House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

11:35 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order. Questions and comments. The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, there is a quaint expression where I come from and it is “fair wages benefit the whole community”. It is based on the notion that a well-paid, consuming, middle class is good for the economy.

Why then, deep within the bowels of Bill C-38 do we find this little jewel that repeals the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act for the construction industry? It used to be the prevailing wage was somewhere close to union scale for federally regulated construction projects, like pipelines for instance. Now, a construction contractor can offer any salary and any hours of work with no overtime. If no Canadians apply within 10 days, that contractor gets temporary foreign workers in there who will work for peanuts and sleep six to a hotel room and undermine the entire prevailing wage set by the industry.

Some people have worked 100 years toward setting fair wages for the construction industry and that was manifested in the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act. This piece of legislation would repeal that and enable pipeline contractors to build the next pipeline with temporary foreign workers.

Does my colleague realize that 30% of all the jobs created since 2007 in this country have been filled by temporary foreign workers? These are not landed immigrants. They are now being paid any wage they want.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, what we are seeing is a reflection of the thinking behind the government and absolutely no respect for people who work in seasonal industries in particular. The government is suggesting that people will have to find suitable employment right away but they do not even get to decide what suitable employment is. The fact is, the minister will decide.

Absolutely no consideration is being given to Canadians who need and want work but for whatever reason are not able to avail themselves of work. They are being forced to take whatever is available. If this legislation is going to leave it up to the minister to define suitable work, then we have a problem in this country.

With respect to foreign workers, I too am concerned that we are going to end up driving down the wages of Canadians by going down this path.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I am very proud to have the opportunity today to rise on behalf of the citizens of Winnipeg South Centre and to speak to my colleagues about the government's economic action plan 2012.

As a chartered accountant, I am proud to be part of a government that represents sound fiscal planning, job creation and economic growth. As a mother, I am grateful for the government's direction on long-term prosperity. We have to take care of future generations. We need to be responsible and make sure that our children do not start their lives with their futures mortgaged. It matters that we are good stewards. It matters to our children's futures and well-being. It matters to our country's future and well-being.

I would like to speak of our government's support in economic action plan 2012 for research and development and commercialization because it also matters for the future.

The Minister of Finance regularly consults private-sector economists to find out what they think about the future of Canada's economy. The economic forecasts in our 2012 economic action plan are based on a survey carried out in early March of this year and take into account the viewpoints of 14 independent private-sector economists. The average of these independent private-sector economic forecasts has been used as the basis for financial planning since 1994, which gives our economic forecasts an independent dimension. This practice is endorsed by international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund.

In addition, since the 2012 economic action plan was tabled last month, Canada's leading economists have applauded its prudent outlook and Canada's solid economic performance.

For example, on March 29, economist Patricia Croft said of the budget's “ initiatives in the job front and addressing the demographic challenge.... In both regards I’d have to give the budget probably an ‘A’.... In a global context, I think Canada is in a fabulous position”.

Avery Shenfeld, Chief Economist, CIBC World Markets, said in the Toronto Star on March 30 that the budget “makes sense in a world economy that is still not what we would like it to be… Relative to what anybody else is doing, we still come out with flying colours”.

I mentioned that I am a chartered accountant. I would like to speak to comments made by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants regarding the government's budget. The CICA is a professional body representing CAs in business, government and public practice. It even represents a member of Parliament. In its budget brief 2012, it said that the budget “positions Canada well for the future while providing prudent fiscal management”. These are the fiscal managers of Canada. It continued, “Budget measures being introduced are designed to serve the short-term while maintaining a vision that embraces the long-term.”

Given those glowing remarks, I am going to share with the House today some of the initiatives being taken by our government to support innovation and create a reputation for Canada as a world leader in cutting-edge research, development and commercialization.

The global economy is changing. Competition for the brightest minds is intensifying. The pace of technological change is creating new opportunities while making older business practices obsolete.

Canada’s long-term economic competitiveness in this emerging knowledge economy demands globally competitive businesses that innovate and create high-quality jobs.

As the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages just said, we have created over 700,000 jobs since the global crisis in 2009 and 90% of those are full-time positions.

Since 2006, the government has provided nearly $8 billion in new funding for initiatives to support science, technology and the growth of innovative firms. Despite strong policy fundamentals to support innovation in Canada, Canadian businesses do not take full advantage.

Canada continues to lag behind peer countries in terms of overall innovation performance, including private sector investment in research and development and the commercialization of research into products and processes that create high-value jobs and economic growth.

Following a comprehensive review of federal support for research and development by an expert panel led by Thomas Jenkins, the government is committed to a new approach to supporting innovation in Canada by pursuing active business-led initiatives that focus resources on better meeting private sector needs.

In economic action plan 2012, our government announced $1.1 billion over five years to directly support research and development and $500 million for venture capital.

These investments and actions keep our economy strong, create high-quality jobs and ensure that Canada is a premier destination for the world's brightest minds.

Economic action plan 2012 implements important measures that will make it possible to meet the challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the global economy, while maintaining sustainable social programs and sound public finances for future generations.

I engaged in significant pre-budget consultations within my community and I continue to consult widely to best serve my constituents. I recently had the honour of speaking with Mr. Kevin Dancey, the national president of the CICA. We discussed the budget. Of course, Mr. Dancey is very interested in serving his community of chartered accountants, and there were three areas that Mr. Dancey singled out and praised.

First, the new tax incentives for innovation, which I have already referenced.

Second, the significant reduction of red tape being undertaken by the government to assist small businesses in particular to create jobs and assist with continued economic growth.

Economic growth is truly necessary.

Finally, critical to Canada's accounting professions and to many other professions in Canada are the measures being taken by the government's commitment to support improvements to foreign credential recognition.

Economic action plan 2012 was developed with current and future Canadians in mind. It creates new opportunities for the brightest Canadians to create jobs through innovation and fosters long-term financial growth. Its prime focus is on job creation. The economic action plan focuses on economic growth and long-term prosperity. I am very happy to say that it recognizes the importance of support to science, technology and commercialization.

As the global economy changes, I am proud to see Canada remain proactive in preparation for a future of economic prosperity that will benefit our children.

To that end, I am so proud to be associated with a government that not only cares about the right now but cares enough about our future generations to make things possible. We do not just care about giving pensions to pensioners now; we care about making sure that our children and their children will also have those privileges.

I am proud to be associated with a government that is focused on creating jobs for Canadians and on ensuring we have une croissance économique extraordinaire et, franchement, le meilleur du monde and is focused on long-term prosperity.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, Bill C-38 amends the Employment Equity Act so that it no longer applies to federal contracts. Women's groups have been fighting for pay equity for several decades.

Would the member, who has a federal contract, agree to be paid less for her work rather than having equal pay for equal work?

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I do not know if the member is aware, but all employees of the House are employees of the federal government and are working for Canadian citizens. We have taken a pay cut for three years. Members of Parliament have taken a pay cut.

Therefore, in answer to her question, I am very proud to do so because we are all doing our part.

We have a plan for economic growth, which is very important. The first part of our plan will create jobs, which is key. The second part of our plan will address economic growth and, as I mentioned in my speech, that is very important for long-term prosperity.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Madam Speaker, I have worked with my Conservative colleague and I know that she really believes what she is saying. By the way, I would like to congratulate her on the continued improvement of her French.

She spoke a great deal about job creation. I would like to know how she reconciles this with, for example, what the Parliamentary Budget Officer told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. He confirmed that the Conservatives' austerity budget will result in the loss of 43,000 jobs and slow the economic recovery, and that the budget and previous cuts together would result in a total loss of 103,000 jobs.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. I take pride in her comments about the improvement in my French. That is important to me.

As I mentioned, Canada's economic growth has been tremendous.

We truly are the envy of the world.

We have been recognized by the International Monetary Fund, and publications such as Forbes magazine, Fortune magazine and The Wall Street Journal have published articles on our economy.

I will learn how to say this en français very soon, but we are the envy of the world.

We have created more than 700,000 jobs since 2009, which is incredible in this fragile global economy. Some of our counterparts in Europe are grappling with economies that are still too fragile. I am pleased with our approach to job creation and economic growth, but most of all, I am pleased with our current prosperity and the outlook for generations to come.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2012 / 11:55 a.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be speaking today on budget 2012, which is going to be keeping our taxes low and returning Canada to a balanced budget over the medium term, which is good news for Canadians.

Economic action plan 2012 focuses on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Budget 2012 also demonstrates the Conservative government's strong support for British Columbia through record federal transfer supports for hospitals, schools and other critical services. Transfers totalling over $5.6 billion in 2012-13, represent an increase of over $1 billion from the former Liberal government.

The average hard-working family is paying $3,100 less in taxes under our government. It is also keeping taxes low for small and medium-sized business, and it facilitates the responsible development of Canada's energy and natural resource sector. We will do this without raising taxes and without cutting transfers to the provinces for services that families rely on, like health care and education.

There is more that our government can and will do in the years to come to ensure Canada remains competitive in the world market and provides great opportunities for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

The natural resource sector employs more than 760,000 people in communities throughout the country. It is the engine that drives our great nation. Over the next 10 years, 500 major projects, representing $500 billion in new investment, are planned across Canada. In the rich oil sands developments, the Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that in the next 25 years oil sands growth will support, on average, 480,000 jobs per year in Canada and will add $2.3 trillion to our GDP.

In my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, Teck Resources, the world's second largest producer of metallurgical coal, is expanding to ensure that it is able to keep up with the world demand for steelmaking coal.

We must ensure that the natural resource sector can move forward with projects in a timely and transparent manner, while effectively protecting the environment. With that in mind, our government will focus on four major areas to streamline the review process for major economic projects. We will be making the review process more predictable and timely. We will reduce duplication. We will strengthen environmental protection. We will enhance consultation with aboriginal peoples. With that, we are going to consolidate responsibility for reviews and have fixed beginning-to-end timelines. Panel reviews will be 24 months. NEB hearings will be 18 months. Standard EAs will be 12 months. We will institute a one project, one review process.

There are countless examples of companies having to go through a dual process for a project only to be approved at one level and denied at another. At best, this is extremely frustrating, provides no surety to investors in the project and further bogs down the process.

What are we going to do? We propose to invest $54 million to renew the major projects management office to transform the approvals process for major natural resource projects by shortening the average review time from 4 years to 22 months and improve accountability by monitoring the performance of federal regulatory departments.

We propose to invest $13.6 million over the next two years to support consultation with aboriginal peoples. We want to ensure that their rights and interests are respected and also facilitate discussions on how they can benefit from economic development opportunities.

We propose investing $35.7 million over the next two years to support responsible energy development.

I have heard much about the concern of tanker traffic specific to our west coast. Oil tankers have been moving safely along Canada's west coast since the 1930s; 82 oil tankers arrived at Port Metro Vancouver last year, and over the past five years nearly 200 oil and chemical tankers have visited the ports of Prince Rupert and Kitimat. They all did so safely.

Tankers in Canada must comply with the safety and environmental protection requirements of international conventions, and they must also comply with Canada's marine safety regulatory regime. This includes double hulling of ships, mandatory pilotage, regular inspections and aerial surveillance.

We propose to invest $13.5 million over the next two years to strengthen pipeline safety. We will do this by increasing the number of inspections on oil and gas pipelines from 100 to 150, and we will double the number of annual comprehensive audits from three to six, to identify issues before incidents happen. Why? Because we value the importance of economic stewardship. We want our natural resource sector to continue to be the safest and most environmentally responsible in the world.

Our government also recognizes that in order for our business sector to flourish, we must open new markets for it. That is why we will continue to explore free trade agreements with countries around the world. It is the best way for Canada to grow its economy and create jobs.

Our Conservative government recognizes the importance of clean energy and the opportunities available to those who wish to explore this avenue. As such, under the capital cost allowance regime in the income tax system, class 43.2 of Schedule II of the Income Tax Regulations, we will provide an accelerated CCA rate for investment in specified clean energy generation and conservation equipment. Here are some examples: using a renewable energy source such as wind, solar and small hydro; using fuels from waste such as landfill gas, wood waste and manure; and making efficient use of fossil fuels such as in high-efficiency cogeneration systems, which simultaneously produce electricity and useful heat.

This is an exciting opportunity for communities across Canada to look at investing in cogeneration plants that can create electricity and heat from solid waste, as it is something that every community across Canada must deal with on a daily basis. It opens up opportunities for companies across Canada to expand in new technology, which will benefit Canadians for generations to come.

Finally, I am extremely pleased that our government will invest $150 million over the next two years to support repairs and improvements to existing community facilities. This will be done under the community infrastructure improvement fund. As a former mayor, I can say that keeping community facilities updated is vitally important to ensure they can be used in a safe and efficient manner. Every community in Canada can benefit from this program, and in turn it will promote healthy and vibrant cities and towns from coast to coast to coast.

This touches on just a small portion of the economic action plan 2012. I am proud to be part of a government that continues to focus on jobs, growth and the economy. This is what Canadians want us to do: be responsible, forward-thinking and prudent.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to my Conservative colleague, I would like to point out a glaring contradiction in his speech. He just said that the budget seeks to reduce conflicts between environmental assessments, but Bill C-38 does exactly the opposite by allowing cabinet to overrule the National Energy Board's assessments. The NEB approves or rejects projects, but cabinet could overrule those decisions. What is more, Bill C-38 limits the review timelines for the NEB and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. That is serious. Canadians need more safety, not less.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, one project, one review. It is what I have heard from my constituents in Kootenay—Columbia with Tech Resources who go through a number of these every year. One project, one review for the oil sands, one project, one review for all natural resources.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the Conservatives truly want to ensure that all Canadians live in prosperity, then how do they explain that there is nothing in the budget for social housing when everyone knows that the gap between the rich and the poor keeps growing?

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, by creating jobs for Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and not only the natural resources sector, but other sectors across this great land, we will be able to provide greater transfers to the provinces to allow those provinces to work with social housing and to assist those who need it.

I believe that by creating jobs it will do what the hon. member asked for.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Blackstrap
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, representing British Columbia, I would like the member to tell members of the opposition why they should consider voting for the bill. When it comes to our environment, one project, one plan, because of how important it is for the pipeline to go through northern Alberta and British Columbia.

I would like him to expand on how important that is for our economy.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is important to everyone in British Columbia, not only for the Enbridge pipeline but for all natural resource projects in British Columbia to move forward. It is vastly important, not only to British Columbians, but all Canadians because of the amount of jobs that will be created. It is an awesome opportunity for everyone across this country.

I believe that when Canadians see how much opportunity is available in British Columbia, they will come, they will work, they will create families there and they will be able to do a lot of things that make Canadians prosper.