House of Commons Hansard #122 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

12:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please.

The member for London—Fanshawe has 40 seconds to respond to that last question.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, this was done by stealth. The government never told Canadians it would raise the age of retirement. It never told seniors that future generations would be asked to pay this incredible price.

The young people the Conservatives keep talking about who will be paying this terrible debt are trying to raise families. They are trying to manage huge tuition debts, mortgages and a lack of job creation in the present. The reality is that they will not have a decent retirement at all. This bunch will, but not the seniors of the future.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. member for London—Fanshawe had the floor, and now the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation has the floor. I would ask the minister and all members to allow that member to speak.

Resuming debate, the hon. parliamentary secretary.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora
Ontario

Conservative

Lois Brown Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on Bill C-38, the budget implementation act. Indeed, I am proud to participate in this debate, the longest ever allotted for a budget bill certainly within the last 20 years.

Our government's priority remains the economy. This budget is squarely focused on job creation and economic growth for today and into the future. It has been said before, and it is worth repeating, that the best way to reduce poverty is to ensure that Canadians have jobs. That is exactly what this budget will accomplish. How will we do that? By keeping taxes low, investing in our future, creating opportunity and returning to balanced budgets at an appropriate pace. At the same time, we are supporting our families, investing in our communities and taking care of our most vulnerable.

Our government has proven to be excellent managers of the economy. In fact, we are the envy of the world. As members know, Forbes magazine ranks us as the best country on the planet in which to invest and grow a business. That is not accidental, but a result of six years of focused work.

In 2006, members may recall, we launched Advantage Canada, our strategic and comprehensive economic plan to foster strong, sustainable, long-term growth. We set out to show the world who and what we are, a modern, dynamic and tolerant country. We did this by understanding and building on Canada's advantages.

Our tax advantage comes from setting out to reduce taxes for all Canadians and establishing the lowest tax rate on new business investment in the G7. Our fiscal advantage comes from charting a course to eliminate Canada's debt. I am proud to say that we paid down $37 billion before the global recession struck in 2008. Our entrepreneurial advantage comes from committing to reducing unnecessary regulation and red tape and increasing competition in the Canadian marketplace. Our knowledge advantage comes from creating the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. Our infrastructure advantage comes from building the modern infrastructure we need.

We set out four principles which would guide our policy decisions to improve our quality of life and make Canada a world leader for today and future generations.

We are focusing government on what it does best, so that it is responsible in its spending, efficient in its operations, effective in its results and accountable to taxpayers.

We are creating new opportunities and choices for people by creating incentives for people to excel right here at home, reducing taxes and investing in education, training and transition-to-work opportunities so that Canadians can achieve their potential and have the choices they want.

We are investing for sustainable growth by investing and seeking partnerships with the provinces and the private sector in strategic areas that contribute to strong economies, including primary scientific research, a clean environment and modern infrastructure.

We are freeing businesses to grow and succeed to create the right economic conditions to encourage firms to invest and flourish.

I raise these points today because it is important for Canadians to know that their government has a focused, long-range strategic plan committed to improving their quality of life. Our economic plan is working. Budget 2012 is a continuation of our unwavering commitment to keep Canada the envy of the world.

I am proud to be a member of a government that understands the fundamental economic principle that resources are limited, and that there is only one taxpayer. Unlike the opposition, we understand that governments cannot continually raise taxes. Indeed, government, just like all Canadians, has to keep its house in order. That is what we are doing with budget 2012. We are getting our house in order. Through generating ongoing savings from operational efficiencies and making modest reductions, we are on track to returning to balanced budgets over the medium term. I emphasize that we are doing this without reducing transfers to persons or to other levels of government.

In fact, federal transfers to provinces and territories will reach an all-time high this year of $59 billion, which is $3 billion more than last year.

The facts speak for themselves. We have created almost 700,000 net new jobs since the recession ended in July 2009. These are good jobs: 90% of them are full time. We are one of only two G7 countries to regain all of the jobs lost in the recession. We continue to garner global praise for our management of the economy.

I mentioned that our priorities are jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. I would like to highlight some of the ways we are accomplishing these.

We are lowering taxes. Today the average family of four is paying $3,000 less in taxes than when our government took office in 2006. We did this by reducing the GST from 7% to 5%; allowing seniors to split their pensions between spouses; establishing a working income tax benefit for low-income, working Canadians; establishing the registered disability savings plan and the tax-free savings plan; reducing the lowest personal income tax rate from 16% to 15%; and bringing in measures such as the children's arts tax credit, the children's fitness tax credit and the very popular tax-free savings account.

We reduced business taxes. By reducing corporate taxes to 15%, we are now one of the most attractive places to invest, an incredible advantage we worked hard to achieve. We will see the benefits of this now and in the future. We cut the small business tax rate to 11% and we increased the threshold to $500,000. In total we have provided $60 billion in business tax relief, money that is available for reinvestment, purchasing and, most importantly, hiring.

We created new opportunities through trade. Since 2006 we have signed nine free trade agreements. These are benefiting people in Newmarket—Aurora and all of Canada. As a result, our businesses are benefiting from new economic opportunities that extend beyond our borders. We have exciting possibilities with many more agreements. They are progressing with the EU, India and Japan, just to name a few. Economic action plan 2012 proposes to intensify Canada's pursuit of new trade opportunities.

We are growing the economy by creating value-added jobs through innovation. Canada's long-term economic competitiveness in the emerging knowledge economy demands globally competitive businesses that can innovate, collaborate and create high-value jobs.

We are enacting a comprehensive plan to improve support for business innovation and to make Canadian firms compete better in the global marketplace. We are doing this by investing $1.1 billion to directly support research and development. We are refocusing the National Research Council and injecting an additional $110 million into that institute, which will include the doubling of support for the international research assistance program.

We are helping high-growth, innovative firms to access risk capital by making $500 million available for venture capital activities. This is most welcomed by the entrepreneurs in my riding of Newmarket—Aurora. Investments through programs like the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and the industrial research assistance program have helped businesses expand, bring products to market and create jobs. Companies like Gum Products, Axiom, Your Solar Home and Treefrog International have all added high-value jobs and helped diversify our local economy.

We are making investments to assist more young people gain the skills and experience they need by investing in training, infrastructure and opportunity. We are putting $30 million into the opportunities fund to help Canadians with disabilities acquire work experience. We are making EI predictable for employers, allowing them to better make employment decisions while removing the disincentive to work at the same time.

We have also reduced red tape for businesses. Reducing red tape is good for everyone. It helps our businesses compete and creates jobs for Canadians. It represents a low-cost way to stimulate the economy and boost productivity. That is why we are working hard for Canadians.

I look forward to questions from my colleagues.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Madam Speaker, I take issue with what my colleague from the Conservative government just said in her speech. First, let me point out that we are in the process of debating an omnibus bill. This is a bill that contains measures that have nothing to do with the budget, including the Kyoto protocol, environmental assessment, fish habitat, and so forth.

The NDP feels that this is preventing parliamentarians from doing their jobs and providing oversight. We are being forced to vote on a bill that contains many measures that we do not have time to review.

I would like to know whether my colleague agrees that this is preventing parliamentarians from providing real oversight.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Madam Speaker, this is the longest debate that any budget bill has had in nearly two decades. I would remind her that her colleague took up 13 hours of time in the House when about 78 other members could have had the opportunity to speak. He took up time with things that did not make any sense and had nothing to do with the budget bill. That was time that should have been spent by her and her colleagues debating the bill with the government.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

May 11th, 2012 / 1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Madam Speaker, while the parliamentary secretary claims that the government is looking after the most vulnerable, in some parts of our country families eat only one meal a day instead of three and, more often than we would like to admit, some family members eat while others go hungry. When this happens, children may stop growing and they may be too hungry to learn. When they are older, they may be undereducated and unable to work to their full potential. No family should face such choices in Canada, not in a country of such enormous wealth.

We signed the World Declaration on Nutrition and it is up to us to ensure the promise. Children do not want excuses. They just want food to fill their tummies. We need a pan-Canadian nutrition program in this country.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to the efforts that our government has made in that regard. Since 2006, we have been working to put money back in the hands of average Canadian families.

I will tell the member a few of the things that we have done. We cut the personal income tax rate to 15% and removed over one million Canadians from the tax rolls altogether. We increased the amount that Canadians can earn tax free. We reduced the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%, putting money back in the hands of average Canadian families.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to focus on what is happening with foreign affairs, one area where this budget is quite regressive, although there are many. My colleagues have talked about the process itself and the fact that this is not a budget bill but an omnibus bill that is very ominous in what it would do in terms of regulation.

There is one area that we have not discussed as much as I think we should and that is the killing of Radio Canada International. A previous government tried to do this and it was resuscitated. Radio Canada International is our voice in the world. Every commonwealth and G8 country has it. The government is killing it in this budget.

The member has a responsibility when it comes to international affairs. How can she stand by and watch as our voice is being silenced on the international stage?

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Newmarket—Aurora, ON

On the contrary, Madam Speaker. I think Canada's voice around the world is very strong. Just from my own work in the portfolio dealing with international co-operation, Canada has a remarkable reputation. I have been in many countries where we have CIDA projects and there is incredible gratitude toward Canada. The voice that we are carrying in those countries is enormous.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer. I must tell her in advance that I will have to interrupt her at 1:15 p.m.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, things are looking very bad. I really mean it. The Conservatives have invoked closure for the 18th time on a bill that is over 400 pages long.

Bill C-38 is no mere budget implementation bill. It is an omnibus bill that amends at least 60 Canadian laws. The proposed measures are so numerous and will have such serious consequences that people will be feeling their effects for decades, not just over the coming year.

We need enough time to study such a far-reaching bill. If the Conservatives truly believed that the measures in this bill were reasonable, they would split it up and make real debate possible. Instead, they would rather do things on the sly. What are the Conservatives really afraid of?

Canadians are fed up with the government's lack of transparency. The Conservatives should lay their cards on the table. But that is not what they are doing. By using Bill C-38 as a Trojan Horse, the Conservatives have made it clear that they have a hidden agenda. Our fellow citizens want all of the necessary information about the proposed measures. They have the right to know. But being transparent is not how the Conservatives operate, and all Canadians will end up paying the price for that.

Bill C-38 reduces the Auditor General's oversight powers. This is the same Auditor General who said two weeks ago that Conservative ministers knew the real cost of the F-35s. How can the Conservatives possibly justify to Canadians this decision to slash away at an institution as important and respected as the Auditor General? My constituents and I find this very disturbing.

In terms of jobs, Bill C-38 only makes matters worse; it does not improve anything. The Parliamentary Budget Officer recently confirmed that the most recent budget will lead to the loss of up to 43,000 jobs by 2014. From a strictly economic standpoint, every member of this House should be considering the consequences of so many lost jobs on the economy in our communities and on Canada's economic recovery.

When a factory that employs 1,000 people shuts down, the socio-economic repercussions are felt in that region immediately. Suppliers, small and medium-sized businesses and families are all affected. What the Conservatives are proposing is the equivalent of closing 43 factories that employ 1,000 people each, all across Canada.

The Prime Minister made a commitment to Canadians to create jobs, not to increase unemployment, which is what he is doing. In my riding of Hull—Aylmer, several thousand people—people who have families—are going to lose their main source of income, all because of the Conservatives' austerity budget.

Meanwhile, the government continues to claim that its top priority is employment. How can it seriously tell Canadians that its priority is job creation, when it plans to cut 43,000 jobs? Any good economist will agree that job losses have a negative impact on household spending. When Canadian families are not spending money, small businesses are forced to close. And when small businesses shut down, people lose their jobs. It is a vicious circle, as we know. The Conservatives should know that.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I must interrupt the hon. member.

It being 1:15 p.m., pursuant to order made Thursday, May 3, 2012, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill now before the House.

The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.