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 tax.

Topics

Motions in Amendment
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a critical issue. I travelled this country a number of years ago pushing for a seniors charter of rights, which actually passed in this House of Commons and which the government has yet to implement.

I would argue that one of the simple things we could do is deal with pensions. Seniors' pensions are a critical issue for so many people. If people enter into a private arrangement with their employer and it is a deferred wage, they earn that wage for the future so as not to rely as much on the public. However, If the company is going bankrupt, why would they be last in line as a creditor? It is unacceptable and unconscionable. That is one of the things the Conservatives could have done. It would not have cost any money and would have been a fair thing to do. It also would save the public purse later on as the senior would have a functioning pension.

Motions in Amendment
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to note the things that my colleague ignores about what this bill would do for seniors. There is no question that we would all like to do more for everybody. However, the reality is that we have done a lot for seniors. We have removed 85,000 seniors from the tax rolls. We have introduced pension income splitting. This budget introduces an enhancement to the guaranteed income supplement of $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples, of those who are in the very lowest income tax brackets, those whom my colleague was targeting earlier.

How can they stand and oppose initiatives like this that would make it easier for our most vulnerable seniors?

Motions in Amendment
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have more money allocated in the future for prisons and planes than they do for seniors. It is as simple as that.

Motions in Amendment
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are told that the budget measures in Bill C-13 will make life better for families.

I would like to know what my hon. colleague thinks of the cuts affecting children that have been made by the Conservative government over the past few weeks. Social services and community organizations are sounding the alarm because the government is taking child tax benefits away from the most vulnerable families. To verify whether these measures are justified, they are being asked to fill out a six-page questionnaire. Then it takes time to assess the questionnaire, while families are being deprived of money to pay the rent. This is cruel. What should we be doing instead to help them?

Motions in Amendment
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a very pertinent question. That is why I was referring to the surpluses that the government sometimes gets and the slippages where it was often referred in terms of departmental money that is never spent. The government creates so many obstacles and so much difficulty that it requires so much assistance, or it does not even bother doing it itself.

We have seen that with the disability tax credit, for example, or the GIS where people need to apply for it instead of just getting it. These are things that the government could have changed that would have actually helped Canadians, especially those on the fringe.

Motions in Amendment
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member spoke about the tax cuts and that they are not helping industry in his riding. I have heard directly from the head of automotive manufacturers in this country about the need to continue along with the tax cut process that we put in place.

Is the member saying that those people, those who create seven to eight jobs for every job they have in their plant, are wrong about our tax cuts?

Motions in Amendment
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong.

Motions in Amendment
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House at this time to speak in support of Bill C-13, Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act.

Canada has weathered the global recession better than most other industrialized countries. We are the only G7 country to have more than recovered all of the output and all of the jobs lost during the recession. In fact, Canada has posted by far the strongest growth in employment among G7 countries during the recovery. This is in no small measure due to the stellar and diligent work of our Minister of Finance and the extraordinary measures in Canada's economic action plan, which is a road map to improve the well-being of all Canadians over the long run by securing the recovery, eliminating the deficit, and investing in the drivers of long-term economic growth.

The Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and this government have made protecting Canadian jobs and the economy the top priority. In fact, 600,000 more Canadians are working today than when the recession ended, and nine out of ten of those jobs are full-time positions.

Our government's plan is to strengthen and secure Canada's economic and financial fundamentals. That is why the government has responded to critical situations with flexibility and pragmatism. Its response is designed to keep our economy secure and resilient.

The government, unlike the official opposition, is not bound by ideological dogma, and unlike the third party, by political expediency and opportunism. That is why Canada is held up as a shining example of stability and prudence in an ocean of instability. Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO, said during his appearance at the finance committee in August:

I would say that compared to policy-making in the rest of the world, Canada's economic policy-making has been exemplary. I don't think there's been a significant misstep in recent years.

That is why the global leadership that Canada has displayed since day one of the economic crisis has earned Canada the praise of a number of the world's respected organizations and institutions.

For instance, Canada's banking system has been deemed the world's best for four years running now by the World Economic Forum. The World Bank also said that Canada is the easiest place to start a business in the G7. Forbes magazine recently ranked Canada as the best country to do business in. The international credit rating agencies, such as Moody's, Fitch and Standard and Poor's, have all renewed Canada's AAA credit rating. The G20 young entrepreneur summit recently said that Canada is a start-up paradise, an entrepreneurial hotbed of business confidence. The IMF has also praised Canada's deficit reduction plan and has said that Canada is one of two countries that will have the fastest economic growth in the G7 this year and next.

It does not stop there. There is more. The Economic Intelligence Unit says Canada is the best country among the G7 to do business in and will continue to be over the next five years.

The finance committee, of which I am a member, recently concluded its pre-budget consultations. We met with dozens of individuals, associations, businesses, and organizations, both here in Ottawa and around the country. We also received over 600 written submissions.

The overwhelming consensus from our hearings was support for our government's plan. For instance, the Canadian Home Builders' Association stated that:

Today's budget provides a responsible transition from stimulus spending towards creating the conditions that will renew private sector demand and job creation.

Regarding the budget, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants stated that:

...it strikes the right balance by keeping Canada competitive and demonstrating prudent fiscal management.

All these results do not just fall from the sky. As the Minister of Finance recently stated:

Countries, just like individuals, do not stumble into prosperity. They set out a plan and stick to it, so that they are fully capable of seizing opportunity when misfortune hits, instead of merely being overwhelmed by it.

The government has followed a low-tax plan that has successfully branded Canada as a low-business-tax jurisdiction. Our government paid down substantial amounts of debt before the economic crisis even arrived. By doing so, our government has been successful in keeping net debt to GDP ratio well below G7 counterparts at 34%, while at the same time other countries were piling vast amounts of additional debt onto existing debt.

Under the leadership of our Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, Canada chose not to go down the road of ruin by recklessly taxing and spending, the path the opposition would have us take. Our government chose rather to support Canadian families by creating jobs, and the average family has over $3,000 in tax reductions.

Our government's top priority is the economy. Although Canada's economy is outperforming other advanced industrialized countries, Canada is not immune from the impact of events that originate beyond our shores. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have always been very clear about this fact.

Therefore, with the global economy still fragile due to the European sovereign debt and banking crisis, the Minister of Finance announced last week that the government will be reducing the maximum potential increase in next year's EI premium from 10¢ to 5¢ per $100 of insurable earnings. This measure will leave over $600 million in the hands of Canadian businesses and workers and their families.

In response to this measure, Dan Kelly, senior vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said:

It is clear Finance Minister Flaherty has heard the concerns of Canada's entrepreneurs by taking action to lower the planned EI hike.

The CFIB press release also stated:

This move will reduce the burden of business and leave more money in the pockets of their employees.

To continue to support jobs and growth, the Minister of Finance also announced an additional extension of the successful work-sharing program, which has already benefited some 300,000 workers.

Other measures designed to create jobs and growth included rebuilding the fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard, which will create long-term jobs and generate significant economic benefits in shipbuilding and related industries across Canada.

Also announced was the investment of additional funds to modernize and expand the capacity of priority border facilities across Canada.

The Minister of Finance also announced that our government is on track to eliminate the deficit in a balanced and responsible way. We will balance in 2015. This is due to the ongoing financial crisis in Europe and the uncertainty in the United States.

The Minister of Finance once again demonstrated that our government's top priority is the economy. We will do this through our low-tax plan to create jobs and growth in a way that is both flexible and pragmatic.

In support of this move, the Honourable Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said:

While we understand that the slower economic growth will delay Canada's ability to return to balanced budgets, we agree with the Minister that the government should not be adding to the deficit by increasing spending at this time.

Budget 2011 will preserve Canada's advantage in the global economy. It will strengthen the financial security of Canadian workers. It will give more income security to seniors and families and will provide stability during a fragile and uncertain global recovery.

Motions in Amendment
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order. The hon. member will have three minutes for his speech and five minutes for questions and comments when the House resumes debate on the motion.

Cyber Cop Program
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadian children are facing a new challenge. The issue of cyber bullying has increased the intensity and frequency of abuse children can face on a daily basis. This means that parents, teachers, lawmakers, and all adults have a duty to step up and put things in place to protect our children.

In my riding, the Truro Police Service has done just that by initiating the Cyber Cop program. Cyber Cop is an innovative program that provides children with the tools they need to combat cyber bullying and practice safe Internet usage.

Coordinator Barry Mingo, Constable Jon Keddy, Constable Todd Taylor and Chief Dave MacNeil all deserve an incredible amount of credit for initiating this program.

Kudos also to mayor Bill Mills and the Truro town council for standing behind the Truro police service, supporting the cyber cop program and stepping up to protect our children.

Navy League of Canada
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is a great day in Canada today, because the Navy League of Canada is in Ottawa to talk about various issues affecting the Navy League throughout the country.

This organization, one of the finest organizations in the country, has been around for 116 years. It is in over 260 Canadian communities helping out 15,000 young Canadians on issues of maritime affairs, the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets and the Navy League Cadets.

The Navy League of Canada is incorporated with many ex-military personnel from admirals all the way down to chief petty officers. It is truly a wonderful organization. I encourage every member here today to attend the reception, because the Navy League of Canada is one of the finest organizations this country has ever seen.

Alex Thomson Royal Canadian Legion Branch
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to tell the House about the Alex Thomson Royal Canadian Legion Branch 82, which has been part of the landscape of Mississauga South in Port Credit for more than 80 years, the past 40 on the banks of the scenic Credit River.

The branch is dedicated to the memory of Colonel Alex Thomson, a former Port Credit resident, who was decorated for bravery and killed in action in France during World War I.

Branch 82 is still a wonderful place to meet old friends and new ones, and that is what hundreds of veterans and members of the community of Mississauga South did on Remembrance Day last Friday.

As a new member of the legion, I meet new comrades each time I go. On Friday, it was Phil and George from the Queen's Own Rifles; parade marshal Norm; RCMP officer Ben, who laid the wreath with me and taught me how to march in parade; feisty World War II veteran Vic Morrow, and many others.

I owe special thanks to legion president Kim Reinhart, the ladies' auxiliary--whose shepherd's pie was a huge hit--and the entire team that helped make Branch 82's Remembrance Day ceremonies such a fitting tribute to our local heroes.

Lest we forget.

Airline Industry
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, with the unanimous passage by the House of Commons of my motion concerning airline passenger rights, every Canadian expected the government to enhance protection for the millions of paying customers who travel on airlines each and every year in this country.

The entire Conservative cabinet stood along with every government backbencher to vote for a Canadian airline passenger bill of rights, but before they had time to sit back down in their seats, the Conservatives had already changed their minds on the whole affair. No legislation was ever produced.

Since that time, the European Union has enacted strong legislation to protect airline passengers. In the United States, just weeks ago, the U.S. Congress ratified into law tough new regulations that protect airline passengers from extended waits while on board an aircraft, ensure mandatory compensation for passengers who are bumped due to overbooking and set out compensation for baggage delays and losses.

When will the government enact proper airline passenger protection legislation?

Human Rights
Statements by Members

November 15th, 2011 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately there are still many places where people do not enjoy the freedoms that Canadians have.

Lately violence has flared in Egypt at the expense of the Coptic minority, who have been attacked and killed in their places of worship. Our Subcommittee on International Human Rights has just heard testimony about this situation.

Clearly, more has to be done to protect minority rights.

First the extremists who plan and carry out these violent attacks need to be brought to justice, and the government of Egypt must act to physically protect minorities as they go about their daily lives.

As Egypt heads into elections, the transitional government must ensure that these elections are both free and fair, a process that would include inviting international observers to monitor the vote.

When the new Egyptian parliament convenes, the new constitution it writes must ensure that the religious freedoms of all Egyptians are fully protected in law.

Quebec Student Football Championship
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, on November 12, 2011, I had the pleasure of attending the 36th annual Bol d'or, a major high school and college football event that was held in Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for the very first time.

First of all, congratulations to the winners of the championship: the Collège Notre-Dame Cactus, the Collège François-Xavier Garneau Élans, the Campus Notre-Dame-de-Foy Notre-Dames—winning the first Bol d'or in the school's history—and the Collège André-Grasset Phénix. You are all true champions and should be proud of your achievements.

This major football event was organized by the Cégep Limoilou, the Collège Saint-Jean-Eudes and the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec.

I would like to sincerely thank the event organizers and volunteers and all the young athletes who helped make this day a true success, to the delight of football fans across the Quebec City region.