House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my good friend and colleague from Wild Rose. Let me congratulate you on your appointment to the chair. I know you will do a great job in the House and with civility breaking out all over, it will be an easy job.

I would also like to thank the great people of Oxford for instilling their trust in me again to represent their interests in Ottawa, as well as my wonderful team of volunteers who were indispensable in making my re-election a reality. I would be remiss if I did not thank the great staff who represent me in my riding of Oxford and do a tremendous job. They make me look good and I appreciate that.

I am eager to move from the March 22 presentation of the budget to where we are now. It was derailed with an unnecessary election, and Canadians and the people of Oxford spoke on May 2. They gave us a clear mandate to move forward with budget 2011 when they made their wishes clear at the ballot boxes across this great nation, giving Canadians a long overdue strong Conservative majority in the House of Commons.

We on this side of the House will honour their directive by keeping our promises and commitments to secure economic recovery for all Canadians today and for generations to come. On this side of the House we plan to continue to do this by supporting job creation, strengthening our families and communities, investing in the economy of tomorrow by providing increased support for research and technology, and by working diligently to preserve Canada's fiscal advantage to keep it on the right track to balanced budgets by eliminating ineffective spending, limiting spending growth and closing unfair tax loopholes.

The next phase of Canada's economic action plan would keep taxes low to promote jobs and economic growth while supporting Ontario families and seniors.

Let us talk about the unnecessary election triggered by the opposition that kept much-needed cheques out of the pockets of struggling Canadian seniors. We believe this to be an injustice to Canada's backbone and we will do everything within the parliamentary limits to ensure that Canada's seniors are treated with the respect they deserve.

Our first step is to ensure support for seniors in the next phase of the economic action plan. The plan builds on the support in place for seniors by announcing new measures to improve the quality of life and expand opportunities for older Canadians, including those living in my riding of Oxford.

A new guaranteed income supplement top up benefit targeted to the most vulnerable seniors effective July 1, 2011 will be available to seniors with little or no income other than old age security and the guaranteed income supplement. These seniors will receive additional annual benefits of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples. Single recipients with an annual income other than OAS and GIS of $2,000 or less and couples with an annual income of $4,000 or less will receive the full amount of the benefit.

There would be a provision of $10 million over two years to increase support for the new horizons for seniors program, which provides funding to organizations that help ensure that seniors, including those in my riding, can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

The residents of Oxford are not strangers to the new horizons for seniors program. Most recently, the South Gate Centre in Woodstock, the Town of Tillsonburg Non-Profit Housing Corporation and the Victorian Order of Nurses-Oxford Branch received funding under this program to improve the quality of life for seniors across Oxford.

However, we did not stop there. We also introduced $50 million over two years to extend the targeted initiative for older workers program until 2013-14. This is a federal-provincial-territorial employment program that provides a range of employment activities for unemployed older workers in vulnerable communities with populations of less than 250,000 to help them stay in the workforce. That is up to $840 million in new financial support for needy Canadian seniors. That is a budget I can throw my support behind.

Many families in Oxford will also be able to benefit from several important initiatives in this budget. Grants of up to $5,000 are available for people to make improvements to their homes and make them more energy efficient. This would save them energy costs over the long-term as well as benefit the environment.

Two important tax credits would allow families to receive a tax receipt for expenses related to providing care for family members as well as extracurricular activities for their children.

The family caregiver tax credit would provide $2,000 for caregivers of loved ones with infirmities, including for the first time spouses, common-law partners and minor children.

The new children's arts tax credit would enable hard-working families to claim up to $500 in eligible fees for programs associated with arts, cultural, recreational and developmental activities.

The rural areas in my riding rely on the excellent service of our volunteer firefighters. I am so pleased that the constituents in my riding who are volunteer firefighters will now be eligible to receive a $3,000 non-refundable tax credit. I have heard from many constituents expressing their support for this tax credit.

Seniors are the backbone of our great nation and students are our bright future. We want all students to succeed in the global economy with the help of the best education possible.

The next phase of Canada's economic action plan includes several measures to help students acquire the education and training they need to prosper, such as student loan forgiveness for doctors and nurses working in rural and remote areas. Practising family physicians will be eligible for federal Canada student loan forgiveness of up to $8,000 per year to a maximum of $40,000. Nurse practitioners and nurses will be eligible for federal Canada student loan forgiveness of up to $4,000 per year to a maximum of $20,000.

We will also be extending tax relief for skills certification exams, making all occupational trade and professional exam fees eligible for tax relief through the tuition tax credit.

In addition to these wonderful initiatives to further aid Canadian students, we are doubling the in-study income exemption from $50 per week to $100 per week. This initiative will benefit over 100,000 students by allowing them to work more without negatively affecting their loans.

We understand that family support and involvement is key to any undertaking, whether it be professional or personal. That is why we are increasing the family income threshold for part-time Canada student loan and Canada student grant recipients, bringing the eligibility thresholds in line with the thresholds used for full-time students.

The residents of Oxford and all Canadians can look forward to $15 million in ongoing funding to the Canada periodical fund, which supports the distribution of publications in Ontario and across the country. I know that many newspapers serving Oxford and the rest of rural Canada will applaud this initiative as they have been recipients of the funding in the past.

Municipalities across Canada can rest assured that the next phase of Canada's economic action plan includes legislation to make the gas tax funding for municipalities permanent. Canada's government will be putting into law the permanent annual investment of $2 billion in gas tax funding for cities and towns to support infrastructure projects. Over four years the municipalities of Oxford will receive a staggering total of $25,216,242.

I like many Canadians understand that farmers feed cities and that is why the initiative for the control of diseases in the hog industry will be extended by an additional two years. The government will be providing $24 million over two years to enable the Canadian Swine Health Board to complete initiatives directed at national biosecurity standards and best management practices that will benefit hog producers across the country.

There is so much more that I could say about the whole budget. I just wish that the budget had stood on March 22 to reach the stage that it is at today before the House, so that Canadians would have had the benefit of all of the good things in this 2011 budget.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am concerned with the fact that the Conservatives intervening on the budget seem to have missed the essential points; that is, inequality in this country is now at its worst level since the 1920s. That inequality lever has to be rolled back to before the Great Depression. Tory times being tough times, the Conservatives have succeeded in their time machine in bringing us back to before the Great Depression, before we actually had the system of social programs in place.

We have also seen over the last few years the catastrophic collapse of our manufacturing sector. One quarter of a million jobs in the manufacturing sector, good family-sustaining jobs, have been lost on the Conservatives' watch.

I myself come from British Columbia. We have seen what the softwood lumber sell-out that the Conservatives brought in has done to softwood lumber communities across the west. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost.

My simple question to the member is this. Why do the Conservatives not acknowledge their mistakes, fess up, and work with the NDP to get a better budget?

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I took it more as a comment than a question, but I would respond to my colleague across the floor that there have been 540,000 new jobs created in Canada. I do not know where that member has been and I understand that parts of this country are still lagging behind as a result of the great global recession, but that recession was not built in Canada. It came from across the world and most nations are suffering far more than we are. We are as strong as we are because of the policies of this government.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, when the member talks about job creation, there is a big difference between the Conservatives and the Liberal Party of Canada. The Conservatives have prioritized corporate tax breaks. They are looking at the richest corporations in the country to generate job growth, whereas the Liberal Party of Canada sees and values and recognizes the potential of small businesses, and how they can put more jobs into the economy. The government has made a decision, by prioritizing that particular tax cut, to take away other opportunities to spend or use those tax breaks in different ways.

Would the member not recognize that if we want to generate and create jobs in Canada from coast to coast, the best way to do that is to invest in small businesses as opposed to giving large generous corporate tax breaks to the largest and richest corporations in the country?

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, within the budget there are provisions to encourage employment growth in small businesses. However, I would suggest to my friend that he might go into many of those places that he calls small businesses. They are also corporations. Many family farms across this country are now corporations. I know a number of those people are very pleased to see the corporate tax rates go down, so they can then purchase equipment and purchase all kinds of things from the local economy. Corporations are not just what he might perceive as some huge international thing. Many small businesses in this country are incorporated and they enjoy this type of budget.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the other question I wanted to ask the member is, what would he say to seniors living in British Columbia?

What the Conservatives did was impose the HST, which is a massive tax shift. That is what they love to do. They love shifting taxes from the wealthy, very profitable Canadian corporations, to ordinary people. Seniors are paying $2 a day more because of the HST in British Columbia and this budget actually gives them back $1.15. So they took $2 away and they give $1.15 back.

Why do the Conservatives not just admit that they made a mistake with this budget and work with the NDP, so we can have real progress for seniors in this country and lift every senior in the country above the poverty line?

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem with my friend is that he has such a short memory. A little while ago, we reduced the GST on everything, from 7% to 6% to 5%, and my friend voted against that. That was on everything.

I do not know where he has this problem of thinking that we increase things. His party opposed to it and when the GST in Canada was reduced, the province of Nova Scotia, with an NDP government, raised it another 2%.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to speak today on the next phase of our Conservative government's economic action plan. Our government's action plan is the right plan for challenging times and it is critical to securing the economic recovery that had started through our previous budgets.

Before I speak to the budget, I would like to first take this opportunity to thank the voters of Wild Rose who re-elected me to this place in the May general election. As all of us who serve in this place know, it is a tremendous honour and a great responsibility to represent Canadians in their federal parliaments. I am humbled by the trust that my constituents have placed in me by returning me as a member of a Conservative team that is dedicated to balancing the books, cutting costs and waste and working for the well-being of all Canadians.

The people of Wild Rose have my pledge that I will continue to work hard for them at all times and always in the best interest of our great nation of Canada to ensure the confidence they have shown in me has not been misplaced.

Our government's good work on behalf of all Canadians is evident today as we continue debate on budget 2011. A global economic crisis that started outside our borders three years ago nevertheless impacted our country and brought with it significant challenges for Canadians. Our government met those challenges head on.

The economic action plan was designed to lead Canada out of the worst recession in generations. The temporary stimulus measures of the economic action plan had their intended effect. The projects created jobs in a time of recession, while making investments in local infrastructure that would benefit our communities for years to come.

In my riding these investments were needed since years of rapid growth in Alberta had left municipalities in a crunch to keep pace with infrastructure requirements. In Wild Rose the action plan has created jobs, while benefiting the town of Canmore with a new pedestrian underpass. Banff has opened a very popular Legacy Trail. The town of Olds has renovated its sportsplex. Airdrie and Cochrane are completing major upgrades to arterial streets. These are among many other examples.

The action plan did the job it was designed to do. As a result, Canada has weathered the global recession in a stronger position than nearly all major economies.

Our economy has grown for seven straight quarters, with 540,000 new jobs created since July, 2009—

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I will stop the member there as it is time for statements by members. The member will have seven and a half minutes left to conclude his remarks after question period.

Victoriaville
Statements By Members

June 9th, 2011 / 1:55 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, my home town, Victoriaville, is currently celebrating 150 years of history. The first person to build in Victoriaville was Louis Foisy, who, in 1861, asked to have the town of Victoriaville incorporated. He was a merchant, innkeeper, postmaster, church warden and, naturally, the first mayor of Victoriaville.

Victoriaville was once the furniture capital of Canada and, over the years, other industries have flourished there, including textiles and agriculture. The famous hockey sticks were also made there. Economic diversification helped many SMEs get a start there, and Victoriaville was known as the cradle of sustainable development thanks to the visionary Normand Maurice, the father of recycling in Quebec.

I commend the builders of Victoriaville—as well as those of Saint-Valère and Chesterville, which are also celebrating their 150th anniversary this year—for having left us an economic, cultural and community legacy that is so dynamic, vibrant and modern.

I would also like to invite my colleagues to come and visit us this summer to see the Laurier Museum, attend the cheese festival or simply partake in one of the many activities associated with the 150th anniversary of these municipalities.

Bullying
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, the riding of Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley is proud of our children, as is every riding across the country, but in recent months our children have faced a new and dangerous threat, a threat that is taking the lives of our children.

In Nova Scotia over the past several months four children have lost their lives due to cyberbullying and Internet intimidation, two of them, sadly, in my riding. As adults and leaders of our country, it is our responsibility to keep our children safe.

For parents out there, please supervise what children are sending to others on the Internet and supervise what they are receiving on the Internet.

For the children of our country who are feeling alone, bullied and intimidated, do not stay silent. Children are not alone and should tell a parent or a teacher. They are there to help.

I look forward to working with all colleagues in the House from this and the other side of the aisle as we deal with this new and dangerous threat.

Seniors
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his recent budget, the Minister of Finance is helping only a third of seniors living below the poverty line. The government is making a minimal effort. Unfortunately, it is much too little. The NDP called on the government to help all seniors living below the poverty line. To do so, the budget should have allocated $700 million, not $300 million.

It is unacceptable in a society like ours to abandon those who built our country's economy. It is unacceptable that in 2011 we are unable to find the necessary resources to lift all seniors out of poverty.

On behalf of all seniors in need and especially those in the riding of Drummond, today I invite the Minister of Finance to immediately increase the guaranteed income supplement by $700 million in order to allow all seniors to live in dignity.

Pickering—Scarborough East
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to thank the people of Pickering—Scarborough East for the trust they have bestowed upon me and my volunteers for making it happen.

I would also like to thank the francophone voters in my riding for their support.

After 18 years, the constituents of Pickering—Scarborough East have chosen a representative from a party which advocates for a real change in the community. Energized by the wisdom, determination and true leadership of our Prime Minister, the people of Pickering—Scarborough East have chosen the path toward maintaining a strong economy, creation of jobs and low taxes.

Being part of the community where the beautiful Rouge River binds together two cities, Toronto and Pickering, I am very proud about the preservation of our green spaces for future generations, the Rouge park, which will be the first urban national park. It will be a great benefit to many people in the GTA.

I also thank Canada, the greatest democracy in the world, for allowing me, a humble emigrant from Romania, to become an accomplished engineer and to serve my country as a military engineer in the Canadian Forces, including the mission in Afghanistan.

In conclusion, it is a good feeling to be able to give back to society. I am here to serve.

Audrey-Ann Murphy
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, this week we mourn the passing of our friend Audrey-Ann Murphy, who had worked with me for 14 years both in election campaigns and in my office.

Audrey-Ann took pride in helping people, never wanting any attention for herself. She was modest, hard-working and viewed her work with a sense of a honour.

A note from constituents yesterday said, “We left your office feeling that Audrey-Ann was a person who could take on any task and get the job done”. They were right.

She could be loud and boisterous and was certain to tell people what they perhaps did not want to hear, but sometimes needed to hear.

I want to thank Audrey-Ann for being a friend to me and for working so hard for our constituents. I will miss her booming voice, her candour and her counsel. To her husband Graham, daughter Jessica, parents Alvin and Violet, sister Frances and Auntie, and her extended family, I share their loss and will miss her terribly. We loved her dearly.

Winnipeg South Centre
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise for the very first time in the House of Commons as the very humble servant for Winnipeg South Centre.

I give special thanks to my campaign team, my incredible family and the wonderful voters of Winnipeg South Centre.

I was so privileged to be visited by students from Churchill High School on the first day of this session and I want to thank each of them: Connor Boyd, Eason Cerasani, Randy Clark, Jase Falk, Brittany Fulford, Tiffany Jackson, Caelin King, Stuart Maddocks, Christopher Mantyka, Giorgia Skorletos, Calder Thorsteinsson, Chantalle Young and their three wonderful teachers, Susan Chodirker, Ross Penner and Dominic Zagari.

It is a privilege to share this House with the leaders of tomorrow.