House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was french.

Topics

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières for his question.

That is the essence of the debate. If we truly want an active and living democracy, the government must take election results into account. Yes, they have a majority government. They can now govern for all Canadians and will not have to call elections all the time. Now, could we have sane and reasonable debates with everyone? Everyone here was elected and received a strong democratic mandate from their constituents. We must respect that. It is possible to have sane and constructive debates. If the government proposes something interesting that we can debate and take back to our constituents, we would not have anything against that.

We are here to work for all Canadians too. I do not understand how the Conservatives can say that we should increase the number of seats in the House of Commons in order to improve democracy and then turn around and say that if we do not agree with them, we have no say, we should shut up and try not to make too much noise, since they do not like that. It is embarrassing for them, and in the papers, everywhere, everyone is against them. What will they do?

There is something really twisted in this way of thinking. I think that you should have the power, Mr. Speaker, since you are non-partisan—

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order.

The hon. member for Kitchener—Conestoga.

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am splitting my time with the hon. member for Macleod.

I am pleased to rise today to speak to today's motion from the member for Windsor—Tecumseh. I also want to acknowledge the two previous speakers for their good work in the House and the privilege of working with them on the procedure and House affairs committee.

On May 2, Canadians gave the Conservatives a strong, stable national majority government. Canadians expect us to fulfill our commitments to them and that is exactly what we are doing. We are moving forward on our election commitments to implement the next phase of Canada's economic action plan.

There are EI measures within this bill that encourage job creation. There is the accelerated capital cost allowance for small businesses to invest in efficient equipment. There are measures to protect law-abiding Canadians. These important measures for the safety of our communities and for the safety of our children and of our grandchildren have been stalled by the opposition. The Conservatives would also provide marketing freedom for western Canadian grain farmers, something Ontario farmers have had for decades but the same privilege has not been granted to our western colleagues. There are measures to eliminate once and for all the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry. There are measures to provide fair representation to all provinces in the House of Commons and move every single province closer to representation by population. As my colleagues across the way will know, we have MPs serving fewer than 40,000 constituents while others are serving four times that many. This imbalance needs to be addressed.

We have introduced legislation in this House on all of these important measures. However, despite the talking points being used across the aisle, not one of these measures is law yet. We have seen delay tactic after delay tactic. Each of these bills has been extensively debated in the House of Commons and at committee hearings.

As an example, let us look at Bill C-13, the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act. This bill would implement the 2011 budget. We on this side of the House think that the 2011 budget should be passed into law in 2011. Looking at the calendar, there is not a lot of time left before we get to the new year. The new year, 2012, is only weeks away and we still have not implemented budget 2011 because of opposition delay tactics.

This bill includes important measures from this year's budget, including a job-creation tax for small business. All of us in this House agree that small business is the economic engine of Canada. There is the family caregiver tax credit. My colleague knows first-hand how important it is to make it easier for families to care for gravely ill relatives. There is the children's arts tax credit and the volunteer firefighters tax credit. In rural and remote parts of Canada, it is important that we have recruitment and retention tools for our volunteer firefighters. There is tax relief for the manufacturing sector, as I mentioned, the accelerated capital cost allowance. The bill includes making the gas tax refund permanent. Municipalities are constantly asking for predictable funding for their infrastructure needs.

All of these measures would promote job creation and economic growth. They would help add to the nearly 600,000 jobs already created in Canada since the global economic recession. These measures were supported by Canadians from sea to sea. They were exactly what Canadians voted for when they re-elected the Conservative government on May 2, with a majority mandate. However, we know the opposition has voted against these job-creating measures. For some reason, it opposes these positive and important job-creating initiatives.

I know today's motion is about debate in this place so allow me to outline just how much debate has already been given to the next phase of Canada's economic action plan. The budget was introduced on March 22 by the Minister of Finance. Debate on the budget started before the opposition forced an unnecessary election. Following the 37-day election campaign, which was focused on the Canadian economy, we moved quickly to reintroduce the budget on June 6. That was followed by four days of debate on the budget in June before we rose for the usual summer break in our constituencies.

When we came back in the autumn, we introduced the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act to implement the budget. That bill was debated for four days at second reading before being referred to the Standing Committee on Finance. That committee found time amid its 2012 pre-budget consultations to study the bill. After it was reported back to the House, it was debated for three further days at third reading and report stage. All told, the job-creating measures of the next phase of Canada's economic action plan as set out in Bill C-13 have been deliberated in this House for 12 days. That does not include the two afternoons used for the spring's two budget speeches. Just to repeat, we have had 12 days of debate on these important and urgent economic measures in this House. It is time for action.

I want to turn briefly to a second major bill in this fall sitting, Bill C-10, the safe streets and communities act.

During this spring's election, our Conservative government promised Canadians that we would pass comprehensive law and order legislation within the first 100 sitting days after the election. Looking at today's order paper, I see that today is the 54th sitting day. Just yesterday, the bill was reported from the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The bill includes important measures, including proposals which would crack down on pedophiles who prey on children, and violent gangs that sell drugs to our children. These are all very important items that need to become law.

Despite some 27 hours or so of committee proceedings dedicated to clause-by-clause study and related business, we already have some 34 amendments to the bill tabled for report stage, which we will have to debate and vote on. I have no doubt whatsoever that we will see that number grow before the bill comes forward for debate on Tuesday morning.

After report stage and third reading, the bill will then go to the other place where the entire legislative process will be repeated.

It is fair to say that we are just about one-third of the way through the passing of Bill C-10 into law. One-third might sound like a breeze to some, but passing the nine predecessor bills to Bill C-10 has been anything but a breeze over the last several years and, in some cases, over three Parliaments. There have already been 95 hours of debate in this chamber alone on these proposals. In both houses there have been 261 speeches. That sounds to me to be pretty thorough debate already.

If I had a lot more time, I would go on about some of the other key priority bills of the government, such as Bill C-20, the fair representation act, and Bill C-18, the marketing freedom for grain farmers act, just to name two. Each has its own important and urgent requirements to become law this fall in order to meet timing demands driven by facts of life outside the House of Commons. Farmers need certainty before they plant their spring crops. Boundary commissions need to know what numbers they are working with, and they need to know that by February.

I cannot help but comment on the proposals set out in the motion put forward today by the member for Windsor—Tecumseh. I have to be honest; I am quite confused by the mixed messages it sends.

The NDP House leader has put forward a motion that would give the Speaker only 19 sitting days to study his proposals. The debate he contemplates following the Speaker's report would appear to last but one single solitary day. If we look at the wording of his motion, the member is basically putting closure on his own motion.

On top of that, it is totally and completely ironic that the Speaker is required by the Standing Orders to put the NDP's motion to a vote after only two hours of debate in this House. This has to be the shortest debate on any item in the House since we came back in September.

In closing, Conservative members will be voting against the motion which tries to sidestep the fact that the opposition parties are trying to stop good things for Canadians, things which Canadians voted for just six months ago. The NDP wants to stop that great progress, to stop these things from becoming law, despite thorough and extensive debate and study.

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have to say to my colleague from Kitchener—Conestoga that he obviously is confused. In fact, 20 days of debate would be allowed. Mr. Speaker, I am sure you understood the motion which the member obviously did not. There is plenty of time. When he mentioned 19 sitting days, his math may be right on that, but the reality is that given the break period over the end of the year into February when we would expect the report back, it is more like 60 to 70 days. I realize some of those would be taken up as vacation time, but there would be plenty of time. Mr. Speaker, if you need any assistance in that regard in terms of preparing the report, I can assure you that my caucus colleagues and I will be available. Perhaps the member could acknowledge that.

I want to make one point about the 100 day promise that was made by the Prime Minister during the election. If he felt so compelled to keep that promise, why was he not feeling the same way about keeping the promise he and the finance minister made about when they would retire the deficit in the budget? They broke that promise about two weeks ago. If that one was not important enough, why was the other one?

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is easy to read the frustration that is building on the other side. We saw last week a very unfortunate event in Parliament when a member of Parliament used parliamentary resources to tweet some very unacceptable language. The day before yesterday in the House we saw that a protester in the gallery actually was applauded and cheered on by some of the opposition members, although I will give credit that not all of the opposition members did that. These events are very unfortunate.

I understand the members' frustration, but even among NDP supporters, there is a growing realization that we are simply wasting time debating and debating. It is time for action. A friend of the NDP, Ian Capstick, said:

Well, I think it's an unfortunate result of the polarization that the opposition is not really ready to let the government pass any of its bills. The government comes back with a majority, but the opposition is determined to dig in and use every procedural trick that they can to hold things up. At some point the government has to use its majority to assume control....probably everything will be time allocation or virtually everything from now on--

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I will have to stop the member for Kitchener—Conestoga there to allow another question.

The hon. member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor.

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, there was some confusion earlier about the fact that no bill has received royal assent. For the record, since the election, Bill C-2, C-3, C-6, C-8, C-9, several bills have received royal assent. I do not know where that confusion is coming from.

Nonetheless, I would like to read what I think is the quintessential quote about how we should uphold the principles of debate in the House and that every member of Parliament willing to speak on an issue should have his or her say:

The role of each and every individual in the Chamber is to have an opportunity to stand up and debate legislation. If we want Canadians to have faith in this institution and in the relevance of parliament, we must be able to debate intelligently and to make suggestions, not just to take a wrecking ball approach but to put forward thoughtful suggestions and thoughtful input into legislation.

Who said that? The Minister of National Defence said that several years ago. At the time he was complaining that 30% of the bills were time allocated. The Conservatives are now up to 50%. Half of the bills have been subject to time allocation.

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

November 25th, 2011 / 10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is easy to manipulate those numbers. Certainly 50% of a small number looks like a huge number. We came back in September to get some things done. Our colleagues know that we have to get Bill C-13 into law. We are so close to the end of 2011, and we have not even passed the 2011 budget yet.

We have had many opportunities. On Bill C-10, the safe streets and communities act, we have had four days of debate in the House, 11 committee hearings, 37 hours, and 53 speeches in the House in over 16 hours. That has been on Bill C-10 alone. On Bill C-13, we had seven total days of debate in the House. There were more days of debate at second reading than the average budget bill over the last two decades and more than any Liberal majority bill during that time. There have been more days of debate on Bill C-13--

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member is out of time for questions and comments. Resuming debate, the hon. Minister of State for Finance.

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Minister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I am going to make a statement that I am sure has never been heard before in this House. Canadians actually gave our government a strong mandate to fulfill our commitments to Canadians, and that is exactly what we are doing.

Despite what the opposition would have us believe, each of our bills has been extensively debated in the House of Commons and at committee hearings.

Bill C-13, the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act is an example that I can speak to personally. As the Minister of State for Finance, I have been deeply involved in that.

We have heard that there have been 12 days of debate on the measures in Bill C-13 in this House. It should also be noted that there have been almost 120 speeches and over 32 hours of debate on Bill C-13 itself in this House.

I would remind hon. members, as was mentioned by my colleague, that the budget was actually tabled on March 22. It was debated extensively throughout the election campaign. I would say it was passed by Canadians, a term that is not often used in connection with elections, but it actually passed because that is what we ran on. The finance committee studied it, including all of its other studies which it had started in 2010 to discuss what was going to be in budget 2011.

We will not allow the opposition to continue playing political games and delaying our important legislative agenda, especially our budget proposals, in today's economic climate.

On Monday, the opposition voted against Bill C-13, despite all the important job-creating measures that are included in this bill and which were extensively debated. I would like to take this opportunity to share some of the proposals in Bill C-13 that illustrate clearly just how the government is keeping our commitment to Canadians and just why we needed to take swift action.

As we all know, Canadians have weathered some very difficult economic times over the last couple of years. Our government has taken unprecedented action to help them through this challenging period, and we are seeing some reassuring signs of economic recovery.

The next phase of Canada's economic action plan builds on the government's record by announcing new measures for families and additional support for communities. This includes encouraging hiring by providing a temporary hiring credit for small business of up to $1,000 against a small firm's increase in its 2011 employment insurance premiums over those it paid in 2010. We are almost in 2012. Clearly the time is here to implement this hiring credit.

The economic action plan also includes an extension of active or recently terminated work-sharing agreements by up to 16 weeks, so that companies can avoid layoffs by offering EI benefits to workers willing to work a reduced work week while their company recovers.

The government is focused on supporting Canadian families with a range of targeted measures that will help Canadians find and hold onto good, high-paying jobs while improving Canadians' quality of life in big and small communities all across this country.

Lower taxes support businesses by providing them with the freedom to grow and invest. Reductions in corporate taxes increase incentives for firms to invest in new equipment, to undertake innovative research, and to continue creating jobs.

Bill C-13 builds on actions taken by our government by continuing to keep taxes low. We cannot afford to further delay this.

For example, to promote the exploration and development of Canada's rich mineral resources, Bill C-13 proposes to extend the temporary 15% mineral exploration tax credit for an additional year into 2012. The credit helps companies raise capital by providing an incentive to individuals who invest in flow-through shares issued to finance mineral exploration.

Similarly, investments in clean energy technology and innovation are essential to realizing economic opportunities, creating employment and enhancing the Canadian advantage. Canada is an energy superpower with one of the world's largest resource endowments of both traditional and emerging sources of energy. Canada is increasingly looked to as a source and dependable supplier of a wide range of energy products.

Bill C-13 proposes to expand eligibility for accelerated capital cost allowance treatments for clean generation equipment to include equipment that generates electricity using waste heat. The government will continue to invest in Canadian capabilities, the drivers of our economic growth.

As a trade-dependent economy, Canada benefits from having an open and efficient trading system. As part of the economic action plan, Canada's trade instruments, notably the customs tariff, will be simplified and streamlined in order to facilitate trade and lower the administrative burden for businesses as well as government.

More specific, Bill C-13 proposes to reduce the customs processing burden for businesses by reducing the number of tariff items contained in the customs tariff to facilitate the classification of imported goods. By ensuring that Canada's trade instruments are modernized and streamlined, these measures will lower customs processing costs for Canadian businesses, making them more competitive at home and abroad and supporting their participation in global supply chains.

We want to get rid of this red tape now, not later. It is important that we move on with many of these initiatives.

There are many more that I would like to have talked about, but I see my time is up. I could go on and on about all the initiatives the NDP are trying to block, initiatives that businesses and Canadians need now.

Opposition Motion--Closure and Time Allocation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member will have three minutes left after question period to conclude his remarks.

Citizenship and Immigration
Statements by Members

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada was built by immigrants and our economic future depends on our ability to quickly accept and integrate newcomers.

I am pleased to be a member of Parliament from such a diverse riding. Because of Liberal neglect and empty promises, a massive backlog accumulated in every immigration category. We are working to fix this problem. Right now, parents and grandparents can expect to wait eight years or more before they receive a decision on their application. This is unacceptable and unfair.

My constituents were pleased that the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism recently announced that the government would increase the number of parents and grandparents admitted to Canada next year. From about 15,500 in 2010 up to 25,000 in 2012, this is the highest level in nearly two decades.

The new super visa for parents and grandparents will allow families to reunite quickly. As of December 1, visiting parents and grandparents who meet basic criteria of financial support and medical clearance will now be eligible to visit Canada for 24 months without renewing their visitor status.

My constituents of London North Centre

Citizenship and Immigration
Statements by Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.

Aerospace Industry
Statements by Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the aerospace industry in the Laurentian region has seen significant growth in the past 20 years and now includes about 20 companies and 4,000 direct jobs. The riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles has a number of world-class small and medium-sized businesses working in this sector. I am thinking of Patt Technologies and Metcor in Saint-Eustache, as well as DCM Aerospace and TMH Canada in Boisbriand.

Although the aerospace industry is booming, it is nevertheless a cyclical industry that must face foreign competitors with better government support. The NDP has long proposed that we develop a concerted industrial strategy for the aerospace industry to better support innovation and promote the modernization of equipment. While this government is handing over a blank cheque to Lockheed Martin, it is avoiding coming up with a real policy that would secure the future for Canadian and Quebec workers in the aerospace industry.