House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-38.

Topics

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, I listened to my hon. colleague, who sounded a bit like a wounded bear. I would like to challenge him on some of the things he said and ask him a question.

This budget is really about building Canada and the vision he talked about so inappropriately of Preston Manning, his vision of smaller government, greater opportunity for the private sector, lowering taxes to enable that and to help the private sector make this country what it truly is, the greatest nation in the world, the one that has the most prosperous opportunity, as endorsed by the IMF, the OECD, other organizations, and Forbes magazine as well.

How could my colleague, as a supposed Rhodes scholar and an individual who ran Ontario into the ground, be a person of that stature and be so misinformed on Preston Manning, the Reform Party and what we on this side believe are the opportunities that Canadians should have and do have? How could he be so misinformed on those ideas and why—

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order. The hon. member for Toronto Centre.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, in response to the member for Yellowhead, I am an expert on Rhodes, which is why I am not a supposed Rhodes scholar, I actually am a Rhodes scholar.

I would say to the member for Yellowhead that I listened to Mr. Manning over many years and debated with Mr. Manning when both of us were out of Parliament. The one thing about Mr. Manning which always impressed me was that he was a servant of Parliament. He believed in the voice of Parliament. He believed in free votes. He believed in real openness in terms of discussions.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

An hon. member

Singular legislation.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

He believed in singular legislation which would deal with one subject at a time. He believed in the accountability of Parliament, the accountability of the executive to Parliament.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Opposed closure.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

He would have opposed closure.

He would have opposed this legislation because it is legislation that abuses the power of the executive. The power of the executive is now only in the hands of the Prime Minister. There is no more governor in council. There is simply the power of the Prime Minister, and this is the issue that we are having to deal with. This is the first—

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I regret to interrupt the hon. member, but I see many people rising.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Nanaimo—Alberni.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to ask the member about his selective recollection. He talked about all these spirits that seem to be missing. I think he forgot to mention the spirit of Christmas past.

There was a lot of mythology about a former government that he wanted to recollect. I remember the days of good old Liberal freedom and some of the members over there do as well under a former prime minister.

In the 37th Parliament when I was first elected, I remember being at committee and seeing members who had heard testimony pulled when it came time to vote on the outcomes and conclusions of that committee hearing and replaced by members who had not heard the testimony. I also remember a former Liberal prime minister who wanted to override his members' freedoms of religion and conscience because he had made a decision on a moral issue that he wanted to decide for all of his members.

I want to ask the member if the good old days of Liberal government were actually the good old days of the member's selective memory.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I would say to my colleague from Nanaimo—Alberni that I could not help noticing it took a while for his light to go on.

We all have memories and whether they are selective or not, I do not know. I am sure he has notes to back up what he said and file books on the question.

I have led a government. Of course, when one is in government one has to make some difficult choices. We all recognize the discipline of Parliament. I say it with great respect to the hon. member that the Canadian people are increasingly infuriated by the inability of parliamentarians to talk to one another in a civil way, to have a civil dialogue about what they are hearing. The government cannot, in one single piece of legislation, get rid of the entire Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and change it whole-hog, change all the fisheries regulations—

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. Unfortunately, time has run out.

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Oakville.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

Madam Speaker, I was listening to the member for Toronto Centre and I would have liked the chance to ask him a question.

He said it is an authoritarian government now. I lived in Ontario under his government when he was premier of Ontario. He brought in the most restrictive, backward labour legislation in the history of Canada. It basically tore up every labour contract in the public sector in Ontario. I wanted to ask him how much freedom his caucus had at that time. How did he tie them to chairs, and why was it okay then?

The member talked about contracts. We should think about the social contract, his creation, a monstrosity that abolished the rights of collective bargaining. Then the member for Toronto Centre wrote a book and blamed it on the public sector unions. Then the Liberal Party appointed him as its interim leader. I do not know if someone wants to talk about that.

If we ask the NDP and the Liberals what they cherish most about being a Canadian—

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. I would ask for order in the House and to allow the member for Oakville to speak without being heckled or interrupted. The member who spoke previously said that it is important to speak to one another in a civil way and allow for civil debate. For the remaining time, I would ask for some civility and some respect.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:10 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

Madam Speaker, if we ask the NDP and the Liberals what they cherish most about being Canadian, inevitably we would hear about our social programs: the Canada pension plan, OAS, our health care system, employment insurance and GIS. They fall all over each other taking credit for these programs. “We are the party of health care,” say the Liberals. The NDP say, “No, we are the party that created health care,” in talking about the former premier of Saskatchewan, Tommy Douglas, “We gave Canadians the health care system”.

Of course, it was Canadians who decided that they wanted to have a publicly funded health care system. No party gave them anything. Canadians work hard and pay taxes to support that system.

What we never hear about from members on the other side is that Tommy Douglas needed a partner in the federal government to finance public health care, someone who looked out for ordinary people. That partner was a small-town lawyer from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. They do not talk about that because it does not support their version of history, their myth that only the NDP care about people.

Members know who that leader was, and he was a Conservative prime minister. It was John Diefenbaker, the same man who cared about the rights of minorities so much that he introduced the first bill in Canada's history, the Canadian Bill of Rights, to protect equal rights for all Canadians, 22 years before our Constitution was adopted.

Being a Conservative, John Diefenbaker supported health care reform for publicly funded health care, but would never have allowed government spending to grow to a point where debt and deficit put that very system in jeopardy. That is what this budget is about. The only way to maintain the programs that Canadians cherish, our health care system, the Canada pension plan and the others, is to be absolutely certain they are fully funded. That means economic growth is no option for Canada.

My constituents in Oakville understand that. Economic growth is essential. It is critical to our future if we want to keep those benefits, if we want to maintain our health care system, if we want to hold on to our employment insurance program.

The opposition parties are opposing this budget, they say, because of the process. They are willing to play procedural games to attempt to force the government to back down on its major election commitments. What they are not telling Canadians is that when we vote in Parliament tonight for some 24 hours, they all do not have to be here. They can work in shifts and go for a good night's sleep, while the government members have to be either here or in the lobby with little or no sleep. That is our Conservative commitment.

What they do not realize is that this government will never back down on our election commitments to focus on building our economy and creating new jobs, the jobs of the future for this country. With all our natural resources, that must mean development of the resources, more trade and more innovation.

Canada is on the cusp of tremendous economic growth. This is Canada's time. We are leading the G7 in economic growth. We are leading the world in banking stability. The world needs what Canada has, and not just aerospace excellence, BlackBerrys, or telecommunications expertise; they need our nickel, gold, diamonds, uranium and rare earth metals.

This bill would provide for superior and predictable environmental reviews so that investors worldwide would know that Canada is the best place to invest. When they put $100 million on the table to open mines in parts of Canada, those mines would not be held in limbo while environmentalists from other countries did their utmost to hold things up for years and years on end. Those environmentalists, by the way, usually already have a job or a pension.

Trade is Canada's manifest destiny. That is where the wealth of the future will come from to pay for our social programs. There are over $500 billion in new projects coming to Canada by 2020, but there is a big if in that projection, and that is if the conditions for investment in Canada remain positive, if the budget bill is implemented, if it applies as well to our cherished social programs. They will only exist in 2020 if Canada's economy grows.

Yet, members of the no development party have voted against every single trade deal we have negotiated because their union bosses told them to. The NDP's debt of gratitude to the big unions is so powerful its members are voting against any measure that we introduce to bring in new investment, and that includes measures to improve productivity. The NDP are stuck in the old rhetoric from the 1960s, the old labour paradigms of us versus them, dividing Canadians east against west, union member versus private sector. They are the party of the past.

Our Conservative government is moving forward. Moving forward includes not just a balanced budget and new trade, but innovation. Once implemented, the budget will invest over $1 billion in innovation for our country, and there is no better way to increase our productivity that is essential to pay for the social programs the NDP claims to value.

Canada has been a source of innovation for over a hundred years. There is a list as long as my arm of Canadian innovations and inventions that have revolutionized the way we conduct business, communicate, heal the sick and create economic growth. The easiest example I can point to is the one that most parliamentarians carry around, the BlackBerry. I can remember when it first hit the market and the fanfare for its revolutionary design in conducting day-to-day business.

There are many other examples such as the telephone, the Canadarm, the zipper, the pace maker, and I have to mention two inventions that some Canadians value the most, the snow blower and the snowplow.

Canadians have proven time and time again that innovation can literally save lives and improve the way we live, while creating more jobs. Our government understands this and is taking action to plant over $1 billion of seed money into our scientific fields and help our innovators also deliver world-class research.

We are committing $500 million for venture capital. We are supporting innovation in science and technology by providing $37 million annually to Canada's granting councils. We are injecting $60 million to Genome Canada, $10 million to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, $500 million to the Canada Foundation for Innovation and to the chagrin of the opposition, there are even more measures in the budget that would make Canada a pinnacle of innovation.

We are increasing our direct support for business innovation. That includes $110 million per year to the Industrial Research Assistance Program, administered by the National Research Council. The funding will also help expand the services offered by the NRC, like the industrial technology advisors.

There are $95 million dollars over three years and $40 million per year ongoing, which will make the Canadian innovation commercialization program permanent and a pillar of support for innovation businesses.

Finally, $14 million has been allocated to support the Industrial Research Development internship program, which would place hundreds more of our brilliant Ph.D. students into practical research internships with Canadian businesses.

What does all this demonstrate? It demonstrates that under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada is proving we can achieve economic growth, while balancing our budget without raising taxes.

That is the dream of every country in Europe, most of whom—