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

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

June 22nd, 2011 / 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.