House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, that question is excellent. A sense of proportion is also needed. This measure is worth $27 million. The Conservatives have spent over $60 million on advertising for the economic action plan. It is not a question of cuts here, but rather the fact that the Conservatives have an excellent fundraising machine that has been put to the test. They do not need a political party financing system. They want to use this to weaken the opposition. If it were simply a budget measure, we would not be having the democratic debate that we are having here today and that we should be having.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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 Montcalm, Disability Insurance; the hon. member for London—Fanshawe, Seniors; the hon. member for Western Arctic, Aviation Safety.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Mississauga East—Cooksville.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to speak to Bill C-13, keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act. Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to implement our low tax plan to help support job creation and economic growth, and we are doing exactly that.

Forbes ranked Canada number one in the world in its 2011 annual survey of the best countries for business, for our economic and personal freedoms, innovation and relatively low red tape. Canada has the strongest job growth in the G7 and the IMF expects Canada to continue to have the strongest growth in the G7 through the years 2011-12. We have the lowest government net debt to GDP ratio in the G7 by far.

The World Economic Forum rated our financial system as the soundest in the world. For the fourth consecutive year, our triple A credit rating has been renewed because of our economic resiliency, very high government financial strength, and low susceptibility to event risk.

Canada's economic record is admirable; however, we do recognize there is much work to be done to protect the fragile recovery and to help more Canadians return to work. That is why the next phase of Canada's economic action plan is so important. We must stay the course to protect Canadians from the turbulent economic uncertainties facing our friends and neighbours around the world.

Before the global recession hit, our Conservative government paid down nearly $40 billion of the debt, bringing Canada's debt to its lowest level in 25 years. Our fiscal responsible and aggressive debt reduction placed Canada in the best possible position to weather the global recession. When the global recession hit, we made a deliberate decision to run a temporary deficit to protect our economy and jobs, and all parties in Parliament agreed.

We will continue to be aggressive in our support of job creation. We will enhance or extend programs to help businesses keep workers, renew programs to help unemployed workers, introduce hiring credits for small businesses, support youth entrepreneurs, reduce red tape, and legislate permanent gas tax funding for municipalities.

Families will benefit from a new family caregiver tax credit, a new children's arts tax credit, and an enhanced medical expense tax credit. This builds on top of the action our government has taken to support families since 2006. Due to our strong record of tax relief, total savings for a typical family are over $3,000.

Our Conservative government values the contributions made by seniors who have made our country as great as it is. That is why the next phase of Canada's economic action plan introduces new measures to improve the quality of life and expand opportunities for Canadian seniors including extending the eco-energy home retrofit program, eliminating the mandatory retirement age for federally regulated employees, extending the targeted initiative for older workers, enhancing the new horizons for seniors program, and enhancing the GIS for eligible low income seniors who will receive additional annual benefits of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples, helping more than 680,000 seniors across Canada.

We will keep taxes low for Canadian families. Our Conservative government believes in low taxes and leaving more money where it belongs, in the pockets of hard-working Canadian families and job creating businesses.

We have cut taxes over 120 times since 2006, reducing the overall tax burden to its lowest level in nearly 50 years.

We removed over one million low income families, individuals and seniors from the tax rolls.

The next phase of Canada's economic action plan continues with the government's commitment to support Canadian students. We all want students to succeed in the global economy with the help of the best education possible.

We are investing in education in the north, including $9 million to expand territorial colleges' literacy and numeracy programs, particularly in remote communities.

We are extending tax relief for skills certification exams and doubling the in-study income exemption.

To further support families and students, we are increasing the family income threshold for part-time Canada student loans and Canada student grant recipients, bringing the eligibility threshold in line with the threshold for full-time students.

The government will respect taxpayers and phase out the direct subsidy of political parties. We are closing numerous tax loopholes that allow a few businesses and individuals to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

There is considerable uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook. The key near-term risk is the sovereign debt and banking crisis in Europe. This government will continue to implement the next phase of Canada's economic action plan to support jobs and growth. We will continue to closely monitor the global and Canadian economic situation. If the economy weakens significantly, we are prepared to respond as necessary in a flexible and measured manner to support Canadian jobs and growth.

In meeting its commitment to return to budgetary balance, the government will not raise taxes or cut transfers to persons, including those for seniors, children and the unemployed, or transfers to other levels of government in support of health care and social services, equalization and gas tax transfers to municipalities.

Going forward, the government will maintain its focus on the priorities set out in the next phase of Canada's economic action plan by supporting job creation; supporting families and communities; investing in innovation, education and training; and preserving Canada's fiscal advantage.

Productive and sustainable investments in these key areas will continue to help lay the foundation for long-term economic growth and prosperity for all Canadians.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

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 that very fine speech. He talked about a number of the very important measures. I would like the member to reflect on his riding and tell us about some of the things that are going to be of huge benefit to the people of Mississauga East—Cooksville in terms of moving forward with the budget implementation act.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, my riding is a very diverse riding. It has many young families and those families will benefit from measures proposed in this act. The tax credits for arts and culture and physical activities will benefit many young families in my riding.

There are also many businesses in my riding. The measures we are proposing for businesses in this act are very important because many of them will be able to hire new workers and many of them will be able to keep workers who are employed now.

I have had very positive feedback from my constituents regarding the proposed bill.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague across the floor mentioned help for families, but I really have to wonder what help for families he is talking about.

Is the member aware or would he agree that the gap between wealthy people and those living in poverty is growing?

What does he really think his bill will do for the families that are most in need of support from this government? The reality is that these families will receive nothing from the tax credits the member is boasting about.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that we live in the best country in the world. This is not a third world country. This is a country where people come every year, from around the world, as immigrants. They work hard and they are successful.

Of course, there is always more that needs to be done or that can be done, but this is a part of the process. It is not done in one step. This is done in a gradual process. That is exactly what the bill and its measures would address.

I would like to stress that this is not a third world country. We are the best country in the world and we should all work together to improve it. I hope the hon. member will support the bill.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his past contribution as a leader in the Polish community in this country. He has done a very fabulous job and I want to thank him for that.

The Conservative Party committed to implementing these different things that we have in the budget bill during the election.

My question for the member is this. How important is it to him, representing his riding, that what we said during the election is what we are actually doing here in the House of Commons?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague said, during the election we actually presented our economic program to Canadians. When I was knocking on doors, the issues that were important to the people I talked with were jobs, safe streets, a good future for our children, and good education. That is exactly what the bill addresses. That is why we are working hard on this side of the House and that is why we are asking the members on the opposite side of the House to support us in working for all Canadians.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, earlier, the Minister of State for Transport spoke to us about economic recovery and now the hon. member is talking about maintaining the economy. However, under this same government, during its reign from 2008 to 2011, between the two elections, Canada's debt increased by $10 billion.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that the rate of unemployment will increase in 2012 and, I believe from my reading, Scotiabank recently questioned the rosy economic predictions made by the United States and Canada last year.

How can the hon. member tell us there will be economic growth and job growth?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asks, how can I have confidence?

This government's record speaks for itself. Our economy is the strongest economy among the G7 nations. We are making progress. Our financial system is the best in the world.

Of course, we are in difficult times. We are connected to the world economy and we are affected by turbulence in other parts of the world. However, we are on the right path and we will keep working for the best interests of this country and Canadians.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

November 15th, 2011 / 5:10 p.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo
B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to speak to Bill C-13, which is part of phase two of our economic action plan that has many important elements in terms of moving our country forward.

It is really important that I first start with a brief history of our low tax plan for jobs and growth.

We presented a budget in March 2011 in the House. At that time, the opposition did not see fit to support that budget and triggered an unnecessary election. During our election campaign, we spoke to Canadians throughout the country and told them that we would reintroduce the same budget. It was part of our election platform.

It is important to recognize that this is a budget that had the support of Canadians across the country. We are following through on our commitment to Canadians, who returned us to the House with a strong, stable majority government.

In June of this year, we reintroduced our bill, Bill C-3, and before the House rose for the summer, we were able to implement very important measures, such as increasing the guaranteed income supplement for seniors. Now it is fall, there are many elements left and this is our opportunity to continue that very important work.

Members of the finance committee had the opportunity to look at the bill in great detail. As we all know, it is a very big bill and we went through it paragraph by paragraph, looking at all the different measures. Unfortunately, I do not have time to talk about all the great measures, but I would like to focus on and highlight some of the things that are incredibly important for Canadians.

The first thing I would like to highlight is the rural and remote riding forgiveness for student loans in terms of health care services. It is important to look at a statistic. According to the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada, 31.4% of Canada's population, or roughly nine million people, live in predominantly rural regions. Towns under 10,000 account for 22.2% of the population, but they only have 10% of the physicians. Right there we see a big problem. MPs and people who live in Toronto, Ottawa and larger settings recognize and often speak about the challenges in getting a family doctor and access to care. If we look at what is happening in rural communities, it is absolutely compounded many times over.

There have been historical challenges in terms of recruiting doctors and nurses to small areas. One situation we need to look at is if someone were in an accident in Ottawa, an ambulance would quickly come to take the person to a hospital, where there would be a team of doctors and an operating room waiting. Residents in Princeton, British Columbia, as one example, may receive a notice on Friday saying that there are no doctors available to be on call for emergencies on the weekend and if they have emergencies, they should drive three hours to the nearest hospital because the hospital cannot staff the emergency room. This is happening many times throughout our country and our government recognizes that things need to be done.

The other thing that was happening was the lack of physicians was pitting community against community, with each one sort of upping the ante in terms of enticing physicians to go there. This is an important measure that will level the playing field so a physician or nurse who chooses to go to Pemberton, Lillooet or any small community will have the same advantages. It is prevents communities from pitting one against the other.

The Canadian Medical Association indicated that roughly 900 doctors and 1,600 nurses who graduate annually are in debt to the Canada student loans program. It is estimated that the average medical student graduate with a debt load in the order of $100,000 will be eligible to have $8,000 per year written off their loans to a maximum of $40,000, while nurses and nurse practitioners will be eligible for a $4,000 per year writeoff to a maximum of $20,000 if they undertake a stint in a remote community.

During the election I had an opportunity to talk to nursing students in our local university and rural physicians. I asked them if this was an important measure. Without hesitation, every one of them said that doctors were enticed to come to their communities. They would love the community, the career, the opportunities and the beauty and believed that they would stay. They were thankful for this important measure.

It is important to note that this is only one of many measures. It really builds on the $39.5 million in funding to increase the number of residency physicians that we announced in February 2011. Again, I am not saying that one strategy is going to solve the problem, but there are many pieces that we are working on in partnership with the provinces and territories that ultimately have the responsibility.

Another important measure I would like to highlight is the mineral exploration tax credit. Exploration and development of Canada's rich mineral resources offers important investments and employment benefits in many parts of the country, especially in rural or remote regions. The temporary 15% mineral exploration tax credit is a measure designed to assist junior mining companies in raising new equity through the issuance of flow-through shares. This additional financing helps exploration companies to maintain or increase their level of exploration activities.

We invested in the METC through the global economic downturn as a way of supporting innovation and job creation in the mining sector. Following the extensions in Canada's economic action plan in budget 2010, the credit was scheduled to expire on March 31, 2011. In support of the economic recovery, budget 2011 extended the credit for an additional year.

It is important to note that in an average year METC investors collectively provide companies with $400 million in new financing to spend on grassroots exploration in Canada. This money has to be spent in Canada thereby ensuring that if a mine is discovered, the benefits and jobs associated will come to Canadians directly. Therefore, if even a single mine is discovered, the taxes are paid to all levels of government, and they are significant.

It is also important to note that the Mining Association of Canada reports that $8.4 billion was paid to the government by mining industries in 2011. Again, this is another important measure in terms of jobs and economic growth.

One thing I have certainly heard very clearly is the importance of the gas tax funding for our municipalities. Infrastructure has been an ongoing challenge for them. They often will have acute care needs in terms of water, sewer and roads, but they have to wait for a program to come available. Now they can count on the permanent $2 billion gas tax funding. Not only that, instead of just using it as a grant program, they can now leverage the funds. They know it is legislated and so they can count on it and leverage it. This is very important for our municipalities.

In quick summary, there are many measures in this budget. At the end of the day, we have been given a mandate by Canadians to move forward with the budget. It is important to support jobs and economic growth. I encourage the opposition to support the bill. Their constituents want them to support it.

Bill C-13—Notice of time allocation motion
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, our government has remained steadfastly focused on improving Canada's economy, including our focus in the House this week during jobs and economic growth week. Today we are debating the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act. It would implement important measures of our government's low tax plan for jobs and growth, including the job creation tax incentive for small businesses and a tax credit for children's arts and dance lessons.

I must advise that an agreement has not been reached under the provisions of Standing Order 78(1) or 78(2) concerning the proceedings at report stage and third reading 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 those stages.

Report Stage
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments put on the record by the previous speaker.

The government House leader has just stood up, and this is something we see a great deal of lately, and gave notice of time allocation on this legislation because of the government's inability to work with the opposition in any way and its tendency to use its majority government to prevent any sort of real debate on legislation.

That member has had the opportunity to speak to the bill, but many members of this chamber will never get that opportunity because her government House leader has now said that the government does not want all members to speak to the bill.

If the bill is so good, why does the government want to limit debate on it? Why will the government not allow other members of its own caucus and members of the opposition the opportunity to participate in the debate on an important bill?

Report Stage
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo
B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, perhaps my hon. colleague did not actually hear the start of my comments when I talked about the history of the bill. The bill was introduced many months ago. The debate has been had with Canadians who, in the last election, said that they believed in our plan and they believed it was the route forward. They supported our government in terms of moving forward with phase two of Canada's economic action plan. That was 34 million Canadians from across the country.