House of Commons Hansard #142 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

4:20 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with the hon. member. The official opposition and the third party have combined their efforts to divide this bill up so that we can study its key parts.

In the 2009 budget implementation bill, which I believe was 552 pages long, most of the provisions were not fundamental reforms to our public policies. But in this budget implementation bill, they are. The environmental assessment should have been studied in much greater depth, not over 10 days, during four or five compressed meetings. I am quite familiar with the situation.

I was actually talking about the budget that I considered to be detrimental to employment and growth for the reasons that I mentioned. We could also say that it is detrimental to science, because some aspects clearly show that the government is trying to minimize the contribution of scientists. Not only is this true for the legislation itself, but also for the decisions that were made. As the hon. member mentioned, the Maurice Lamontagne Institute, near my riding, is also feeling the Conservative government's wrath.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague has put his finger on a problem we have had repeatedly in these debates, which is that hon. Conservative members appear to confuse Bill C-38, which is before us, and the budget itself. Earlier today in debate, a parliamentary secretary said that this bill had been placed before us March 29. That is clear confusion. This bill was placed before us April 26 and the budget was March 29. They are not the same thing. In the same way, the Toronto Sun was misinformed, as if this is somehow holding up the economic action plan. If the economic action plan is to remove the Inspector General from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, I wish we had time in the House to find out how they are connected.

In point of fact, this illegitimate, monstrous bill represents 40% of the legislative agenda of the House of Commons in the last year with totally inadequate debate.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, that also raises an interesting question.

As everyone probably knows, I am a member of the Standing Committee on Finance. We spent about 50 hours studying those provisions. It was really odd and surreal; some experts talked about employment insurance and then the next expert talked about the Inspector General of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Then we talked about the Fisheries Act, followed by old age security. So we did not really have an opportunity to focus on one particular issue.

In my opinion, one factor in particular really raises some questions about the government's approach. Specific legislation will be created on the interoperability of Canadian and American police forces in Canadian territorial waters. In co-operation with the RCMP, the FBI could make arrests in Canadian waters.

The government said this had to be adopted now, because it had to do with an international treaty, a long-standing agreement that had to be ratified. The Senate and the House have tried to ratify it on two separate occasions. The government could have introduced this in a separate bill following the 2011 election so that the issue could have been studied independently, but it did not do so.

Now it is telling us that time is running out and that we must absolutely pass it. Yet the government could have done so six, seven or eight months ago. It has no one to blame but itself for its failure to do so.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham
Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the problem with the NDP members is that it is not just on economic matters that they filibuster. We had a bill before this House with respect to opening up the barriers so that producers can bring wine across the borders and they actually filibustered and caused that to be delayed.

The member for Kildonan—St. Paul had a bill to protect some of the most vulnerable men, women and children and they delayed that bill. So it is not just on economic issues.

The hon. member said that we should talk and we should debate for hundreds and hundreds of hours. Does he actually think that the global economy will sit around and wait for the New Democratic Party so that its members can talk among themselves about how great they are and how good their non-economic policies are? Is he not ashamed of the fact that the NDP has just become a sad, pathetic protest party with absolutely no policies? The fact is that what they are—

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think we need to maintain a level discussion. The words “sad and pathetic” are pitiful. The member should stick to the facts when we are number one in the country.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

The Chair would ask the hon. parliamentary secretary to quickly come to his question.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right. The NDP is number one at delaying, obfuscating and ensuring that the economic policies which create jobs do not get through.

I am wondering how long the hon. member thinks we should hold back economic progress in this country so that the NDP members can debate among themselves and with their big union bosses.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where to begin.

How nice that the parliamentary secretary thinks he can rewrite history to say that the NDP is going to filibuster or speak out on this. No, the NDP only does that when we have good reason to do so. The NDP opposes not only the provisions of Bill C-38, but also its undemocratic nature and the manner in which it was introduced.

I called this the anti-jobs, anti-growth, anti-prosperity bill, and that is exactly what it is. The parliamentary secretary must realize that we need to have these debates not only for discussion in this House, but for all Canadians. They have a right to know that decisions are being made transparently and responsibly. They have a right to understand the debate on the various issues. That is what the government refuses to do.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

The last question should have gone to the NDP. It was my mistake in the rotation. Therefore, I will take one more question from the NDP.

The hon. member for York South—Weston.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, this bill is part of a larger pattern, a pattern of hidden agendas. It was not in the campaign, in the Speech from the Throne or in the budget but now we find out about it as a result of the budget implementation bill. It is also part of a pattern of attack on Canadian working people.

I want to talk about the 30% wage reduction for those who are coming off EI. A 15% across the board wage reduction in any occupation in Canada that a temporary foreign worker will come and work in and something like a third of the jobs that the Conservatives keep talking about that have been created are actually being held by temporary foreign workers, not by Canadians.

Then there is the federal contractors' fair wage policy, the federal contractors' employment equity policy and the move from age 65 to 67 without a move to allow those people to continue to work. The federal labour code actually permits employers to force people to retire at age 65, not at age 67, as the government wants them to do.

I believe this is part of a significant pattern of attacking working people in Canada. Would the member like to comment further on that?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the member gets it. The government does not.

In my speech I mentioned that this is an anti-jobs bill. In fact, the budget itself will directly eliminate 19,000 jobs. If we include the provisions that are not in the budget, but that are consistent with the undermining efforts already started by the government, it is closer to over 30,000 jobs. It is anti-growth because the government’s policies, in both the budget and the budget implementation bill, will lead to a 1% drop in the GDP.

The government brags about its accomplishments. It says that we urgently need to continue going in the same direction as this bill, but this does not make any sense for all Canadians, especially those who are working, but also those who, unfortunately, are currently not working for reasons very often beyond their control.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, the Guaranteed Income Supplement; the hon. member for Winnipeg North, Air Canada.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is again an honour to be able to stand in this place to debate the bill and to speak in support of budget 2012. Today we are here debating, at third reading, Bill C-38, the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend an event in southern Saskatchewan. Many people came up to me and said they bet I was happy that the budget is now passed, that the implementation bill is passed and that it is all over. I explained to them that, although we got through report stage and we dealt with the amendments, we have not completed it yet, we have not finished voting on this. They said, “You mean you've got to go longer on this?”

For all those who may be watching, many know that most members of Parliament from all sides of the House were up for 41 hours. There were 21 or 22 hours of voting, but when we look at the clock, most were up for well over 40 hours during that span, and it is not finished yet.

In fact, this week before we rise for summer break, we will be sitting until midnight every night and there very well could be a vote later this evening. And so, it is not completed yet.

Why? It is because the opposition, in the last report stage, brought 871 amendments before this place. The Speaker had to advise the opposition that the rules and practice of this place do not lend themselves to taking 871 consecutive votes and so he cut them back to 159.

Today, again, we get to debate the implementation of the bill.

The budget was tabled March 29. This House has been debating it for close to three months. The finance committee has held special meetings, subcommittee meetings, as per the request from the opposition. Together, all these committees have held more than 70 hours of meetings and have heard from more than 100 witnesses who came in front of the committee to testify.

Bill C-38 has had more debate in Parliament than any other piece of legislation for the past 20 years.

As the member of Parliament for Crowfoot, in Alberta, I could say a great deal in support of budget 2012 and Bill C-38.

Speaking positively, I can begin my remarks by assuring my constituents and all Canadians that our Conservative government has committed, in this budget, to maintain health care transfers to the provinces at record levels. We have made this long-term commitment.

Where I come from, we do not soon forget the type of budget that the former Liberal government brought forward to this place, which balanced the federal books, and we applaud it for that, but did it on the backs of taxpayers and, in large respect, it did it by cutting $20 billion to the social and health care file.

We have said we are not going to do what the Liberals did.

My constituents have told me that access to quality health care service is one of our most important priorities. Especially in a rural area, we want to make certain it is stable.

Mr. Speaker, before I go on any further, I should have mentioned before that I will be splitting my time with my good friend from York Centre.

My constituents know that health care is important. This budget and our government answers to the idea of long-term funding that would be assured to the provinces.

As the government, we know that in the short term we must provide the policies that would lead to the fiscal conditions necessary to foster a strong health care system that would serve all Canadians over the long term. A strong economy is where Canadians can find work that would allow them to pay their taxes to the federal government and to the provincial governments, so that many of the programs and services they rely on will be able to deliver for them. Budget 2012 would establish the policies that would maintain the services our government provides and ensure that they are sustainable.

There are a large number of initiatives in Bill C-38.

How would Bill C-38 take short-term measures to ensure long-term sustainability? There are a number of examples. First, it would do so by streamlining the process for the approval of energy projects. This one topic we could speak on at great length, especially for provinces with a growing resource sector. It goes even further than that because it would allow for jobs to be created across the country.

The budget implementation bill will spell out how it would help Canadians to find jobs and to create new jobs. We can stand in the House and the opposition will say that we are not doing anything to help Canadians find work and we will stand up and talk about the 700,000 jobs that have been created in this economy. Having a strong economy is the key to being able to find work for most Canadians.

The budget would help remove redundant or extra layers of bureaucracy. It would take the Department of Fisheries and Oceans out of the creeks and watersheds of the Prairies and focus its work on the fish habitats on our coasts and in our lakes. I was not going to speak specifically to this point, but I think I want to because when I go out and visit my county councils and my municipal councils, especially in the rural municipalities but even in some of our towns and smaller cities, they talk very pointedly about this being their number one issue.

People might chuckle, but it used to be that when we went out years ago, most of these rural councils talked about the importance of strychnine, because of gopher and rodent control there. That was their issue. Second to that was the issue of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and even navigable waters, because every time they wanted to do even some minor project two and a half hours from Calgary, they would have to bring someone out just to give it a check of approval. Then they would have to bring another department out to do a check of approval. The councils complained that we were killing them with red tape and asked us to do something. I am thinking of Wheatland County and Stettler County, I believe, from which I received letters asking me to do something about this.

The opposition comes and says they are killing the fisheries. That is not a fact. That is rhetoric. We are delivering requests that Canadians have made to this and former governments over the years. We are responding in Bill C-38.

Obviously, I support the budget. I looked at some of the amendments. When we have 800 and some amendments we are not going to read through all of them, but I did look at some of them. I found it disappointing. It was blatantly obvious that what the opposition members were trying to do was not make the bill better. They would say we cannot make the bill better, so we have to scrap it, but they were going to try to amend it. Basically what they were doing was simply stalling everything they could. Of the amendments I read there was nothing really helpful to specific sections of the bill. They were all basically just trying to stall at every juncture. They were trying to change every point the government was trying to accomplish in the bill.

The opposition parties had their opportunity to go forward with their political high tax, high debt agenda. They offered their plan to Canadians in April 2011, and in May Canadians voted our Conservative government to a strong majority position in the House. Canadians wanted us to get the job done.

Some of the opposition members are suggesting we have gone too far. I chair a committee, and I sat through the last Parliament. Although I think most committees are working fairly well, and I will give the NDP and Liberals credit where it is due, in the last Parliament we would do a study and we would sit through the whole time and at the last possible moment they would come in and completely change the report, not to what we said, but they pushed their agenda through.

This here is not the type that tries to push something through. This was debated more than any other budget implementation bill in the past.

We were elected to govern and we intend to govern. We intend to govern in the best interests of all Canadians. It is a tough task. How are we going to satisfy everyone? The bill is not going to be stalled only for the sake of stalling.

A lot of governments are gridlocked right now. This government does not want to be gridlocked, but we do want strong, wholesome debate. We have had it; now let us move on with the vote.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my Conservative colleague talk about people in rural areas and the environment. He said he has heard from people in municipalities, councillors and so on, who told him to get rid of all the red tape. They did not want a guy from Calgary coming down to sign a piece of paper and go back. I hope the person from Calgary was not just coming in to sign a piece of paper. I hope he was doing his job and looking at whether the part about the environment was right or not. Is the member not worried about that?

People will feel free to do anything. Some will want to start a business, never mind the environment, never mind the red tape, never mind listening to the experts. They will just go ahead and do it.

The population will not accept that. People will not accept an environmental assessment not being done, and that is what the bill would do. Bill C-38 proposes to bypass any environmental assessment, which is not good for our planet and is not acceptable.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me assure my friend from the New Democratic Party that is not the government's intent. We would not support it if it meant there would be no environmental review, if it meant people could do whatever they wanted, as he has just suggested. I dare say the member would not find anyone on this side of the House who would accept that. That is not what this legislation proposes to do.

Bill C-38 would ensure that no conflicting departments would be doing separate reviews. When there is a project, there would be an environmental review, there would be an environmental assessment. Many of these deal with small culverts, small projects that in the past have been handcuffed. The red tape did not stall a lot of the projects, but it added a huge cost for our municipalities.

We want to see that environmental assessments are done but not one environmental assessment and then another environmental assessment and then another department with an environmental assessment. We want to see one project, one assessment, and then we can proceed. That is how jobs are created, that is how an economy is kept strong, and that is how we encourage our municipalities to better the communities in which Canadians reside.