House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was small.

Topics

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the pages.

[Pages and members sang the national anthem]

Climate Change
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate our wonderful pages on their beautiful voices and thank them for that incredible moment.

I am rising today to remind us that 23 years ago next week was the first global scientific conference on the threat of climate change. Canada sponsored it. We were proud to have that conference opened by our Prime Minister, and the scientists gathered there made the following statement:

Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war.

Since that time, the warnings of those scientists are no long future warnings of disappearing ice caps, retreating glaciers, increased floods and fires. They are the daily stuff of our newspapers.

Now is the time to reflect on the warnings of scientists to reinvest in their efforts and to ensure that once again Canada takes a lead globally in the fight to reduce greenhouse gases and protect our country.

Essar Steel Algoma
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bryan Hayes Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I rise in the House for the very first time, I am deeply grateful to my family, my campaign team and the constituents of Sault Ste. Marie and area for their support in my being elected as the first Conservative member from Sault Ste. Marie since 1984.

Should corporate taxes be raised, which would have been necessary to fund the promises of the opposition, the ability of our major employer, Essar Steel Algoma, to compete in the global marketplace in an extremely volatile steel industry would be compromised, resulting in potential job loss.

Furthermore, a corporate tax increase would severely hinder the ability of Essar Steel Algoma to expand its port facilities, necessary to increase capacity and add to the 3,200 direct jobs already provided by Essar in Sault Ste. Marie.

I thank the ownership of Essar from India and the Ruia family for the investment they have made in Sault Ste. Marie and for the job opportunities they have provided.

I look forward to our government's negotiation of a trade agreement with India, as our dealings with that country have been exceptional and of such benefit to my riding.

Châteauguay—Saint-Constant
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank the voters of Châteauguay—Saint-Constant for placing their trust in me to stand up for their interests here, and I plan on doing so with conviction.

I would also like to pay tribute to the Canadian family, the Quebec family in general, and, more specifically, my own family. I would like to thank the members of my immediate family who helped me during the latest election campaign. Their work and valuable help literally transported me right here to Parliament.

I would also like to highlight the unconditional support of my partner, Jacinthe, who does a remarkable job of taking care of my three young children, Sara, David and William. I hope to make up for my absences by working with all hon. members in this House to build a better future, a healthy environment and decent conditions for all Canadian children, and by working to ensure that they also want to be part of a remarkable family. Let us hear it for families.

Republic of South Sudan
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, on July 9, Canada will join with many other countries in recognizing and celebrating the birth of the world's newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan.

There is much to celebrate in the independence of this new nation. Most important for all the people of that long-troubled region is peace after 22 years of civil war.

Even a recent dispute between Sudan and South Sudan was successfully negotiated this week, demilitarizing the border town of Abyei and allowing residents to move back home.

Canada, along with many other western and African nations, has invested heavily in the peace process. Our Canadian contribution to Sudan totals $800 million in food aid, development and peace initiatives.

Even so, there is still much work to be done to secure a long-term peace in the Sudan, including resolving the conflict in Darfur. However, as the Prime Minister said recently, Canada remains committed to helping the Sudanese in “charting their future”.

Kirkland
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the city of Kirkland.

Kirkland's history begins with the arrival of the Brunet family in the area in 1667. The Meloche and Daoust families were also among the first families to arrive.

Kirkland's town library is a testament to the spirit of volunteerism behind the city's social, sports and recreational life.

In 1971, nine women gathered together in an old wooden house to inaugurate the town's first library. The original modest collection of books was donated by the Boy Scouts, who went door to door to collect second-hand volumes. Through subsequent fundraising efforts, that at one point included raffling off a car, the Kirkland Public Library was well on its way to serving the fledgling community.

From its first mayor, Marcel Meloche, to its current mayor, John Meaney, Kirkland has been served by a long line of dynamic mayors, including Sam Elkas, later an MNA and Quebec cabinet minister, and Nick Discepola, who sat in this House from 1993 to 2004.

I invite all of the members to join with me in wishing a very happy 50th anniversary to the people of Kirkland.

Building Canada Fund
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend two great events in Brandon—Souris.

The Kristopher Campbell Memorial Skateboard Plaza was officially opened this past Saturday. The skateboard park is named in memory of an enthusiastic young Brandon skateboarder whose life was cut tragically short. This park will become a meeting place for all in Brandon and is part of the city's plan to rejuvenate its downtown.

Following that, I had the privilege to take part in the grand opening of the Virden Regional Multi-Purpose Recreation Facility which features a 1,200-seat arena, change rooms for the pool, lounges, retail shops, a 500-seat banquet hall, fitness centre and walking track. This facility will provide much needed recreational opportunities for Virden and the entire western region of the province.

Both events were the product of successful partnerships between all levels of government, the private sector and community fundraising.

I am thrilled to see such positive results from our government's building Canada fund and was proud to participate in these wonderful grand openings.

Louis-Hébert
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Denis Blanchette Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank the people of Louis-Hébert for the trust they placed in me on May 2. On election day, 73% of them voted, which was the highest voter turnout rate in all of Quebec.

The people of Louis-Hébert, like everyone in the Quebec City area, are warm and welcoming. And so, I want to invite all of the members of the House and their families to visit our region.

The north shore, the south shore, festivals, events, culture in all its forms, history, outdoor activities or a nice meal shared with friends—you will surely find whatever it takes to have a wonderful experience and create lasting memories.

Welcome, and enjoy your summer.

Seniors Month
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, June is Seniors Month, and while others have risen in the House to pay tribute, I would like to add my voice of thanks to those who helped build this country and make it great.

Many seniors are veterans whose sacrifice we honour every Remembrance Day. Many others simply worked hard every day to build a better life for their children. Along the way, they built a better country for our grandchildren.

As we look toward Canada Day, we owe a deep debt of gratitude to our senior citizens. There is so much we can all learn from the wisdom and life experience of our seniors.

Our budget included a number of initiatives to help, including enhancements to the GIS for vulnerable seniors.

June also holds a special place in my heart for another reason. June is Scleroderma Awareness Month. My mother suffered from scleroderma, which is a progressive chronic connective tissue disorder. Hence, she became a senior for a precious short period of time.

I encourage Canadians to learn more at www.scleroderma.ca and let us find a cure.

Jean Béliveau
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise here today to pay tribute to a man who began a journey on August 18, 2000, with the goal of walking around the planet to promote peace and non-violence for the children of the world.

With nothing but a three-wheeled stroller to carry his things, Jean Béliveau, from Montreal, has walked 75,000 km in 64 countries. Last week, he was in my riding of Saint Boniface and we were honoured to welcome him. His five-day stop in Winnipeg means that his 11-year journey is almost over. I applaud his dedication to such an important cause.

His journey coincided with a UN proclamation declaring 2001 to 2010 the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World.

I would like to thank Mr. Béliveau for coming to Saint Boniface. I wish him all the best and, as a mother, I would like to personally thank him for his dedication to children all around the world.

Victoria
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am deeply honoured that Victorians renewed their trust in me in the last election. I am excited to work with them to advance their priority issues and complement their creative efforts toward a national housing strategy; to continue building a vibrant community with a caring spirit; to protect our coastal waters from tanker traffic and our west coast fisheries from contaminated feed lots from fish farms; to protect and streamline our public health care so it is efficient and responsive; to foster a strong local economy that supports green technology, clean energy, small business and good jobs; to secure senior government help for our regional LRT; and to stop the privatization of Victoria Harbour.

I am proud to represent Canada's most livable community and I will use every labour at my disposal to respond to their needs and interests.

Foreign Affairs
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, a grim anniversary is upon us, and that is the fifth anniversary of the kidnapping of Israeli Staff Sergeant Gilad Shalit by Hamas.

The last five years have been excruciating for his loved ones who have not received even a sign of life in almost 18 months.

Canada has been steadfast in calling for Gilad Shalit's release. I would ask all hon. members to join me in repeating that call today.

We also repeat calls for Hamas to allow the Red Cross or Red Crescent to visit him immediately.

Galid Shalit's kidnapping is one of several sticking points in the peace process. If there is to be true progress toward a two-state solution, let us start with Galid Shalit's unconditional and immediate release. May it end his suffering and that of his family.

Status of Women
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, as the newly elected chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, I look forward to working with committee members to move forward on important issues facing women in Canada.

We know that during times of economic recession and difficulty, women face significant challenges. Women still earn only 71¢ to the male dollar. The rate of women in poverty continues to grow. As corporations and government seek to roll back the rights, pensions and benefits of working Canadians, women are often left the most marginalized.

A shocking rate of senior women, around 14%, are left to live in poverty. Without national programs in housing and child care, many young women struggle to build a stable future.

Many women still face unacceptable violence because they are women, and shockingly aboriginal women face some of the highest rates of abuse and even murder.

There is great work to be done and we can do this by listening to women and women's organizations and together work to achieve equality in Canada.

Brantford Red Sox
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Brantford Red Sox, steeped in tradition dating back to the start-up of the Canadian baseball league in 1911, celebrated its 100th anniversary last Friday.

Fans gathered to pay tribute to the players and teams who were the heroes to many in my community, including this MP.

The highlights are many. From 1949 to 1954, many of the players came from the disbanded Negro baseball leagues after Jackie Robinson broke the race barrier. The great Satchel Paige pitched against the Red Sox at Cockshutt Park.

The team won five consecutive post-war championships from 1958 to 1963.

The Red Sox hosted the only American league versus national league all-star game held outside the borders of the United States.

Yes, baseball has deep roots in Brantford.

I thank the Red Sox for baseball excellence over its first 100 years.

Triple Bay Eagles Ground Search and Rescue Team
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a remarkable group in my riding of Random—Burin—St. George's, the Triple Bay Eagles Ground Search and Rescue Team in the Clarenville area.

Comprised of 34 members, this volunteer group accumulated 3,935 hours of volunteer work last year, the highest in all of Newfoundland and Labrador. They routinely put their own lives in jeopardy and were among the first to respond last fall when hurricane Igor crippled the region.

This group exemplifies the tireless efforts of volunteers who keep many of our smaller towns and communities vibrant. Its work is invaluable.

I ask all members to join me in thanking the Triple Bay Eagles Ground Search and Rescue team for its continued commitment and dedication.

Harley Hotchkiss
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lee Richardson Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is with regret and deep sadness that I rise to advise the House of the passing of Harley Hotchkiss of Calgary, a true friend to all who knew him. Harley was best known as one of the people who brought the Flames north from Atlanta to Calgary.

Harley was a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence and a Companion of the Order of Canada. He truly desired a better country and did his part through various community initiatives.

The Calgary Brain Institute, named in his honour, the Stampede, the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Foothills Provincial General Hospital and the Alberta Paraplegic Foundation all benefited from his kind heart and generosity.

An adopted Albertan, Harley Hotchkiss found his career in our province but through his good deeds made it his home.

We send our deepest regrets to his darling wife Becky and to his family.

Air India
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, June 23 is a painfully sad day for thousands of Canadian families.

Twenty-six years ago, 329 people lost their lives in a tragedy known as the Air India bombing, the largest mass murder in Canadian history. Although a Canadian inquiry was launched and completed, many questions remain unanswered. Relatives still struggle to understand how it happened.

Today our hearts go out to each and every one of them. On the anniversary of this atrocity, I stand here asking all parties in the House to join together in remembrance of the victims and their families.

Canadian, British and Indian citizens perished on that flight, but countries all over the world mourn them today.

The Economy
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave us a strong mandate to secure our economic recovery and implement our low tax plan to create jobs and economic growth.

That is why our government has reintroduced and passed the next phase of Canada's economic action plan and increased the guaranteed income supplement for seniors.

We have also taken action to protect our economy by introducing legislation to put an end to work stoppages.

Canadians gave us a strong mandate to remain focused on the priorities of Canadian families, jobs and the economy, and that we will do.

Canada Post
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth
Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's message to workers could not be more clear: if they do not swallow whatever the employer gives them, then they can fully expect to get a worse raw deal in legislation from the government. The Conservatives are imposing even lower wages than the employer was offering to the workers.

He says that mail service is important to the economy and small business, but then he locks the door on the mail sorting plants and post offices. How can the Prime Minister blame the workers for the situation when it is his government that is shutting down the mail?

Canada Post
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will get to the leader of the NDP's question in a second.

I would like to join with the member for Calgary Centre, as a Calgarian and a Canadian, in expressing my condolences on the death of Harley Hodgkiss, who was a great member of our community and our country.

In terms of the question, I think I have answered these questions before. The two parties to this dispute have been unable to resolve the dispute over a significant period of time. Through their actions, they are imposing greater and greater costs on the wider Canadian public. That is not acceptable to the government, and we will act to protect the wider interests of Canadians.

Canada Post
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth
Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government is adding insult to injury. First it attacks workers, now it is disrespecting Quebeckers. The NDP proposed to the Conservatives that we respect Quebec's national holiday by not sitting that day. The Conservatives said no. It is not important to them. I urge the Prime Minister to reconsider. The Standing Orders provide for this. We can resume sitting after the holiday.

Will the Prime Minister agree to suspend the work of the House and respect Quebec's national holiday?

Canada Post
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this legislative measure is in place to protect the greater interests of the Canadian economy, our society and the general public. It is up to the NDP. This government is prepared to pass the bill quickly before the national holiday. I encourage the NDP members to do the same.

The Senate
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth
Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, will the Prime Minister show the same disrespect if we are forced to have to ask the House not to sit on Canada Day next Friday?

Disrespect is something we are seeing extended to the provinces with a force-feeding effort for legitimacy for the Senate. He is trying to create a two-headed monster, some elected, some not. He is trying to impose elections on provinces and premiers who do not want it.

Why not just give Canadians what they want: a chance to vote in a referendum on the future of the Senate?

The Senate
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the people of Quebec or across the country want to have any more referendums at this time.

The reality is that the government is not imposing anything on anybody here. The government has brought forward some modest and good reforms to the Senate of Canada. While I know this is not the position of the NDP, I would advise the NDP members to support these important reforms rather than aligning themselves with the forces of the status quo.

Health
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is once again telling us that the expiry of the health accord in 2014 is still a long way away and that it would be useless to start working on it now; however, the Wait Time Alliance's report says the exact opposite. The chair of the alliance, Dr. Lorne Bellan, has criticized the excessive amount of time people have to wait before receiving care. The longest wait times are here in Ottawa.

Will the Prime Minister wait until 2014 before taking action?

Health
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, in addition to over 30% increases to transfer payments made to the provinces and territories for the delivery of health care, our government also provided additional funding, about $1 billion, for the reduction of wait times in their chosen areas.

We continue to work collaboratively with the provinces and the territories to roll out the present health accord and to continue to reduce wait times, while respecting the fact that health care is an area of provincial jurisdiction.

Health
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, blaming the provinces is no answer. This is a joint responsibility. There is no question that the current system is costly and inefficient.

Our public health care system must move forward now to fit today's model of community care. We cannot wait until 2014. We need a long-term care strategy to free up hospital beds and support those with chronic health concerns.

How long do we have to wait before the government takes meaningful action to address these critical shortages?

Health
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, our government has worked hard to protect and promote the health and safety of Canadians. In addition to our commitment to continue transfers of 6% to the provinces and territories, we made additional investments in pandemic preparedness, medical and neurological research, food and product safety, wait times, electronic health records, and aboriginal health.

We have also passed the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act, and the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act. We continue to work with the provinces and territories.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the House has really heard, yet, an answer to a very simple question from the Prime Minister with respect to the Muskoka slush fund.

I wonder whether the Prime Minister could explain to the House why it is that there was no paper record kept of the discussions which led to the decisions and why it is that public servants were kept away from those discussions.

These are both findings of the Auditor General. They are not my conclusions or anyone else's.

Could the Prime Minister please explain how these two very abnormal, unusual, and troubling events took place?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said repeatedly, he made the decisions in these cases. They were publicly communicated. They were for 32 infrastructure projects, all of which the money has been accounted for.

In terms of specific failings in the process that the leader of the Liberal Party raised, we have reviewed those matters, and are taking steps to ensure that those process failings are not repeated in the future.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister describes them as process failings. Let us try to understand what they were.

Either a minister alone or in company with other people made a decision without public servants being involved and giving advice with respect to the appropriateness of decisions, and without the benefit of professional advice. There is absolutely no paper trail with respect to how this decision was made.

The Prime Minister prides himself on efficiency and good governance. Any private board, any public company, in this country in which an official of the company made these kinds of decisions would be fired.

Why was the minister promoted and the person who condoned--

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please, the right hon. Prime Minister.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, ministers are responsible for decisions. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has taken responsibility for the decisions that he has made.

The fact of the matter is that, notwithstanding some of the process problems, this money was spent on 32 public infrastructure projects, all promoted by local municipalities. All the money is accounted for and those projects will serve those communities well into the future.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the funding discrepancy, the lack of a paper trail and the absence of any public servants are not an indication of problems related to the process, they are indications of an abuse of process.

Why not ask the Auditor General to conduct a value for money audit to explain how such an abuse of process occurred?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, these projects were recommended by the municipalities and supported by our government. They are public projects. All the money allocated was spent on these projects. The Auditor General made some recommendations, which the government accepted and will adopt in the future.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka's $50 million in unjustified expenses, his spokesperson stated that the RCMP investigation was, and I quote, a “public relations stunt”. That is interesting. During the days of the infamous sponsorship scandal, the member for Central Nova described the situation as, and again I quote, a “serious lack of ethical accountability” .

Millions of dollars in expenses with no documentation and an RCMP investigation. Are we not getting a feeling of déjà vu here?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there are so many mistakes in that preamble. The Auditor General has made some informed observations. We fully accept the advice of the Auditor General in the future.

Let us look at the five important points with respect to these initiatives: the money was spent on public infrastructure projects; every single penny was accounted for; every construction project was on time; costs came in under budget and, in fact, millions of dollars in this fund were not even spent; and all costs recorded were used for the purposes intended.

In fact, there are 32 individual contribution agreements to support each one of these public infrastructure projects.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the member for Calgary Southwest was in the opposition, he himself said that the Liberal government, with its history—

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. There seems to be an interpretation problem.

Has the problem been resolved? Good.

The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the member for Calgary Southwest was in opposition, he himself said that the Liberal government, with its history of scandals and refusal to accept responsibility, had not earned the right to be given the benefit of the doubt.

The Conservatives were found in contempt of Parliament, and the RCMP is now investigating the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka's dubious spending.

Do the Conservatives realize that they are behaving in exactly the same manner as their Liberal predecessors?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's report paints a pretty tawdry picture of how the Muskoka member diverted border infrastructure money on some pretty dubious pork barrel projects. It was by slipping past the checks and balances that are put in place to protect taxpayers.

Infrastructure Canada, frozen out; Treasury Board's implementation team, kept in the dark. He left no documents. He had no oversight. When it is $50 million, it is not good enough to say, “I'm sorry, the dog ate my homework”. No wonder the cops are investigating him.

When will he come clean with this House and say how he got away with that bauble--

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest just a few short weeks ago to a wise man who made comments like this, “We are prepared to have a tone of debate and discussion that is respectful. Canadians do not want insults. They do not like insults and attacks. We may disagree, but we must show each other respect”.

I have taken up the challenge of the leader of the NDP. Why has my colleague from Timmins done such a terrible job in following the great example provided by the leader of the NDP?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing more insulting to the debate of this House than to have a minister who is promoted after a scandal breaks. Not just promoted but promoted to the Treasury board, and who sits there day after day after day, hiding under his desk like Mini-Me. That is insulting to the people--

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I am not sure how the hon. member expects to hear the answer to the question when his colleagues do not allow him to finish putting the question. He still has a few seconds left. If he wants to finish his question, then I will recognize the hon. minister.

I will go to the member for Timmins—James Bay for a very brief summary.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Quite simply, Mr. Speaker, when will he do the right thing, stand up, and be responsible to this House and to the people of Canada?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite wants to talk about insults. I think there could be no greater insult than to break faith with the people who elected us and say one thing before the election and do another thing afterward, like this member did with the gun registry.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want the truth. A year and a half ago, this House voted for a public inquiry into Canada's transfer of detainees and significant risk of torture in Afghanistan. Instead, we got a backroom deal which kept the lid on it for over a year. Now, the day before this House is scheduled to close for the summer, we are getting a document dump.

Does the Prime Minister seriously believe that this will satisfy the need for public accountability and a judicial review of Canada's international obligations?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has spent the last two years professing its concern for the treatment of Taliban prisoners. Yet, as soon as there was a process in place where it could examine thousands of documents, it immediately headed for the door. If the members were that worried about Taliban prisoners, I would have thought they would have shown up for work.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, almost two years have passed since the former Speaker of the House of Commons ordered the Conservatives to find some means of providing MPs with access to documents concerning allegations of torture of Afghan detainees, all the while bearing in mind national security issues.

One year after a lame committee was established, it seems that the government is preparing to table a boatload of documents that, unfortunately, are not available in both official languages.

How much time do they need to do the job properly?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we did. We put in place a process whereby their other colleagues in the opposition, the Bloc and the Liberals, examined thousands of documents over the months, but the NDP members did absolutely nothing.

NDP members say they are concerned about Taliban prisoners, but let us face it, with friends like the NDP who needs enemies.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's bridges are falling down and the minister responsible is falling down on the job.

Four times in the last six months basketball-sized chunks of concrete have fallen down from Montreal's bridges near Champlain and Mercier, and just last Monday, a few days ago, from Toronto's Gardiner Expressway. It is a miracle that no one has been seriously injured.

Instead of cutting the infrastructure stimulus fund, why does this minister not do something to stop the concrete from falling down on innocent drivers and pedestrians?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, like my colleague and the Leader of the Opposition, I was also in municipal politics. No government has ever put as much money into infrastructure to help municipalities across the country as this government. Our government has invested the most money to improve road networks, drinking water systems and waste water treatment. We will continue to do so.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister can blame the provinces, or the cities, or even the Liberals, but the fact remains that this government has no long-term plan for maintaining and replacing Montreal's bridges.

Even worse, by reducing corporate taxes, it is mortgaging our ability to meet future needs.

The people of Montreal will suffer greatly this summer because of horrible bottlenecks.

What is the minister waiting for to take action?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the new NDP member should know that investing $680 million in Montreal's bridges takes a plan and requires working with people who have carried out studies. It means investing in the right place, as we always do.

It is common knowledge that responsibility for managing city traffic rests with the municipal authorities. We will continue to ensure the safety of federal structures and do the required work.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, by investing only $228 million over three years on infrastructure in the greater Montreal region, the minister is clearly ignoring the crisis that people there are experiencing.

The Premier of Quebec was clear: the federal government must make a commitment now to replace the Champlain Bridge.

The studies have been done. The Government of Quebec is ready. Montreal and the south shore are ready.

What is the minister waiting for to announce a new bridge right now?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. We cannot keep having standing ovations after every question. We will be here until 4 o'clock.

The hon. Minister of Transport.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again, the preamble to the question is untrue. The $228 million in the budget we just passed, thanks to the Minister of Finance, is only for the bridges in Montreal. We have invested $600 million in Highway 30 alone. This highway will be ready in 2012, and it is our government that did the work.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the law is very clear that spending government money is “subject to there being an appropriation for the particular service”. The Auditor General was very clear that there was no appropriation for the service of building G8 gazebos. The money was supposed to be for border infrastructure.

If the government is so confident that it spent the money wisely, why does it not invite the Auditor General to do a value for money audit?

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General, in releasing his report, said two things. He said there was no deliberate attempt to mislead Parliament. He also said that he did not know any law that had been broken.

The Auditor General did make some observations, which the government fully accepts, on how we can be more transparent and clearer to Parliament. We fully accept those recommendations and will adopt them on future initiatives.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us try again.

During the G8 summit, $50 million that should have been used to reduce congestion at the borders was spent in the minister's riding. The Auditor General said that he had “not encountered” anything like that. This use of public funds is so controversial that the RCMP has decided to investigate.

Will the government ask the Auditor General to conduct a value for money audit?

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the preamble to that question is in fact not true. That is not the case, the member's assertion and I would suspect she knows it is not true.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadians are not able to work because the RCMP does not have the resources to process criminal record checks in a timely fashion.

A company known as DASCH has 51 people waiting on criminal record checks alone. This is a company that serves Manitobans with disabilities.

The RCMP does not have the resources it needs in order to get the job done.

Will the government provide the resources necessary that would enable people to get back to work?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we support law-abiding Canadians who selflessly give their time to coach, to volunteer with vulnerable groups, such as children, people who need to go to work.

That is why we are pleased to announce that live scan technology will reduce waiting times for these vulnerable sector checks. It is good news for volunteers, it is good news for employees, and it is good news for vulnerable Canadians who deserve the best protection possible.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board requested an environmental assessment of the Old Harry deposit. The Minister of the Environment needs to do his job and let the people concerned have their say. The gulf is an important source of revenue for coastal communities.

Is the minister willing to set up a federal review panel to examine the impacts on the entire gulf?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ensuring that environmental effects of offshore oil and gas activities are considered so that these resources can be developed in a sustainable manner.

The minister received a request from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board to refer the project to the review panel. The minister will consider this request and make a decision with respect to the next steps for the environmental assessment of this project.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, a shocking report came out yesterday warning our oceans are on the brink of unprecedented mass extinctions.

Climate change, pollution, over-fishing and habitat destruction have brought this on.

However, instead of protecting our oceans, the Conservatives are cutting over $56 million from the department's budget.

Will the minister reverse these cuts, immediately act on the report's recommendations and start protecting our oceans?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to responsibly managing Canada's oceans.

Our government has shown unprecedented leadership on this matter. As a matter of fact, we have invested in science as to better understand our oceans and have created new protected areas to conserve them, eight since 2006.

We are also pursuing protection status for an additional seven Oceans Act areas of interest, including three new areas announced on World Oceans Day.

Canada is actively involved internationally to ensure the adoption of science-based marine conservation programs by the United Nations and by various regional fisheries management organizations.

Libya
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth
Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, New Democrats proposed and secured amendments regarding the mission in Libya, including an increase in humanitarian aid and that there would be a focus on strengthening our diplomatic role.

The House also made it very clear that the UN mandate would focus on protecting civilians, as the UN calls for, and working toward a ceasefire.

In light of the Italian foreign minister's call for an immediate suspension of hostilities to establish humanitarian corridors to deliver that aid, can the Prime Minister tell us if he has been in contact with our Italian allies to work toward that kind of a ceasefire?

Libya
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I spoke to Prime Minister Berlusconi at the G8 and I know that our governments have been in contact since. Obviously we would like to see opportunities to deliver humanitarian aid.

To this point the Gadhafi regime has been unwilling to stop its attacks on certain areas of the country. We would urge it to do so.

Libya
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth
Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is critical that the people of Libya receive humanitarian aid. For that to happen quickly, it is essential that a ceasefire, even a temporary one, be called.

What concrete action has this government taken to ensure that humanitarian aid is actually getting to the Libyan people? What aid has Canada given to Libyan civilians to date?

Libya
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has contributed to international humanitarian efforts in Libya. However, it is sometimes impossible to deliver this aid to certain areas of the country because Gadhafi's military is attacking the Libyan people. We urge the Libyan government to stop these attacks on its own people.

Small Business
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, we all know that small businesses fulfill a crucial economic role in our country. They are on the front lines of economic activity by dealing directly with Canadians, both as employees and as customers.

The Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism knows this all too well, since he comes from one of the most entrepreneurial regions of our country, Beauce.

I would ask the minister to inform us about what this government has done to ensure that small businesses in Canada pay less tax and create jobs and wealth in this country.

Small Business
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Mr. Speaker, as you know, it is our government that reduced taxes on small businesses.

Also it is the NDP that voted against our budget. The NDP record on the economy is nothing to be proud of. Just remember what happened in Ontario and B.C.

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, trade agreements can benefit a country when it negotiates a good agreement. However, this government has abandoned Canadians with its bad agreements. The cost of patented drugs in Canada is the fourth highest in the world. But the European agreement offers nothing to improve the quality of our health care. It only increases our drug costs.

Will this government stand up for Canadians and work on improving the agreement?

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Abbotsford
B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, a trade agreement with the European Union would increase trade dramatically. This would create new jobs, prosperity and ensures our long-term prosperity as a country.

We will continue to consult closely with all of our stakeholders with respect to these issues in our negotiations. I can assure members that the one thing we will not do is sign an agreement that is not in the best interests of Canadians.

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the point is that trade deals can be good for our country, but they have to be done well.

Unfortunately, this--

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I am sure the hon. member appreciates the encouragement, but I will allow him to finish his question. Order, please.

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the point is, the government continues to negotiate flawed deals. The point is that the average price of patented medicines in Canada is already the fourth most expensive in the world. This deal does nothing but increase those costs.

My question for the government is, will it stand up for Canadian families and work with the EU to fix this deal?

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Abbotsford
B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for that question, but it is pretty rich for the New Democrats to now suggest that they are the great defenders of free trade. They have not supported one free trade agreement that Canada has ever signed, from NAFTA, to Costa Rica, Israel, Panama, Chile, Peru. It does not matter what the agreement is, they oppose it.

We are standing up for Canadians. Why will they not?

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, closing the Quebec City maritime search and rescue centre could have serious consequences. Every summer, there are between 1,000 and 1,500 distress calls on the St. Lawrence River. This government plans to centralize all operations in Nova Scotia, which will not be able to provide reliable service in French.

How can this government claim to keep all Canadians safe when its actions are jeopardizing safety?

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated many times in answering questions, safety will not be compromised in any way. Bilingual services will be offered, as always.

I would ask the member opposite if New Democrats doubt the words of Lieutenant-Colonel Blakeley, who said last week, “We've just reached a point where technology allows us to do everything out of the three main joint rescue communication centres” , or does she doubt the words of the deputy commissioner of the Coast Guard, who said, “The people doing the on-water responses are the same people going to the same locations they have always gone to. Their ability to respond isn't affected by—”

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for St. John's East.

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, this Saturday I will join in a rally in St. John's to protest the closure of the Marine Rescue Sub-Centre. The people of my province know how vital this centre is to the safety of those in peril at sea, but the government will not listen to them. Instead, the minister belittles the work of the rescue centre by referring to it as a call centre.

When will the Prime Minister apologize for these insulting remarks and finally reverse this irresponsible decision?

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member opposite's question, but the point of the matter is that the current levels of service provided by the Canadian Coast Guard and the safety response and bilingualism will not be affected. Mariners in distress will continue to be served by the same people, the same lifeboats, the same ships, the same Coast Guard, the same helicopters. All of the same people are in place. This will have no impact on the service provided to our mariners and their safety.

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

In Europe, Mr. Speaker, it is compulsory for negotiators of the Canada-EU trade agreement to keep parliament informed and obtain consent on all stages of negotiations. Yet here all we get is secrecy from the government.

The current position would have Canada adopt EU intellectual property standards, forcing higher drug costs on Canadians, $2.8 billion in fact. Last fall, the negotiator admitted that there was no critical internal analysis done. What is the minister's specific position on the costs of drugs as it relates to the agreement—

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of International Trade.

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Abbotsford
B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the European-Canada free trade negotiations are going to lead to a boost in trade for Canada in the order of $12 billion per year. We are talking about a dramatic increase in trade between our respective countries.

With respect to the negotiations that are ongoing, there are many aspects of that agreement that still have to be negotiated. I wish the member would not prejudge the outcome of those negotiations. We are standing up for Canadians. We will only sign an agreement that is in the best interests of Canadians.

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I am not sure how the hon. member for Malpeque heard the answer because his colleagues certainly were not allowing him to listen to the response.

The hon. member for Vancouver Centre I hope will have better luck.

Health
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Wait Time Alliance reported yesterday that Canadians are waiting far too long for emergency hospital beds. One in six acute-care beds are occupied by a patient needing home or long-term care. Just one of those beds blocks four patients an hour in emergency rooms.

The 2004 accord promised a home care strategy. Seven years later there is none. The Health Council of Canada cites lack of federal leadership, not funding, as the problem. When will the Prime Minister show leadership, call a first ministers meeting and implement a home care strategy?

Health
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the importance of timely access to health care and is working to support the provinces and territories in their efforts to reduce wait times in the targeted areas across the country.

We have increased transfers by 6% a year, and 33% since we formed government. At the same time, we invested $1 billion to support the provinces and the territories in reducing their wait times in targeted areas. The provinces and territories continue to roll out those priorities.

Shale Gas
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday a petition was presented calling on the government to disclose which chemicals are used in the shale gas industry. Studies commissioned by the U.S. Congress have shown that fracturing fluid can contain up to 650 toxic chemicals.

Will the government listen to Quebeckers and Canadians and force companies to disclose which chemicals we are dealing with?

Shale Gas
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the regulation of shale gas production is mainly a provincial-territorial responsibility, except on federal lands.

Federally, jurisdiction over shale gas development falls under the mandate of several departments, agencies and boards. Environment Canada officials have been given the opportunity to comment on provincial and territorial environmental assessments.

We have been and will continue to monitor ongoing studies that relate to shale gas.

Shale Gas
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, last week the minister told us that research was being conducted on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. Last year, the former minister told us that shale gas regulations were “a work in progress”, even though drilling had already started.

The drilling is happening, we have yet to see the promised regulations and we do not know what chemicals are being pushed into the ground. Instead of taking a page from Talisman Terry the Fracosaurus, will the minister actually act on behalf of concerned Canadians?

Shale Gas
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am sure industry enjoys being called names like that in the House of Commons.

Our government does stand for environmental sustainability balanced with economic growth. That is why, at the moment, there are five Canadian provinces that are about to conduct reviews regarding the practices and chemicals used in the development of this resource. That is also why Environment Canada continues to monitor ongoing studies related to shale gas production.

Research and Development
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, on May 2, Canadians voted to give our government a strong mandate to continue our support for economic growth and job creation through innovation, research and development.

Would the parliamentary secretary for FedDev Ontario update the House on the results of our government's support for research in southern Ontario?

Research and Development
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by thanking the hon. member from Barrie for his excellent work as chair of the all party caucus on juvenile diabetes.

On Monday, the minister of state for FedDev Ontario joined with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in launching the Canadian Clinical Trial Network. This network will test new technologies and treatments, such as an artificial pancreas, to help Canadians suffering with diabetes.

This is a difficult disease with which many families are struggling. We want them to know this government is on their side and that we are going to work hard to develop the research to help them move forward.

Regional Development
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe that the Conservative government is denying a region of young hockey players a place to play, and northern Cape Breton is just that region.

It is not that the people of the area have not stepped up to the plate with their share but because the Conservative government refuses to help them. The government was approached two years ago.

The Conservative government spent over $50 million for fake lakes, but it cannot help this community with an ice surface. The ministers for ACOA and infrastructure and defence should be ashamed of themselves. Why have they not helped this community?

Regional Development
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche
New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member obviously referred to a specific project. He would know that hundreds of projects have been approved under the economic action plan for Atlantic Canada and that Cape Breton, just like Nova Scotia and all the Atlantic provinces, has been well served.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government's right-wing ideological agenda for the Canadian Wheat Board threatens to put an end to Canada's only deep water Arctic seaport, the port of Churchill, 90% of whose traffic comes from the Canadian Wheat Board. Killing the Wheat Board would be devastating for farmers and northerners in Churchill, along the bay line and across the north. So much for the government's commitment to the Arctic.

Why are the Conservatives abandoning farmers and northerners? Why do they not stand up for the people of the Prairies and save the Canadian Wheat Board and the port of Churchill?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands
Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote that member from yesterday in her own press conference, where she said:

—the Port of Churchill is an alternative for farmers, an alternative that often allows farmers to save money, given the shorter distance...and the lower cost of using the Port itself.

Is that not a reason why farmers would use the port if they had the opportunity?

We are going to continue to move ahead, giving western Canadian farmers the same freedoms that other farmers have across this country, the freedom to market their own products, the freedom to take advantage of the opportunities that they have.

Betty Fox
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, it was with great sadness that Canadians learned of the death of Betty Fox last week. She was a great Canadian and will be deeply missed.

Could the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell us more about the extraordinary life of Betty Fox?

Betty Fox
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, sadly, next week marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Terry Fox. Sadly again, Canada lost Betty Fox last week.

After she lost her son 30 years ago, Betty did not walk away with a broken heart. She reinvested herself in Canada. She helped create the Terry Fox Research Foundation. She helped create the Terry Fox Run. Through the incredible efforts of a beautiful woman in every sense of the word, these foundations have raised over $600 million to fight cancer around the world.

We have set up a book of remembrance outside the House chamber in the lobby for all members of Parliament to sign to express their wishes and their solidarity as members of Parliament.

On behalf of all Canadians we send our deepest regrets to the Fox family for their loss and thank them for a beautiful woman who shared her life with Canada and did amazing things for all of us.

Lighthouses
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is alarming to discover that land attached to heritage lighthouses may be severed and sold off. Groups interested in preserving these structures see the land as integral to their plans.

The value of these lighthouses goes beyond the physical structures themselves, and the land is very much a part of these heritage sites. If we want to preserve and promote these sites, the land and lighthouses must remain unified.

Will the government commit to protecting Canada's heritage sites and reverse its plans to sell off this land?

Lighthouses
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the important role that lighthouses have played in our development as a nation. They are structures of great historical importance in the communities where they are located.

In keeping with the recommendations in the report, my officials will continue to work closely with Parks Canada in the implementation of the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act.

Shale Gas
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers are worried about shale gas development and, rightly so, are calling for greater transparency regarding the potential impact of extraction methods.

The federal government is ignoring their calls. Instead, it is giving oil and gas companies carte blanche, given that, unlike other industries, those companies do not have to report the pollutants they discharge.

Does the Minister of the Environment realize that this double standard, which favours oil and gas companies more and more, is preventing citizens from getting essential information, and will he commit to removing that exemption immediately?

Shale Gas
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I have to reject the premise of that question because our government is not ignoring this issue.

That is why we are working with the provinces to comment on environmental assessments. That is why we are working with the five Canadian provinces that are about to conduct reviews, as I said earlier, regarding the practices and chemical use in the development of this resource.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of our distinguished former colleague and former leader of the opposition, the hon. John Reynolds.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear! Hear!

Access to Information and Privacy
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to lay upon the table the annual reports on the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act of the Information Commissioner of Canada for the year 2010-2011.

These documents are deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Canadian Forces Provost Marshal
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the pleasure to table, in both official languages, copies of the 2010 annual report of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal.

Documents Regarding Afghan Detainees
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am tabling, on behalf of the government, information relating to Canadian-transferred Taliban prisoners reviewed as part of the ad hoc committee process of the last Parliament.

This information includes the report of the panel of arbiters on its work, on its methodology, as well as 362 documents, totalling over 4,000 pages, which the committee deemed a priority.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the panel of judges and the committee members for their work.

Given the high volume and the importance of providing these documents quickly to Parliament and to the public, I am seeking unanimous consent to table untranslated documents. I note that this would be consistent with the approach used in the last Parliament.

Documents Regarding Afghan Detainees
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. member have the unanimous--

On a point of order, the hon. member for Outremont.

Documents Regarding Afghan Detainees
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, you and I both know that your primary duty is to defend the Constitution and the rights of this House. One of the constitutional documents governing us is the Official Languages Act. The minister was referring to what happened in an ad hoc manner last year at the beginning of the process—he had an excuse, people wanted to know as quickly as possible—but that is not the case today. There is no possible excuse.

Earlier I was listening to the Minister of Justice, who is responsible for defending our rights, answer a question from one of my colleagues, the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst. He said that they had examined thousands of documents. There was absolutely nothing stopping them from having the documents translated as they went along. It is even more unacceptable to hear the minister claim the high cost of translation as an excuse.

Since when do our constitutional rights depend on the high cost to the government? This is a totally unacceptable situation and they are denying it. Look at the situation we are being put in. The media were duly notified that these documents were going to be tabled. We did not take part in this totally improper, bogus process and now we are being asked today, given the high cost of translation, to accept the tabling of these documents in English only. I was responsible for supervising the translation of Manitoba's laws and regulations following a Supreme Court ruling in 1985. The high cost of translation was one of the arguments put forward in the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court immediately rejected it. It is unacceptable. The cost of translation cannot be used as an argument. This government, which has the gall to claim to respect rights, is tabling thousands of pages—which it could have had translated along the way—and saying that the cost of translation is too high. To the Conservatives, our rights cost too much and they will not respect them.

Before giving our answer, I have one question. The minister speaks of 362 priority documents totalling 4,218 pages. He also says that these documents contain a report. Has the report been translated, yes or no?

Documents Regarding Afghan Detainees
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has nothing to do with the high cost of translation. The government was in the midst of saying very clearly that this information, which several members worked on, will be tabled in the House as soon as possible. We want to be transparent. Some documents are in English, while others are in French. It is not a matter of official languages. Before I rose to speak, I was asked to talk about this policy, and I heard the NDP had already said yes. If that is not the case, we can hear another opinion.

Documents Regarding Afghan Detainees
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. It seems very clear there is a request for unanimous consent. It is up to the House to give consent or not.

I will allow the hon. member for Outremont one more point but then we should decide the question.

Documents Regarding Afghan Detainees
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, first I will read back for my hon. friend, in the language of Shakespeare so he will understand it, what he said in this House a few minutes ago. He said, “Given the high cost of translation”. That is verbatim of what he just said to this House. That is his reason for not respecting the Constitution of Canada and the Official Languages Act.

He also referred to, and I will quote him verbatim, “including the report of the panel of arbiters”.

Our answer to the request for unanimous consent will be a function as to whether that report of the panel of arbiters has been translated. There can be no excuse for that. Has that been translated? Is that in both languages? If it is, the minister will have our agreement despite our extreme misgivings and our finding it inadmissible that a government would not respect the Constitution. However, because so many expectations have been placed on this, we will agree to it. However, if it has not been translated, the answer is no.

Documents Regarding Afghan Detainees
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will read what I said for my friend, who I know to be a reasonable person. I said, “Given the high volume and the importance of providing these quickly to Parliament and to the public, I am seeking unanimous consent to table untranslated documents”.

At no time did I speak to the price. The member opposite pretended to quote me in the speech I just made. It is right there.

I can confirm to the hon. member that the report of the panel of arbiters dated June 15 was in both official languages.

Documents Regarding Afghan Detainees
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I do not think there needs to be a debate about other aspects of it. The minister has asked for unanimous consent to table the documents. I do not see any other points of order that can be raised.

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to table the documents?

Documents Regarding Afghan Detainees
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2010 annual report of the RCMP's use of the law enforcement justification provision.

This report addresses the RCMP's use of specified provisions within the law enforcement justification regime which is set out in sections 25.1 to 25.4 of the Criminal Code of Canada. This report also documents the nature of the investigations in which these provisions were used.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation to the Canada-France Interparliamentary Association concerning its participation in the standing committee meeting held in Montreal, Quebec, from May 3 to 5, 2011.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the following reports of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group respecting its participation in three conferences: First, the Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance Conference held in Washington, D.C., September 21, 2010; second, the Council of State Governments Annual Conference which was held in Providence, Rhode Island, December 3-6, 2010; and third, the Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance Conference held here in Ottawa, May 1-3, 2011.

Justice and Human Rights
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mega-trials).

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

(Bill C-2. On the Order: Government Orders:)

June 22, 2011--Report stage of Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mega-trials)--the Minister of Justice.

Fair and Efficient Criminal Trials Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to an order made on Thursday, June 16, Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mega-trials), is deemed concurred in at report stage and deemed read a third time and passed.

(Bill concurred in, read the third time and passed)

Health
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Health entitled “Review of Proposed Tobacco Regulations”.

If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in this report later this day.

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-246, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (hearing impairment).

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Montcalm, who is seconding this bill. He is one of the strongest advocates in this House when it comes to the rights of persons with disabilities.

The bill would establish equality for hard of hearing and deafened Canadians. With the disability tax credit currently many hard of hearing and deafened Canadians are not able to access tax credits because the tax credit regulations basically force the person to be in an ideal situation in order not to hear.

What the bill purports to do would be to put in place a system where, in a real working life, somebody who is hard of hearing or deafened is unable to hear, would then be able to access this credit.

The bill is endorsed by the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, Voice for Hearing Impaired Children, the Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists and the Canadian Academy of Audiology. All of those organizations urge all members of the House to support the bill so that we can get equality for deafened and hard of hearing Canadians.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Service Canada Mandate Expansion Act
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-247, An Act to expand the mandate of Service Canada in respect of the death of a Canadian citizen or Canadian resident.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a bill, seconded by the member for Markham—Unionville, to expand the mandate of Service Canada in respect of the death of a Canadian citizen or Canadian resident.

The bill requires the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to establish Service Canada as the single point of contact for the Government of Canada for matters relating to the death of a Canadian citizen or Canadian resident when cancelling social insurance numbers, passports and dealing with pensions and tax records for example.

The current system is far too cumbersome for those who have lost their loved ones and a new single point of contact system would save the government money by consolidating the agencies responsible for conducting this administration.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Emergency Services Appreciation Day Act
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-248, An Act respecting an Emergency Services Appreciation Day.

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Welland for being the seconder on the bill.

This bill, An Act respecting an Emergency Services Appreciation Day, would legislate that every third Saturday in July be known as emergency services appreciation day all across Canada.

The bill supports and recognizes the work done by police, firefighters and paramedics, and truly, every time we are on our way out of an emergency situation, they are on their way in. This day is our way of saying thanks for the great work that our emergency services personnel do right across our great country.

I hope everyone will support the bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Excise Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-249, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act (no GST on the sale of home heating fuels).

Mr. Speaker, when Mr. Mulroney was the Conservative prime minister, he introduced a draconian tax that taxed people's home heating essentials, from wood to oil to gas to everything else.

As members know all too well, the cost of fuel is very expensive. Adding a tax on top of that is a tremendous burden on citizens in this country.

In Nova Scotia, the government removed the PST portion of the HST on home heating fuels. There is absolutely no reason why the government cannot give Canadians a break and remove the federal tax off home heating essentials in this country.

That is what this bill purports to do. We would like to give families and businesses across this country a break. We would hope that the Conservatives would understand the importance of this legislation and help us pass it as soon as possible.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-250, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (herbal remedies).

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals were in power, they imposed a tax on herbal remedies that a lot of Canadians use.

My wife, for example, is allergic to sulfa-based drugs and cannot use 90% of prescriptions that are on the market. She uses herbal remedies, subscribed by a naturopath in some cases, and yet those particular herbal remedies are not available for tax exemption. If people without a medical plan have a prescription, they can claim it on their income tax return. However, if people use remedies like St. John's Wort, et cetera, they are not entitled to claim that as a medical expense.

I believe, as do many Canadians who use natural products to heal themselves, that they should be able to claim that as a tax deduction.

Again I am hoping that the Conservatives, who like tax cuts, will support this initiative in order to support the millions of Canadians who do not use sulfa-based drugs but use alternatives for their remedies.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Excise Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-251, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act (no GST on reading materials).

Mr. Speaker, any time we look at this country, there are about 20% to 25% of Canadians, in both official languages, who are functionally illiterate. A lot of people cannot even afford to buy basic reading materials such as newspapers, books, magazines, et cetera.

However, to charge a tax on reading materials when we are trying to encourage more and more Canadians to actually read is simply wrong.

I have this legislation, like the other two, to encourage my Conservative colleagues, who like to talk about tax cuts, to quickly adopt this legislation and remove taxation from all reading and educational materials.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-252, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (physical activity and amateur sport fees).

Mr. Speaker, this is a bill that I have been working on since about 1998. I am proud to admit that our provincial government and the federal government have adopted the bill in a very small way, allowing a small aspect of a tax credit for children under 16 who are involved in physical activities.

Our bill goes a lot further than that. If a person is a member of Nubody's, for example, or a gym and pays $300 to $400 a year or a month or whatever for that membership, I believe that membership should be tax deductible.

If people are members of a hockey team, a basketball team, a dance club or anything that gives them physical activity for which they need a membership, I believe the fees for that membership should be tax deductible, and not at 15%, but at the full amount, because that would encourage more and more Canadians to become physically active and would allow more Canadians to put, and I know the Conservatives love to hear this, more money in their pocket so they can spend on other aspects of their lives.

If we want to reduce health care costs and encourage greater community living, we need to get more Canadians physically active by allowing them to have a tax deduction on the fees that they pay for gym memberships, et cetera.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Business of Supply
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. The purpose of the motion is to move the time of the vote tonight on estimates from 10 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., something that has been done on occasion in the past.

I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, during the consideration of the Business of Supply on the last allotted day in the supply period ending June 23, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith, without further debate or amendment, every question necessary to dispose of the opposition motion and forthwith thereafter put successively, without debate or amendment, every question necessary to dispose of the motion or motions to concur in the Main Estimates and Supplementary Estimates (A), and, notwithstanding Standing Order 71, for the passage at all stages of any bill or bills based on the main or supplementary estimates.

Business of Supply
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Business of Supply
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of Supply
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of Supply
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of Supply
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to)

House of Commons
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity, as we approach the end of this parliamentary session, to thank our House of Commons pages who have served us so well. They do so in an honourable, non-partisan fashion. The expression is “They're supposed to be a part of the furniture”, but they are certainly much more than that. They help run our daily operations on a very smooth basis.

I want to thank all the pages for the hard work they have undertaken this year. I think I speak for all members on all sides of the House when I say it is a pleasure to be surrounded by bright young people who have such a keen interest in serving their country and in serving us in the House of Commons.

I hope, as this year wraps up, they will look back on it as an historic and interesting year with many fond memories. Some members have heard me say it before that my own wife was a page. She always says that it was the best year of her life, thus far at least. Many other pages have expressed the exact same sentiment.

This is an historic Parliament for another reason. Although the page program has existed for many years, in this 41st Parliament it is the first time I believe we have had pages who have actually been elected to become members of Parliament. There are two former pages who sit among us as members of Parliament.

I want to thank them and wish them the very best. My thanks for their work this year. I wish them all the best success in the future.

House of Commons
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear! Hear!

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, I offer the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be dispensed from presenting a second report pursuant to Standing Order 104(1) within the first ten sitting days after the second Monday following Labour Day 2011; and that the chair and the two vice-chairs of each standing or standing joint committee elected at the commencement of the session retain their functions.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. chief government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to)

Health
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the first report of the Standing Committee on Health presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in. This report concerns the proposed tobacco regulations.

Health
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent for the motion?

Health
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Health
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Health
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Health
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to)

Comments by the Member for Trinity—Spadina
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Yesterday, during debate on Bill C-4, the member for Trinity—Spadina said, in reference to the passengers of the SS St. Louis, in 1939, “They came without a lot of documentation and arrived on the shore of Halifax and Canada sent them away”.

This is an attempt to revise historical fact, as the passengers on the St. Louis had full documentation, including passports issued by the government of Nazi Germany stamped with a large j on them, plus entry visas for Cuba. However, Cuba turned them away due to the j on their passports.

The member for Trinity—Spadina owes the House, Holocaust survivors and the memory of the six million an apology for these unfounded spurious remarks.

What the minister is proposing in Bill C-4 is a process to determine whether undocumented people arriving on Canadian shores are bona fide refugees or not.

The 300 men and 650 women and children on the SS St. Louis were turned away, not because of lack of documentation, but because their documentation identified them as Jews.

As a child of a Holocaust survivor, I am appalled at her attempt to revise history and denigrate the memory of those who perished in the gas chambers at Auschwitz and the memory of the six million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis to the boatloads of migrants recently arriving on Canadian shores with no or questionable documentation.

I call on the member for Trinity—Spadina to stand in her place today and take this opportunity to apologize.

Comments by the Member for Trinity—Spadina
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I believe this issue was raised yesterday and it was ruled to be a point of debate. I see no reason that this has changed from yesterday to today.

Comments by the Member for Trinity—Spadina
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, the comments that the member is making is an attempt to take something that is one of the great profound tragedies of our history, what happened to those who came looking for sanctuary and who were turned away, and use it to smear another member of the House. That is a very serious thing, and I do not think it should be allowed to stand.

What the member spoke about was how some people who came to our country were not given the full right as citizens, people who came to our shores looking for help, who were turned away and who later died. This is no attempt, in any way, to denigrate the horror of the Holocaust.

When the member for Trinity—Spadina speaks of this, and we see people coming out of war zones who are in desperate situations and who do not have proper documentation who may be turned away, this is a legitimate matter for debate. However, it is certainly not acceptable in the House to attempt to paint a member of this chamber as somehow denigrating the Holocaust.

I would ask the member to put those issues aside and debate issues as they are and not attempt to trash people's reputation in such a spurious manner.

Comments by the Member for Trinity—Spadina
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

As I said, it is a point of debate, not a point of order.

Asbestos
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of presenting a petition today that calls on the House of Commons to ban asbestos in all its forms and issue a just transition program for asbestos workers and the communities in which they work.

Asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known. It is banned for use in our country, yet Canada remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos. It is more than ironic, indeed, I would suggest unconscionable, that we are taking asbestos out of Parliament buildings because of its deadly nature and yet we continue to export asbestos to other countries in the world.

To boot, as the petitioners rightly point out, Canada spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry, which the signatories refer to as “corporate welfare for corporate serial killers”.

It is time Canada started acting with integrity on this issue.

The petitioners conclude by calling upon the government to stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam Convention.

I know that the rules of the House do not allow me to endorse this petition, but let me conclude by saying that, for the very first time, I find myself agreeing with former Conservative cabinet minister Chuck Strahl, who is now joining the chorus of Canadians urging the Prime Minister to move on chrysotile asbestos.

Falun Gong
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Calgary West, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise today to bring forth a petition to the House of Commons to condemn the illegal persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese communist regime.

The petition, signed by Canadians, looks to help rescue the family members of Canadians who are incarcerated simply for their belief in Falun Gong in China: Liz-Hong He, Yu Yao, Ming-li Lin, Yun-he Zhang, Feng-jiang Tan, Ge-hong Yu, Ge-key-ang Han, Ying Zhang, Yan-hua Ge, Shen-lun Wang and Yu-shu Zhen. All are family members of Canadians who are serving jail times of up to 12 years simply for their belief in Falun Gong.

Many organizations, such as the UN committee against torture, have shown concern that Falun Gong practitioners en masse have been slaughtered for their vital organs.

Search and Rescue
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Madam Speaker, I rise today to present a petition that I would prefer not to have to present. If the government decided to keep the Maritime sub-centre open in St. John's, Newfoundland, then this petition would be unnecessary. However, I will read the petition to point out how important it is to keep this facility open.

It states that the federal government is responsible for providing adequate and appropriate search and rescue operations to oversee the safety of seafarers off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador; that the closure of the St. John's Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre would put into increased peril the safety of said seafarers; that an intimate knowledge of the Newfoundland and Labrador coastline is instrumental in assuring a quick response time when a situation arises; that the staff of St. John's Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre possesses the expertise and knowledge of our waters needed to adequately and appropriately serve our seafarers; and that the safety of our citizens should override fiscal priorities.

Therefore, the petitioners call on the Government of Canada to instruct the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to maintain a staffed Maritime rescue sub-centre in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador and to ensure that services offered at this sub-centre are not reduced in nature or scope.

The seriousness of this situation cannot be underscored. It is important that the government reconsider its decision and keeps this centre open.

Citizenship and Immigration
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Madam Speaker, one of the very first events I attended as a member of Parliament was a Mother's Day event put on by the South Asian Women's Rights Organization. It should have been an event of happiness and celebration, but it was an event of many tears and much frustration owing to the unreasonable delays in the processing times of immigration applications to reunite families of new Canadians.

The women at this event asked that I introduce into the House a petition. The petition requests that the House ensures that Citizenship and Immigration Canada addresses the imbalance of the parents and grandparents immigration processing times and makes global service standards equitable.

I am honoured to so present this petition.

Health
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition that was put together in conjunction with the Relay for Life. This petition is from a group of people in eastern Prince Edward Island who are with the Cancer Society. They are very concerned about the cost of drugs and have asked me to present this petition to the House.

The participants of the Relay for Life 2011 know that the financial burden of the care and treatment can be significant for those fighting cancer and their families.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon the government to implement a catastrophic drug program that would improve access to necessary medication for all Islanders.

The Environment
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I have several petitions to present today. The first two petitions are signed by hundreds of constituents from my riding and right across British Columbia.

The first petition calls for a ban on supertanker traffic on British Columbia's north coast. It explicitly names the Enbridge gateway project as a threat to our economy, our culture and very way of life.

Aboriginal Affairs
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, the second petition is signed by dozens of my constituents.

The petitioners call upon the government to not only follow-up on the apology that was made to first nations for the abuses that took place at residential schools, but to redistribute the funds for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

These constituents find it an utter hypocrisy that the government on one hand would apologize for past mistakes, but then continue those mistakes by not supporting the good work of groups like the Aboriginal healing Foundation.

Asbestos
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, the last petition is quite timely. Today Canada shamefully took its place on the world stage refusing the consensus to list chrysotile asbestos as a dangerous substance in the international convention.

Petitioners from across Canada call for an outright ban of the export of this most dangerous element as it is the world's leading industrial killer. It is a known cause of cancer for many years now. Yet the Conservative government somehow feels comfortable being utterly complicit in the support and promotion of asbestos around the world.

Finally, today in Copenhagen, India came on board and said that asbestos must be listed as a dangerous substance, and these petitioners back that up.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, at the time we are winding down and the budget is going through the final process, the petition that I bring forward is from signatories asking for the government to recognize that the amount of supplement given under the GIS just is not enough to cover the costs of seniors.

They are calling on the government to recognize the need to give more to our seniors through the GIS. It is with pleasure that I table this petition today.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of Supply
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Today being the last allotted day for the supply period ending June 23, 2011, the House will proceed as usual to the consideration and passage of the appropriation bills. In view of recent procedures, do hon. members agree to have the bills distributed now?

Business of Supply
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Unparliamentary Language--Speaker's Ruling
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I am now prepared to give a ruling on a point of order raised yesterday by the hon. member for Toronto Centre regarding a statement made by the Minister of Public Safety in the course of debate on Bill C-4.

When the point of order was raised, I undertook to review the transcript and, if necessary, return to the House with a ruling on that matter. Having done so, the Chair finds that the words used by the minister were unparliamentary.

However, the Chair notes that the minister did rise to clarify his remarks, stating that he “certainly did not mean any intention to commit a criminal offence by this member or any other member”. Given this clarification by the minister, the Chair is prepared to take him at his word and consider the matter closed.

However, let me take this opportunity, in these early days of the 41st Parliament, to remind the minister and all members that this kind of statement will not be tolerated.

I enjoin all members to avoid all statements that impute unworthy motives to members.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

moved:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should recognize the important role Canadian small businesses play in creating employment in their communities by lowering the small business income tax rate in order to encourage job creation.

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the member for Beauport—Limoilou.

I welcome the opportunity to speak to this important NDP motion, to reduce the income taxes of millions of small businesses across Canada.

This is the first time that I am giving a speech in the House since the election, so before I speak to our motion, I would be remiss if I did not thank some of the many people who helped me to represent my constituents in this place again.

I would like to thank many people from mayors to businesspeople, seniors, students, teachers, nurses, families, and all the ones who came out to my town hall meetings, who met me over coffee, and who spoke with me at their doorstep. Without their input and their support, I would not be here to work for them.

I want to express my thanks to my campaign team, led by a very talented and experienced Chris Mockler, and the hundreds of tireless volunteers who gave so much of their time and energy to make democracy work.

I also owe a debt to my dedicated office staff, in both Ottawa and Thunder Bay—Superior North, whose tireless work helped thousands of constituents over the past several years. That has made a real difference in those people's lives.

As everyone knows in this House, many of our families have to make real sacrifices in order to allow us as MPs to represent our constituents here. So deep thanks go to my wife, Margaret, and my son, Michael, for their understanding and support over the years.

Most of all, I would like to let the constituents of my big, beautiful riding of Thunder Bay—Superior North know that it is a huge honour for me to represent them once again here in this place. All of them, no matter how they voted. I accept that honour with humility, and I will do my very best to serve them faithfully.

Today's motion is about recognizing how vital small businesses are to communities across our country of Canada. It is about how they play an important role in creating jobs for millions for people. It is about supporting them to grow and to generate more employment by cutting their small business income taxes, so they can reinvest in their businesses to help them to grow and reinvest right here in Canada and right in their own communities, in our own communities.

Small and medium-sized businesses already employ 56% of all workers in Canada. That is close to eight million Canadians. Small businesses are very resilient when times get tough. They do not downsize their workforce as much in recessions.

For example, in the five quarters of the recent downturn, the private sector lost close to half a million jobs. Of those, large firms let go about 6% of their payroll employment, while small businesses lost only about 2%. One reason is they cannot just shut down a branch plant in Canada and retrench in their home country. This is their home country.

So it makes sense to support more nimble small businesses if we want to encourage sustainable employment growth. It also makes sense from a community investment perspective. The funds that small businesses save in taxes are largely invested, saved, and consumed locally because small businesses spend locally. They do not ship their jobs or profits overseas because they are based right here in our communities.

Eighty per cent of small businesses earn less than $100,000 a year. Their profits do no go toward padding CEO bonuses or being invested outside of Canada. In fact, a report to be released next month by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses will show that successful small businesses that grew during the last recession prefer reinvesting any windfall in their businesses and in hiring more Canadians.

Members will know that New Democrats are no strangers to supporting small businesses. The NDP government in Manitoba has cut small business income taxes in that province, reducing it over time when it was affordable to do so. Last year, they dropped the tax rate to zero, eliminating small business income taxes completely.

During the federal election, my party had a platform that called for a reduction in small business taxes. We also called for a job creation tax credit that would give up to $4,500 to businesses for each new employee.

However, in the government's recent budget there is no tax reduction for small businesses. In fact, this budget was a huge missed opportunity to support small businesses here in Canada. I have noticed that many members on the other side of the House have been crowing about a hiring tax credit in the budget. If we look at this credit closely, we will see that small businesses will be no further ahead with it than before. It is a temporary measure that will only exist for one year. All it does is defray the increases in EI premiums that businesses have to pay, starting this year.

The government is hiking EI premiums for everyone and then introducing a small credit to delay this payroll tax hike for a year. It is crowing about this like it is some great help for small businesses. As a small-business owner myself with a payroll to meet, I know that giving with one hand and taking with another really is not any help at all. However, far worse, these increased employment insurance premiums will make it more expensive to hire people after this year. It is especially outrageous considering the premium hike is so unnecessary.

The government still owes the $57 billion it raided from the EI fund. That is money that workers and employers have already paid and now they are being told to pay it twice. This payroll tax increase is expected to result in a $15 billion surplus in the EI fund over the next five years. Therefore, is this really necessary?

Until now, the government has been focused on helping its friends in the banking and oil company industries to reap record profits through blanket tax handouts that make our large corporate tax rate less than half of that in the United States of America. There is still $1.4 billion in tax subsidies going to the oil and gas sector every year, when it obviously does not need it.

Further, blanket tax handouts without conditions for investment do not help create jobs here in Canada. They might generate fat CEO bonuses or investment outside of Canada, but there is simply no evidence that they generate employment here. Instead of spending billions on ineffective policies, we need to be more selective in how we use our precious taxpayer dollars. We need more targeted investments that will result in real job creation.

The government must start supporting small businesses with more than gimmicks that camouflage tax increases. A tax cut for the local retailer down the street, the mom and pop store on the corner, or the start-up in the garage next door will help those small businesses re-invest in their communities and our communities, and create local employment.

New Democrats are trying to change the direction the government has been taking. We are trying to lead it to the light about how important small businesses are to our economy, now and in the future, and we are trying to get more value for taxpayers' money than wasting it on ineffective, across-the-board tax handouts without criteria for success.

I appeal to all the parties in this House to support today's New Democrat motion to cut small-business taxes here in Canada.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Madam Speaker, I am glad to see that the hon. member has now become such a champion of small businesses and he talked about the small businesses, such as mom and pop-type businesses and small retailers. I happen to come from a small-business background and I know the challenges that a business has.

Is the hon. member aware that there is a threshold at which a small-business does not have to pay any federal tax? I am not sure that the NDP members understand that.

As well, I am interested in whether the hon. member knows what this government has done in terms of the employment insurance system to ensure that it becomes accountable and self-funded. He mentioned the surplus that had been built up in previous times when the former government had built it up and used that money for other purposes.

I would be interested to hear what the hon. member has to say. I am delighted that he has now come around to support small businesses which are really the backbone of the economy here in Canada.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Those were very encouraging comments, Madam Speaker, and I appreciate them.

There was a previous party and government that raided $57 billion from the EI fund, but given the opportunity to correct that egregious and, according to the Supreme Court of Canada, illegal activity, that government chose not to make financial amends to that fund and has, in the last budget and this budget, increased EI premiums for small and large businesses and for the workers themselves. That is a job killer, if there ever were one.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, we in the Liberal Party recognize that the small businesses of Canada are the backbone of our economy, and when we look to the future we are looking to small businesses to continue to bring us into the world economy in new and wonderful ways.

The member seemed to have endorsed the NDP in Manitoba. I do not know if the member is aware, but the NDP government of Manitoba also has a payroll tax. It also gave significant corporate tax cuts, which seem to be in a contradiction to the federal wing of the party

Maybe the member could comment on whether or not he endorses all of the business tax breaks that have been given, and would he encourage the NDP in Manitoba to get rid of the payroll tax currently there?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Madam Speaker, I cannot comment on the payroll tax. I am not familiar with the details of it but would be happy to look into it and comment to the member later.

I do not agree with the large corporate tax cuts given in Manitoba, but when I have spoken to members of the Manitoba legislature I have found that they are in agreement that it has been a huge job creator, a huge stimulus to employment and the economy, and that they have recouped their lost income to small businesses from the increases in taxes in other areas gained from increased economic growth.

The cut in taxes that really concerns me and that should concern us as federal members is the fact that for some bizarre reason our corporate tax rate is less than half the tax rate for large corporations in the United States. It is approximately 36% in the United States and soon to be 15% in Canada. I can see it being a few percentage points lower to be competitive, but my goodness, why is it less than half the U.S. rate?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, as it is the first time I am speaking in the House, I would like to thank the voters of Edmonton—Strathcona for electing me. I am raising attention to that because there are many small businesses in my riding who have been fighting to get the federal government to support them in building their energy efficiency small businesses.

I would like to clarify for the record that the hon. member has long been a spokesperson for small business in this House. It is not a new interest that he is raising, and he is the appropriate person to raise the matter.

As the member has also spoken about that area of enterprise, I wonder if he thinks it is appropriate for us to also get the government to support the continuity of the energy efficiency sector, including reducing its taxes.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for raising the issue of investing in industries, large or small, that will lead to conservation and new directions in energy production in Canada. We know it is time to shift from yesterday's technologies and yesterday's energy sources to conservation and new sustainable forms of energy.

I feel confident that NDP members will be proposing many suggestions, and the hon. member, I am sure, will be among them.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak in favour of my colleague's motion today. First, I would like to thank my constituents in Beauport—Limoilou for their support on May 2. I am proud to represent them in this House and I am well aware of the responsibility that I have been given.

I would also like to pay tribute to my leader, because this victory in Beauport—Limoilou was also his victory. Since our first meeting in Cap-Rouge, in the summer of 2005, I have had the pleasure of working with my friend to build a better future for our families. We have compared our visions of society and agree on the Canada we want. I sincerely appreciate the privilege of having his attention to present my ideas for moving our society forward.

My leader has placed a great deal of trust in me by offering me the position of official opposition critic for small business and tourism. I am honoured and will honour that trust.

Small businesses are the foundation of our local economies. They are part of our everyday lives. The owners of these businesses are our neighbours, our loved ones. They employ our family members, friends and fellow citizens.

Our entrepreneurs have the same concerns as our workers. They want a place in society; they want to earn an honest living and be able to pass something worthwhile on to their descendants, a legacy that makes them proud.

To reach that goal, our entrepreneurs need optimal, competitive conditions. They must be able to rely on strong social programs when it comes to health care and pensions so that they and their employees are protected from twists of fate. They must be on a level playing field with larger competitors, foreign competitors who benefit from cheap labour and a lack of basic services in health care, education and public safety, which Canadians enjoy.

We need to ensure that they have the means to develop and offer their clients, all of us, the best product and the best service.

Our entrepreneurs are the people like the baker whom I buy my bread from, just steps away from my house in Limoilou. Or my three barbers, whom I have been going to for years and who know me by name; the owner of the restaurant on the corner where I go to eat because my workload forces me to grab something and I get service with a smile; or the independent owner of the convenience store where I go to buy beer and other treats, who takes the time to say hello and chat about my life.

And I have not even mentioned the pharmacist, the independent gas station owner, or the cleaner on the corner who takes care of my everyday needs. None of these honest business owners, none of these entrepreneurs, benefit from the very generous tax measures that this government is doling out to the big banks and oil companies, whose profits are mind-boggling.

It gets worse. In an article in the Globe and Mail on April 6, journalist Karen Howlett demonstrated that the massive tax cuts for big business did not prevent a significant drop in investment in machinery and equipment. In reality, these businesses built up $83 billion in additional reserves, money that has been sitting outside our country since 2008, the start of the recession.

In the meantime, family businesses and workers are suffering because of the economic slowdown. They are constrained by financial decisions that do not concern them. In the past few years, we have come to understand that the financial economy has been given disproportionate weight compared to the real economy, that of our industries, services, agricultural production and households.

This disproportion is seen in part in the recent sudden downslide in the S&P/TSX index, which has fallen by 10% since the beginning of 2011.

Everyone is paying the price right now, because the performance requirements of companies listed on the stock exchange are disproportionate to their real and tangible activities. Even when they are profitable, companies listed on the stock exchange have to “restructure”, in other words, make sweeping layoffs of their employees, the lifeblood of a company, with no good reason. Publicly traded companies have to record huge profits and pay large dividends to their shareholders. I am not talking about the obscene bonuses paid to senior executives, which goes against all performance logic and against the needs of the very company involved.

What will this government do? It will feed the tyrannical performance monster I just described at all costs by making massive tax cuts that will do nothing for the family businesses that are part of our daily lives.

The Conservative government is contributing to the economic instability that is hurting us all right now. The Toronto Stock Exchange will look even more like a roller coaster with the measures contained in this budget. There will be more grief because of the fluctuating markets and the fluctuating prices of gas and daily essentials, and we will see more job losses in many regions in Canada.

We have a job creation plan that was rolled out during the last election campaign. We want to reduce the tax rate on a company's first $500,000 of net income from 11% to 9%, which would make a huge difference to millions of small business owners and their employees. This measure would give family businesses more room to manoeuvre, which would in turn ensure their survival and continued development.

In addition, we are proposing a job creation tax credit of up to $4,500, a measure that could create 200,000 jobs. Our entrepreneurs would benefit from a reduction in Canada pension plan and employment insurance premiums for new hires, a great help in these difficult times for many sectors of economic activity, with the exception of oil development and banking, of course.

How does this government intend to create jobs? Through massive tax cuts that will not create jobs in big businesses, but will lead to greater economic instability that will hurt all Canadians. This government boasts that it has created 540,000 jobs since July 2009, mostly temporary and part-time jobs. During that same period, the Canadian population increased by 700,000 to 800,000. It would have been shameful had fewer jobs been created, given that a large number of quality jobs have been lost and businesses have closed since 2008.

This government could do much more by agreeing to implement a real job creation plan, one that would support family businesses that are part of our daily lives, a plan that would create 200,000 stable, good-quality jobs for Canadians.

We need this plan.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague.

The issue between the New Democratic vision of a functioning economy and the neo-con agenda of the Conservative Party is that we understand that if someone is going to run a business, money has to be coming in, which are taxes, and money has to be put out in investments to ensure the business. The Conservative government does not want to make the investments in the key areas. However, the Conservatives government is certainly planning on giving massive corporate tax cuts across the board that serve no useful purpose.

In Ontario, for example, from the switch in taxes, the average citizen now has to pay the share that the banks should be paying and is now paying as a result an extra $800 million a year at the gas pumps from the HST, and yet the banks in Canada enjoyed over $1 billion in tax breaks. How many jobs did those bankers create? Probably zero, because we see them shutting down banks across the country.

It is by shifting tax breaks to where people create jobs that an economy is built.

If the Conservatives are just giving money to the richest companies, which are shipping them overseas and from which we are not getting any return, what does my colleague think the return would be if tax incentives were actually targeted toward the small- and medium-size businesses that are actually investing in communities and creating jobs?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for this question.

If we really invest in small business, we will have much greater stability in terms of employment for all our constituents.

The phenomenon of employment in small business can be described as follows. In general, we see that, proportionately, approximately two to three times fewer jobs are lost in small companies during a recession than in much larger companies.

As a result, investing in small business is basically like buying insurance for the future for all our workers and for our communities.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Madam Speaker, I must admit that, this afternoon, I have been completely amazed to hear the NDP members recommending that we lower taxes for businesses, specifically small businesses, when this same party has been voting against our budget proposals regarding small businesses since we were elected in 2006.

I would just like to remind the member of the opposition of our proposals to reduce the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%, increase the small business earnings limit from $300,000 to $500,000, and increase the lifetime maximum capital gains exemption for small business from $500,000 to $750,000. During those years, the NDP voted against these proposals.

How is it that today the NDP has seen the beauty of capitalism, the beauty of a system that creates jobs? I would like to know where this new-found desire to finally promote free enterprise came from. I am very happy to see their proposal. I would like to tell him that the Conservatives will vote in favour of his party's motion but I would like to know where this idea in favour of small business came from.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his comment and for his support of the motion. It is very nice to hear.

We have long been interested in helping families and local economic activity. However, using previous budgets as examples, I think my speech gave a clear picture of the devastating effects of tax cuts as well as abuses by big corporations and their shareholders and what that has meant for Canadians.

We absolutely could not approve measures that we could see would have harmful consequences, despite the few little measures that were proposed and buried in the budgets.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to the motion moved by my NDP colleagues concerning the taxation of small businesses in Canada.

Everyone knows that I come from a region that promotes entrepreneurship. I am very proud to represent the people of Beauce. Beauce is a haven for SMEs. At one time, the people there were called the Japanese of Quebec because they are entrepreneurs who do not wait for government help to create wealth. They are resourceful and independent and like to take calculated risks.

I feel very comfortable voting in favour of the motion before us today because it reflects the position of our government as well. As I was saying earlier, over the last few years, our government has always supported small businesses and small business owners, since we know that they create wealth and drive the economy. A big, intrusive government will not create wealth, as the NDP likes to say during election campaigns and even here in the House, always proposing state involvement in response to a problem in society, either through regulations on individuals or businesses or an increase in their costs. We promote economic freedom and entrepreneurship. That is what creates jobs.

That is the best recipe. If we look at the past, we can see that that is the only recipe that has produced results. Canada came out better than all the G7 countries during the latest global economic crisis, which, I must point out, originated in the United States. Canada did not create this global crisis. It originated in the United States with the subprime mortgage crisis, as members will recall. This snowballed and affected Canada, Europe and many other countries in the world. Canada was the last to enter this economic crisis and the first to emerge. Why? Because we have adopted policies that enable creators of wealth to do what they do best, which is to create wealth.

I can say that the economic indicators are positive today, but they are also uncertain. There is a problem in Europe, with the debt of various European countries that favoured socialist measures, government measures, requiring heavy government spending. In the end, it hurt the creation of wealth in their countries. We see that the global recovery is tentative. We must continue to reduce business taxes, create wealth and ensure that there is greater freedom. When I speak of freedom, I am referring to individual and economic freedom. Politicians do not create jobs. I would like to repeat that because sometimes the people here believe that we create jobs. We depend on entrepreneurs. They pay our salaries and we should remember that. The real creators of wealth are the people who work day and night, who work continually to ensure that their families have the necessary comforts of life. They are big business owners as well as small business owners.

I do not like the fact that my opposition colleagues make a distinction between small and big business. The NDP's economic policy contains contradictions. This afternoon, the NDP is promoting tax cuts for small business, but it is also promoting tax hikes for big business. If the economic logic applies to the creation of wealth by small business, then the same economic logic should apply to big business. There is a blatant contradiction in what the NDP is saying, and I invite my colleagues to examine other countries' economic policies for creating wealth. That is what ensures that countries do better.

With our emergence from the economic crisis and through the efforts of all Canadians, 368,000 jobs were created in 2010. Canada has one of the best results of all the G7 countries. However, we must continue to promote entrepreneurship. For that reason we created and put in place various measures in this budget, including an important measure to balance the budget and thus ensure that Canadians live within their means and that entrepreneurs can continue to create wealth.

But I would like to take a few minutes to explain corporate income tax. I think that many people here probably do not realize that taxing a company means taxing individuals and Canadians. A business is simply a collection of contracts. Businesses enter into contracts with their clients and their managers, as well as employment contracts with their employees, as the NDP members well know, since they like to defend only the one side. Thus, a business is a fiscal invention. It is a cluster of contracts that have been negotiated with employers, clients and investors.

For the business owner, taxes add to the cost of wealth creation. When a small business or large corporation is taxed, that puts an additional burden on the company, and this prevents it from creating wealth and the necessary jobs. What is important to understand is that this burden is always passed on to individuals, because the business, in a capitalist system, must be profitable. Profitability is a good thing, and I am not afraid to say that businesses should make as much profit as they can, because that profit can be reinvested in wage increases for their employees, in equipment to increase productivity and in the creation of new products. Profit is a good thing in a capitalist system, and I do not understand how the people in the NDP can be against the profits made by a small or large business owner.

When a business is taxed, this imposes an additional cost on the business owner and that cost must be passed on to real individuals. Ordinary people are the ones who pay the price. The cost is passed on to consumers, because it increases the retail price of the product, and this becomes a sort of consumption tax. So when a business is taxed, this becomes a consumption tax when the business passes the cost on to the consumer. The business can also pass it on to investors, the owners of the business, and then it becomes a tax on capital, and at the end of the day, it is the business owner, the investor, who pays the tax. The business can also pass it on to the workers, whom the NDP claims to defend. Workers are also taxed when a business is taxed. This cost is passed on to the workers, who then get a lower wage increase and therefore have less wealth.

Depending on the competitive environment the company works in, it will transfer this cost one of those three ways and at the end of the day, Canadians will pay this tax. There is therefore no distinction between corporate tax and individual tax. It is a false distinction. Everyday Canadians are the ones who pay taxes. Corporations do not pay taxes. They transfer them to consumers. We are all consumers. They transfer them to workers. We are all workers. They transfer them to investors. We are all investors through the shares we hold in our pension funds.

We are the ones who always pay taxes. When the NDP wants to increase corporate taxes, it does not tell Canadians it wants to indirectly increase individual taxes. Taxing corporations indirectly taxes individuals, and that is why we have to continue down this path. That is the mandate the Canadian public gave us. We campaigned on cutting corporate taxes from 16.5% to 15%. The NDP argued in favour of increasing corporate taxes to 19%. It argued against the workers it claims to defend, consumers and small business owners.

It is worrisome to see the NDP's economic logic. It worries me to see the opposition MPs have such a biased economic logic and no understanding of basic economics. Everything I was just talking about is taught in first-year university courses. That is what economics is all about.

The economy is individuals. When we seek to control the economy, we seek to control the actions of individuals. That is why our party advocates for personal freedom. We believe that individuals, people, the public, Canadians know better than we do what is good for them. We believe that they should be able to keep their money in their pockets since they are the ones who will create wealth.

Have members ever seen a scandal in a company that creates wealth? Scandals stem from big-spending governments. If we look at the history of Canada, the Liberals bequeathed us a long list of scandals by wanting to regulate everything and spend freely.

I think that we need to have confidence in entrepreneurs. They are the ones who create wealth. That is why I and all of my colleagues feel very comfortable today standing up for entrepreneurs because, when all is said and done, we are standing up for Canadians.

I also said that taxing businesses means taxing individuals, but it also means putting an additional burden on our businesses because entrepreneurs become tax collectors for the government. While they are collecting taxes to jump through all the administrative hoops imposed on them by the bureaucracy, they are not doing what they should be doing, and that is making their dreams come true, creating wealth and working for themselves. By being self-centred and working for themselves, they are working for society because they are creating wealth and hiring individuals. When we tax businesses, we undermine their creative freedom. We restrict their freedom by asking them to be agents of the state.

I would prefer if entrepreneurs could be true entrepreneurs and focus on what they do best—creating wealth for themselves—because, in the end, this also creates wealth for all of society. The western world's economic and political history has shown that more wealth is generated in the countries with the most economic freedom.

I am pleased to see that my speech has struck my opponents in the NDP, but I do not think I am surprising them. If they can at least think about economic theory tonight, then that will be something. I encourage them to read Bastiat or Hayek and learn about this. Hayek received the Nobel Prize in economic sciences, as members are aware. His peers nominated Hayek for this award. I would like my colleagues to read Hayek and to also read our budget.

Our government's budget was written by the best finance minister in the G7. We must remember that because of our Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Canada is the best country in the world. Canada is a great country because it believes in individuals and it has a very good budget. A number of measures in this budget are pro-business, and therefore pro-individual and pro-Canadian.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

And pro-worker.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Beauce, QC

And pro-worker, as my colleague just mentioned. He is right, and he understands the economic logic that applies: we reduce corporate taxes and employees can receive larger wage increases, since we have taken that burden from the entrepreneur.

I was also talking about red tape. I am pleased to announce to opposition members that we have reduced the red tape that the federal bureaucracy imposes on business owners by 20%. That is a start. We can and must do better, but we have reduced it by 20%. That is why I serve on the Red Tape Reduction Commission with my colleagues. We will continue our hearings across Canada, listening to wealth creators and Canadians, to continue to reduce red tape so that they can focus on what they do best: creating wealth.

I urge my colleagues to have a close look at the report of the Red Tape Reduction Commission in November. They will see that we will have some good ideas. They will be the ideas of Canadians. These should be reflected in upcoming budgets, because we are focused on creating wealth in Canada. We must continue to create wealth.

We have done well on this front and we need to keep on. We will continue to reduce the administrative burden imposed on these entrepreneurs because, as I said earlier, they must continue to create wealth. It is not the government that creates wealth. We leave that up to entrepreneurs, and they know how to do it better than we do.

I have a few minutes left to say that I am both pleased and surprised today. I am pleased to see that the NDP is starting to show some concern for entrepreneurs. It is a good first step, and that is why we will encourage them to keep moving in the same direction. However, I am a bit disappointed that they saw the light after they voted against the budget. Still, I am confident that in 2012, with the next budget, they will stay on this new path and will continue to promote entrepreneurs to ensure the creation of wealth in Canada. They will have an opportunity to redeem themselves. At least it is a good start that gives us a glimmer of hope in terms of understanding the NDP's economic logic.

The Liberals have never understood economic logic, but I can see that my NDP colleagues are on the right track. I invite them to read Hayek and Bastiat. They are interesting books that truly reflect reality. It is encouraging. I am very pleased to be here today and speak because I also come from Beauce, a region known for entrepreneurship. I will tell the people of Beauce that, while taking part in a debate here in the House, I saw a glimmer of hope that Mr. Layton's NDP was beginning to understand entrepreneurs. I will take great pleasure in announcing that to the people of Beauce. But still—

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. I must ask the hon. minister to refrain from using the name of a member in this House. The minister has two minutes remaining to complete his speech.

Since he has finished, the hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for questions and comments.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing me to ask a question.

It appears that the minister went to the wrong class in university. Instead of taking economics 101, he took wasteful spending 101. It is unbelievable to me that he would even try to tell us, although he really seems to believe, that his government is not an interventionist government. Give me a break. His government's budget just gave mortgage companies a $300 billion credit. Is that not interventionist? Not only did the minister go to the wrong class, he did not learn anything. This $300 billion credit did not go to small businesses. And $300 billion is a lot of money.

Now, regarding the 65 fighter jets, no one knows how much this is going to cost. We are told it will be between $15 billion and $30 billion. So the government is handing out a possible $30 billion without a contract. Not a single small business could hope for even a $5,000 payment from this government without a contract. But it has no problem giving $30 billion to big business, no problem at all.

Third, regarding postal services, is that not interventionism? The government is intervening in a labour dispute and the Conservatives are saying they had nothing to do with the lockout scheme that is forcing the employees back to work. They intervened after just three days. It was the same with Air Canada. They intervened, and as a final point, Madam Speaker, regarding the Canadian Wheat Board, which—

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. I will give the minister a chance to answer the hon. member's questions.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Beauce, QC

Madam Speaker, I am in politics for real things, to deal with the facts, and I am pleased to be able to do so today. Further debate on other issues would be necessary because I do not have enough time to explain everything the hon. member has just raised.

He spoke of the Government of Canada's monetary policy. I invite the hon. member to read a very fine speech on monetary policy that was delivered by the hon. member for Beauce a few months ago. This speech will give the hon. member an overview of how well Canada is doing. We have one of the best monetary policies in Canada and I want to thank the Governor of the Bank of Canada and the Minister of Finance—without naming him, and the Speaker will please excuse me for the error I made earlier—for doing such an excellent job. That is why Canada is doing so well.

As far as the fighter jets are concerned, let me reiterate what I said during the election campaign. A request for proposals was indeed issued a few years ago with all the large countries. It was done under the Liberal government and I hope a Liberal MP will rise in the House to confirm that fact. Canada then awarded the contract to the best company. We are working with all our partners on having a fighter jet that meets NATO and United Nations mission criteria.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, first of all I want to thank my colleague. I have worked with him before on the defence committee. I do not necessarily agree with him on the idea of a tendered contract when it comes to fighter jets, but I will leave that for another time.

The member does tell it like it is, there is no doubt about it. I have heard him say many things in the past that certainly come through as honesty. Maybe he got into a bit of trouble for it, but he certainly was honest and to the point.

However, the member does turn this idea of corporate taxes into an academic exercise that I am not sure I totally agree with. One of the things is comparing the corporate tax to something akin to the GST or a consumption tax. I am not quite sure if that really relates when it comes to all the major exports that we use here.

I would like to zero in on two particular industries. If the corporate tax rates that have fallen over the past two or three years have been so great, why is the forest industry in Quebec having so much trouble? The corporate tax drop did not save my mill. It had to do with a lot of factors outside of that.

If corporate tax rates were so wonderful, why do we give money to auto companies to save them? It is a direct payment to them to save them.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Beauce, QC

Madam Speaker, my honourable colleague is right. Forestry is a very competitive industry, governed by supply and demand. In my area, Beauce, there is also a forestry industry. It is struggling because the market has dried up. Beauce business owners exported their lumber to the United States and I imagine that was also the case in the member's riding. The state cannot create a market. Markets dry up and that is a fact. What can the state do when the market in a sector no longer exists? It must continue to decrease corporate taxes so that when the economy does turn around, the businesses can reinvest in equipment and materials or conquer new markets, such as the European or Japanese markets.

Beauce businesses realized that the American market was no longer viable. As innovative entrepreneurs who want to survive, they developed new markets in Japan and China to which they export their lumber. I am sure that entrepreneurs in the member's area do the same thing. True entrepreneurs do not wait for the government. They take action and ask the government to get out of the way.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for that very passionate speech and I also want to congratulate him on his re-appointment to cabinet. It is one that I think we were all very pleased to see.

I would also like to say that the member is a very good, strong representative of the people of Beauce. I knew very little of the area, but this gentleman is a strong advocate for it.

Most of us in the House have received letters from different groups and organizations such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. This group that represents small- and medium-size business has come forward with certain recommendations, the first one being the freezing of payroll taxes. This group recognizes that increasing CPP and those small payroll taxes are huge disincentives to business to allow them to expand and grow. That was the number one priority.

Its second priority was reducing red tape. The member has spoken a bit about that, but the third one is what I want to mention very quickly, and that is where the organization talks about controlling spending. This government, even through the stimulus spending, was prompted by the opposition to spend more. When we talk about coming back to balanced budgets, the opposition members say that we need to spend more.

Could the member tell us the dangers in that for all of the economy, especially small- and medium-size business?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Beauce, QC

Madam Speaker, the danger with deficits is that they become chronic. A deficit increases the debt, and we are working for future generations of Canadians. We do not want to impose a heavier fiscal burden on our children and grandchildren. It is important to eliminate the deficit, and we have a plan to do so. In 2014-15, Canada will no longer have a deficit. The proposal we made in our most recent budget was analyzed by all Canadian economists and found to be very credible. But, it is going to be difficult. We will have to analyze every program and make decisions. When there is no money to pay for a program, we will have to make the necessary decisions. Our government has the courage to make these decisions on behalf of future generations.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Madam Speaker, when it comes to talking economic policy, sometimes it is difficult to ask questions in a short fashion.

Most of the profits of large corporations in Canada these days are made through the sale of products on the commodities market. Could my colleague, the esteemed professor in economics, explain to me how the increased tax on a product that is sold on the world commodities market will come back to consumers in Canada?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Beauce, QC

Madam Speaker, my response will be very brief since, earlier, I invited the hon. member to read Hayek and Bastiat and I believe he intends to do so.

I said that we need to lower the taxes on all businesses so that they have more money in their pockets. They will thus be able to continue to create wealth and sell their products in Canada and abroad.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Before resuming debate, it is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Etobicoke North, The Environment.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, colleagues will have to clap a little louder because I am far away from the Speaker and she has to be able to hear it. I will be splitting my time today with the member for Vancouver Quadra.

It is with great pleasure today that I rise to speak to this motion presented by the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North, that, in the opinion of the House, the government should recognize the important role Canadian small businesses play in creating employment in their communities by lowering the small business income tax rate in order to encourage job creation.

First, I want to commend the member for his recognition of the important role that the small business community plays in Canada. I started my first small business when I was 19 years old, as a university student. I was in the business of renting compact refrigerators to university students. I made more money in the last year of my undergraduate degree in finance than I did in my first year as a member of Parliament, which shows that, for Canadians, cold beer is more important than good representation.

I come from a multi-generational family of small business people and so I understand the importance of it.

It is really important for this motion to be here because it enables us to talk about the importance of priorities. I think the government has made some decisions that reflect the wrong priorities to create a sustainable economy, an economy where we not only protect and create the jobs of today but, more importantly, we create the jobs of tomorrow.

In terms of the government's set of priorities, last January the government actually increased taxes on small businesses by increasing the EI premiums. At a time when we have unemployment rates in Canada that are stubbornly high, at a time when we have seen hundreds of thousands of full-time jobs lost and replaced by part-time work, at a time, in my part of Nova Scotia where in the counties of Hants County, Kings County and Annapolis County we have lost 11,000 full-time jobs since September 2008, when we have seen the unemployment rate go from 5% to 12%, we need to be focused on the kinds of tax reform measures that can actually create jobs today and create the jobs of tomorrow. I think that is where the government misses it.

The reality is the further corporate tax cut that the government proposed, and has since implemented, will only benefit the top 5% of Canadian companies. It will not benefit small businesses. I know government has done a very effective job of, in some ways, convincing or fooling the small-business community to make it believe it would benefit from this. However, I would remind the House that only 5% of Canadian businesses will actually benefit from further corporate tax cuts.

We in the Liberal Party do not have some ideological aversion to cutting corporate taxes. In fact, when we were in government, we cut corporate taxes, but we did it when we were in surplus, at a time when we had surplus budgets which enabled us to cut corporate taxes and still balance the budgets, invest in health care and education transfers to the provinces, and invest in research, development and technology, and the jobs of tomorrow.

It is important to look at these priorities because today, at a time when we are in deficit, these choices are even more important. It is important also right now because the Conservatives inherited a $13 billion surplus. They spent their way through that surplus and put Canada into deficit even before the economic downturn. They increased spending in their first three budgets by 18%, three times the rate of inflation. Their record of waste and mismanagement includes: increasing government advertising by 300%; increasing ministerial office budgets by 14% last year; we all know of the G20 billion-dollar boondoggle, including the fake lakes and now the RCMP are investigating; and the first act of the government after the election was to expand its cabinet.

Therefore, the Conservatives are not even leading by example. They are not setting an example to Canadians. In fact, they are telling Canadians to tighten their belts and yet they will not control their own spending.

In terms of broader economic policy, we need a credible plan to eliminate the deficit and smart government policies to help create the jobs in the economy of tomorrow. It is important to recognize that while the macro numbers are very good in Canada, if we look at the overall numbers for the Canadian economy alone, they mask some real challenges in many of our regions.

We have what is commonly referred to as the Dutch disease in Canada. The commodity boom that is fueling the growth in many sectors, such as oil, gas, natural resources, minerals, the extractive sectors in Canada, is driving our dollar higher. As that occurs, it is crowding out many manufacturing and value-added jobs.

We are very fortunate to have the natural resource wealth we have in Canada, the mineral and oil and gas wealth, but at the same time we must recognize the increase in commodity prices. I think most people believe that the secular trend for commodities is going to go up over the next 5 or 10 years, and perhaps longer, as the growth for commodities continues to grow, and as India, China and other emerging economies demand those commodities. We must recognize that there is a real impact on other sectors of high commodity prices and the high Canadian dollar as a result of that.

Therefore, we need to have smart tax policy to help create jobs in the small-business sector and in other sectors tomorrow, particularly, the green economy and the areas of research and development and commercialization. In fact, it is time we have meaningful tax reform in Canada. We have not had tax reform in Canada since 1971 with the Carter Commission, which, among other things, eliminated an inheritance tax and brought in a capital gains tax.

Our tax reform should be based on prosperity and evidence, not on politics and ideology. My quarrel with the Conservative government's tax policies is that so often, in fact without exception, its tax policies are based on either politics or ideology. Cutting the GST is an example when it took office. I have no doubt that cutting the GST is popular, but from an economic perspective it was probably the dumbest tax move it could have made in terms of doing nothing for productivity and prosperity.

Conservatives were more interested in buying votes than building productivity or prosperity. They did nothing to create jobs. I acknowledge it was politically popular, but we need to be focused on jobs and opportunity of the future when we are dealing with a high deficit and the need to reform taxes, not just politics and ideology.

It is notable that one of the things we should consider in terms of tax reform is what we do with the capital gains tax. The capital gains tax in Canada locks up capital and forces investors to make decisions based on tax reasons and not on legitimate economic or investment reasoning. The Conservatives promised in their 2006 platform to eliminate the capital gains tax for individuals on the sale of assets when the proceeds are reinvested within six months. The Conservatives have never followed-through on that promise.

However, cutting the capital gains tax or eliminating the capital gains tax would actually unleash a lot of capital, which would enable more money to be reinvested in small business, venture capital, early-stage technology investments, and potentially create a lot of jobs and economic activity. In fact, I would posit one of the smartest tax moves one could make is reforming the capital gains tax to encourage more investment in Canada.

In terms of greening the economy, the eco-energy retrofit tax credit, that the previous Liberal government established, made a lot of sense, encouraging Canadians to renovate and green their homes with that tax credit. The Conservatives eliminated that tax credit and then brought it back on the eve of an election, but only for one year.

To explain how these kinds of tax tinkerings can affect real jobs, I will refer to a company in my riding. Sustainable Housing, which had grown to about 50 employees under the previous government's tax credit that enabled the company to make long-term plans, hire people, have 50 people conduct energy audits, help people renovate their homes and help them design new energy systems, whether it is geothermal or new heat pumps or new hyper-efficient furnaces or solar panels or insulation or new windows or doors. They were helping people assess or audit their homes to determine what to do to cut their energy consumption. The company had about 50 employees. When the Conservatives got rid of that program, it went down to about 20 employees.

Now that the Conservatives have promised to bring back the program for one year, those companies are not quite sure what to do because companies cannot make long-term investment decisions based on one-year election promises. I would urge the Conservatives to think about that and to consider extending those kinds of programs for a longer period of time.

The benefits of tax measures that help homeowners and companies as well to become more eco-efficient and energy efficient would last long into the future. The reality is that if there had been more of a focus within the stimulus packages on measures that would help companies and families invest in energy efficiency, those benefits would last decades longer--

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. I must interrupt the hon. member. His time is up. He may have the opportunity to finish up through questions and comments.

Questions and comments? The hon. member for Thunder Bay--Superior North.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Madam Speaker, the previous speaker on the Conservative side made an interesting comment about how he considers his riding and region to be the Japan of Canada. I found that particularly interesting given that Japan has a higher corporate tax rate than even the United States and it is more than twice as much as Canada's.

I know the member for Kings—Hants cannot speak for that other member but I wonder if he might have been suggesting that we emulate that.

I also wonder if the hon. member has read The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Wilkinson and Pickett which shows that the Scandinavian countries and Japan are the happiest, healthiest developed countries in the world; that the United States is the unhappiest, unhealthiest developed country in the world; and that Canada is starting to slide away from the Scandinavian model toward the American model, and how that bears on inequalities in income, and where we tax and how we tax.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, one of the things we should consider in any tax reform package is not only prosperity and competitiveness, but also fairness and sustainability as part of any tax reform measure. When I talk about sustainability, I am not just talking about environmental sustainability. I am talking about health and community sustainability

The member refers to Japan. I did not hear the remarks by the Conservative minister for small business on Japan but I do not think he would want to emulate the fiscal situation Japan finds itself in at this time.

However, in terms of Scandinavian countries, Scandinavian countries have demonstrated a capacity to invest in innovative social policy but also in competitive corporate tax rates.

I think we can have competitive corporate tax rates, competitive tax rates on investment and on small business, which I would share that view with the hon. member based on his motion, and, at the same time, innovative health and social policy, particularly in measures like early learning and child care which so clearly improve competitiveness for an economy.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Madam Speaker, one of the things my colleague from Nova Scotia mentioned was that he disagreed with our government's choice to lower the GST.

He will remember, certainly after our provincial election in Nova Scotia, that the NDP government there quickly raised the HST up by two percentage points, giving us the highest sales tax in all of North America.

If he disagrees with us lowering the GST, does he agree with the Nova Scotia provincial government's increase in the HST following our decrease?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, it is not my habit to delve into provincial politics but there is a problem when one province has a disparately high consumption tax compared to the next.

The member knows, representing the riding that borders on New Brunswick, which has a lower GST rate, what is happening to the small businesses in his riding. For real and sometimes psychological reasons, people may have an idea that they will save 2%. One needs to be careful on the provincial side.

Nobody in the House is advocating increasing the GST in Canada. However, it was a mistake economically to cut the GST because it took $12 billion out of the annual revenue of the Government of Canada. If that $12 billion were used to cut personal income taxes, cut taxes on small business, cut taxes to encourage early stage investment and put into research and development, we would create far more jobs and economic activity.

That is why we need a study of our tax system. We need to focus on building a tax reform package for Canada that would create more jobs, the jobs of tomorrow, and a more prosperous, fair and competitive Canada. That is why we need real tax reform. I hope the finance committee of the House of Commons will endeavour to study this issue on a multi-partisan basis.

What kinds of tax reforms could really build the kind of Canada we could all be proud of down the road and create the jobs of tomorrow?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on the motion put forward by the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North.

Small businesses are the bedrock of the Canadian economy. The people who lead them and work in them are the lifeblood of Canadian society. That is why the Liberal Party has traditionally supported any efforts to help small businesses grow stronger.

One part of that mix is lower taxes. Lowering the burden for small business should always be a goal whenever it is affordable. It was under the Liberal government of Paul Martin, when the government was running record surpluses, that the government passed some of the biggest corporate and personal tax reductions in Canadian history. The Liberals believe in keeping taxes as low as is practical while providing high-quality public services and ensuring the sustainability of our society.

Before I give further thoughts on this particular motion, I want to highlight what small business means to Canada.

There are over one million small businesses in Canada. As defined by Industry Canada, those are businesses having fewer than 100 employees. In fact, 98% of all businesses are small businesses and they employ nearly half of the people in the country's private sector. Canada is a trading nation and 87% of our exporters are small businesses responsible for $84 billion in exports.

Small business is a hugely important source of employment. Many women who wish to have the flexibility to parent and work at the same time choose entrepreneurship to support that objective. In fact, 46% of small businesses have some degree of female ownership.

Small business is a major creator of wealth and a source of employment for new Canadians. It offers new arrivals to the country an avenue to contribute to the growth of their community and the well-being of their own families.

The driver of our economy is small business. Over a 10 year period, nearly 80% of our net job growth came from small business, with large firms shrinking the net number of jobs over that period. That is one of the reasons these tax cuts to large corporations are so egregious. Those funds are being directed at the very organizations that are net job losers at the expense of providing tax cuts to small companies that are the job creators.

Small businesses are flexible and nimble and they can recover more quickly from a difficult period, like the recession that we have just experienced. They hold on to their employees longer and they pick them up more quickly afterward. They can innovate more easily and, when given the right support, they can grow by leaps and bounds.

There are a number of things that small businesses need, not just a lower tax rate. They also need a government that makes it easier for them to do business, one that invests in research and development and makes it easier for innovative firms to commercialize their products. The Conservative government has fallen flat in all of these areas.

The government fell flat when it comes to taxes, something it really likes to thump their chests about, but it turns out that it really did not help small business at all.

One of the first things the Conservative government did when it came into office was to raise personal income taxes. Given that many small businesses are run either as sole proprietorships or partnerships where business income is taxed at the personal rate, the government actually raised taxes on small business owners.

Although much has been made of the corporate tax cuts included in the previous and current budget, these cuts only help the largest and most profitable corporations. As I said, these are the ones that are seeing net job losses.

The government has chosen big business over small business during a time of record deficits and when it was already slashing programs and eliminating thousands of public service jobs from people who spend money in the small business sector.

On the issue of affordability, the government thinks that money grows on trees, not produced by hard-working Canadians and small businesses. A government can only deliver low taxes if it spends wisely. Unfortunately, the Conservative government has proven to do just the opposite.

The Auditor General and now the RCMP have called into question $50 million in misappropriated border infrastructure funds that the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka used in his own riding.

We have seen a government pleading with the public service to find efficiencies, while simultaneously increasing spending of ministers and perks in their own ministerial offices and increasing government advertising by 215%.

All told, government spending rose by 40% during the Prime Minister's first four years. These decisions have meant that small businesses are left without real support and taxes have been kept high.

An area where the government could have helped small business was by supporting research and development, but it cut research budgets for the granting councils. The National Research Council, which supports small business in its R and D efforts through the industrial research assistance program, is being cut a huge 20%. Therefore, where is the vision? Where is the plan that fosters equal opportunity and prosperity for all Canadians? Where is the vision for green technology, innovation, sustainability leadership and the green jobs on which we know the future will be built.

The Conservative government appears to be only governing for the short term and is ignoring the kinds of strategies and investment in innovation that are needed for Canadians to maintain their standard of living.

I do not want to ignore the NDP record with regard to business, because that also has been a reason that there has been lack of support for small business. The government fails to understand the needs of modern business. I am sure the NDP and my hon. colleague from Thunder Bay—Superior North have the best of intentions in bringing this motion forward, but they represent a party that is fundamentally anti-business.

It is important for members of the House to understand that the NDP has, at its core and is guided by, an ethos that stands opposed to the very nature of the marketplace. I will read from the NDP constitutional preamble, the very principles the party maintained at its recent convention. It states, “the production of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy”. That is good as far as it goes. It continues on to say, “and not to the making of a profit”.

I wonder if members of the NDP can explain how small businesses can contribute to job creation and economic growth if it believes that profit is a dirty word. Without profit, businesses cannot reinvest and grow, cannot hire new employees, cannot innovate and cannot contribute to the development of sustainable technology and business practices. They simply would not exist. To deny that the basic necessity of a business, which is to earn money and profits, is revealing a fundamental lack of understanding of business.

I hope my colleague from Kings—Hants will not complain when I quote him when he said, “The NDP doesn't know a stock from a sock”.

While I served as environment minister in British Columbia, I co-founded a company that incorporated sustainable principles into our business model, focusing on reforestation and ecological renewal. However, we could not have done so, we could not have grown and expanded this company without capital and that capital was the reinvestment of profit.

Thinking that profit is a bad thing discredits the New Democrats among small business owners and proves them not capable of providing the type of leadership that the small business community so desperately needs.

The Liberal Party supports efforts to lower the tax burden on small businesses, but such efforts must be part of a larger strategy that validates the importance of small business and their profitability and that supports research, provides tools and mechanisms for companies to grow their operations and focuses on key factors, not a scattershot approach.

The Conservative government's record on small business is abysmal and, unfortunately, the NDP does not think small business should be allowed to make a profit. The one option is too hot and one is too cold. It is clear why small business needs a Liberal option that is just right for the people who are at the heart of small business and a long-term vision for their success.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I only just tuned in the last few minutes, but I heard some discouraging remarks about the NDP's reputation when it comes to small business.

I come from the socialist paradise of Manitoba and I think my colleague might be interested to know that when we took power in 1999, the most recent government, the government of Gary Doer, one of the most successful provincial governments in the history of Canada, the small business tax imposed by the Conservatives was 11%. I think my colleague would be interested to know that it went down from 11% to 10% to 9% to 8% to 7% to 6% to 5% to 4% to 3%.

I think my colleague would be interested to know that the small business tax in Manitoba is now zero. It is a big fat goose egg. There is no small business tax in Manitoba.

My colleague is sadly mistaken about the treatment of small businesses. Her colleague from Winnipeg North will say that there is a payroll tax. The payroll tax is for businesses with a payroll of $1 million-plus, and it is 2%.

Maybe she should get her facts straight before she starts slagging the NDP's position toward small business. Small business has only one friend in this Parliament and it is the New Democratic Party.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, I have to wonder whether the member was at the NDP convention last weekend, where the preamble about socialist principles and the aversion to profit was kept in its constitution. Perhaps the member missed that.

I want to celebrate the accomplishments of that member's provincial government. However, I would point out that in my province of British Columbia, British Columbia went from the strongest growing economy in Canada to the worst growing economy in Canada in the decade of the 1990s under the stewardship of a high tax NDP government.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, there were aspects of the member's speech with which I agreed. I agreed with pretty well everything she said when she talked about the pathetic policies of the New Democratic Party in regard to any type of business, whether it was small, medium or large.

I was a little disappointed with her attack on the government and our want to see our economy grow. Government has a role in reducing taxes and reducing a lot of other things, especially red tape.

I do not believe the member was a member when the Liberals were in government. While her party served as government of our country, we saw red tape and regulation grow like never before. The Liberal Party of Canada believed that everything had to be regulated.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business and many other small business organizations applaud this government in its ability to recognize the need to reduce red tape, regulations and those things that handcuff small and medium-sized businesses.

The member from the NDP who brought this motion forward at one time said, “There are elements in our party that have not been adequately concerned about the health and growth of business”.

It is time for the member to stand and recognize that there are elements in that Liberal Party that would just love to see red tape continue to grow and handcuff small business.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very disappointed in that member supporting his government's tax regime, claiming that it is about making the economy grow when in fact it is things like the GST reduction and corporate tax cuts that economists themselves say are not elements for growing the economy. They are actually the wrong taxes for growing the economy. They may be politically popular, but they are not the right thing to do.

I would love to invite the member opposite to look at the red tape reduction initiative of the government that I was part of in British Columbia. In one year 33% of regulations were reduced. The member's government is talking about 20% by the time it has been in government for six years.

I want to hear about that red tape reduction program protecting the regulations that are important for health, safety and the environment.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment. I would also like to inform you that I will share my time with the hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

I would like to thank all of my constituents in Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for giving me the privilege and honour of representing them here in the House. I would also like to thank all those who helped me throughout the election campaign: my many friends and particularly my family, including my sister Marianne and my niece Stéphanie.

I rise today in support of this resolution in favour of small businesses. I support it because, historically, the CCF and the NDP have always been in favour of small business. We must remember that, historically, the founding members of the CCF were farmers, people who ran their small agricultural businesses, people who worked in transport, in construction, who had small businesses. These people got together in 1933 for their first big battle: creating the Canadian Wheat Board. They succeeded in 1935. Throughout the economic recession, they understood that uniting their small businesses could help create large Canadian institutions. These small businesses continued to prosper and now, these same small businesses create the majority of jobs. They also represent 30% of our exports.

Small businesses in Canada are firmly committed to innovation. Quite often, these small businesses are the creation of young university grads who, upon getting their university degree, set up small laboratories, innovative companies. They create companies that they hope will become successful. They hope that they will grow and will create jobs.

Clearly, we must support small businesses. That is why the NDP resolutely decided to show its complete trust in them, as demonstrated in our platform. The NDP would like the government to give a $4,500 tax credit for each job created. A $4,500 tax credit could be a lifeline for a small business. Not only would this allow it to create jobs, but it could even help the company survive. Indeed, we must not kid ourselves; the first few months for any SME can be excruciating and difficult. However, SMEs create jobs. They create real wealth, not speculation. That is not something that can disappear in just a few days, at the speed of an email. That is what happened in the U.S., a country that is big on deregulation, big on perfect and free enterprise, a country that systematically favours large institutions. At this time, the U.S. government has had to go heavily into debt in order to save institutions that may not have deserved to be saved. A $4,500 tax credit for each job created in an SME could go a long way.

We will also support scientific research and experimental development. The government had the opportunity to increase funding for small businesses. It did not do so. Yet we all know that innovation in biotechnology, electronics and all the areas that represent Canada's economic future takes research and development funding. The government missed a good opportunity to support this segment of the economy.

They are also lowering taxes. At present, small businesses are taxed at 11%. That rate could have been lowered to 9%. Lowering taxes in a sector that creates jobs is important.

We have to support job creation and lower taxes for industries that agree to create jobs. Unfortunately, after 12 years of programs from Paul Martin and the current finance minister, we have not seen the major beneficiaries of the tax cuts pass on the slightest benefit to the Canadian public by creating massive numbers of jobs. Twelve years is a relatively long time over which to evaluate a program. This program of systematic corporate tax cuts has clearly not worked, while, despite all the challenges they face, small businesses are creating jobs.

We also generally see in SMEs all the problems that come from the absence of a pension plan. They are too small to qualify for the major private pension plans. The NDP is in favour of revitalizing the Canada pension plan by increasing the pension benefit from 25% to 50% in order to guarantee Canadian workers 50% of their salary as a pension regardless of where they work.

The Canada pension plan was tailor-made for SME employees who do not have access to major pension plans. The NDP has continued working for small business. We believe that SMEs are the future. Entrepreneurs are focusing more and more on the social economy, the environmental economy, the knowledge economy, and they are increasingly running their businesses as co-operatives. They are following in the footsteps of those who created the CCF and the NDP.

This motion simply acknowledges the fact that Canada's economy and job creation are actively supported by SMEs. Without this economic activity, the recession would have hit much harder. We would have suffered a much higher unemployment rate. As in the United States, we would have suffered from the social exclusion of the poorest people. SMEs, firmly focused on the social economy, work to care for and support the poorest in our country who have reached an age where they need active support to stay in their homes. Yes, this social economy will continue to grow. It would be nice to see the government actively supporting it.

The knowledge economy will continue to grow at the speed with which students graduate from university, trained and ready to apply their knowledge to wealth creation and not speculation. This SME economy is firmly focused on job co-operatives, social housing co-operatives, and fishery development co-operatives. Co-operatives can be created in any sector. This economy is based on the idea that wealth creation should belong to those who create wealth, not those who invent it through speculation.

We are strongly opposed to all of the economic activities proposed by the Government of Canada, which aim only to support big businesses and which do nothing for Canada.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

I would like him to explain in more detail how reducing the tax rate for small businesses makes it possible for them not only to create jobs but also to improve working conditions for their employees.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, as a general rule, any business that is taxed will immediately reinvest its profits in the growth of the company.

SMEs do not accumulate capital. They do not resort to tax havens. They take their profit and immediately reinvest it in new equipment and manufacturing processes, in scientific research and innovative development.

They cannot waste their resources on tax havens or public private partnerships.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate my friend's comments on the motion but I was a bit confused and not because the member was speaking very eloquently in French and my French is not that good. I was more confused that I believe I heard him say, in his speech, that he does support cutting taxes for small business but he somehow does not support tax cuts for other business. Then, I heard my good friend from Winnipeg Centre brag about the tax reductions in Manitoba by an NDP government.

I am really trying to understand what is the position of the New Democrats. Do you believe in cutting taxes for business to create job growth for all business or do you not?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I would just remind all members to direct their comments through the Chair.

The hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, the Conservative member has just put his finger on the problem. We must support measures that help Canada and avoid measures that harm Canada.

At present, tax reductions for big business, banks and oil companies have not yielded the expected results.

Where are the numerous jobs that these businesses have created? There are none. Where are the great social benefits they have created? There are none.

When taxes are cut for SMEs, they immediately reinvest in the economy. They do not wait years to go ahead with international purchases. The SMEs act immediately.

We will support measures that help Canada and stop cutting taxes for those that have benefited from these cuts and done nothing for Canada.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, the member makes reference to, and we are glad to see that the NDP has recognized the need for, small business tax breaks. We understand and we appreciate the vital role that small business across Canada plays.

Earlier today in question period, one of the member's colleagues made reference to the free trade argument. Small business is dependent on expanding markets in the world. Has the NDP position on the idea of freer trade in certain circumstances changed? Does the NDP see the value in terms of potential job creation for small business by looking into those types of agreements in the future?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, earlier I pointed out that SMEs account for 30% of our exports. Quite often the exports are technologies that they have developed, an unparalleled know-how. In that regard, it does not really matter whether or not there is a good market or a free market. They can get into the market because of the excellence of their products. That is what distinguishes Canada's small businesses. They get good results. They are excellent.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my colleague from Thunder Bay—Superior North for crafting this opposition day motion, as well as for his excellent work in supporting small business. This motion is very important and indicative of long-standing NDP policy in the area of support for small business.

I want to reiterate the motion, which states:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should recognize the important role Canadian small businesses play in creating employment in their communities by lowering the small business income tax rate in order to encourage job creation.

Small business plays a huge and vital role in our communities. Small- and medium-size businesses employ about 56% of all Canadian working people. That is a huge number. About eight million Canadians work for small- and medium-size businesses and small business makes up almost 98% of all Canadian enterprises. It is a huge segment of our economy.

There are 2.3 million small businesses in Canada and about half of Canadian GDP is generated by small and medium business. We are talking about a huge and important sector of our economy.

I would also point out that about one-third of all self-employed persons in Canada are women and they have ownership stakes in about 45% of small and medium business. This number is growing.

I would like to talk for a minute about the small businesses in my riding of Parkdale—High Park. It is a fairly well established, older community in the west end of Toronto and is one of the most desirable communities in the city because of the presence of small businesses. It is a community with older, tree-lined streets where people do not have drive to big box stores but can walk to their neighbourhood grocers, the Home Hardware store on Roncesvalles, clothing stores, shoe shops, restaurants and all of the services that are provided by small businesses in the community. I believe that the quality of life is increased immeasurably in my community because of small businesses.

The people who own these businesses work incredibly hard. Many of them live in the neighbourhood. Some of them live above their stores, others live in the neighbourhood and they have a stake in the community. Yes, their business is there, but, as I say, many of them live there and their kids go to the school.

They are tremendously engaged in the community and they express that engagement not only by the services and goods they provide through their businesses but by sponsoring sports teams, raising funds for community initiatives like creating the Wabash Community Recreation Centre or the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre.

They are very active in neighbourhood business improvement associations. These associations were actually pioneered in Bloor West Village thanks to Alex Ling, who was a visionary in this area. The BIAs have championed the beautification of the business areas and neighbourhoods but also how to attract investment in the community, how to draw people into the neighbourhood.

Therefore, small businesses do not just serve the people who live in the neighbourhood, but attract people from all over the community. They are huge sponsors of festivals, such as the Ukrainian and Polish festivals. They are incredibly important to the lifeblood of the community.

We have moved this motion because, unfortunately, both the Conservative government and the Liberals have been supporting tax cuts across the board without any job creation measures attached. The current tax cut that is going forward, which both the Conservatives and the Liberals voted for, has no job creation measure attached to it, whereas this motion speaks to cutting small business taxes.

We know that small businesses are not going to ship jobs out of the country, but that they employ people in our neighbourhoods. In fact, they provide good jobs, they train people, they innovate and they are creative businesses in our communities. Whether in boom periods or recessions, they try as much as possible to maintain the stability of their employment in their businesses. They will do their darndest not to lay people off, even when they are really struggling as businesses. We have certainly seen many small businesses struggling in our cities and neighbourhoods.

Reducing small business taxes from 11% to 9% is a way of providing an incentive for small businesses to take on more staff to grow their businesses. We also propose a tax credit to offset some of the costs of hiring new people, a credit of up to $4,500, including a job retention measure.

These tax cuts are concrete measures tied to job creation. We believe they would create over 200,000 new jobs. That is why we believe this proposal is so important and significant.

We are talking about sustainable job creation because we know that when small businesses expand and take on staff, they tend to retain their staff. We have seen the good quality jobs they create right in our own neighbourhoods. We have seen their resiliency in good times and bad, and we seen the community investment these small businesses provide right in our own communities, because they roll their money right back into the community. They expand their business locally and create jobs locally. The people they employ, for the most part, live right in our neighbourhood. When they get employed, they spend their money in the neighbourhood and pay taxes. This is good for everyone.

In summary, our motion speaks to the important role in the Canadian economy played by small businesses. We want to help small businesses play that important role. We want to see them grow and thrive, create jobs and invest in our communities. We believe a tax cut for small business would encourage them to hire more staff. Our tax credit would, in fact, tie strings to the hiring. That makes much more sense.

Unfortunately, the party opposite has tied a very short-term credit to EI increases, which are completely unnecessary. We are going to have a $17 billion EI surplus over the next five years, on top of the $57 billion that has already been rolled into paying down the deficit. I would like to discount that approach and say how strongly I support this motion, because it is the right measure for small business in Canada.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Delta—Richmond East
B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I am fascinated by what I am hearing from the opposition members. During the campaign that we all just went through, I remember very distinctly both the NDP and Liberal commentary that our government's proposals for lower taxes did not equal job creation. In fact, many a time we were told that, and yet I am now hearing the opposite from the other side.

Given the convergent view of the opposition parties on big business and small business, do they not understand that many small businesses depend entirely on big business, because they are the suppliers and subcontractors who help large businesses operate and profit.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the role that small business plays not only in providing neighbourhood goods and services but also in supporting and servicing larger businesses, in particular, is very important to our Canadian economy.

What is completely unacceptable is how the government has turned a blind eye to the massive de-industrialization of our manufacturing sector, which has not only destroyed innovation and jobs in that sector but has also had a devastating effect on the many thousands of small businesses and related jobs in the service sector, which has seen large manufacturers ship jobs out of this country.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the whole idea of urban revitalization that the member referred to, particularly the community commercial strips and the important role small businesses play in their revitalization.

In my own area, I look at areas like Selkirk Avenue and the role private businesses have to play there. Providing tax incentives and reducing taxes gives more opportunity for many of those small businesses to participate in revitalization.

I would look to the member to comment on that area.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do believe that the economic development provided by small businesses does lead to urban revitalization.

Where there are thriving businesses, there are thriving communities. When the small business sector creates jobs and opens up avenues for employment, they beautify the streets and create economic activity. It gives people a chance to gain employment and it can lead to the revitalization of an entire neighbourhood.

That is why I believe that business improvement associations are so important in marshaling the resources of businesses to improve their neighbourhoods.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, several times today we have heard questioners from other parties claiming that the NDP does not really understand business, does not have a history of business and is not fiscally responsible. I have heard quite a few comments and jokes about dubious assumptions.

In 2009, the federal Department of Finance published a report, which is available, analyzing provincial governments across Canada from 1986 to 2009. It showed that NDP provincial governments were the best across Canada. In 51% of the years, they had balanced budgets. The Conservatives were number two. Liberals were worst of all at 30%.

I would ask the member for Parkdale—High Park why are there these myths about fiscally irresponsible NDPers, which get thrashed about repeatedly here?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for pointing out the myth, because it is well documented that the New Democratic Party has the best record for prudent fiscal management, as published by the finance department of the Government of Canada.

We welcome that reputation and important record.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, the great parliamentary secretary who works with us.

It is with great pleasure that I rise to support a call for tax cuts from the socialist NDP, as unbelievable as that may be. Unlike the tax-and-spend NDP opposition, we truly believe Canadian families and businesses should not pay higher taxes.

Our Conservative government has been a strong supporter of lower taxes and has clearly demonstrated this since taking office in 2006.

We understand that lower taxes make our economy stronger and create good, long-term jobs for today and tomorrow. That is why we are delivering historic tax relief and cutting taxes in every way that government collects them, from personal taxes to consumption taxes, to business and excise taxes, and others.

Since 2006, in fact, we have had an outstanding record of cutting over 120 taxes. We reduced the GST. We increased the amount Canadians earn tax free. We introduced pension income splitting. We introduced important tax credits like the Canada employment credit, the working income tax benefit, the child tax credit and much more. We have reduced the overall tax burden to its lowest level in more than 50 years, including by removing over one million low-income Canadians from the tax roll. We have built on our legacy of tax relief by reducing taxes on savings via our the landmark tax-free savings account, the most important personal savings vehicle since the RRSP.

Overall, the total savings for a typical family are over $3,000, leaving more money in Canadian families' pockets, where it is most needed and where it belongs.

Tax freedom day, the day Canadians start working for themselves after paying off all their taxes to all levels of government, has come earlier and earlier under this government. In 2005, under the tax-and-spend Liberals, tax freedom day was on June 26. However, after more than 120 tax reductions by our government, including the reduction in the GST from 7% to 5% and the introduction of the tax-free savings account and pension income splitting, the savings for a typical family are over $3,000 a year. As a result, tax freedom day now comes on June 6 this year, more than two weeks or some 20 days earlier.

Our Conservative government's clear and positive record of allowing Canadians to keep much more of their own hard-earned money is great news and one of our proudest achievements.

Our record also includes giving Canadian job-creating businesses more freedom to create jobs and make further investments by improving their tax competitiveness. That includes by reducing business taxes, eliminating the federal capital tax, providing tax relief to our manufacturing sectors, and more and more and more.

We also recognize the vital role that small business plays in the economy and job creation. That is why, since 2006, we have also lowered their tax bill to help them succeed, such as by reducing the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%, increasing the amount of income eligible for the lower small business tax rate from $300,000 to $500,000, and increasing the lifetime capital gains exemption for small businesses from $500,000 to $750,000.

Building on our record, we are doing more to help small businesses. For instance, in the next phase of Canada's economic action plan, a plan that every person in this Parliament should support, we announced the new hiring credit that will encourage some 525,000 small Canadian businesses to hire new employees with a one-year EI break.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has welcomed it:

CFIB is extremely pleased to see its top budget priority--an EI Hiring Credit for Small Business--announced in the 2011 budget....this credit will be a major help to small firms in growing their workforce.

While our Conservative government has a strong and proven record of lowering taxes for Canadian families, seniors and businesses, especially small businesses, the NDP's record is dramatically different.

The socialist NDP and the NDP members of Parliament have a proven record of pushing a high-tax agenda by voting no again and again in the House of Commons to our Conservative government's initiatives to lower the tax burden. The NDP voted against reducing the GST. The NDP voted against pension income splitting. The NDP voted against reducing the small business tax rate. The NDP voted against the small business hiring credit. The NDP voted against our tax relief for families and businesses each and every time.

Even more troubling, the socialist NDP has repeatedly protested and mocked our efforts to leave more money with everyday Canadian families and businesses.

What is more, public statements by the socialist NDP leader and members of Parliament clearly underline their fundamental belief that Canadian families and businesses should be forced to send more of their hard-earned money to government.

Here are just a few examples:

The NDP leader has declared, “Tax cuts that have no basis in terms of moving the economy forward, such as the GST proposal...are not the wise choice now”.

The NDP member for Hamilton Mountain bemoaned, “The Prime Minister is picking up the [tax fighter] mantle...The Conservatives are intent on taking us in the wrong direction”. Imagine, tax cuts in the wrong direction. Who would figure?

The NDP MP for Victoria complained, “The Conservatives have a single-minded obsession with tax cuts that is not shared by the majority of Canadians...all they’ve delivered are tax cuts”.

The election on May 2 actually proved something totally different from that thought. It makes one wonder.

Even worse, while our government is promoting positive economic policies that would give businesses more freedom to grow and create even more Canadian jobs, the NDP has been promoting negative job-killing economic policies.

In a telling moment, even the NDP member for Thunder Bay—Superior North, the sponsor of today's motion, sheepishly and stunningly admitted publicly, “There are elements in our party that have not been adequately concerned about the health and growth of businesses”.

Specifically, they are targeting job-creating businesses with massive business tax hikes along with massive EI and CPP premium increases.

First, as businesses try to rebuild and recover from the recession, the NDP wants to slap a huge $10 billion a year tax hike on them, something that would hit small businesses very hard. A $10 billion a year NDP tax hike would mean losing good Canadian jobs and jeopardizing the financial security of hard-working Canadians.

Small businesses know that Canadians cannot afford that. They know they cannot afford higher taxes and cannot afford the job-killing policies of the NDP.

Despite what the NDP says, small businesses strongly stated their objections with the NDP's tax hike plan during the recent election campaign. Here is what Catherine Swift of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said, “--an awful lot of medium-sized companies that will also be affected by the tax hike”. She added that cutting corporate tax rates will help small-business, small firms and that they are very supportive of continuing the reduction in corporate income tax.

Second, small businesses are extremely concerned with the NDP plan to hike EI and CPP premiums. As we all know, the NDP is a strong supporter of a 45-day work year, something that would drastically increase EI premiums by a whopping 35%, and other legislation to dramatically expand EI as demonstrated last fall.

Here is what the CFIB said at the time:

To have Liberal, NDP and Bloc MPs all support a private members' bill to dramatically increase the generosity of EI benefits is troubling to say the least. This bill would drastically increase EI rates as people would qualify for incredibly generous benefits after only nine weeks of full-time work. [This would] make it harder for businesses to hire skilled workers...It's totally irresponsible--

Even worse, the NDP wants to dramatically increase CPP premiums by doubling them. Again listen to what the CFIB had to say about that, “NDP talk of doubling CPP benefits would mean increased premiums and a heavy hit on small business payroll costs”.

While our Conservative government is focused on keeping taxes low and helping create jobs, the socialist NDP wants to raise taxes and kill jobs despite today's platitudes.

People in my constituency have seen NDP policies at work. We have seen our kids move away. We have seen jobs go to Alberta. It is amazing that after four years the province of Saskatchewan, with a population of one million people, all of a sudden announced today that the population is at 1,054,000 just because the proper polices were in place for taxation, just for allowing businesses to grow, just for allowing businesses to expand, and just by saying it is open for business. Saskatchewan has seen what the NDP can do. It has also seen what can happen when proper polices are put in place, and the population growth has definitely proven that.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

NDP

Marc-André Morin Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely surprised today. I must admit, I did not take economics 101, but if I were to take it, I would want someone from this side of the House to teach it. I was listening to the minister's brilliant presentation earlier and he was talking about countries where businesses have more freedom and pay less taxes. I wonder whether he was talking about Ireland, which is on the verge of bankruptcy, or the United States, which might default on its payments and see its credit rating fall if the two houses cannot agree on increasing the debt ceiling. Do they have any examples of what they are talking about? They seem to be strong in economics across the way.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, we do not have to look too far, we just need to look in the mirror here in Canada to see what happens when we bring about responsible spending and responsible tax cuts.

Look at the jobs that have been created in the last couple of years just by having good, progressive tax cuts, again, still maintaining a goal to balancing our budget, still maintaining the fact that we want to be a prudent spender of taxpayers' money, but again, we are allowing business to grow. Businesses hire people. People spend money. It is great for the economy. It is great for families. That is how we end up with a strong family.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have dealt extensively with the CFIB. It says:

While Canada may have weathered the recent economic downturn better than most, we did not escape without our fair share of scrapes and bruises.

It goes on to say:

In the rush to stimulate the economy, our government sank further and further into debt. While a few did manage to spend within their means, the majority accelerated a pattern of overspending that predated the economic downturn.

I quoted that because the hon. member quoted extensively from the CFIB. I would not want to give the impression to Canadians watching this that it is working for the Conservative government.

I do want to talk to the hon. member about the 45-day work week. He mentioned in his speech about how people are moving to Alberta. I am not sure if he mentioned that as a negative impact toward his community, but if we diminish this 45-day work week initiative when it comes to seasonal work, then these people will be moving even more.

Seasonal work has a cyclical pattern throughout much of rural Canada, and with that kind of attitude, it could get worse for seasonal workers.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member must have misheard me. They are actually moving back from Alberta.

Under the NDP government and its policies kids from Saskatchewan could not find a job there, so they went to Alberta to work. Now, under a good Conservative-style government with good tax policy, the kids are coming back from Alberta and they are growing the economy. The Saskatchewan unemployment rate is less than 5%. It is one of the best in the country. That is reality when we have good, proper taxing and spending.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Prince Albert mentioned that he had a provincial NDP government he had to deal with. We had one in Ontario in the early 1990s, led by the current leader of the Liberal Party. We used to have a saying in Ontario: “How does an individual start a small business in Ontario? One buys a medium-sized one and wait”.

I am just wondering if Saskatchewan had the same experience when it had a provincial NDP government.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Prince Albert, SK

That is very interesting, Mr. Speaker, and yes, I would have to say we did have that experience. We did not even see the medium-sized companies form in Saskatchewan. They just decided to boycott us altogether.

The companies in Calgary sure love Saskatchewan because all our bright and wonderful kids under the NDP government went to Calgary and made their fortune. Those are the ones who are coming back and spending money in Saskatchewan.

There is no comparison between the city of Saskatoon under the NDP government and the city today. The small towns in Saskatchewan today are actually growing, whereas under the NDP government, people were trying to figure out how to get out of them as quickly as possible.

It is clear the policies of the NDP are outdated and did serious damage to the economy of Saskatchewan. We should not go down that road. We cannot afford it here in Canada.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo
B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am certainly glad to have the opportunity to stand here today and speak to the motion regarding small business taxation and our Conservative government's strong economic record, especially in this area.

Since forming government in 2006, we have focused on lowering taxes for families; seniors; businesses, especially small businesses; and everyday Canadians. However, before I continue, let me be clear. Our record of aggressive tax relief for Canadians did not come easily.

As we all know, we had a minority government. We had to fight the socialist NDP every step of the way. The NDP has opposed and voted against every one of our budgets from 2006 to 2011. It has proudly voted against all 120 of our tax cuts and it has repeatedly criticized our tax cutting measures.

My colleagues quoted this earlier, but I think it does bear repeating because it was very important and it speaks to the perspective, when the NDP MP for Windsor—Tecumseh said:

--it is important for us to look at the policies the government has implemented since it has been in power, and in particular the Conservatives' absolute obsession with their ideology around the importance of tax cuts to move economic development forward in this country.

Our record speaks for itself as the best recovery from the global economic recession. We are standing in a great position. We have 560,000 new jobs created in this country. It is a fantastic record showing that our tax cuts and our economic action plan are working.

When it comes to taxes, the NDP record is clear. It will vote for high taxes time and again. From voting against cuts to the GST, not once but twice, to voting against tax cuts for small businesses, the NDP high tax agenda is in sharp contrast to our Conservative government's record, a record that I would like to share with the House, especially for the new members who may be unaware of some of the really important measures and again some of the measures that their party actually voted against.

However, before I highlight the examples of our strong action to lower taxes since 2006, I would like to inform the House that we are supporting the motion for one simple reason: we do support lower taxes for Canadians.

In terms of our record, we have shown a great tax track record. We have cut taxes in every way government collects them: personal, consumption, business, excise, and more. We have cut over 120 taxes since 2006 all total, leaving $3,000 more in the pockets of families where it belongs. We have removed one million low-income Canadians completely from the tax rolls. We have lowered the GST not once, but twice, 7% to 6% to 5%. We have introduced tax credits like the child's art tax credit, the children's fitness tax credit, family caregiver tax credit, volunteer firefighter tax credit, Canada employment tax credit, the working income tax benefit, and the child tax credit and many more.

We have not only lowered taxes in every way the government collects them, we have also introduced the tax free savings account to encourage Canadians to save more. Overall, we have reduced the tax burden on Canadians to the lowest level in nearly 50 years.

While we have been leaving more of Canadians' hard-earned money in their pockets, we have also given business more freedom to grow, especially small business. As we all know, small business is the backbone of our economy. Their entrepreneurialism fosters the growth in jobs that so many Canadians depend on for their livelihood. We all recognize the commitment, dedication, and sacrifice that each small business owner has made each and every single day. That is why our government declared 2011 the year of the entrepreneur.

The Conservative government's commitment and dedication to small businesses is demonstrated through the tax relief we have provided them since 2006 to encourage their growth, success and prosperity. The record is as impressive as it is long.

Among the highlights, we have reduced the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%. We have also increased the amount of income eligible for the lower small business tax rate, from $300,000 to $400,000 to $500,000. That has been a hugely important measure for those small businesses who would have jumped into that 16%, 17%, 18% bracket. They can use it to grow their businesses even better. We have increased the lifetime capital gains for small businesses from $500,000 to $750,000, the first increase since 1988.

However, our Conservative government recognizes there is always more to do to assist small businesses and encourage growth. That is why in the next phase of Canada's economic action plan we announced a number of new measures that support small business, such as the temporary hiring credit for small business to encourage more growth in the sector. This will encourage some 525,000 Canadian small businesses to hire new employees with a one-year EI break and one that has been welcomed by small business and others in Canada.

In the words of the Toronto Board of Trade:

SMEs are the engines of job growth...Spurring productivity and employment growth among SMEs, as this Budget does, should help Canada’s economic recovery.

We are also making it easier for small business to work with the tax system which can be overwhelming and extremely frustrating.

Specifically, the next phase of Canada's economic action plan includes important steps to improve the provision of information, enhance service, reduce administrative burden and increase taxpayer fairness for businesses dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency. One example, and I am really pleased as the parliamentary secretary for national revenue, is we have now ensured that businesses get written electronic answers to their written queries. This was warmly welcomed by small business in Canada.

In the words of Catherine Swift of Canada Federation of Independent Business:

Requiring CRA to provide written interpretation on tax inquiries when requested through CRA's online window will bring a significant improvement in transparency and accountability....In this Year of the Entrepreneur, the government took several important steps to help small businesses spend less time focusing on red tape and spend more time creating jobs and growing their firms.

As a member of the red tape commission, I have seen many positive steps there.

We have announced $3 million in annual ongoing support to make BizPaL permanent.

Just yesterday we voted on Bill C-3 in which we committed $20 million to support the Canadian Youth Business Foundation's activities to ensure that young entrepreneurs had the support and resources to make their dreams of becoming a business owner possible through mentorship, learning resources and start-up financing. Again, I want to point out that this important measure was actually voted against by the opposition.

There is really so much to say in terms of the many things that we have done to support small business. I will leave it here and look forward to some questions.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I clearly heard the member opposite from Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor twice use profane language during the former speech by the member from our side of the House, which I believe to be unparliamentary language. I think he should apologize.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

There is no doubt that profane language is certainly a contravention of the Standing Orders. I did not hear what was said. I do recall hearing some chatter from that end of the House. We can certainly take a look at the record and see if anything shows up there, unless the member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor has something to add.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I did say something and to say it was slightly off-colour is probably an understatement. I want to apologize to her. I want to apologize to all members of the House and to anybody who picked it up on the television broadcast. I sincerely apologize.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I heard my hon. colleague's comments in reference to my party and some of the things we had done.

I am not sure what she has against lowering the small business tax from 11% to 9%. She talked eloquently about the reduction from 12% to 11%, which is 1% for small and medium-sized business and which we all agree is the engine of this economy. Yet the government is willing to give 5%, 6% and 7% to large business that by all accounts do not create any jobs.

In fact, in my municipality, large businesses take the jobs elsewhere. John Deere is a prime example. It received the tax cut from this level of government and it went to Mexico. Henniges is going to Mexico. I am glad the government gave that corporation a break. I just wish it had created jobs in my community.

Then again, there was the collusion between the current government and the last government. When it came to the $57 billion in the EI account that the last government pilfered, it took the last remaining $2 billion. Then we asked that it be put it back, it was just simply washed off the board.

What is the intent of the government? It is to raise EI. So for those workers who get the one-year holiday, they have the rest of their life to continue to pay higher EI, courtesy of the Conservative government, to get less benefit.

I can see the economic action plan is not working for workers, Canadians or families. Indeed, what we are seeing is somebody is getting the money and somebody is getting the shaft.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear a question in all of that, but I will take the opportunity to perhaps respond to some of the comments.

First, our government absolutely supports the motion for lower taxes. We believe it is important for large businesses to be competitive as well as small businesses. I will contrast that with the plan for CPP and the 45-day work week and how that would impact our small businesses in such a negative way.

Small businesses know they can count on our government to move them forward.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the government has made the decision to support this motion, and I applaud its support. However, it has adopted a policy wherein the home revitalization tax credit is only available for one year. Does the government not see the merit for small businesses by making a more genuine commitment, let us say five years, to that program to assist small businesses?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are really happy to have announced in the budget the extension of the home eco-energy grant. It is a very popular and I think many people look forward to it. People have called my office asking many questions about it. It is a very warmly-received move by the government. In terms of the budget, we look forward to implementing it.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to the hon. member's speech, which I thought was outstanding. I also listened to the rhetoric of the NDP member who spoke a few minutes ago. It was a complete mischaracterization of tax policy.

We know the NDP is simply not being open and transparent about this. It would propose to reduce the marginal tax rate, while increasing taxes that employers pay, whether they are profitable or not.

I am going to give my hon. colleague an opportunity to respond to this because she knows employers pay more to EI than employees do, in fact 140%, and they pay CPP. NDP members stand regularly calling for higher CPP premiums. Do they understand that small businesses pay that whether they are making money or not and how punitive that is on families?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs for raising that really important issue. I know he has been a small business owner and truly understands not only the impact of the small business tax rate but looks at the whole picture. He knows the government needs to look at the whole picture, whether it be CPP, EI or the tax rate.

Again, I welcome the NDP to this new-found desire to help business and I look forward to it continuing.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank the people of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord for choosing me as their federal member of Parliament on May 2. It is a great honour. Since my constituents want change, both in the riding and in Ottawa, they will not regret voting for the NDP, the party of workers and families.

The motion we are proposing today is more than necessary. Not only are small businesses key to the Canadian economy, they are also a pillar of the local and regional economy; more specifically, they are the future of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean's economy. Year after year, we have been losing more and more people from my region, particularly young people who leave the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region to go and make a life elsewhere, in large centres like Quebec City and Montreal. For example, our last regional migration report indicated that 396 people had left the area. All these people decided to move because they were unable to find work in their field in the region or because wages are higher in big cities.

I cannot blame them for wanting to improve their living conditions and earn more money. However, it is unacceptable that, in 2011, young people cannot establish a career in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region, have a family and live there happily until they retire. That is why, from the first day of my election campaign, I chose the economic diversification of the region as one of my top three priorities. This is achieved through the creation and expansion of small and medium-sized businesses.

In my riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, many SMEs are locally based and contribute to the economic development of the region. Take, for example, Cycles Devinci, a company that manufactures high-end bicycles using various aluminum products. Among other things, this company manufactures the famous BIXI bikes that allow city dwellers all over the world to benefit from an excellent self-service bicycle rental system.

There is also Coderr-02, a social economy enterprise in Alma that works in various sectors: waste material management, development and, soon, tourism. They also offer placements for people not participating in the workforce. There is also the Fromagerie Boivin, a family-run business in La Baie, which has been making Canadian cheddar since 1939 and recently won a contract with Kraft to produce Amooza cheese. According to Fromagerie Boivin, this new partnership will create 25 to 30 new jobs in the area. That is something to be proud of as a regional SME.

All of these businesses are invaluable and the government should provide them with the means to ensure their growth. Businesses must be created, and this is important because they not only create jobs but they also renew the national and regional industrial structure. Entrepreneurship also curbs poverty and provides social opportunities. According to the Quebec entrepreneurship strategy, funding is often a deciding factor when it comes to starting up and developing a new business. Without these resources, SMEs such as Trimoz, a business in Alma that is implementing a recruitment concept that is unique to Canada; Eckinox Média, which specializes in graphics and media solutions; and Coopérative de solidarité V.E.R.T.E., a new SME in Saguenay that runs two inns, and offers outdoor adventure packages and adventure tourism in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, would not be able to develop and become competitive.

There must be tax cuts for small businesses to encourage the creation of long-term jobs. To have strong SMEs creating wealth and jobs in our regions, it is of the utmost importance to support SMEs in the start-up and development phases. The first five years are the toughest for these small businesses and entrepreneurs who have the courage to start a business in order to improve the economic prosperity of their communities.

If the government is serious about wanting to encourage entrepreneurs to create wealth and jobs, it has to fully support the assistance measures offered to new businesses. That includes technical assistance, venture capital, micro-credit, etc. It is imperative to offer fertile ground, here, in the regions, to allow our SMEs to be born, to grow and to prosper. This implies collective sharing of the risk involved in innovation. We all know the expression “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Let us not forget that, in a context of market globalization, Canadian small businesses are facing major challenges. They have to remain competitive in a market where they frequently have to compete with much larger players throughout the world.

Although small businesses are the biggest job creators in the Canadian market—we cannot say that enough—they are the victims of fiscal injustice and unfair competition. Small and medium sized enterprises support the so-called mass market. That is why we must support them in order to ensure stability within the Canadian economy.

Given that 72% of the exporting businesses in Canada have less than 50 employees and produce a third of all exports, it is more than necessary to take immediate action to support these businesses. For once, could we simply give them resources without trying to take them back with the other hand?

The Conservatives are prepared to cut corporate taxes yet again. The Conservatives feel sorry for the major oil companies and think they deserve to be subsidized to the tune of $2 billion a year. But when the NDP calls on the government to give small and medium-sized businesses room to manoeuvre by cutting their taxes by a measly 2%, the government says no. Again, SMEs create half the new jobs in Canada.

This same government that claims to want to stimulate economic growth and job creation is suddenly no longer able to provide tax support to these companies that could hire a new employee at the end of the year because of their lower tax rate.

Why is the government abandoning the SMEs that are fighting to save every dollar to make small businesses profitable, increase their sales and hire more people from their community?

SMEs in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean need help. We know that, unlike large corporations, small businesses reinvest their profits in the local economy. Does the Conservative government not agree that this reinvestment in the local economy is what will enable us to strengthen Canada's fragile economic recovery?

Small- and medium-sized businesses are also known for creating lasting jobs because, during an economic slowdown, they are more likely to hold onto their employees. SME owners have humane values and principles. They are not obsessed by profit at any cost. They know that if they fire an employee, that family will go without an income and its financial situation will worsen. That family might even live in their neighbourhood. These entrepreneurs make sacrifices for the well-being of their community, and the least the government could do is support them.

When I look at the economic measures in the Conservative budget, I am disappointed. As a citizen, I am disappointed that the government does not have its priorities straight. I am disappointed because I can picture myself as a business owner who must be wondering why his own government refuses to give him the help he needs to support his business. As a parliamentarian, I am disappointed that the Conservative budget left out an excellent proposal put forth by the NDP to reduce taxes for SMEs by 2%.

From an environmental standpoint, the Conservatives are widely considered a complete disappointment, but never would I have expected them to be so out of touch with reality when it comes to economic diversification and support for SMEs. When is this government going to support small businesses? When will it really support the businesses that create jobs?

The problem we have now is with the redistribution of tax revenues. All too often, they are lining the pockets of the largest corporations, which, we can all agree, do not need them as much in order to prosper. That is why it is so crucial to lower taxes for small businesses in order to spur growth and job creation in the business sector. The government absolutely must recognize the role of small businesses in the Canadian economy, and it needs to act now.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Hillyer Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I feel that any talk from a socialist party about supporting business is just not believable. Saying that we love small businesses but hate large corporations is a little bit like saying that we love eggs but we do not like chickens.

Where will we get all this funding for small businesses if we are hostile to the large businesses? They will leave the country with their huge tax base, along with all the jobs that will surely be lost if they leave. Someone has to pay the piper. All the tax breaks in the world will not help a small business if the economy is a disaster.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the Conservative member that the NDP supports wealth creation. However, unlike our Conservative colleagues, we support the redistribution of this wealth in society.

Thus, we would provide more assistance to small businesses than to big businesses, because SMEs create more than half of all the new jobs in Canada. In addition, these same small businesses reinvest more in their local economy and hire local people, no matter where they are located in Canada.

For that reason, we do not necessarily want to tax big businesses more. We want to make small businesses the priority, because big businesses and the major oil companies receive enough tax cuts and subsidies these days.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to a question I asked one of the member's colleagues earlier. He made reference to a number of small businesses in his area and said that a number of those businesses rely greatly on exports.

Earlier today, there was a confusing message coming from the NDP members in regard to their position on freer trade. It seemed to give the impression that new NDP members are a bit more open to the concept of freer trade. Could the member provide some comment on this?

It is great to get those tax incentives and we applaud the motion. To what degree does the member feel that there is a place in certain situations for freer trade among nations?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to my Liberal colleague that the myth that the NDP is against free trade agreements is false. However, some measures in all of the free trade agreements that we have recently seen in Canada were unacceptable to the NDP in terms of protection for jobs in Canada and Quebec. There are grey areas in the countries we do business with. Are workers there treated properly? Are they paid well? What are their working conditions?

That is why, in the past, we have analyzed every free trade agreement. Based on these criteria, the NDP is in favour of equality for all citizens of Canada and the world, and it wants to respect these nations. Unfortunately, we did not agree with some measures in the free trade agreements, based on these criteria.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

There is one minute remaining for questions and comments. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I, too, listened to the hon. member's comments. It really strikes me as odd that the NDP members constantly attack the energy sector, the banking sector and big business in Canada, and they think they can do this in isolation with small business. It is nonsense.

I personally have been in business in Canada for about 15 years. My family is still in business. We understand a function of a healthy small business sector is a healthy big business sector. It is a healthy economy. Why does the NDP not get this? I would love to hear an answer, please.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be brief since there is not much time left. In Canadian society, every business, large or small, and even taxpayers, must contribute to wealth redistribution. That is why large companies that make large profits, that have a healthy bottom line, could distribute a bit more money throughout society.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

It being 6:30 p.m., pursuant to an order made earlier today it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Opposition Motion—Small Businesses
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #12

Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Senate
Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board

moved:

That Vote 1, in the amount of $59,490,350, under PARLIAMENT — The Senate — Program expenditures, in the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, be concurred in.{QuotePara}

Concurrence in Vote 1—Senate
Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Concurrence in Vote 1—Senate
Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Senate
Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Senate
Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Senate
Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Senate
Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Senate
Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #13

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:05 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board

moved:

That the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, except any vote disposed of earlier today, be concurred in.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #14

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-8, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2012.

(Motion deemed adopted and bill read the first time)

Hon. Tony Clément moved that the bill be read the second time and referred to committee of the whole.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you will find agreement to apply the last recorded division to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting yes.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

The NDP members will be voting no.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

The Liberal members will be voting no.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Bloc members will be voting no.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party votes no.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #15

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

I will now leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of the Whole.

(Bill read the second time and the House went into committee of the whole thereon, Ms. Denise Savoie in the chair)

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Chair, can the President of the Treasury Board confirm to members of the House that the bill is in its usual form?

(On clause 2)

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Madam Chair, the presentation of this bill is identical to the one used for the previous supply period.

However, the supporting schedules have been modified to provide better clarity and transparency by reflecting the portion of funding that was provided through Governor General special warrants.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

Shall clause 2 carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 2 agreed to)

Shall clause 2.1 carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 2.1 agreed to)

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Chair, on a point of order. In light of the Auditor General's report, will the minister give his personal guarantee that all the money in the estimates will be spent in the prescribed areas, and none of it in other areas, and particularly not in Muskoka?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

This is not a point of order. I will give the hon. minister a chance to reply, if he wishes.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

Shall clause 3 carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 3 agreed to)

Shall clause 4 carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 4 agreed to)

Shall clause 5 carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 5 agreed to)

Shall clause 6 carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 6 agreed to)

Shall clause 7 carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 7 agreed to)

Shall Schedule 1 carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Schedule 1 agreed to)

Shall Schedule 2 carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Schedule 2 agreed to)

Shall clause 1 carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 1 agreed to)

Shall the preamble carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Preamble agreed to)

Shall the title carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Title agreed to)

Shall the bill carry?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Bill agreed to)

Shall I rise and report the bill?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Bill reported)

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

moved that the bill be concurred in.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, I believe you would find agreement to apply the result of the last recorded division to this motion, with the Conservatives voting yes.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, NDP members will be voting no.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal members will be voting no.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc will be voting against this motion.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, no.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #16

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

When shall the bill be read a third time? By leave, now?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, I believe you would find agreement to apply the result of the last recorded division to this motion, with the Conservatives voting yes.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP members will be voting no.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal members will be voting no.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc will be voting against this motion.

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party will be voting no.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #17

Main Estimates, 2011–12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The next question is on the motion to adopt Supplementary Estimates (A).

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

moved:

That the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, be concurred in.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, I believe you would find agreement to apply the results of the last recorded division to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting yes.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP members will voting no.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal members will be voting no.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc will be voting against this motion.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, my entire caucus will be voting no.

The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #18

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-9, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2012.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

moved that Bill C-9, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2012, be read the second time and referred to a committee of the whole.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, I believe you would find agreement to apply the last recorded vote to this motion, with the Conservatives voting yes.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP members will be voting no.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal members will be voting no.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc will be voting against this motion.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be voting against it.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #19

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

I do now leave the chair for the House to resolve itself into committee of the whole.

(Bill read the second time and the House went into committee of the whole thereon, Ms. Denise Savoie in the chair)

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, can the President of the Treasury Board confirm for the members that the bill is in its usual form?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Madam Speaker, the form of this bill is identical to that used during the previous supply period.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

Shall clause 2 carry?

(On clause 2)

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 2 agreed to)

Shall clause 3 carry?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 3 agreed to)

Shall clause 4 carry?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 4 agreed to)

Shall clause 5 carry?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 5 agreed to)

Shall clause 6 carry?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 6 agreed to)

Shall schedule 1 carry?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Schedule 1 agreed to)

Shall clause 1 carry?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Clause 1 agreed to)

Shall the preamble carry?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Preamble agreed to)

Shall the title carry?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Title agreed to)

Shall the bill carry?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Bill agreed to)

Shall I report the bill?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Denise Savoie

(Bill reported)

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

moved that the bill be concurred in.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, I believe you would find agreement to apply the result of the last recorded division to this motion, with the Conservatives voting yes.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is it agreed to proceed in this fashion?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, NDP members will be voting no.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, Liberal members will be voting no.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Québécois vote against the bill.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party is voting no.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #20

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

When shall the bill be read a third time? By leave now?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe if you were to seek it, you would find agreement to apply the result from the last recorded division to this motion, with Conservatives voting yes.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is it agreed to proceed in this fashion?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, this may surprise you, but NDP members will be voting no.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, Liberal members will be voting no.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Québécois vote against the motion.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

The Green Party votes against the motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #21

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2011-12
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

7:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government was required to submit two greenhouse gas emissions reports, one to the United Nations and one to Parliament. The government told the UN that its climate change policies were up to 10 times more effective than what it told Parliament. I. therefore. asked the minister to tell us which report was accurate and who ordered the changes.

The minister responded that the two reports were based on two different compilations of data. In reality, not so much two different data sets but rather data, and an omission of data, from the oil sands.

To be generous, the report to the UN offered data from different categories that incorporated oil sands data but there was no detailed breakdown as the minister answered.

The minister then went on to say that the government reported that in 2009 the oil sands contributed 6.5% of Canada's total emissions. This statistic, however, was actually only provided by Environment Canada after it was questioned about the missing information in the report to the UN.

The minister's own office later confirmed that his comments were not accurate. I, therefore, suggested last Wednesday that the minister should retract his comments in a point of order following question period, and said:

Knowing what he does now, will the minister now rise, admit his answer yesterday was wrong, correct the record, and [apologize]?

Last Thursday, I said:

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday the Minister of the Environment told this House that the oil sands industry contributed 6.5% of Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions in the government's report to the United Nations.

The minister's own office has confirmed that his comments were not true.

I then repeated the same question from Wednesday:

Will the minister, knowing what he does now, rise, admit his answer was wrong, correct the record, and fully apologize?

Instead of apologizing, the minister responded, “My colleague is still in the environmental weeds on this question”. I used to teach climate change, climatology and meteorology at the university, and consulted to Environment Canada. I was also a lead author for Canada on the intergovernmental panel on climate change.

The so-called weeds matter, data matters, facts matter, methodology matters and conclusions really matter, particularly when two reports which do the same thing reach very different results, results that vary by 10 times.

Scientists take a consistent approach. I still have the same questions. Why was oil sands data omitted from the UN report and who ordered the changes? Who ordered the scientists to use different approaches to get two very different answers, one that made the government look better than its actual performance and that could be presented to the world, and a second that fit the government's ideology and played well to its base in Canada?

The world knows about Canada's oil sands. The data should have been presented clearly in the report to the UN and the methodology should have been the same in the two reports.

If the government had a reason for leaving out the data, it should have been accountable and transparent and explained why in the report.

7:35 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, since this is the first time I have had the opportunity to address the member opposite, I would like to congratulate her on her appointment as critic on this file. I look forward to working with her on the environment committee.

I would like to remind the House that the two reports to which the member has referred have two very separate and distinct purposes.

The report to the UN is Canada's National Inventory Report and is the authoritative measure on Canada's performance on greenhouse gas emissions for the years 1990 through 2009. The 2011 report, like all previous annual National Inventory Reports, is fully compliant with Canada's international greenhouse gas reporting obligations.

The report to Parliament is the 2011 climate change plan for the purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. It is compiled to meet the obligation of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act and, as such, has a focus only on government measures that will lead to greenhouse gas reductions during the Kyoto reference period from 2008 to 2012.

The main reason for the difference between the two estimates is therefore based on the simple fact that the National Inventory Report and the report under the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act have completely different reference points.

Consistent with its long-term historical focus, the National Inventory Report includes a high level, illustrative estimates of the possible impact on 2009 emissions from all federal incentives put in place since 1990.

The 2011 Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act report, on the other hand, examines only federal measures introduced since 2006. This represents a much smaller subset of government measures than is addressed in the National Inventory Report estimate. Further, the four megatonnes number for 2009 in the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act reflects the fact that we are taking a conservative approach to projecting the impacts of recent Government of Canada actions.

I would also like to point out for the member that there are many considerations that come into play in estimating emissions reductions from government measures. I would refer the member to the commentaries provided by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy on past Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act reports for an overview of these considerations.

As the round table has also noted in its most recent commentaries, Environment Canada has made great strides in its approach to the measurement of the greenhouse gas reductions arising from government measures. This reflects the strong commitment of Environment Canada to provide the best possible estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and reductions to Canadians in an open and transparent manner.

Environment Canada will continue its active research into data and methodologies improvement for emissions reporting in order to determine the best way to account for and report GHG emissions to Canadians in all its public documents.

I hope this clarifies for my respective colleagues that following the requirements of both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act reporting obligations demands the use of different methodologies, scopes and time frames. Any comparison between the reports must, above all else, recognize this basic fact.

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, Environment Canada's explanation as to why oil sands information was omitted, namely that it was not certain about all of its calculations, raises concern.

Environment Canada has explained that it followed international guidelines that set emissions categories and that those guidelines did not require countries to report oil sands emissions as a separate category. However, Environment Canada did go beyond the UN's template to publish an estimate of oil sands emissions last year.

Good information about greenhouse gas emissions in the oil sands is especially critical this year, as the Minister of the Environment has said he will set regulations that include the oil sands.

Canada has scored the worst of all the developed countries that signed and ratified Kyoto. Canada must take real action on climate change. The first step is transparency and accountability. The UN report should have clearly explained why it omitted this fundamental data.

7:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, we look forward to continuing to make progress toward our ambitious targets of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020 through a sector by sector approach aligned with the U.S. where appropriate. We are a quarter of a way to this ambitious goal, but we still have a lot of hard work to do.

Consulting with stakeholders and our provincial, territorial and international partners, we have established regulations on renewable fuel content in gasoline to reduce tailpipe emissions. Soon we will announce regulations for the coal-fired electricity sector.

Our government has and will continue to make a priority of balancing the need for a strong economy with environmental protection. It is time for the member and her party to support these goals.

7:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:45 p.m.)