House of Commons Hansard #118 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

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, indeed, Canadians are looking for a real debate on health care, and they do not want to read the story in the fine print of an omnibus bill to implement the budget.

That said, I think all of us on this side of the House look forward to supporting my hon. colleague from Parkdale—High Park's reasoned amendment that we should not be supporting this budget implementation bill.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened enthusiastically to the speech given by my hon. colleague. It was very interesting.

I would like to know a little more about the lack of leadership shown by this government, particularly concerning food inspection, but also concerning the environment and heritage, since we have also been talking a bit about these things.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for the opportunity to speak a little about the heritage file.

The government has cut about $200 million from heritage. One thing we have to remember is that when we invest in arts and culture in our country we make back our money at least twofold. Arts and culture is a major economic driver in the country, and to withstand the savage cuts that are in the budget makes absolutely no sense. It makes no sense on a nation-building front, but it also makes absolutely no sense on an economic front.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, in economic action plan 2012, our government is looking ahead, not only over the next few years but for the next generation. The reforms presented are substantial, responsible and necessary. They would ensure we remain focused on enabling and sustaining Canada's long-term economic growth.

More specifically, economic action plan 2012 would help create high-value and well-paying jobs by investing into entrepreneurship, innovation and world-class research. It would support jobs and growth by investing in training, infrastructure and responsible resource development, thereby providing new opportunities for young Canadians, first nations, newcomers and unemployed Canadians.

We believe in sustainable public finances, which is why we have found fair, balanced and moderate savings in government spending. Budget 2012 would take important steps to address the challenges and help take advantage of the opportunities in the global economy, while ensuring sustainable social programs and sound public finances for future generations here in Canada.

Our government recognizes that Canada's seniors have contributed enormously to our country and continue to do so. This is why we introduced new measures to improve their quality of life and expand their financial opportunities.

The ThirdQuarter project is an innovative online approach to help employers find experienced workers over 50 who want to keep using their skills in the workforce. We propose $6 million to extend and expand this successful project across the country.

Our government is also committed to improving the flexibility in choice for senior workers. For those wishing to work longer, we would provide them with an opportunity to voluntarily defer taking up the old age security benefit, starting in July 2013. Those who wish to do so would, of course, receive a higher annual adjusted pension.

With regard to OAS, our government is committed to sustaining our social programs and to securing retirement for Canadians. However, to ensure the sustainability of OAS, the age of eligibility must be raised. As a result, we would be gradually raising the age of eligibility from 65 to 67, starting in April 2023 and being at full implementation by January 2029. This is nothing new, as 22 of 34 OECD countries have increased or are planning to increase pension ages in their own public pension programs. Australia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States are increasing their statutory pension age to 67. The United Kingdom and Ireland are raising it to 68. The Netherlands will raise it to 67 and then link it to life expectancy.

Canada is linked to the global economy now more than ever. Increasing our age of eligibility for OAS from 65 to 67 is no longer a choice but a necessity.

The facts on OAS speak for themselves. The number of Canadians over the age of 65 will increase from 4.7 million to 9.3 million over the next 20 years. The OAS program is dated from a time when Canadians were not living that long. Canadians who are privileged to live today have healthier lives. Consequently, the cost of the OAS program would increase from $36 billion per year in 2010 to $108 billion per year in 2030. Meanwhile, by 2030, the number of taxpayers for every senior would be down to two, from four in 2010.

To ensure sustainability of OAS, the age of eligibility must be raised from 65 to 67. We have ensured that the changes are made with substantial notice and with an adjustment period and that they would not affect current retirees or those close to retirement and would give others plenty of time to adjust to the changes and plan for their retirement.

Along with supporting our seniors, we must support our students. We all want Canada's students to succeed in the global economy with the help the best education possible. That is why since 2006 our government has provided the much-needed support for our students.

However, in budget 2012, we would be doing even more to ensure Canadians are better equipped and better integrated into the workforce. We would be increasing support for youth employment opportunities with an additional $50 million spending on improving skills links and career focuses for students, through the youth employment strategy. We would also be doubling graduate interns in innovative firms by investing an additional $14 million, to double the resources of the industrial research and development intern program. This would place even more students into practical hands-on research internships in Canadian companies.

The goal is to have as many Canadians working as possible. Budget 2012 would take action to create jobs now and provide more opportunities to Canadians.

To create jobs now, we will be extending for one year the hiring credit for small businesses, a practical, proven measure that encourages businesses to hire more workers. We will provide new funding to improve border infrastructure and we will make new investments in local infrastructure through the community infrastructure improvement fund.

To provide more opportunities for Canadians, we will make it much easier for Canadians who are out of work to identify new opportunities and for employers to find workers they need. For EI recipients in areas of sporadic employment, we will initiate modest changes to the program to better focus our support for Canadians who are eager to work.

We will provide new incentives and opportunities for members of the first nations living on reserve to participate fully in our economy and to gain greater self-sufficiency.

Finally, we will take action to build a fast and flexible economic immigration system that will be better able to fill gaps in our labour force while at the same time attracting more of the entrepreneurs we need.

As a member of the Red Tape Reduction Commission, I am very pleased to speak on our government's continuing commitment to reducing regulatory burdens faced by businesses of all sizes. In January 2011, our government created the commission, fulfilling a budget 2010 promise. After a year of extensive Canada-wide consultations, the commission brought forth recommendations to reduce irritants to businesses that impede growth, competitiveness and innovation. One of our findings was implemented by the government earlier in the year: the one-for-one rule requiring the government to eliminate an existing regulation whenever it adopts a new one. This assures that at the very least, red tape will cease to increase.

As a former small business owner, I appreciate first-hand the vital role small businesses can have in creating jobs. Our government recognizes this too. That is why in budget 2012 we are committed to helping them grow and to succeed. We have concluded a number of key measures to support the growth of small businesses, including the extension of the hiring credit for small businesses, a temporary credit of up to $1,000 against a small firm's increase in its 2011 EI premiums over those paid in 2012. This temporary credit will help about 536,000 employers defray the costs of additional hiring.

We will be increasing direct support for business innovation by providing $110 million per year to the National Research Council. This in turn will double support to small businesses through the industrial research assistance program and expand the services provided to businesses through the program's industrial technology advisers.

There will be $95 million spent over three years and $40 million per year ongoing to make the Canadian innovation commercialization program permanent, which will help Canadian businesses demonstrate their innovative products and services through federal procurement.

Finally, $14 million will be spent to expand the industrial research and development internship program in order to place more Ph.D. students into practical research internships in businesses.

Speaking of Ph.D.s, situated very close to my riding of Niagara West—Glanbrook is McMaster University. I was delighted to see that it will be receiving $6.5 million over three years for research projects to evaluate ways to achieve better health outcomes for patients while also making the health care system more cost-effective. Having met with a number of constituents attending McMaster University, I am sure they will be pleased with our government's commitment to this sound institution.

The global economy is changing, and the 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. Budget 2012 announces a commitment of over $1.1 billion over five years to support research and development and $500 million for venture capital. These investments and actions will keep our economy strong, create high-quality jobs and ensure that Canada is a premier destination for the world's brightest minds.

In closing, let me say that I believe this budget delivers our promise to maintain a steady course toward both economic recovery and deficit reduction. I applaud the Minister of Finance and I urge all of my colleagues to support Canada and support this budget.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order, please.

The time for government orders has expired. Questions and comments for the hon. member for Niagara West—Glanbrook will take place when the House returns to this matter.

Governor General's Honourees
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize two of my constituents who were recently presented with honours by the Governor General here in Ottawa.

Darren Bieber of Weyburn, Saskatchewan, was awarded the Medal of Bravery for his heroic efforts in rescuing a passenger from a submerged vehicle on April 28, 2007, just outside Stoughton, Saskatchewan. Mr. Bieber, along with Mark Janke of Elbow, Saskatchewan, took care of the survivors until emergency crews arrived on the scene.

Also, Larry Pearson from Weyburn was presented with the Caring Canadian Award for his work in recognizing members of the Canadian Forces, although he himself has never served. Mr. Pearson is active in the Weyburn branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and is committed to ensuring that our men and women in uniform are honoured by Canadians for all that they do.

As the member of Parliament for Souris—Moose Mountain and on behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to congratulate Mr. Bieber and Mr. Pearson on their recent awards.

Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the start of National Elizabeth Fry Week. This week Elizabeth Fry societies across the country will hold community events to enhance public awareness regarding the circumstances of marginalized, victimized, criminalized and institutionalized women and girls.

The 26 chapters of Elizabeth Fry societies aim to break down the negative stereotypes that exist about women in conflict with the law. They ask us to see that it is the survival activities resulting from inequality, poverty and homelessness that are increasingly likely to be the causes of their criminalization. They draw our attention to the fact that young first nations women are significantly overrepresented in Canada's prison population.

Since 1969, the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies has worked to increased the availability of community-based social, health and educational resources for women and girls to help keep them out of prison. I would like to thank the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies for its continuing commitment to providing services for marginalized women and girls, both offenders and victims. Perhaps most importantly, I want to thank the association for reminding us all to look beyond the marginalization of the women they work with so that we can once again see the positive potential in all Canadians.

Veterans
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Toet Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, this weekend I was pleased to spend some time with veterans and members from the Prince Edward, Elmwood and Henderson Highway legion branches in Winnipeg. We gathered together to pay tribute to veterans at the regional Decoration Day parade. I was honoured to lay a wreath and speak on behalf of the Government of Canada at this event.

A few weeks prior to this I was in the Netherlands, where I and some of my fellow members of Parliament attended a ceremony and laid a wreath at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten. The soldiers buried there were from the regiments that liberated my mother and her family from Enschede in the Netherlands.

These two events were reminders again of the sacrifices made by the men and women of the Canadian Forces, sacrifices they made to assure not only our freedom here in Canada but also the freedom of many others in countries far abroad. It was wonderful to have an opportunity to remind both young and old Canadians of how important it is for all of us to never forget these wonderful men and women who have fought so bravely for the freedoms we at times take for granted.

Let us never forget.

700 David Hornell VC Squadron
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago I had the tremendous honour of reviewing the outstanding cadets of 700 David Hornell VC Squadron, which has been serving the youth of Etobicoke since 1960. The squadron is named after a native of Etobicoke who was one of only two RCAF airmen to be awarded the Victoria Cross in World War II.

Over 200 young people aged 12-18 years belong to this award-winning squadron. They excel in band, debating team, drill team, effective speaking and precision rifle team. In fact, they were recognized by the Air Cadet League as the top squadron in central Ontario in 2011, under the command of Major David Forster. The air cadet program develops citizenship and leadership, encourages fitness and fosters an interest in civil and military aviation.

I celebrate our extraordinary youth. Our future is brighter because of their efforts, and I am enormously proud of each and every one of them.

Sunshine Foundation of Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the Sunshine Foundation of Canada as it celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Established in 1987 by a London couple after the loss of their son, the Sunshine Foundation has grown to become a national charity that makes dreams come true for children with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses. I salute executive director Nancy Sutherland, her staff and Canadian volunteers and financial supporters. Their clear vision is that every Sunshine child should live his or her dream.

As a member of the national board of directors, I was personally touched to participate just a couple of weeks ago in the Sunshine DreamLift in Ottawa that sent 80 of our kids, Canada's kids, to Disney World for the day. For these young people, it was life-changing. Approximately 50,000 children across Canada medically qualify for a Sunshine dream. They have endured more than we could imagine. These kids have entrusted us with their most personal dreams, and we cannot let them down.

We continue to grow and raise awareness of Sunshine in communities across the country. Together we can make Sunshine dreams a reality for Canada's kids.

Government Policies
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday a new report was tabled in this House concerning the state of Canadian pipelines and refineries.

We support a central component of the report's main recommendation: that any changes to the environmental assessment process should not “reduce the current public access to the review process”.

A mere day after this report was tabled, the government dumped its giant budget bill on this House. The budget bill tears out the heart of the environmental assessment process and greatly limits public participation.

These changes concern my constituents. Kinder Morgan has formally announced plans to build a giant new crude oil pipeline through the centre of our city. Under the new budget bill laws, there is no guarantee that any public participation will be allowed on this project.

The government should abide by the committee's recommendations. It should ensure it does not reduce the public's ability to voice their legitimate concerns on this or any other major development.

Portage—Lisgar Hockey Teams
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I congratulate two exceptional hockey teams from my riding of Portage—Lisgar.

The Pembina Valley Hawks girls' hockey team won the western female midget hockey championship and went on to win the nationals at the Esso Cup in Charlottetown, P.E.I., just one week ago.

This victory marks Manitoba's first national midget women's title since 2009. The team did a great job.

Congratulations also to the Portage Terriers who, for the fourth time in the last five years, are champions of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Having recently played in the Anavet Cup against Saskatchewan's Humboldt Broncos, the Portage Terriers will move on to show those Broncos who is really the best in the west by clobbering them on their home turf.

In fact, they kicked off the RBC Cup last night with a huge win. These talented youth are reminders of the pride and spirit of our community and of the love of hockey that defines Canadians.

Good luck to the Portage Terriers, and congratulations to both teams.

Prevention of Skin Cancer
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is Melanoma Monday, and we are raising awareness of common yet preventable skin cancer.

My wife Kelly has survived melanoma skin cancer on more than one occasion. While she was fortunate enough to beat it, not everyone will be so lucky. Out of the 5,500 Canadians who are diagnosed with melanoma annually, 950 will die from it.

UV radiation from the sun and artificial tanning beds are the main causes of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. The World Health Organization has found sufficient and compelling evidence linking indoor tanning to melanoma and has ranked tanning beds as a level one carcinogen to humans, placing them on the same level as tobacco, mustard gas and asbestos. Studies have shown that using tanning beds at a young age increases the risk of skin cancer by 75%. Regrettably, more of our youth are using tanning beds.

I recently tabled a private member's bill that would prohibit anyone under 18 years of age from using tanning beds and would keep our youth out of this dangerous equipment.

Today members of the Canadian Dermatology Association are screening parliamentarians for melanoma, and I encourage all Canadians to get screened for skin cancer.

Champions of Mental Health Awards
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in the House to congratulate the winners of the 10th annual national Champions of Mental Health Awards from the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health.

The award recognizes the outstanding contributions that Canadians have made to advance the mental health agenda: Mr. Michael Landsberg, a TSN broadcaster; Cardinal Newman Peer Mentors, of Stoney Creek, Ontario; Senator W. David Angus, Q.C.; Scott Chisholm, founder of the Collateral Damage Project; and Dr. Trang Dao.

Mental illness and poor mental health have a profound impact on Canadian society. It is estimated that one out of every five Canadians suffer from mental illness, and tonight they will celebrating them in an awards evening.

On behalf of our leader and New Democrats from coast to coast to coast, we congratulate all the winners of this year's 2012 Champions of Mental Health Awards.

Ceremony of Remembrance
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham
Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, this weekend Ontario held its Ceremony of Remembrance for police officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

Hundreds of Ontario's finest have made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of keeping our streets and communities safe. Words cannot convey our appreciation for those who serve us every day on the front lines.

Sadly, far too often this service ends in cutting short the lives of brave men and women at the hands of thugs and criminals bent on terrorizing society.

Three names were added to the cenotaph this year, including Constable Garret Styles, who died this year in East Gwillimbury. To his family and to all our heroes in Ontario and across Canada, I thank them.