House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Motions in Amendment
Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to be able to say that I am pleased to be rising in this House, but that would not be entirely true given our current topic of debate, which is, of course, Bill C-38, the budget implementation bill.

I have heard Conservative members say again and again, and even a moment ago, in the House, in committees and during the first debates we held, that this bill is a marvel and absolutely must be passed for the sake of prosperity, jobs and so on. As a member of the Standing Committee on Finance and the official opposition’s assistant finance critic, I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.

This is a very harmful bill. Based on our reading of it, the bill is nothing more or less than an attack on the middle class and less well-off families. It is obvious in several respects that many provisions of this bill have been inserted specifically to put downward pressure on Canadians' wages. Consequently, it is not Canadians who will benefit from it. It will probably be the business world as a whole, which will benefit from declining wages and the competition among a larger pool of unemployed or low-income individuals on which it can draw.

What are those provisions? There are a few. There is obviously division 23 of part 4, which repeals the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act. That act established wages that, as its title indicated, were fair for employees, particularly in the construction industry. There are also provisions concerning the Employment Equity Act. The bill will remove employment equity requirements and thus represents a step backward in its approach to companies doing business, that is to say subcontracting, with the government. And there is obviously the issue of employment insurance.

I know my colleagues will definitely be discussing a lot of other provisions in the bill, particularly the increase in the age of eligibility for old age security from 65 to 67, immigration issues and other questions. We have a mammoth bill on our hands, as has been noted many times in the media, but I will limit myself to those three elements for the purposes of my speech.

What people need to realize is that the budget was presented in March and it has passed, although the government would have people believe that this budget implementation bill is the budget. The budget has already passed and it was an austerity budget. With $5.2 billion in cuts, it will have a rather significant impact. Not only is it an austerity budget, but it will clearly have recessionary consequences.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer stated his opinion in that regard and other economists have confirmed his opinion. This shows that the direction this government is taking will prevent us from reaching our economic growth potential, which could help us create many jobs. This austerity budget, which has been criticized by two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, represents a huge economic blow delivered by this government to Quebec and Canadian companies.

Based on his own modelling, the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated that this budget could possibly cost more than 100,000 jobs by 2015-16, although those jobs can be saved if we are really careful, given that we are currently in a period of economic uncertainty. However, we are not Greece or any of the other countries currently affected by the crisis in Europe. Our reality is altogether different. Yes, we are experiencing some economic uncertainty and we need to be careful, but on the other hand, our problem is quite different from that in Europe.

I find employment insurance very interesting. I know that I only have a minute, but I could probably talk much more about this topic. So, that is a problem. I have spoken with many of my constituents, and those who are most affected are not necessarily the employees themselves—although they will be affected—but it will be the employers. For them, seasonal work is a reality. They have no other choice. That is the case with controlled harvesting zones or with companies that must shut down two or three months out of the year for various reasons, such as that cabinetmaking company in Saint-Jean-de-Dieu. These people fear losing their workforce. A business owner was even worried about the fact that she might have to pay employees to do nothing for two or three months in order to keep them.

I will stop here for now, and I will continue my speech about employment insurance later.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-François Fortin Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives tried to seduce Quebeckers by making promises about an open federalism that would respect their differences. But now, the only federalism Quebeckers are seeing is fraught with contempt and arrogance.

The Conservatives with Bill C-38 are like pyromaniacs with a can of gas. They are torching relations with Quebec, in particular by exempting major banks from consumer protection requirements; trampling on the Kyoto protocol; reducing health care funding even though our population is aging; and proposing employment insurance reforms that, quite frankly, will harshly penalize workers, employers and the regions of Quebec.

While the Government of Quebec is stepping up its legal recourse to ensure its rights are respected, the federal government insists on saying that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Quebeckers will not put up with being treated with contempt.

Nature Conservation
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister recently announced the creation of a new hunting and angling advisory panel, HAAP, that will provide independent advice to the Government of Canada on national issues and policies important to fish, wildlife and habitat conservation in Canada.

It is made up of representatives from provincial and territorial hunting and angling associations and conservation organizations.

As co-chair of the all-party outdoors caucus, I am pleased to see HAAP become a reality. The outdoors caucus strives to promote fishing, hunting, trapping and sport shooting as safe and healthy outdoor heritage activities. HAAP will help to increase awareness of the economic importance of Canada's outdoor heritage while ensuring that government decisions on matters such as wetland protection, endangered species and nature conservation are based on sound, balanced advice.

In my riding of Yorkton—Melville, where there is an abundance of wetlands and wildlife, HAAP is welcome news, and I am very “HAAPy” that this government has pushed ahead with this important conservation initiative.

Youth
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks, I have had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of young people in my constituency, young people who have distinguished themselves through their excellence, their leadership and their involvement in our communities.

I applaud the 75 young people from all over Quebec who took part in the Sommet québécois Rio+20 de la jeunesse that was held at Collège Saint-Joseph in Hull. The statement they developed together will be presented to the Earth Summit in Brazil at the end of June.

Their statement offers solutions for the present and future challenges faced by our planet and lists the values that they wish to see Canada support at the summit.

I would also like to congratulate the winners and the nominees recognized at the awards gala of the Réseau du Sport étudiant du Québec en Outaouais. The personal commitment of these student athletes is outstanding.

Young people are the future of our country. By getting them involved in our communities, we help to shape the leaders of tomorrow.

Tax Incentives for Charitable Donations
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, charities are vital to the well-being of our society, and all members of Parliament can attest to the positive impact charities have in each of our communities.

I believe it is important that our government work closely with charities and collaborate with national organizations such as Imagine Canada and Community Foundations of Canada to ensure that the charitable sector continues to be effective and sustainable and responsive to our changing society.

As a result of my private member's motion, the finance committee is engaged in a study of the charitable sector, looking at ways to motivate increased giving. Witnesses are providing insight into the challenges faced by the sector and offering innovative ideas to capitalize on future opportunities.

I look forward to seeing the results of this important study and to advancing our collective efforts to build a more caring and compassionate society.

Animal Protection
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is disturbing to read stories about animal abuse in Canada.

Animals are, for millions of Canadians, an essential component of family life, forming special bonds that are valued and endearing.

Whether it is a seeing eye dog or a German shepherd providing services to our military and police forces, animals are valuable, loyal and dedicated. What they ask for in return is little.

Just recently we have learned how important dogs have become in support of our returning veterans, providing many of them with companionship in difficult times.

Former MP Mark Holland and the hon. member for Vancouver Centre have both attempted to strengthen animal protections by introducing legislation that would modernize laws against intentional cruelty and neglect.

Parliament must do more to protect animals.

I want to recognize community workers and humane societies throughout Canada, including Kelly Mullaly from the P.E.I. Humane Society, for giving a voice to animals.

100th Anniversary Celebrations
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that three communities, Avonlea, Briercrest and the Rural Municipality of Baildon, will celebrate their 100th anniversary this summer. They deserve to be proud of their progress since the first settlers broke ground, planted their first crops and made their homes adjacent to the railroad.

Hundreds of residents and visitors are expected to gather over the Canada Day weekend in Avonlea and Briercrest. Residents of Baildon will celebrate on August 4. Community volunteers are to be commended for their efforts in putting together these celebrations, which promise to be events to be remembered. It is truly the passion of residents that makes small communities a great place to live and visit.

I offer my congratulations to the residents of Avonlea, Briercrest and the Rural Municipality of Baildon for reaching this milestone and wish them all the best over the next 100 years. I ask all members of the House to wish these communities a very special 100th birthday.

Poverty
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, dozens of Rosemont residents will meet to work together to change their neighbourhood. They will set up committees with representatives from community organizations to work on the seven priorities determined by the whole neighbourhood during an extraordinary citizen action process. A similar process is also taking place in La Petite-Patrie. On May 12, the Rosemont community development corporation held a major social forum.

I would like to inform members of the House that the hundreds of people who participated in the forum identified two main priorities: housing and food security.

The fact is that, in Rosemont, a central Montreal neighbourhood, hundreds of families do not have access to decent housing and rely on food banks. The people have made it clear that fighting poverty is a priority.

As a New Democrat, I am in full agreement with their view. Ensuring that every person in Canada has access to healthful food and decent housing is an urgent matter.

Budget Implementation Act
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, conservationists, not just Conservatives, are supporting Bill C-38, the budget implementation act.

First, the bill would eliminate needless duplication of proceedings by government. The targeted inefficiencies include overlapping reviews by federal and provincial governments that do nothing to protect fisheries but interfere with jobs and economic growth.

Second, the bill would correct problems with the current habitat protection program: by clearing up uncertainty; defining more clearly what “important habitat” is; and focusing resources of the fisheries department on areas about which Canadians really care. The bill would address these faults with clearer definitions of fish habitat and stiffer penalties for offenders. The bill would also grant the minister increased flexibility to respond to the particular needs of each province.

As we approach Canada Day, I am grateful to live in the most beautiful place on earth, with such abundant resources and people who care so passionately about the legacy, environmental and economic, that we are committed to leave to our children.

National Blood Donor Week
Statements By Members

June 11th, 2012 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate National Blood Donor Week, which is taking place between June 11 and 17. This annual event recognizes the valuable contributions of Canadian blood donors to the health and well-being of us all.

Every minute of every day a Canadian requires a blood transfusion. An estimated 52% of Canadians have indicated that either they or a family member has required a blood transfusion. These statistics underline the need to give thanks and appreciation to Canadians who take the time to donate their blood to anonymous strangers. Additionally, Canadian Blood Services also provides blood for members of our Canadian Forces serving overseas.

I hope this week will encourage many more Canadians to donate blood and promote awareness of this noble practice to their friends, families and colleagues.

On behalf of my constituents in Oakville and the Government of Canada, I wish Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec a successful blood drive and increased awareness on the occasion of this year's National Blood Donor Week.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the opening of the Baie-des-Brises nature preserve in Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka, in my riding. Thanks to the efforts of the Centre d'intendance écologique Latreille, and specifically its founder, Dr. Jean-Marie Latreille, this reserve will act as a purifier for the water of Lac Saint-François and will protect the ecosystem that helps preserve the quality of the water in the lake and the water table.

Now more than ever, we need to mobilize Canadians to protect our rivers, lakes and streams because this government has weakened all the environmental protection measures.

The government is eliminating the protection of habitats covered under the Fisheries Act, limiting the number of waterways protected by that same act and by the Species at Risk Act. It is repealing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which will make even more areas vulnerable and will give the minister the authority to make decisions on oil pipeline projects.

For every step forward for environmental protection, this Conservative government takes four steps back.

Fortunately, there is hope with people like Dr. Latreille, who believe in the need to preserve nature's beauty and benefits for future generations.

Burma
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is concerned by reports of violence in Rakhine state in western Burma, where a state of emergency was declared this past weekend.

We condemn the attacks and call on all sides to work toward a peaceful solution to this conflict. We urge security forces to protect the rights and safety of all concerned and to facilitate access by humanitarian organizations wherever assistance is needed.

Canada has consistently called for peace and reconciliation in Burma.

In light of the most recent events, Canada has updated its advice to travellers wanting to visit Burma and is now asking them to avoid all non-essential travel to Rakhine State. Canadians in Burma can get consular assistance from the Australian embassy in Rangoon or the Canadian embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.

City of Saint-Eustache
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, 40 years ago, in 1972, the city and parish of Saint-Eustache amalgamated to become a single entity.

In order to acknowledge the important contribution made by the seniors of Saint-Eustache, a founders ball is being planned for August 25.

I would like to congratulate Johanne Dupuis of the Les Cours du Moulin retirement residence and the city's community leadership service on this wonderful initiative to highlight our heritage.

The first mayor of the amalgamated city, Guy Bélisle, will lead the celebration, which will also serve as a fundraiser for the Fondation Émile-Z-Laviolette, a foundation that supports various anti-poverty organizations in the Deux-Montagnes RCM.

The people of Saint-Eustache are fortunate to live in a city that is so rich in culture and history.

I invite all my constituents to take part in this event in order to pay tribute to the founders of Saint-Eustache and to celebrate our city.

Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express the Canadian government's solidarity with the people of Israel and the Jewish community around the world after this morning's reports of vandalism at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum is dedicated to the commemoration of the six million Jews murdered during World War II.

The mission of Yad Vashem is in line with our government's belief in the importance of Holocaust education and dedication to speaking out against anti-Semitism. Holocaust education helps ensure such atrocities never reoccur.

An important expression of Canada's dedication to Holocaust education is our involvement with the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, which we will proudly chair in 2013.

Canada is committed to teaching future generations about the Holocaust, about the poisonous effects of anti-Semitic and xenophobic hatred and about the prevention of all acts of genocide.

Ontario Veterinary College
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, founded in 1862 by Andrew Smith, the Ontario Veterinary College is the oldest veterinary college in North America and celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Originally located in Toronto, it relocated to its present home in 1922 and was a founding college of the University of Guelph in 1964.

The college was initially founded to train and assist people in Upper Canada who were responsible for horses. Now it has grown to become an international leader in veterinary health care, learning and research.

The OVC is a cornerstone of the community in Guelph. More than a landmark physical institution, it has been the home for the past 150 years to thousands of men and women who have gone on to graduate and spread out across Canada and the world to improve the health and welfare of animals, ensure the safety of the food we eat and assist in the protection of our environment.

I am certain that 150 years from now, Guelphites will reflect on the ever-increasing and important role the Ontario Veterinary College will have played on its 300th anniversary.