must shift to a green economy to stimulate growth, create new jobs, eradicate poverty and limit humanity's ecological footprint. It is no longer a choice between saving our economy and saving the environment. It is a choice between being a producer and a consumer in the old economy and being a leader in a new economy. It is a choice between decline and prosperity.

The government should work in partnership with provinces, territories, municipalities, labour organizations, industry sectors, first nations and others to develop a national sustainable energy and economic growth strategy to position Canada to succeed in the global economy. It should develop a clean energy employment transition for Canada with goals for 2015, 2020, 2025 and 2030. This strategy should include skills development, training programs and certification courses.

I will now address environmental, economic and human costs. Climate change is our most pressing environmental issue, perhaps the defining issue of our generation, and it requires both moral responsibility and intergenerational responsibility. Yet the government failed to mention the issue in the throne speech.

This week we learned that the government has reduced climate change reductions by a shocking 90% since 2007. More stringent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions cannot be postponed much longer. Otherwise the opportunity to keep the average global temperature rise below 2°C, relative to the pre-industrial level, is in danger. Serious impacts are associated with approaching or exceeding this limit, including the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events, shifts in growing seasons and sea level rise.

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy predicts that climate change could cost Canadians between $21 billion and $43 billion per year by 2050.

Our capacity for managing the impacts to come is adaptation. While it is not cost-free it is a cost-effective way to alleviate some of those impacts. I must then ask why the government is cutting climate impacts and adaptation research at Environment Canada. The group was started 17 years ago. It performs groundbreaking research by examining how climate change affects agriculture, human health and water quality in Canada. Some of its scientists shared part of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on climate change.

My concern is that the government wants as little as possible to do with climate change and wants to pass the buck to the provinces and the municipalities. The reality is that we need research governance arrangements on adaptation at all scales.

I will now turn to human costs and what failure to take preventive action would mean.

Governments worldwide are concerned with the rising tide of dementia. Some 500,000 Canadians have Alzheimer's disease or related dementia. Some 71,000 are under the age of 65 years and 72% are women. Today in Canada one person is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias every five minutes. The human cost is huge. The economic cost is $15 billion. In 30 years it will be one person every two minutes and a cost of $153 billion.

It is my absolute hope that the health committee will reconstitute the Subcommittee of Neurological Disease which I founded in the last Parliament and will bring back the report which the subcommittee passed.

Moreover, will the government commit to a national brain strategy? Will it commit to a national brain health awareness month and a national year of the brain to raise awareness of brain health in Canada? Will it commit to a national Alzheimer's office within the Public Health Agency of Canada to reduce the rising tide of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, and provide a national plan with specific goals and an annual report to Parliament? Will it take necessary measures to accelerate the discovery and development of treatments that would prevent, halt or reverse the course of dementia? Will it encourage greater investment in all areas of research?

If we could merely slow the onset of dementia by two years for each affected Canadian we would see a return on investment of 15,000% over a 30 year research effort.

I will finish by tackling another devastating neurological disease, that being multiple sclerosis. It affects 55,000 to 75,000 Canadians, of whom 400 die each year from the disease, and many take their own life. The suicide rate in MS patients is seven times that of the national population.

In May 2010, my colleague from St. Paul's and I brought the fight for clinical trials and a registry for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, CCSVI, to Parliament.

Almost a year later, in March 2011, the government announced a registry, although it will not actually start until July 2012.

In June 2011, at last the government announced clinical trials.

I want to be clear. All we have right now is announcements. What we need is action. Canadians with MS cannot afford to wait.

Instead of tracking patients who have had the CCSVI procedure and developing the most appropriate scales to measure any health impacts following treatment, MS patients were left with no follow up and important data was lost post procedure at one, three, six, twelve and twenty-four months.

Since when do scientists fail to collect data or, worse, choose not to gather evidence?

The CIHR is currently recommending phase I or phase II clinical trials for CCSVI.

I would argue that there is no need for a phase I trial, which is usually undertaken to assess safety. Angioplasty is an accepted standard of care practice in Canada.

I would, therefore, suggest that we need an adaptive phase II or phase III trial, for example, clinical trials for the CCSVI procedure in multiple centres across Canada.

I will finish by thanking the people in my riding, as well as the stakeholders in the environment, health and particularly neurological disease.

Finally, I would like all of the people who are living with MS to know that they inspire me every day.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

John Weston West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have no doubt that my colleague is sincere and dedicated to her riding. At the beginning of her speech she said that we are not back to where we were before the recession. We know that we lost 490,000 jobs during the recession.

We have created 600,000 new jobs with the economic action plan. These concrete results are due to lower taxes and the specific steps we have taken which have been acknowledged around the world. As well, our Minister of Finance has been acknowledged around the world.

Would my colleague from Etobicoke North comment on the number of jobs that have been created through the economic action plan? Will she be supporting its next phase?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that in my riding jobs are a priority.

I went to a graduation and heard in the speech given by a valedictorian a poem by Dylan Thomas paraphrased, “Rage, rage if people do not come from the right community or do not have the opportunity to get a job”. The government has missed out on opportunities for creating jobs for Canadians.

The government missed opportunities contained within the stimulus package regarding jobs, impacts on the environment, and greening the economy. According to HSBC, in 2009 the Government of Canada invested $3 billion in green stimulus spending. However, Germany invested $14 billion, the United States invested $112 billion and China invested $221 billion in green infrastructure and in the process created thousands of new green jobs and improved competitiveness.

In 2010 McAllister said that 84% of Canadian thought leaders give poor ratings to Canada's dependence on fossil fuels and carbon pricing. We need a national sustainable energy strategy and job strategy.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, we all know that Canada has been lacking in green infrastructure. I listened with interest to the member's statements on the green economy. I would ask her to elaborate on how many jobs we have missed out on due to the lack of a green economy in Canada, as well as the government's unwillingness to move toward a green economy.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada must absolutely move toward a green economy, develop a transition strategy and track the jobs that would create.

I stress that climate change is not just an environmental issue but also a human rights issue, a right to live, an international security issue and a justice issue. In other words, those suffering the most have the least responsibility. In any struggle it is important to listen to the front lines, for example, the aboriginal people and those living in the Canadian Arctic. If people are being impacted by climate change they should be meaningfully involved in Canada's processes and negotiations. As well, the government must be accountable to those people who are impacted.

The government is now cutting the climate impacts and adaptation research group in Environment Canada, which performs world-leading research in adaptation. Why would it cut these Nobel Prize winning scientists' research when the national round table has predicted that climate change could cost Canadians $21 billion to $43 billion per year by 2050?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Bryan Hayes Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with honour and a great sense of pride in representing the people of Sault Ste. Marie. It is a privilege to be here today to address the House of Commons in my maiden speech.

At this time I would like to congratulate our member of provincial Parliament, David Orazietti, on being re-elected last night. The red tie is not in honour of him, it is in honour of our troops.

I would like to begin by thanking the numerous volunteers who worked tirelessly and diligently on my campaign. It was the collective effort of all those involved that resulted in my electoral victory in my first-ever attempt at seeking to represent Sault Ste. Marie and Canada at the federal level. Few who try succeed, and I am truly humbled by this amazing opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those whom I serve. I will not take it for granted.

As parliamentarians, we collectively give thanks to God in this place every day. I would like to thank God for allowing me the privilege of serving the people of Sault Ste. Marie and Him here in Parliament.

I would also like to pay special tribute to my wife, Aida, and our two sons, Brandyn and Kevin, who love and support me each and every day. If not for their encouragement, I would not be in this House today.

Having had the opportunity to be an MP for a few months now, I can appreciate the demands of this position and commend all members on both sides of the House for their efforts, especially those who are forced to be away from young families.

Finally, I thank all the people of Sault Ste. Marie for bestowing their faith in me. I promise to respectfully and truthfully represent their views and concerns here in Ottawa. I pledge to work hard with the same diligence that the majority of my constituents demonstrate daily as they go about their lives.

They elected me because of the values and policies of the Conservative government. It is on their behalf that I would like to discuss the positive implications Canada's economic action plan has had on the riding of Sault Ste. Marie specifically and Canada as a whole, but more importantly the positive impacts the next phase of Canada's economic action plan, a low tax plan for jobs and growth, will bring.

I think the Federation of Canadian Municipalities put it best when they said, “[Budget 2011] delivered a vital commitment to cities and communities to develop a long-term federal infrastructure plan”.

In my time on city council, I saw the effect that sound federal policy can have on infrastructure replacement with unprecedented road construction, thanks in part to the federal gas tax contribution. I am so pleased that our government, through the next phase of our economic action plan, will legislate a permanent annual investment of $2 billion in the gas tax fund to provide predictable long-term infrastructure for municipalities.

Not only does this funding assist in replacing aging infrastructure but it also contributes to keeping municipal taxes low as the tax burden for infrastructure investment previously rested squarely on the shoulders of municipal taxpayers. Infrastructure projects are also a key provider of jobs.

I am especially grateful to this government for lowering the corporate tax rate and committing to keeping it low which is making our country more attractive to investors, once again creating new jobs.

It was not that long ago, two major employers in Sault Ste. Marie were in great difficulty and may very well have closed their doors, which would have been a devastating blow to our local economy.

Our low corporate tax policy attracted foreign investment to resurrect these companies, and as a result Essar Steel Algoma is now owned by a family from India, and TenarisAlgomaTubes is owned by a company from Argentina. These two companies provide 4,000 well-paying jobs in the Soo, and contribute indirectly to many more.

Canada must stay competitive in order to attract the kind of investment that will assist businesses that rely on global markets for their product and lower corporate tax rates ensure that competitive advantage.

I can say with certainty that an increase in the corporate tax, as required by the NDP to deliver on its promises, would have a profound negative effect on jobs and investment in Sault Ste. Marie. The steel industry is extremely volatile and every advantage counts.

Both companies I spoke of earlier would like to expand in the near future, creating the potential for new jobs, jobs that will not materialize with a corporate tax increase.

These policies have worked for all of Canada, not just Sault Ste. Marie. Canada is a leader in global economic recovery. Our government is focused on what matters to Canadians, creating jobs and promoting economic growth.

Canada has the strongest job growth record in the G7, with nearly 600,000 net new jobs created since July 2009. The IMF predicts that we will have among the strongest economic growth in the G7 over the next two years. This prediction is not accidental. It is based upon this government's policies on job creation and economic growth, including such things as providing a temporary hiring credit for small business to encourage hiring additional staff, as well as extending the accelerated capital cost allowance for investments in new equipment and machinery.

These investments enable our manufacturing firms to become more efficient and therefore more competitive, with the end result of more jobs. Not to mention the positive economic impact to those companies which actually provide the new machinery and equipment.

While job creation and the economy remain the top priority of this government, we are also committed to helping those giants of Canadian success, our seniors. As the member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry said:

When I hear stories of the hardships some of our seniors have endured I truly am in awe. Seniors deserve the respect and admiration of each and every Canadian for the contributions they have made and continue to make as mentors and leaders. They have raised families, built communities and created a standard of living in our country that is the envy of the world. It is virtually impossible to appropriately recognize or thank these brave generous men and women for their unselfish contribution.

Though it is impossible to adequately thank our senior citizens for the hard work and investment they have put into this great country, our nation has made them a priority, higher ever than before. In the next phase of Canada's economic action plan we are introducing new measures to improve the quality of life for these valuable contributors.

We are enhancing GIS for low-income seniors who will receive additional annual benefits of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples. We are also eliminating the mandatory retirement age for federally regulated employees, so that those seniors who want to remain in the workforce have the freedom to do so.

Furthermore, while I campaigned, a common concern of seniors and many constituents was the lack of a family physician. I am proud of our government's position on forgiving loans for new doctors and nurses in underserviced rural and remote areas.

I would now like to talk about this government's plan to balance the budget. As the Right Hon. David Cameron said during his visit, “the western world is facing a debt crisis”. This government realizes we cannot put ourselves in a similar position. We are committed to a responsible, credible approach to balancing the budget by 2014-15 in a manner that will create greater efficiency and effectiveness within the operation of government and the various services it provides. We will do this without raising taxes, without slashing transfers to health, education and support to seniors.

The IMF recently declared that Canada has the best net debt to GDP ratio in the G7. However, the economy is still extremely fragile and we must be diligent in our efforts to balance the budget. As a new member of Parliament, there is still a lot I have to learn about how Parliament works and how it best serves Canadians. However, there are some things I am certain of, that cutting corporate taxes stimulates economic growth, that in order to survive in the globalized world we must embrace free trade, and that the Conservative Party of Canada is working hard to keep this country on the right course in the midst of economic turmoil around the world.

As we debate the implementation of the next phase of Canada's economic action plan, I would like to agree with the millions of Canadians who have praised this government for good fiscal management. We are on the right track and we will continue to fight for lower taxes, balanced budgets, and care for the most vulnerable.

Our country is the envy of the world, in no small part due to the hard work of the Prime Minister, my colleagues, and the Conservative Party of Canada.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to congratulate my dear colleague on his first election at the federal level and on his first speech.

Last summer, the IMF concluded that when revenues are allocated more fairly, the periods of economic growth are longer and more stable. So why is there so little in this budget to address the inequality?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Bryan Hayes Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning Statistics Canada released a statement that in September, another 60,000 jobs were created in Canada, and our unemployment rate has dropped to 7.1%, which is the lowest level that it has been since 2008. Our stimulus package is obviously working. I do not think there is more that needs to be said and we need to continue along this path.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I too congratulate the member for Sault Ste. Marie on his maiden speech. It was a good job. He referred to some major employers who plan to expand in the future. To expand on what he said, how would a corporate tax rate increase affect these plans?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Bryan Hayes Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, in Sault Ste. Marie, one of our major employers is Essar Algoma Steel. It currently employs 3,200 people. It intends on expanding with a deep seaport expansion, and in the event that happens, it will be able to double capacity in Sault Ste. Marie. That translates to between 500 and 700 jobs. It is not only Essar Algoma Steel that will be able to take advantage of this particular harbour.

A key point as well is that in the event corporate taxes go up, the reality is that these corporations also support our small businesses. There is a trickle down effect. If our corporate taxes go up, resulting in lay-offs, there will be an impact on our small business community as well. That is simply something Canadians cannot afford and we definitely should not be considering it at all.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by the member for Sault Ste. Marie. The consequences of the budget that the government is proposing will have an impact on the level of debt for families. I would ask the member for Sault Ste. Marie, what will be the consequences on families in these ridings with regard to the level of debt?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Bryan Hayes Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not agree at all with what the hon. member is saying. The reality is that the tax measures that are in this plan will reduce the level of debt. Canadians will be paying on average $3,000 a year less in tax. Personal taxes for Canadians are at the lowest level they have ever been, I believe, in 50 years. Once again, our low tax policies and job creation policies are working.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague for his maiden speech in the House and on his election.

My colleague said cutting corporate taxes stimulates growth. I agree with what he is saying. The government is cutting taxes and giving away tax credits to large corporations, but what we have seen happen is that these corporations are sending jobs outside of our country.

How is this actually stimulating growth in our local communities, when the jobs are being shipped out of the country?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Bryan Hayes Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not agree that jobs are being shipped out of the country. I can only speak to what is happening in Sault Ste. Marie and quite frankly, jobs are coming into Sault Ste. Marie as a result of our low tax policies.