House of Commons Hansard #119 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

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member hit the nail on the head when he spoke about environmental legislation that is included in this omnibus bill. The Conservatives are trying to sneak this legislation through the back door. With everything in life, there has to be balance. The balance between economic development and the environment has been lost with the Conservative government. It is not being up front with the Canadian people.

If the government were doing things right, it would pull this environmental legislation out and we would debate it separately from this budget implementation bill. However, the Conservatives, more and more, have a tendency not to do things right.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians may be confused. They hear opposition members saying that with Bill C-38 the government is gutting environmental laws, and they hear the Conservative members of Parliament saying that they are strengthening the laws.

The reality is clear when we look at the legislation. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act is repealed. An entirely new act of 67 pages replaces it, which lacks the fundamental elements that have been there since 1992 when that act was passed.

I would like to ask my hon. friend if, in looking at this bill in relation to Fisheries Act provisions and the protection of fisheries habitat, he has concerns that are particularly applicable to his community of Newfoundland and Labrador?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have concerns. As a representative for St. John's South—Mount Pearl, for Newfoundland and Labrador, I have concerns about anything fisheries-related from the Government of Canada, from the Conservative government.

Our groundfish fisheries, fisheries for species such as cod and flounder, were wiped out 20 years ago. There are no rebuilding plans and no rebuilding targets under the government, for the last six years under the Conservative government and under Liberal governments before it.

I have a concern about anything fisheries-related because the trust in the government is not there. It is absolutely non-existent.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the main concerns that many have been raising in this House is that there are so many things in this act that have nothing to do with the budget. This is the first new budget that the government has brought in since the last election, and it has many things it never campaigned on.

The member has pointed out that there are many items in here that have nothing to do with the budget. I would like to ask him what he thinks will happen if members of the finance committee are responsible for examining changes to the Fisheries Act or other environmental changes? What does the member think could be the danger of that happening?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, the danger, for example, of members of the finance committee examining changes to the Fisheries Act is that they would not have a clue what to look for. Again, it is part of the agenda and the reason why the Conservatives are doing it this way. They can sneak things through the back door, as the hon. Liberal member just mentioned.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to share with the House the widespread support of the constituents of Brampton—Springdale for economic action plan 2012. Leading up to the introduction of this budget, my constituents repeatedly applauded the Conservative government's focus and direction when it comes to our economy. Their support has never wavered. They trust and know that the Conservative government is the only choice when it comes to creating jobs and keeping our economy stable.

Before the budget was introduced, I held budget consultations and round tables and I spoke with thousands of constituents. There was a common theme during these conversations. Constituents wanted our government to look ahead not only for the next few years, but for generations to come.

My constituents understand the importance of looking forward when it comes to sustainability and growth. They understand and acknowledge that our country is changing. That is why they continue to stand side by side with our Conservative government. They want their children to grow up in an environment where opportunities are plenty. They have every reason to be confident in the Conservative government and economic action plan 2012. The constituents of Brampton—Springdale want opportunities. They want a government that will act in their best interest. They want a government that will take realistic, pragmatic and responsible action.

The measures contained in economic action plan 2012 are substantial, but they are reasonable and, more importantly, necessary. While others spend their time fear-mongering, the Conservative government is tackling the real issues head-on.

My constituents were appalled by opposition parties that, instead of supporting realistic measures that met the needs of all Canadians, wanted to take our economy down the wrong path. This is not what my constituents or Canadians in general need at this point. While other countries are facing the risk of long-term economic decline, Canada is in a position of opportunity. We are seizing that opportunity and making decisions that will position our nation for sustainable, long-term growth.

Brampton—Springdale is a diverse community that is home to thousands of hard-working families and Canadians who deserve to have a government that acts in their best interest. I vote for economic action plan 2012 because it is a practical strategy that ensures our economy will create good jobs and sustain a higher quality of life for generations to come.

The economic action plan was developed with all Canadians in mind. It proposes measures that would assist each and every one of my constituents, from seniors, children, students, families to workers in every industry. We are taking major steps forward that will build on the proven foundation that we have worked to lay since 2006.

The global economic landscape, along with the shifting environment in Canada, exemplifies the need to make important decisions. Instead of ignoring foreseeable problems such as the inevitable demographic changes in Canada, we are taking action that will allow Canada to avoid these dangers. We are also working to seize new opportunities for today and for the future.

Throughout the past year I have had the opportunity to speak with thousands of constituents about our economy and where our country is headed. What is remarkable is the fact that although this riding was held by a Liberal for many years, the constituents have praised our government for keeping taxes low and creating jobs in some of the toughest economic climates. They have expressed their appreciation for the Conservative government's focus and determination.

Brampton—Springdale is a community that is part of a growing city. The city of Brampton is home to more than 8,000 businesses and employs approximately 153,000 hard-working Bramptonians. These companies, entrepreneurs, workers and families depend on the government to ensure that their futures are brighter. I am always proud to tell others about Brampton's small business, manufacturing and entrepreneurial base. It is a city that is innovative, creative and successful.

When I announced that the Conservative government would be delivering more than $1.1 billion in significant investments for research and development with another $500 million for venture capital, constituents from across my riding were thrilled. These are actions that mean something to my constituents. We are not delivering mere words or promises, we are delivering action and results. Innovation, creativity and growth are by-products of a strong business sector. With the Conservative government at the helm, Brampton will continue to excel on the national and international stages. Investment in entrepreneurship, innovation and research is a fundamental necessity for our country. It simply is not enough to maintain our advantage in the global economy, we need to constantly strive for better. We need to always aim higher. These investments would allow us to position Canada not only to compete on the world stage but to excel there. Our country has enormous potential in almost every industry. This potential and our talent have been recognized around the world. We need to foster that success, sustain growth and innovation, and create new opportunities.

To help achieve that long-term prosperity and growth, our government is making it easier for students and companies to exceed objectives and benchmarks. As I mentioned, Brampton is home to a rapidly expanding small-business sector. By extending the hiring tax credit for small businesses, we are helping thousands of Brampton companies expand their workforce and capabilities. This initiative has already helped many businesses in my riding to grow within the marketplace and create well-paying jobs for my constituents of Brampton—Springdale.

Many, if not all, of us in this House would agree that youth are our future. That is why we have invested and will continue to invest in programs that help youth get into the workforce. We allocated $50 million to the youth employment strategy to assist more young people in gaining tangible skills and experience that will allow them to compete in the job market. Brampton is home to thousands of students looking to make their way in a very unpredictable world. They are looking to make a name for themselves and to start their careers. They need and deserve to be provided with the opportunity to achieve their aspirations. We are working to provide our younger generation with the proper training and assistance that will make their dreams a reality.

More and more people are choosing to start their families in Brampton. The Conservative government knows the importance of providing relief for our hard-working families. Economic action plan 2012 highlights that focus. From improving the registered disability savings plan to increasing the travellers' exemption to promoting a more active lifestyle through continued support of Participaction, our government is standing behind our families. This relief comes after six years of increased support across the board for families by our government. The residents of Brampton—Springdale are leading happier, healthier and more prosperous lives because of the Conservative government's continued support and assistance. My constituents are proud of their government because they have tangible results through our efforts.

Whether they are young people, students, families, hard-working citizens, seniors or business owners, these constituents know that they can count on the Conservative government to always be there for them. While the Liberals gutted transfers to health care and education when in power, our Conservative government is protecting and growing them to help support the services that Ontario families need. We are standing up for Canadians across this country because we know it comes down to opportunities that they are provided with. We will remain focused on job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity. This will help our country not only to remain stable but to excel in every industry. It all comes down to opportunities.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed listening to the member's presentation. He talked for the most part about how he supported the direction the government is going in terms of its allocation of resources, of money, in the budget. He mentioned a couple of programs that he supported.

That is the kind of thing we expect in a budget. That is the kind of stuff that we saw when the Minister of Finance brought down the budget, and that is what we fully expected to be debating here in the House. and that is what we expected to be going forward to the finance committee.

Instead—and I ask the member for his thoughts on this—what we have is a bill that makes significant and fundamental legislative changes to a whole myriad of legislation. Would the member not agree that we should be dealing with budget items and that legislative items should be dealt with in another forum?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member, as mentioned earlier by my other colleagues, that this budget was brought forward after conducting massive consultations with Canadians throughout the country.

Canadians gave our government a strong mandate for a reason: they expect results. They expect us to deliver. That is exactly what the government's intention is, and that is exactly what the Prime Minister and finance minister are focused on: creating jobs, creating prosperity and creating long-term growth. That is what Canadians expect us to do and that is what we will continue to do.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how the member can indicate that the Prime Minister led a government that had “massive consultations”. “Consultations” gives the impression that they might have been listening to what Canadians have to say, and we know very clearly what Canadians had to say in regard to the senior pension issue: a vast majority of Canadians believe the government is wrong to increase the age from 65 to 67. A vast majority of Canadians want to be able to ensure that they have the future ability to retire at the age of 65. That is what Canadians have told the Liberal Party, and I suspect that is the same message that they have told the Conservative government. Therefore, how can the member or the government claim that it consulted Canadians, when we know full well that some of the major platforms that the budget has taken go against what Canadians really want?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is taking steps that Canadians expect us to take by ensuring OAS remains strong and there for future generations by gradually raising the eligibility age of OAS and GIS benefits from 65 to 67 between 2023 and 2029. The changes are limited to those who are 54 or younger as of March 31, 2012, and will not affect current OAS or GIS beneficiaries in any way.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his very insightful speech. Hopefully members of the opposition listened.

Would the member speculate on why the NDP and Liberal members are voting against what Canadians want? The budget provides jobs. It provides what families need. It provides a plan of prosperity and growth for the future. Why would they vote against that? Why would they vote against improving environment policies? Could the member speculate as to why they would vote against what is good for Canada?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reason the opposition parties are refusing to support this very important budget for all Canadians is actually beyond my understanding. I would encourage all members of the opposition parties to review the budget carefully, read it through, take the time and consider supporting the budget so that we can get on with what Canadians expect all parliamentarians to do: to work on their behalf and to continue to focus on their priorities, rather than playing political games.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on the very reasoned amendment from the member for Parkdale—High Park to Bill C-38.

I rose a moment ago and asked the previous speaker a question about the fact that a budget was introduced a few weeks ago when the Minister of Finance, on behalf of the government, talked about the government's direction and where it wants to allocate resources. While Conservatives talked about it as a jobs and prosperity budget, we know they are laying off tens of thousands of workers at a time when they are talking about creating jobs and we know that they have made a frontal assault on senior citizens in this country, yet lo and behold, when we see Bill C-38, we find that the damage and the destruction the government is intent on waging in this country are much greater than we would have imagined.

The previous speaker talked about how the government has engaged in massive consultation with Canadians and how Bill C-38 is exactly what Canadians want. I understand that the finance committee travelled across the country and held pre-budget consultations with Canadians, but never once was it suggested to Canadians that the government was going to gut environmental laws. Never once in those consultations or any of the consultations that happened in Nova Scotia on behalf of the Minister of Finance was there ever any discussion about the fact that the government was going to gut the Fisheries Act—completely turn it on its head and take away the power that existed in the Fisheries Act to protect fish habitat. Never once did it say anything to Canadians about its intention to do that.

I will give Conservatives credit. They did give us a bit of a heads-up on the OAS. There was an announcement by the Prime Minister. When he was in Davos drinking Chablis with his friends and talking off the cuff, he said that he was going to transform this country and that he would start by ripping dollars out of the pockets of senior citizens in 2023. I do not care if it is in 2012, 2015 or 2023; it is an attack on seniors in this country. That is what the government has done.

Now we have Bill C-38, which goes after the environment, fisheries, workers and seniors, as well as the accountability of the Auditor General to ensure that taxpayers' dollars being properly spent by a whole host of agencies. The complexity of the changes being proposed in this bill boggle the mind.

I had a conversation with a retired scientist from DFO who had been involved in the environment for over 35 years. When he initially examined the changes that were being proposed, he said the initial changes to subsection 35(1) were not too bad and that they would strengthen a bit of the problem with this and a bit of the problem with that. However, he then said the that other shoe drops, with the government bringing in changes that are going to completely wipe out any of the improvements that were brought in and wipe out the effectiveness of the provisions in the Fisheries Act that deal with the protection of fish habitat.

The most damaging part of this whole bill is the attack being waged on fishing communities across this country and on the ecosystem, frankly, because fish habitat is about the ecosystem. It is about the interrelatedness of the water and the land to ensure that we have a variety of species in this world to contribute to the betterment of our society. Some of it may be commercially viable, but that is not the reason it is protected; habitat is protected because we want to make sure we have a strong and viable ecosystem. Habitat is the water and land necessary for the survival of all species, including fish. Habitat destruction is the most common reason for species decline, and the Fisheries Act has been essential in protecting fish habitats and the fisheries they support.

I have spent the last couple of weeks sitting in on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, where we heard witnesses talk about the problems with invasive species in the Great Lakes. I am from the east coast and I do not know a whole lot about invasive species in the Great Lakes. I know a lot about the cod moratorium and how it devastated the coastal communities in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., and New Brunswick. I also know how lobsters, scallops and other crustaceans have rebounded to fill the gap and I know that the fishery is critical to hundreds of thousands of families in this country—to communities, to families, to children, to our very way of being.

What I have learned over the past couple of days is just how closely connected our whole system is. Members have heard about the zebra mussel and how it clogs up the bottom of many of the Great Lakes and attaches itself to the outfalls of power plants and creates a great deal of problems. The quagga mussel is now also part of that.

There is another invasive species, a fish. I have forgotten its name, but it eats the mussels. The combination of the two creates botulism and results in huge fish kills, as well as killing waterfowl. Who would have thought that connection, that level of chemistry, would take place and affect the Great Lakes? It is a serious problem.

There are also problems with the sea lamprey and others. What was interesting was what we were told about the science, the ways to prevent these invasive species and how to mitigate their negative effects to ensure the return of more commercially viable fisheries. Those things are not known when an invasive species is initially identified; it takes science, time and the dedication of DFO and the Minister of Natural Resources in order to come to that conclusion.

My point is that the changes being proposed by the government, simply as they relate to the Fisheries Act and the definition with respect to the protection of fish habitat, are destructive beyond belief, and we cannot allow that to happen. For the government to be so gutless as to hide behind this omnibus bill rather than to bring about these changes in a bill that would go before a legislative committee in order for us to bring experts in to deal with the issue is absolutely wrong. It is fundamentally wrong.

I am talking to Canadians, as are my colleagues, and Canadians are waking up to what the government is doing. We will stand both here in the House and in our communities and do everything we can to ensure that Canadians understand what the government is intending for the fisheries, for the environment and for our society. We will do everything we can, along with lots of Canadians, to ensure that this does not happen.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

May 8th, 2012 / 1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was somewhat surprised by many of the things that the hon. member said.

Many of the members over there have been complaining that there is not enough time to speak to the bill. The reality is that the member for Burnaby—New Westminster took 11 hours on this bill. That would have given 44 of their speakers time to speak to the bill, but they are complaining that there is not enough time. That simply does not wash.

They then said that they did not know about things in the budget like the OAS but that member had to acknowledge that he did but then said that he did not know about the changes to the regulatory system. He was not paying any attention then, because we have talked about the need for that in the House.

I chair the natural resources committee and that party has members on the committee. We hear again and again about the need to streamline the regulatory system. We have done it in a way that will protect the environment better because everybody involved would put their information into one stream. We would have a better environmental impact study but done in less time.

Why is the member complaining about these things? We need to look at this from a realistic point of view.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are gutting environmental regulations in order to allow for the development of natural resources, in most cases, oil, unfettered.

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the Westray Mine disaster in which 26 miners died simply because the government of the day was not paying attention to its own rules and regulations and was not ensuring that the enforcement happened and that those workers were being protected.

That is what happens when a government does not pay attention to its own rules and waters them down to the point where they have no effect. The Conservative government better start recognizing that.