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

Pooled Registered Pension Plans
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Before I recognize the hon. member for Burlington, under resuming debate, I will just let him know I will need to interrupt him at 1:29, this being the end of the time allocated for the current motion that is before the House.

The hon. member for Burlington.

Pooled Registered Pension Plans
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise as the last speaker on third reading of this bill. I know you will regret interrupting me because my speech will be so good.

I have spoken to Bill C-38, the pooled registered pension plans act, before. Therefore, I will try to summarize what I think are the four important points and then I will to respond to some of the things I have heard over the last number of readings. I spoke to the bill at second reading and report stage. It is a very important bill and it is the right opportunity available to the government at present.

Previous speakers have said over and over again that there are other options, which other parties have been promoting, including changes to the CPP. However, that requires two-thirds of the provinces with two-thirds of the population to make the changes, and that is not available to us at this moment. The provinces are onside with an opportunity to bring forward legislation of their own to match the pooled registered pension plans act. We can pass something in the House that will affect federally-regulated industries. What is important for me and the residents of my riding is that it is available to all industries.

I believe the Liberal Party is in support of the bill, which we will see when we vote shortly, and we appreciate its support. It has, throughout the discussion, pointed out some areas where it feels there are other opportunities. We do not disagree with that. There are other opportunities.

What I do not understand is the position of the NDP members on the bill. They have an option that they would like to see happen. We have been very clear that the option is not available to the government at this time, but that should not stop members of the official opposition from supporting this tool. It makes no sense to me that they made the claim during an election time that they would come to Ottawa to make things work, to work with other groups that hoped to form government, I guess. Going from third place to becoming government would have been very difficult, but they did very well and they need to be congratulated for that.

The idea those members were selling at election time was they were coming here to work for average Canadians, who they met at the kitchen tables, and they were going to make Parliament work. Here is a perfect opportunity. The bill does not solve all the problems with regard to retirement income that Canadians face now and in the future, but it is a tool, an option and an opportunity that is available and can be supported by all parties. That is making things work for Canadians and that is why they should be supporting it.

The member for Welland said that this was the same as an RRSP. It is not the same as an RRSP. Two things are different. First, employees have six months to opt out. It involves people in the program. It is portable and people can take it with them if they change jobs. That is an important difference from an RRSP, where people have to opt in.

The other comment was that the owners of businesses were saying they could not afford to do it. They cannot afford the RRSP program because they have to manage the process on their own and that is tough for small businesses that only have a few employees. Even for medium-sized businesses, it is a very costly endeavour. The pooled registered pension plan would average out the costs, spread the costs out and would offer ease of entry into the program for employers. It is a perfect tool for employers to keep and attract employees.

One of the issues, maybe not from my generation but from my daughter's generation, is that workers move from employer to employer every three, four or five years. This is an opportunity for employers to use the pension plan to attract and retain employees. It is an excellent program.

We have not voted on third reading stage yet, but I would encourage the NDP to do the right thing and support the bill.

Pooled Registered Pension Plans
Government Orders

June 12th, 2012 / 1:25 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, at the conclusion of the debate on the motion for third reading of Bill C-25, the pooled registered pension plans act, and on the previous question, the question be deemed put, a recorded division be deemed requested and deferred to immediately after the time provided for oral questions later this day, provided that there shall be no extension pursuant to Standing Order 45(7.1).

Pooled Registered Pension Plans
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Does the Chief Government Whip have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Pooled Registered Pension Plans
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Pooled Registered Pension Plans
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Pooled Registered Pension Plans
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Pooled Registered Pension Plans
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed from June 11 consideration of Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, as reported without amendment from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel has six and a half minutes left.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday evening, I spoke about the fact that, with this bill, the government is showing its utter contempt for Parliament and for democracy; it is concentrating more and more power in the hands of the executive, to an incredible extent, in fact.

The Conservatives tell us not to worry and to trust them. How can we trust a government that does not listen to experts—indeed, that treats them with contempt—that stifles debate, that does not listen to voters, that eliminates transparency measures and that even reduces the authority of the Auditor General?

This bill simply gives more power to the cabinet, because it will no longer have to listen to the National Energy Board, for example. The Conservatives will be able to approve projects that had previously been rejected. At the same time, this bill reduces the scope of public participation in the environmental decision-making process. This means that, regardless of the number of people who are opposed to a major energy project and regardless of the grave environmental consequences it may have, Conservative ministers will have the last word.

The elimination of the position of Inspector General of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service, CSIS, is another move that will have the effect of reducing transparency in government. This move is particularly interesting because the government says that it stands for law and order and for protecting the rights of Canadians. But the Inspector General's duty is to oversee the activities of Canada's spy agency and his position was established as a guard against the breaches of Canadians' civil liberties that CSIS has the potential to commit.

Even worse, the Conservatives are eliminating the Auditor General's oversight of certain agencies. They are reducing the powers of the Auditor General, who is responsible for holding the government to account, by eliminating oversight and mandatory audits of the financial statements of 12 agencies: Northern Pipeline Agency Canada, which is subject to the Northern Pipeline Act; the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; the Canada Revenue Agency; the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board; the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety; the Exchange Fund Account, which is subject to the Currency Act; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; the Canadian Polar Commission; the Yukon Surface Rights Board; and the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

Across Canada, we are witnessing growing cynicism toward the Conservative government and a lack of confidence in the ability of our parliamentary institutions to represent it. The process by which this bill before us today will become law is an example of why that is the case. For the past several years, we have witnessed an erosion of the function of the House and now this bill is unlike anything the House has ever seen. It is making a mockery of Parliament and the very function and purpose of parliamentary democracy.

As I said earlier, the bill, at 421 pages and enveloping over 700 clauses, including widespread comprehensive changes to laws and institutions that my constituents care deeply about, is not about job creation or prosperity. It is literally a massive job killer, that will directly eliminate 19,200 jobs with a larger effect, estimated by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, of costing Canada 43,000 jobs. That is not jobs, growth and prosperity.

However, not only is this bill's purpose obscured, it also bears the misleading name of “implementing the budget”. As I spoke about this last night, it is not about implementing the budget because it goes so much further than that and it goes against many of the things the Conservatives said during the election campaign.

Bills should reflect a central theme, but this legislation only pretends that changing the role of the Auditor General, scrapping employment equity standards and removing Canada from the Kyoto protocol are issues that have anything to do with one another. It is for this reason that opposition members of the House cannot understand why the measures have all been packed into the budget implementation bill.

Over the past few weeks, opposition members have heard from thousands of Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, who are outraged by Bill C-38. It challenges the integrity of this institution by ramming through these changes in a misleading bill. We as parliamentarians and, by extension, the Canadian public are entitled to the debate and discussion that should occur in this place. Instead, with this bill and with the record number of time allocations and debate closures we have been subjected to as well, it is clear that the government has no respect for Canadians and we should all be deeply concerned.

In short, this bill is a clear and direct threat to my constituents in Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel. For this reason, I will be voting against this budget implementation bill.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Cambridge
Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, does the member opposite realize that in her entire time allotted to debate the bill she never mentioned anything about the bill specifically, but talked just about the process? Is there a problem with the bill? This is the member's opportunity to debate the bill, but this is, as the government has been saying about the opposition, simply wasting time.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, given that this was my second time speaking to the bill, I really wanted to talk about the fact that this was about process. This process has made it particularly difficult for members to speak to all the issues.

Last time, I spoke about the proposed changes to OAS and the fact that the Conservatives did not tell people about those changes during the election last year. I do not think a lot of people would have voted for them if they had known about that. They knew they were taking away the pension security of their grandchildren, among other things. The bill would repeal the Kyoto protocol. Back home in Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel this is a very big concern to my constituents. It would gut the environmental assessment regime and the fish habitat protection to speed up major projects.

It is a huge bill that we cannot even debate and that is why it is important to raise the point that this is not a transparent or democratic process.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the interest she has shown in this process. This is what concerns me. I sit on the finance committee. We were about to look at a budget bill and we had environmental changes that should have been before a different committee. We had the fisheries. They belonged where they could have people come in and do the due diligence necessary, with experts brought before the committee.

We talked about OAS and, as the member said, the Conservatives did not mention this in the last election. There was not a word. As well, they did not mention changing EI.

However, the one thing that stood out to me as very odd was the Conservatives took away the civilian oversight over CSIS. The people who live in that shadowy world, we would think Canadians would say that it made no sense at all to have that a budget bill.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member made excellent points. I mentioned in my speech that the way CSIS is overseen is being changed. It is just ridiculous. Experts are saying it is just not going to be the same anymore. In fact, it was implemented to make sure that the proper oversight was done to protect Canadians' civil liberties. The government says it is all about an individual's liberty not being interfered with. Clearly that is not true.

What is really damaging about this bill is that we could not really study it because there are so many things in it, and in committee members had only a few minutes to question a witness on a variety of subjects. With more than 700 clauses, it is ridiculous to think we could do an indepth study of the bill and ascertain the impact all the different comprehensive changes are going to have.