House of Commons Hansard #116 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Madam Speaker, the 425-page bill before us here today deals with complex issues that were not disclosed in advance. I also heard several MPs say that they had heard rumours about major changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and huge changes to the Fisheries Act—probably the most significant change to that legislation in 40 years—hidden in the budget implementation bill.

This has nothing to do with the budget and everything to do with coastal communities that will have an incredibly hard time adjusting to such a major change concerning habitat protection. It is inconceivable that this change is not being examined by the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. We are talking about just seven days of debate and then the bill will be sent to a special budget committee, even though this will have an enormous impact on Canadians and their communities. They will not be able to maintain the same quality of life.

Why are the Conservatives in such a hurry to send this to a committee that has nothing to do with the budget?

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Madam Speaker, I would object to the suggestion that we are hurrying this through. Most Canadians watching this debate, and those who will be watching for the following seven days, can also watch two different levels of committee proceedings.

I also understand that the Senate, hoping it gets to that stage, will put forward a number of committees that will hear further from Canadians. I cannot even tell the House how many Canadians that will allow to give presentations.

I would suggest that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities might object to what that hon. member was talking about because it is faced with the challenges of developing water systems, waste water systems and roadways in its municipalities. It has come to us with its challenges and said, “Can we make the Fisheries Act workable? We don't want to imperil fisheries at all.” The FCM has been very clear about that. It has asked that we make it workable and that is what we will do.

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to continue on with my Liberal colleague's question.

There are many different pieces of legislation in Bill C-38. In the past, the government has restricted debate on other bills to two, three or four days. If we add up the number of days that we might want to debate all of the different pieces of Bill C-38, according to the government's timetable it would add up to a lot more than seven days.

I want to talk about the government shifting away from funding basic research and the fact that it is hurting Canadian researchers in that area. It is a very specific area and a principle that is part of the bill. It needs to be discussed. I want to make sure I have the time to collect all of the information and talk about it.

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Madam Speaker, we have had quite a bit of time to bring forward the discussions that we have each had as members of Parliament reflecting what our constituents have been telling us.

Certainly, my constituents have been telling me to move on with this. We are the strongest country in the G7 as far as fiscal capacity. My constituents are telling me that what we are doing is right. They are asking us to continue doing that. That is what the budget implementation bill for budget 2012 is all about. It is enabling what we have put forth in the budget that people have had quite a length of time to discuss among themselves and share with their MPs.

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, after all, we are talking about the budget and the reason why this budget should be passed and passed within a reasonable amount of time. I spend a considerable amount of time reading what the economists are saying about the budget, as I think most members do.

I have a quote here from Craig Wright, RBC's chief economist, who said, “The federal government has delivered on its promise of guiding the Canadian economy towards improved fiscal performance....”

Did I just hit the odd economist who has endorsed this budget or is this a trend? Could the hon. member enlighten the House with respect to that?

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a trend, but a very good trend.

We consult with economists on a regular basis. Four times a year we consult with Canada's top economists to determine whether this government is headed in the right direction. We ask them if our analysis is equivalent to that of private sector economists, and we reflect that in the budget. That is reflected in this budget. They help guide us in the right direction, so of course they will tell us that this is the right direction.

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, as my colleagues have said, what is going on is scandalous. The government has had months to work on the budget. This 425-page budget affects people from all walks of life and will mean major changes for all Canadians, yet the government says that we cannot spend more than six or seven days on it. This 425-page budget affects women, people with disabilities, the environment and everything.

What are you so afraid of that you have to shut down debate and democracy? Answer me. What do you want? Do you want to bring people to their knees?

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I would remind all members to address their comments to the Speaker.

The hon. Minister of State for Finance.

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

May 3rd, 2012 / 10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Madam Speaker, Canadians expect us to debate in the House. They expect us to bring new thoughts, new ideas, their thoughts and their ideas. They do not expect us to just regurgitate the NDP ideology that we should tax everyone more and then everything will be better. We watched that happen in Europe. We watched the NDP policy in Europe. The outcome of that is Greece.

Canadians have told us to continue to do what we are doing. We are bringing low taxes to Canadians, providing them opportunities, reducing the red tape that stops Canadian businesses from being able to compete internationally. That is what we are doing in this budget. We are simplifying the business processes for businesses so they can compete internationally.

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I quoted the Prime Minister to my friend, a conviction that his leader and his party used to have about this type of measure. My friend has used the past record of the Liberal governments to justify his actions now. It seems passing strange, because when the Liberals made these types of actions, his party had convictions around this type of measure.

I will quote to him again, a friend who sits quite close:

Here we go again. This is a very important public policy question that is very complex and we have the arrogance of the government in invoking closure again. When we look at the Liberal Party on arrogance it is like looking at the Grand Canyon. It is this big fact of nature that we cannot help but stare at.

He has to be careful. We have to understand that in these 420 pages, revoking pay equity or destroying environmental protections that Canadians rely upon is not something that his government ran on in the last election, nor does it have a mandate to do so. Lumping it together in an omnibus bill like this is undermining the very institution that we all represent, and our ability to hold government to account.

Does he not believe in the convictions that he, his ministers of culture and immigration, and the Prime Minister, used to have with respect to these types of draconian measures?

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Madam Speaker, the convictions that this government has, has always had and will continue to have, are to do what is best for the country. We have put forward three budgets in a row that have focused on jobs and the economy. With this one we now have the opportunity to look longer term.

What have the results been of the previous budgets? Almost 700,000 net new jobs. Those are the results that matter to Canadians. More Canadians are working now than at the beginning of the recession. Not many countries can say that. We are trying to leave the old ideologies of the NDP out of the way. We do not want to overtax those businesses so that they lay people off. We continue to reduce taxes and provide an environment where our businesses can compete and grow jobs.

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Madam Speaker, I could not get a direct answer to my last question about how the government calculates when it is time for time allocation, even though it has done it a couple of hundred times, whether it has been in the House or in committee. It is not based on the number of pages, so we will let that one go.

I am going to try to match up some of the answers to some of the questions because he is just answering questions based on his question sheet. My question is going to try and understand his answers.

There is a problem with the bill because the NDP members do not understand it because they are left-wing ideologists. The Conservatives do not understand the bill because they are right-wing ideologists. Therefore, do I understand correctly that the government will consider all Liberal Party amendments for this bill? I would like a straight answer.

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Madam Speaker, it is nice to have a little levity in the House of Commons this early in the morning, and I thank my hon. friend for that. By the way, I do not have the question sheet; I actually have an answer sheet.

My answer is to provide some more quotes that I would like to read into the record because the opposition seems to think that Canadians are not prepared to move forward on this economic action plan for 2012.

One concern that has been raised is about sustainable development. Let me read a quote from Vicky Sharpe of Sustainable Development Technology Canada:

In these tough economic times, SDTC is pleased to see the Government's emphasis on stimulating the economy through increasing business innovation.

Those Canadians are telling us to move forward. We have seven days of fulsome debate. We encourage people to get to the point instead of arguing over whether or not it is sufficient. Let us use the time properly.

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Madam Speaker, the member toured the country, as I did, on the issue of pensions. There were many town hall meetings that took in input, and it strikes me as strange that now it is almost as if a wall is going up about input in this place.

There are hundreds of pages in this document that touch on many critical areas. I am a member of the finance committee, and some of the members are present. We do not have expertise in fisheries or the environment. These particular controversial areas should have been hived out of this document and put to the appropriate committees. It is troubling to see this happen.

There is controversy around this document because of the fact that it is like an omnibus bill. It goes into areas that are not going to get properly critiqued because the time for discussion is condensed down to what the member calls reasonable; for 400-some pages, these few days are certainly not reasonable.

Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Madam Speaker, with all due respect to my hon. friend, that is quite a bit of time to discuss this bill, especially considering the urgency. We are running out of days before the spring rising of the House, and it is important that this legislation get through so that we can enable some of this, and I referred to FCM's request to get this moving quickly.

I need to remind my hon. colleague that committees are the masters of their own domain, and if they choose to take a more serious complete look at this they can. However, we have also said that we recognize the challenges of the finance committee, a great bunch of MPs, in that time is limited, so we are going to put in a subcommittee to help the finance committee study some of the finer points of this legislation.