House of Commons Hansard #190 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was lake.

Topics

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey
Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Mississauga South, knowing how dedicated she is to her constituents, particularly the families in her area. She has a young family herself. I know how important the services and other items are to both her family and constituents.

One of the things this budget really focuses on is small businesses. I know that in the member's riding of Mississauga South there are a number of small businesses, all of which are delighted with the direction this budget is taking and how it is going to help them become even more prosperous and to create even more jobs.

I wonder if the member could comment on the impact of this budget on small businesses in her riding of Mississauga South.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know that the member for Simcoe—Grey supports small businesses and families in her riding as well. I very much appreciate her question and the opportunity to talk about how this budget helps small businesses.

In particular, I have heard many businesses talk about how the reducing red tape initiative will be helpful to them. When businesses are spending time doing that, they are not being productive and growing as businesses.

We are also expanding trade around the world, which helps small businesses. I talked about the example of Electrovaya in my community, which makes lithium ion batteries and is contributing to energy efficient green technology.

Most of all, I think that small businesses in Mississauga South and across Canada appreciate the hiring tax credit. It is very unfortunate that the NDP voted against this very worthwhile initiative.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise and address the House this afternoon on the important reforms our government is making in budget 2012. Economic action plan 2012 is focused on what matters most to Albertans and all Canadians, building the right conditions for prosperity today and generations to come.

I want to highlight aspects of Bill C-45, the second budget implementation bill, that support research, create jobs and promote clean energy. Not only do these initiatives advance innovation in Canada and play a key role in achieving the priorities outlined in the economic action plan but they are also critical to who we are as Albertans and Canadians.

We know well that economic prosperity is not a given. It is the fruit of hard work and tremendous imagination. Investing in our students, entrepreneurs and researchers is our strongest guarantee that Canada's future will be bright, that we will break the confining limits of the past and open new opportunities for a long and prosperous future. Indeed, the OECD predicts that Canada's economy will lead the developed world for the next half century.

Since 2006, we have taken concrete steps to make sure that Canada is a global leader in research and innovation, and have invested nearly $8 billion in new funding for initiatives to support science, technology and the growth of innovation firms in Canada, including $5 billion for advanced research, education and training; $2 billion for post-secondary infrastructure; and $1 billion for applied research and financing.

For instance, budget 2012 directs $71 million over four years to further establish the Canada excellence research chairs to attract the world's best researchers to Canada, and over $600 million to support cutting-edge research throughout Canada via the Canada Foundation for Innovation. I am proud to say that the University of Alberta has been awarded more research chairs than any other institution in Canada.

We are confident that our government's support for research commercialization will help bridge the gap between Canadian innovations and the ability to bring these ideas to market. For instance, our economic action plan proposes $440 million to create centres of excellence for commercialization and research to help transform great ideas into concrete success in the Canadian marketplace.

Economic action plan 2012 also targets $470 million over four years to support strategic innovation projects in key sectors of the Canadian economy, including the automotive, aerospace, forestry and clean technology sectors.

Investing in Canadian research and innovation is not only fundamental to developing a robust competitive global economy; investing in innovation is not only about creating jobs and generating economic prosperity, though it does that too, but it is also the case that investing in great minds and pioneering approaches to science and technology affects every aspect of daily life in Canada. I will provide an example.

Marquis, a wheat variety developed at the sunset of the 19th century in Indian Head, Saskatchewan, led to an explosion of cereal production in Canada. The ingenuity of crossing two kinds of wheat to develop a grain that could thrive in prairie climates resulted in a wave felt in communities across the Prairies.

Great Canadian innovations have shaped the course of our history from Marquis wheat to insulin in the 1920s, the snowmobile and the electron microscope in the 1930s, canola in the 1940s, Research in Motion's BlackBerry in the 1990s, and the countless universities and businesses across Canada that are on the leading edge of research today.

While the private sector plays the leading role in research, innovation and commercialization, we know that institutions such as the National Research Council can be important partners in discovering these new engines of growth. This is why the 2012 economic action plan also proposes $67 million to support the National Research Council in refocusing on business-led, industry-relevant research.

Edmonton Centre is home to many world-class research institutions and companies at the forefront of the innovation economy. Earlier this month, I was honoured to join Ceapro, an Edmonton-based biotechnology company, to announce the signing of a letter of intent with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to collaborate in the development of a unique variety of oats. This new variety of oats will enable Ceapro to extract larger quantities of its flagship product, an active ingredient found in oats. Ceapro's team of chemists, biologists and engineers is developing cutting-edge ways of extracting natural ingredients from oats that have health benefits. These active ingredients are then used by major brands in cosmetic and therapeutic products. Ceapro's success, both as a corporate citizen and local employer, is a great example of the multiple benefits that economic innovation brings to communities like Edmonton and, by extension, to the rest of Canada.

Another example of how these initiatives are playing out in innovation capitals like Edmonton is the impressive work of a company named Synodon. Based in Edmonton, the company has developed a system that can remotely detect gas, enabling the monitoring and measurement of methane gas in the Arctic. The funding will allow this technology to be used by Natural Resources Canada to survey the vast Canadian Arctic. Synodon's proposal is one of over 60 that will be supported by the new program, Canadian innovation commercialization.

Public Works and Government Services Canada has been working with selected companies, like Synodon, to build partnerships that allow their innovations to be matched with federal government departments.

Companies, like Ceapro and Synodon, bring with them jobs and economic growth to Edmonton, to Alberta and to Canada. They also bring additional benefits. They advance the very science that the next generation of students will study. They achieve feats of human creativity that set the bar to which students, teachers, scientists and researchers aspire. Technological innovation underpins both the history and the future promise of Canadian economic development.

Budget 2012 regenerates and reinvigorates Canada's capacity to innovate and to play a leading role in global research. The first budget implementation plan, Bill C-38, outlined many of these initiatives. In addition, Bill C-45 also advances our ability to cultivate a competitive clean energy market in Canada.

For instance, through the economic action plan, the government initiated a clean energy fund. This fund is providing nearly $795 million to support research and development projects to advance Canadian leadership in clean energy technologies. This program is already off to a good start. To date, the clean energy fund is supporting two large-scale carbon capture and storage projects in Alberta totalling $150 million. The goal of the clean energy fund is to help create a variety of clean energy technologies and knowledge needed to ensure that these technologies are widely used in the future.

Our government is committed to sustainable resource development in all sectors. Bill C-45 expands the eligibility for the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation equipment to include a broader range of bioenergy equipment, and phases out the corporate mineral exploration and development tax credit, and phases out the Atlantic investment tax credit for activities related to the oil and gas and mining sectors. These shifts will create a more level playing field for taxation in the energy sector and will support a new generation of clean energy producers.

We will continue to work hard to create the necessary conditions in the economy that will bring new jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Though we are on track for the Canadian economy and Canadian families, with over 820,000 net new jobs created since July 2009, we will work as hard as ever to honour our commitment to Canadians to be global leaders in economic stewardship. Against the backdrop of a fragile global economy, especially in Europe and the United States, our largest trading partners, we will continue to make economic stability and prosperity a bedrock priority.

The people who gave me the great honour of representing Edmonton Centre expect things to get done here in Ottawa. Budget 2012 and Canada's economic action plan are doing just that. This is not the time to rest on our laurels, to sit back and let partisanship get in the way of delivering results for Canadians.

I would like to speak for a couple of minutes to the nationwide economic benefits of activity in Alberta. Contrary to some recent regrettable remarks by a couple of members opposite, which I will not bother to dwell on, it is the job of Alberta MPs to represent all that our province is and all that it has to offer to the rest of Canada. That is no different from the job of MPs from every part of this country. At the same time, we all have a responsibility to be part of a much bigger picture and that is the picture of Canada.

While the resources in any province are technically the property of that province, Alberta MPs certainly understand that our natural resources are there for the benefit of the entire country. By an accident of geography and geology, Alberta and Saskatchewan have vast reserves of oil and gas to be developed for the national good. By an accident of geography and geology, Quebec is blessed with the capacity of hydro power, British Columbia with forestry and so on across the country. None of these accidents of nature make one part of the country better or worse than any other. What they do collectively is make us the richest country in the world in terms of natural resources. We should all be proud of that and we should all appreciate what each part of our great country offers to the overall good of each and every Canadian.

We should not be practising the politics of division. We should be preaching and practising the politics of unity and sharing a common bright future in Canada that is much more than merely the sum of its parts. All members of this House were elected to strengthen the economy and lay the foundation for jobs of tomorrow.

I am proud of our government's accomplishments to date but there is more to be done. I urge all members of this House to support the budget implementation act and allow it to continue to move forward in carrying out Canada's economic action plan.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Blackstrap
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a document titled, “The Government's Response to Question on the Order Paper No. 988”.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if that was a proper point of order. The time to have put that forward was in the period for routine proceedings which, by her own party's manoeuvres, was ended for today and we were prevented from putting forward petitions, reports from committees or any other routine proceedings.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

In response to the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, it is my understanding that the minister was merely tabling a document. This is not the answer that is being tabled. Ministers may rise at any time in the House to simply table a document. The answer that will be required will have to be tabled in the appropriate procedure at some point in the future.

Questions and comments. The hon. member for Sherbrooke.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague who is a member of this government, probably the most incompetent government in the history of Canada. In fact, it has run up the largest deficit in Canada's fiscal history and the largest trade deficit in Canadian history. Some 330,000 more people are unemployed today than before the recession.

I am therefore pleased to ask this question of the member, who talked about research and development. This government has made cuts to the scientific research and experimental development program, cuts that have been condemned by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Can my colleague comment on the government's decision to go ahead with those cuts to research and development? Why does he think his party did that?

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, with respect to deficits and so on, our deficit is the smallest in the developed world with respect to the GDP, which is the true measure of a deficit. Of course, the number is larger than it was 50 years ago but, with inflation, that is what one would expect.

When we talk about trade deficits, part of that problem is Canada's strength. If our trading partners are weaker and not buying, that will generate some trade deficit. It is actually a measure of our strength. We are working hard with our partners in the EU, U.S. and other places to encourage them to increase their economic output and that will balance out in the longer term.

With respect to R and D, our government is focusing our R and D dollars on where they will do the most good.

If the member wants to talk about chambers of commerce, the biggest chamber of commerce in the country is in Edmonton. Believe it or not, it is even bigger than in Toronto or Montreal. I meet with it on, not quite on a daily basis but very often, and it is very impressed and appreciative of the focus that this government is putting on R and D in the places where it will do the most good.

We are not here to sprinkle a few droplets everywhere. We are here to focus on things that will matter most to Canadians, to the Canadian economy and to jobs and long-term prosperity.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's investment in business research and development support was concentrated in the scientific research and experimental development tax credit but we will be cutting that eventually by something like $500 million a year. If we look at the announced spending that is supposed to come from those cuts to the SR and ED tax credit, they do not add up anywhere near $500 million.

A lot of companies in my riding and elsewhere rely on that tax credit. These are the innovative companies that are creating jobs that use that tax credit to develop the innovations that make Canadian workers more productive.

I would ask my hon. colleague for Edmonton Centre whether his constituents in the oil and gas technology sector who heavily rely on the eligibility for capital expenditures for the scientific research and experimental tax credit would be happy. Why is he increasing taxes on his constituents in the oil and gas technology sector by cutting the tax credit for SR and ED?

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I find it a bit rich when people stand up and dump on Alberta MPs, Alberta and the Canadian government in general for what they consider to be too much support for the oil and gas business. I will give the member credit for not being one of those people.

The simple fact is that we are in partnership with Canadian industry, certainly the oil and gas industry which is driving the economy of the country at this point, and I think my hon. colleague realizes that. The economic progress is a work in progress. We are going to work with all sectors of the Canadian economy and all technology sectors, as we have been doing, as I laid out in my remarks.

Nothing stays the same forever. We need to focus down the road. We are not focusing on tomorrow necessarily. We want to take care of the short-term needs but we also want to look down the road 20 to 40 years to see what Canada and our economy will look like to ensure we are planning properly for that day.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Government Orders

December 3rd, 2012 / 4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. After question period, the member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing raised a concern about a gesture that she believes I did or did not do in the House during question period. That is the case and if she or others were offended, I apologize to all members of the House.

Bill C-45. Report stage

The House resumed consideration of C-45, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, as reported (without amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to acknowledge the apology from the member for Mississauga—Streetsville. That was a very classy thing to do and I thank him for that.

I would like to speak to Bill C-45. I am honoured to stand in the House to talk about Bill C-45, but one of the sad things about speaking to the bill is that I will be one of the few MPs who will get to do this, because once again the Conservatives have brought forward time allocation on the bill. I believe it is a record. I believe we are at 31. Unfortunately, when we take away democracy 31 times it is not cause to be proud.

I stand today speaking against Bill C-45, but again, it is with much dismay that we do not see enough people being able to debate in this House, with time allocation.

Ironically, Bill C-45 is entitled the jobs and growth act, and it entirely lacks significant measures to create jobs and stimulate growth in the long term for Canadians. Tax credits to small businesses are short term and very small in size. Support to business research and development has been cut. Where is the Canada-wide strategy to create good jobs, while 1.4 million Canadians are still unemployed?

The Minister of Finance announced during the November constituency week that the government will fall short of its own deficit targets. Worse still, the Conservatives have failed to outline any contingency plan to deal with slowing growth and increasingly negative fiscal indicators.

The Conservatives are focused on austerity measures that will act as a further drag on our economy. They have claimed that their budget is about job creation, but again, even they admit it will lead to 19,200 lost jobs in the public service and the PBO projects a total of 102,000 jobs lost.

In his appearance before the House of Commons finance committee on April 26, the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that the Conservative austerity budget would mean a loss of 43,000 jobs and would slow Canada's economic recovery. He confirmed that when combined with prior cuts, there would be a total of 103,000 jobs lost.

The PBO's numbers point to the fact that the budget would create a significant drag on our economy. Even the Centre for Policy Alternatives states: “In total, federal spending cuts could lead to the elimination of over 70,000 full time equivalent positions”. These are not only public sector losses. About half of these jobs would be lost in the private sector.

Taking a look at the changes to SR and ED and business R and D support, Bill C-45 would implement significant changes to SR and ED tax credit programs, as outlined in the budget. These changes would reduce the tax credit rate, particularly for large businesses, and eliminate the eligibility of capital expenses. This change could be highly distortional for firms' labour-capital ratios.

While the government has cut at least $500 million per year through the SR and ED, it has not introduced any new direct funding to replace this gap. The combined effects would be to reduce government support for business R and D at a time when Canadian businesses most need to increase innovation and productivity to succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy. This would particularly hit the manufacturing sector, and it is likely to drive firms to move their R and D activities to other countries with better incentives.

The Conservatives are engaged in cost cutting under the guise of addressing underperformance in innovation. They have done nothing to fix the complexity and overhead costs of applying for and administering SR and ED tax credits.

Another thing the bill is reducing and eliminating is the Navigable Waters Protection Act. It removes water protection from the name of the bill. Now it is just about navigation protection. This is not a small change, and it demonstrates the government's reckless attitude toward environmental protection.

In fact, the Conservatives would not allow these changes to be studied by the environment committee, despite the fact that the proposed changes have significant implication for our environment.

The government issued a press release, bragging about the change of the title from Navigable Waters Protection Act to the navigation protection act.

This type of measure shows just how out of touch Conservatives are with Canadians' desire to protect the environment and build a sustainable economy. In fact, Bill C-45 completely guts the Navigable Waters Protection Act, with the exception of the 3 oceans, 97 lakes and 62 rivers. The act would no longer automatically apply to projects affecting waterways. This would leave thousands of waterways without protection, meaning fewer environmental reviews by Transport Canada. Efforts by the opposition to ensure protection for all navigable waters were defeated at committee.

Under Bill C-45, only 10 of Canada's 37 designated Canadian heritage rivers would be protected. Those left out of the new act include the Cowichan River, the Clearwater River, the Main River, the Margaree River in Nova Scotia and the Mattawa River, which is close to me. Speaking of what else is close to me, it is the city of Sudbury. The City of Greater Sudbury is known as the city of lakes. There are 330 lakes within the boundaries of the City of Greater Sudbury. Also my colleague from Nickel Belt would have the same concerns as I do.

When all of the lakes and rivers within a riding are eliminated from having the same protections, it makes one scratch one's head as to why we are doing this. Protecting our lakes and rivers is paramount. The City of Greater Sudbury, for example, as I mentioned, has Ramsey Lake within its city boundaries. People can fish and swim practically in downtown Sudbury. People in parts of the city use Ramsey Lake for their drinking water. That would no longer be protected under the Navigable Waters Protection Act or the navigation protection act. That is sad. It leads people to wonder what kind of country we will be leaving for our children.

We need to ensure that our children have places to swim and fish. We need to protect the wildlife within those areas as well, from fish habitat to duck habitat. Throughout my riding and northern Ontario, lakes and rivers would no longer be protected. As I said, 97 lakes and 62 rivers are being protected, and that is what is being changed. We need to ensure we protect more lakes and rivers right across our country because we need to ensure we leave clean lakes, rivers and air for our kids in the future.

New Democrats oppose budget 2012 and its implementation bills, unless it is amended to focus on the priorities of Canadians: creating good quality jobs, protecting our environment, strengthening our health care system, protecting retirement security for all and ensuring open and transparent government. As mentioned, this is another massive omnibus bill that contains a wide range of unrelated measures. The government is trying to ram legislation through Parliament without allowing Canadians and MPs to thoroughly examine it.

One thing my hon. colleague on the other side talked about earlier in his speech is the greatness of our nation. We are blessed to have resources from coast to coast to coast in forestry, mining in my community, lakes and rivers right across the country and the oil sands in Alberta. We should be debating the changes that are being proposed. Unfortunately, as I stated at the outset of my speech, there has been lack of debate and conversation because the government is shutting it down once again. There have been 31 time allocation motions, which is shameful, especially when we are talking about an issue that is so important to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. colleague to expand a bit on his point that the announced reductions in the scientific research and experimental development tax credit are not being met by increases in spending elsewhere, as claimed by the government. I see there are $110 million for the industrial research assistance program, $12 million for business-led networks of centres of excellence, $40 million for procurement and $37 million for industry academic collaboration. That adds up to about $200 million, but SR and ED is projected to be cut by at least $500 million. In fact, the government's estimates are lower than some independent estimates.

I would like my colleague to comment on that, please.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct. The government is now stifling innovation and research in the country by cutting SR and ED and tying the hands of many of the businesses that we need to expand. In an economy where we are starting to see slowdown, we truly need our businesses to be able to invest in research and development. However, cutting $500 million this year out of SR and ED means that many of those businesses are not going to have the resources to be able to expand and to be able to look at new and innovative ways of growing.

What we see here are no ideas of addressing this gap. What we will see is continued cutbacks and our businesses continuing to falter.