House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fisheries.

Topics

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Madam Speaker, as I said earlier, if the government really had confidence in the pieces of legislation it is proposing to change, it would not have had a problem defending it. Clearly, the government does not have that confidence, so it has thrown 70 pieces of legislation into an omnibus bill.

This is supposed to be a budget bill, items that clearly affect the budget, but the government has included everything but the kitchen sink in it. Clearly it is not going to be good for the country. We are prepared to do whatever is necessary on behalf of Canadians to fight to get the government to do what is right.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, this morning in the natural resources committee, we heard testimony about the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act. It was very revealing to see how it was arrived at. It was supported by industry, environmental groups, labour groups, and all kinds of players in Yukon society. It took three to four years to craft it. It is in complete contradistinction to what the government is doing here.

I think the government could take a page and learn from the Yukon experience to come up with a better regulatory process, improve it, which is something we all want to see for Canadians, but do it in a way that is inclusive, meaningful, consultative, and ends up with a process that everyone believes in.

Perhaps my colleague could respond to that.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Madam Speaker, that is the way things are supposed to get done. In my 25 years in political life, we have had good success when we have done exactly as the hon. member has suggested. One brings all the affected people together to design a plan and a program. That is how one moves forward. That is the way one has true success, not by deciding in a backroom on the way one wants to go.

We do not have the money, anyway. The Conservatives are starving the government for revenue. At the rate they are going, between the GST reductions and other reductions, government is not going to have enough money to function. That will be their rationale as to why they will have to do other cuts, because they do not have the money to do the oversight required.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to debate the government's budget implementation bill, Bill C-38, the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act.

This is a very necessary bill. Procedurally, it follows the adoption of a very important budget that continues to move us on a low-tax track for jobs and growth. This builds on that. Of course, the government is razor focused on the economy. The government was given a strong mandate by Canadians to be focused that way.

The results speak well. There have been nearly 760,000 net new jobs, 90% of them full-time, since the height of the great recession. We have received international praise for our policies and the trend of our economy by the OECD and the IMF, among others. All three major credit rating agencies, Moody's, Fitch and Standard and Poor's, have reaffirmed our top credit rating. There are no issues in that regard, unlike other countries in the world.

Of course, we recognize that more can be done. There is an opportunity to do even more. There are Canadians who are still unemployed. We also recognize statistics from last year. There were some 250,000 unfilled jobs in Canada. We clearly have a need to connect Canadians to labour force realities here in Canada, even within their own labour markets. That is why we need greater efficiency with the employment insurance program.

We still have challenges to face with respect to improving our productivity and innovation. We are in a competition in the 21st century for not only global capital investment but for the most talented minds, those with the talent and skills sets from around the world, if we are going to persist in having a first world economy and first world standard of living by extension.

Now that we have passed the budget, it is important that we pass the implementation act to implement our far-reaching economic action plan 2012. We need to pass it now, not weeks or months from now. It is important that we pass it now.

By way of process, budgets are long-ranging in terms of their consultation. We started consulting extensively last fall. The budget itself was tabled some four months ago. We have had all kinds of debate about the direction of the country.

We have had lengthy debate already in the House of Commons. A full committee and an additional subcommittee conducted hearings with respect to the various aspects of this implementation act. I was able to participate in part of that. I spoke with the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Auto Workers Union and others.

I think the NDP members themselves probably agree we do not need any more debate on that. After all, yesterday they voted against sitting until midnight, so clearly they are not interested in debate any longer.

It is also important to pass the bill now because there are threats to the global economy still looming. In the United States unemployment is up recently. The eurozone woes are extremely well known. We do not want to delay implementing the budget and getting on with growing our economy.

There is context for the current budget implementation bill. Budget 2012 builds on previous budgets. There is a real logic to what the government has been doing through the economic action plan in 2009, the subsequent low-tax plan for jobs and growth. One could even go back further.

At the end of this month it will be eight years that I have been here and have been privileged to be the hon. member of Parliament for Essex.

In 2007 we brought in a budget and laid out a vision document called Advantage Canada. We tackled four major challenges: high Liberal taxes on business investment; low business investment, particularly in equipment and machinery technology; a skills shortage; and the forecasted rapid decline of the population over the coming decades.

We proposed five major advantages. First, a tax advantage, or as we like to think, a low-tax advantage. We have reduced all kinds of taxes and we continue to do that. Second, a fiscal advantage. Third, an entrepreneurial advantage, cutting red tape, which is a key move for ensuring our businesses move forward. Fourth, a knowledge advantage, so we could have the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. Fifth, an infrastructure advantage.

We brought in the Building Canada plan, which was an extensive seven-year, comprehensive infrastructure plan with many components to it. It has been helping to renovate and modernize our infrastructure not just for quality of life issues, but also to suit our economy moving forward. We are committed to that.

We brought in the borders and gateways fund as well. We have been acting consistently. Economic action plan 2012 continues to follow in that direction.

We need to pass Bill C-38 now for another reason that is a little more local for me and the Windsor Essex economy. There is a 9.9% unemployment rate, although that is down from well over 15% at the height of the great recession.

There is room for improvement. We need further economic development and diversification. We need to connect those who are unemployed with available jobs in the local workforce. The proposed EI changes, for example, become very clear. We need to give more job information to those individuals who are on EI claims, many of whom think they are faithfully pursuing their responsibilities by looking at job banks. Job banks show only a fraction of the jobs that are available to them.

We are connecting the temporary foreign worker program to the EI program so that permits for foreign workers are not given until local workers have an opportunity to connect to that. That is important. I look at the greenhouse industry in my district and the high tech industry. The high tech industry provides good paying jobs, yet there may be people who are not aware that jobs are available in that sector.

We are proposing sensible reforms.

There is also responsible resource development. The opposition is positive that resource development is not a good thing for the Ontario economy. Nothing could be further from the truth. I look at a company like Southwestern Manufacturing that made its exclusive fame at the time in the auto industry until tough times came to the auto industry. What has it done? The company has diversified. It has gone to the mining industry and the oil and gas industry. It does heavy machining, which is an easily transferrable skill from the auto sector to the needs of the economy. Half a trillion dollars in responsible resource development: that is a huge amount of investment potential in resource projects in the next 10 years. Mining is one of the fastest growing sectors in Canada. It provides good paying jobs for Canadians.

There is a responsible and balanced way to do this. How do we do responsible development? These measures are important for my region as well.

Innovation is important. I believe it was a former Chrysler executive who once said that the future of the auto industry was the six inches between our ears. When other countries are pulling back in a mode of austerity on innovation, this government is doubling down on that investment, doubling IRAP and focusing on commercialization. These are all important measures because innovation will drive high paying jobs for the future not just for my region, but right across this country.

I urge the opposition to reconsider and support Bill C-38.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc LaSalle—Émard, QC

Madam Speaker, an article from the National Post states:

The sight of oil oozing into an Alberta river from a leaky pipeline is a visual the Conservatives could have done without, as their omnibus budget bill reached Parliament for a final vote. They must be praying no one finds any oil-covered ducks.

The bill, among other things, makes it easier to gain approval to build pipelines under rivers, similar to the Plains Midstream Canada pipeline currently spilling oil into the Red Deer River.

I want to ask the member how this bill would help monitor and enforce pipeline security to avoid oil spills in—

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. member for Essex.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, that is from a member of a party that wants a moratorium on oil sands expansions. The NDP members have said that long and clear. They would rather not have the investment. They would rather not have the job growth there. So they use environmentalism as a means of saying that we should not have any responsible resource development. However, instead this implementation act proposes a balanced way forward. It would strengthen regulation because it would ensure that the government would not have to worry about small-scale projects, the minor everyday projects, and instead could focus its efforts on the types of enhancements and oversight.

I was at the oil sands a number of years ago with the environment committee. I have seen it. We have enhanced the monitoring of water quality and other things in the region. This is a government that looks out for the environment. We can do it in a way that is smart enough to move this economy forward. That is why those members need to support this particular bill.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Avalon, NL

Madam Speaker, how does the hon. member square the circle? The Conservatives have had two on the books already that had to go back to the drawing board, but in their throne speech they said they were going to bring in a new Fisheries Act. Then they took these fisheries provisions and jammed them into this bill. How do they square that circle?

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, the Fisheries Act is very important to my region as well. We keep hearing “coast to coast to coast”. There is a fourth coast in this country and that is the Great Lakes, Ontario's entire southern border being water based. We have a commercial fishery in the western basin of Lake Erie that is extremely valuable as an important breeding ground. What we need is DFO officials worried about that type of body of water, not a ravine or ditch that might get a bit of water at some point so somebody can float a kayak down there every six months or every few years. Yet that is where they are spending an enormous amount of time. Our changes to the Fisheries Act would focus our efforts on bodies of water and on the commercial fishery realities and not—

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. I would like to give an opportunity for a last question.

The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona, a very brief last comment.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, it is hard to be brief on this. I sat with the hon. member for a while on the environment committee. I am a little stunned at the tally of jobs that he reiterated that the Conservatives created. Could the hon. member tell the House if the Conservatives are also keeping a running tally of the science jobs they would kill through their budget and budget implementation bill on fisheries; environmental protection; environmental assessment; reclamation; in government, in industry and in the private sector; and at universities?

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, I will only counter by saying that this implementation act would allow us to strengthen our oversight, whether of the environment or of fisheries, but to do it in a sensible way. It would allow us to do responsible resource development and all of these things in a way that allow sustainable development. We can grow the economy and that is a good thing, not using environmentalism as a means of trying to slow or eliminate development.

The opposition members opposed this immediately when we brought the budget out. It is no wonder they opposed the implementation act. We are not surprised. That is why we need to get on and have a vote on this.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Madam Speaker, it is a real pleasure to be able to join the debate on Bill C-38, the budget implementation act, our government's plan to keep Canada on course toward long-term growth and prosperity. I want to emphasize to my opposition colleagues in the NDP, the Liberal Party and others in this place that, through the measures that they have undertaken to delay this budget, they are in fact indicating that their concern is not with everyday Canadians who want to see long-term economic growth and prosperity in this country.

At a time when the global economy remains fragile, our government is focused and will remain focused on those Canadians hardest hit by the economic downturn by helping create and protect jobs.

When it comes to creating a job market that is strong and efficient, our government continues to take strong and responsible action. We talk a lot in this place about jobs. We talk about the importance of providing opportunity for everyday Canadians. How does a government do that? Clearly, a government does not hire each and every person who is looking for a job. We create an environment that attracts investment and opportunity and provides that opportunity to Canadians. So far, by any measure, this government's actions are clearly providing results for everyday Canadians.

Since 2009, I know that this number has been said many times in this place, employment has increased by over 760,000 net new jobs. We have said many times that it is the strongest job growth in the entire G7, but that is actually understating it. It is the strongest job performance in the G7 by a very wide margin. It is in no small part due to the measures in Canada's economic action plan dating back to January 2009. I was pleased to participate in the creation of the budget. I think frankly Canadians, generations from now, will look back and say that it was an incredible plan and an incredible document, and that the government of the day should be celebrated for its foresight. More than nine in ten jobs created since July 2009 have been full-time positions, and close to 80% of them are in high-wage industries in the private sector.

When we listen to what Moody's, a respected global credit rating agency, had to say about Canada we should all be encouraged as Canadians. It stated:

In the view of Moody's sovereign analysts, the Government of Canada's Aaa ratings are based on the country's very high degree of economic resiliency, its high government financial strength and its low susceptibility to event risk....The outlook for Canada's ratings is stable. The country was affected less than most other advanced economies by the global credit crisis and recession, and its government financial position remains comfortable.

However, we cannot rest on this success.

I just heard my hon. colleague from Essex speak a few moments ago. I know he is passionate about the southwestern Ontario economy and creating opportunity in that economy. His economy is not so different from mine. The foundational strength of my economy, originally founded locally, was in settling the land and in agriculture, but later grew. Along with the Canadian Pacific Railway, we grew a manufacturing base in Peterborough and in our region that has supported families and economic growth for generations.

However, we want not just to preserve that but to create growth in that sector. In Peterborough we have seen significant growth in our manufacturing sector, contrary to what members may hear. Through the Kawartha manufacturing initiatives, the Tri-Association Manufacturers Initiative, we have been able to create a significant number of jobs. We have done it with skills, with skills training, with innovation, all supported by this government and its economic action plan. That is how the next generation of manufacturing and the people who will manufacture those goods will find success in this country. We will do it by focusing on innovation and by investing with these companies and supporting them.

My colleague talked about the auto sector, but it is obviously much further and much broader reaching than just the auto sector, but we will also open markets.

So much of what we are working to do, not just in this document, but every day, and when we are focused on the economy, we are focused on opening up markets, providing opportunities and creating jobs right at home.

I want to go through a few measures in our economic action plan 2012. As I said, it reinforces the government's commitment to move toward an immigration system, which is focused on the economy as well, with the following three key steps, and this is also something that is very important in my region.

First, we will return applications and refund up to $130 million in fees to certain federal skilled worker applicants. This measure will improve responsiveness of Canada's immigration system by more immediately directing our efforts toward addressing modern labour market realities.

Second, we will work with the provinces and territories and other stakeholders to support further improvements of foreign credential recognition and to identify the next set of target occupations beyond 2012.

Third, we will continue to consider additional measures to strengthen and improve the temporary foreign worker program and we will help support economic recovery and growth by better aligning the program with labour market demands.

This is all part and parcel with our larger plan to ensure that we do not just create jobs, but that we have the skilled people we need and, frankly, the raw people power to support the growth of our economy. When our economy grows, it benefits all of us. It provides all of the funding for so many things that so many people in this place care about, whether it is health care, or education, or transfers to the provinces, or support for our foreign embassies and the many good activities that Canada undertakes through CIDA and other agencies, all of these things, all of the strengths that the federal government has is based on a strong economy, a strong labour market, a strong natural resources sector. It is critical.

It never ceases to amaze me that when we come forward with a plan like our economic action plan 2012, the opposition will find things that they claim for that reason and that reason alone they will vote against the entire document. I would argue that there are so many strong and important measures in this document. I do not see how members can vote against it.

When Canadians look at the government's overall approach toward providing and protecting the economy, toward creating long-term economic growth and prosperity, they will receive this budget as good news. They will support it. In the future, members in the House will be held accountable for how they voted on this very important document.

As I said, we have made great progress such as 760,000 net new jobs created and the growth in our GDP leads the G8. We continue to outperform comparable industrial economies. The focus of this government is to back the promise we made to Canadians.

There is one more sector that I want to address. It is agriculture. It seems often it gets lost among the debate in this place. It does not get mentioned as much as it should and it is so critically important to the well-being of our overall economy.

I have heard many people talk about the Fisheries Act and the changes to it. Farmers in my riding have come forward many times on these amendments and have said that they do not understand why, having farmed areas for generations, they would be harassed for regulations that do not make any sense. That is why we are making these changes. That is why I am proud to support them.

I am proud to support this budget. It contains important measures for the people of Peterborough and, indeed, for the people of Canada.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's comments. I was struck with this notion that there is this and that so therefore we should support it.

Conservatives cannot get their head around the fact that Canadians are quite upset and outraged right now at the way this is being done. It is about separating the bill. It is about what one MP once said should be done in the House. He said, referencing another omnibus bill:

Dividing the bill into several components would allow members to represent views of their constituents on each of the different components in the bill. The bill contains many distinct proposals and principles and asking members to provide simple answers to such complex questions is in contradiction to the conventions and practices of the House.

That was the Prime Minister, and he was making a very salient argument. It was about taking a bill, which was smaller than this one, and asking members of Parliament to make decisions on things of which they did not know the consequences because they had not done their homework was irresponsible and undemocratic.

Why does the member stand and not reference what is a very cogent argument, that we should simply separate the bills and do our job respectfully, smartly and listen to Canadians?

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

June 12th, 2012 / 4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Madam Speaker, I am surprised by what I am hearing in this debate, which is not being heard, for example, in the Ontario legislature. I know the member is aware of the current budget bill that is being passed in the province of Ontario with the support of Andrea Horwath of the Ontario NDP. That is also comprehensive legislation. In fact, I believe the overall document is only about 20 pages shorter than our budget document. It is very comparable in size. I think the Government of Ontario recognizes, as we do, that there is a need for speed.

Government must be focused on the economy. These are not normal times that we live in and we must preserve Canada's advantages. We must continue to push forward, creating opportunity for long-term growth, economic prosperity and jobs in our country.