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 changes.

Topics

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows I represent a riding, the northwest part of Edmonton and parts of St. Albert, which is immediately north and west of Edmonton.

Pipelines are, of course, the conduit to how Alberta gets its energy resources to market. Subject to environmental approval, which is a key condition, subject to there being no adverse consequences to the environment, I support pipeline projects. I support Keystone and I support gateway. I support any pipeline that safely and economically can get Alberta's energy resources to the market.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I think the passage I heard during the speech was simply to say program spending or social engineering.

The first question is two part. Does the member consider health care or even public broadcasting as two examples of social engineering?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I believe that health care is a service that Canadians demand and expect, and that all governments are inclined and, at this point, legally obligated to provide.

When I referred to social engineering, I certainly did not have health care at the top of my mind. As the hon. member will know, this government has formulated a new formula with respect to the health care accelerator that goes to the end of this decade. I forget the exact details, but it grows by 6% for a few years and then by the rate of GDP after that.

Health care, I believe, and I think most members believe, is a human service that all Canadians expect and that all governments, including this one, will provide to Canadians.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague for his intervention.

The jobs, growth and long-term prosperity bill would implement our budget. The document is 490-odd pages. I would expect a budget implementation bill to be more than 12 pages long.

Hidden in here, oh goodness, let us look at page 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, et cetera, responsible resource development. That was no surprise. No wonder it is going to be debated in a budget implementation bill.

Could the member comment on the importance of the responsible resource development and how it is no surprise we have been debating this since March 29?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the budget implementation bill is subtitled, “the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act”.

As the member knows, and as most members know, the Canadian economy is diversified. Currently one of the big strengths of the Canadian economy and the part that insulated Canada from much of the worst of the recession in 2008 was the energy resources largely, but not exclusively, located in western Canada.

Responsible resource development, concomitant with environmental protection, is a big factor within the government's response to dealing with a fragile economy, and therefore there should be no surprise in my view that that is contained within this legislation.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, if Canadians want clean water drink and clean air to breathe, why would the government remove human health from the definition of environmental effects to be studied in an environmental assessment? The only study now, according to the government, is for fish, birds and species at risk.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my comments, one should not confuse a quantity and length of environmental regulation with quality of environmental regulation. One can have a thorough, complete and fulsome environmental debate in front of one tribunal as opposed to having a number of piecemeal tribunals looking at different parts of the puzzle.

I would suggest that, at the end of the day, having one comprehensive review will lead to a more clear and consistent result than having numerous, voluminous and often repetitive processes.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House this afternoon to speak to Canada's economic action plan 2012 through the budget implementation act, Bill C-38. I thank the hon. member for Edmonton—St. Albert for sharing his time with me today.

Canada is emerging from the global economic recession. The economy's strengths provide an opportunity for the government to take significant actions today that will fuel the next wave of job creation and position Canada for a secure and prosperous future. Economic action plan 2012 sets out a comprehensive agenda to bolster Canada's fundamental strengths and address important challenges confronting the economy over the long run.

Specifically, this plan supports entrepreneurs, innovators and world-class research. Our government will increase investments in research and development and in streamlining and enhancing the scientific research and experimental development tax incentive program, including shifting from indirect tax incentives to more direct support for innovative private sector businesses. We will also enhance the access to venture capital financing by high growth companies so they can have the capital they need to create jobs and grow.

Further, we are making changes in Bill C-38 to ensure responsible resource development so that Canada may take advantage of the natural resource opportunity we have that benefits all regions of the country, including Mississauga. Many businesses rely on a strong and responsible resource sector to sell their goods and services. By creating an efficient regulatory system, we can provide effective protection of the interests of Canadians while minimizing the burden on business.

The city of Mississauga is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. We have residents from hundreds of countries of origin who call Mississauga home, and we are happy to have them. What is even more exciting is that many of these people work in companies that do business around the world, rely on strong trade relationships and provide import and export services worldwide. That is why I am very pleased that our government has the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history.

We know that free, fair and open trade is good for Canadian business. We know that Canadians can compete with the best in the world and we can win. We know that signing free trade agreements with countries around the globe give Canadians fair and better access to international markets.

I am pleased to see that we are reforming the immigration system to place a strong emphasis on skilled workers, investors and job creators who want to come to Canada and make a strong economic contribution. The temporary foreign worker program will be realigned to better meet labour market demands and we are making significant improvements to the foreign credential recognition process.

I am also pleased to report that Bill C-38 extends the hiring credit for small business for another year, providing up to $1,000 for one year to encourage the hiring of new employees.

Like every Canadian family, the federal government, too, must re-look at how it spends hard-earned taxpayer money and constantly ensure both value for money and spending on the most important priorities. This budget focuses on eliminating waste in the internal operations of government and making government leaner and more efficient, totalling about $5.2 billion in ongoing savings. This represents just 2% of total program spending by 2016-17. With this and other initiatives, I am pleased to report that we remain on track to balance the budget over the medium term as promised.

Canada must ensure that its social programs are relevant for the times but also cost effective for taxpayers. Bill C-38 proposes changes to strengthen and support the employment insurance program and old age security.

With respect to OAS, no government in recent memory has done more to support Canadian seniors than this one. I was pleased, in the first budget on which I was able to vote in this House, that our government brought in the largest one time increase in the guaranteed income supplement in over 25 years. Further, our government continues to provide support to the old age security program to existing recipients and those near retirement at current levels with no reductions or changes whatsoever.

However, we have a responsibility to ensure that the OAS system is protected for future generations and not just simply pass the buck to some other government down the road. That is why we are moving forward with a prudent, responsible and proactive change to the OAS by slowly raising the age of entitlement from 65 to 67 by 2029. The number of Canadians over 65 will increase, from 4.7 million today to 9.3 million by 2030. The cost of OAS will rise from $36 billion to $108 billion. Meanwhile, the number of taxpayers who will pay for OAS will go from four today to two in 20 years. Even though this decision may not be popular, it is simply the right thing to do to ensure the long-term sustainability of the OAS system for generations to come.

This budget also continues its support for families and communities. It would improve health-related tax treatment under the GST-HST, strengthen Canada's food safety system, provide enhanced support for the victims' fund, improve the wage earner protection fund and improve the registered disability savings program.

I will conclude by quoting the Minister of Finance in his budget address of March 29:

We see Canada for what it is and what it can be—a great, good nation, on top of the world, the True North strong and free. Our government has been inspired by this vision from the beginning. Today we step forward boldly, to realize it fully—hope for our children and grandchildren; opportunity for all Canadians; a prosperous future for our beloved country.

I am pleased to report to the House that I will be supporting Bill C-38 at third reading and ensuring that economic action plan 2012, jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, becomes a reality.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2012 / 5:55 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I find it a bit strange listening to all of this, especially when the Parliamentary Budget Office said that there was no financial or budgetary reason to make changes to the OAS, and past ministers, including Conservatives, are saying that attacks on the environmental assessment is just wrong and stop.

Then I heard my colleague say that hitting the delete button on close to 300,000 skilled workers would actually make improvements in bringing more skilled workers into this country.

How does my colleague think hitting the delete button on 287,000 skilled workers who have waited in line and have played by the rules made by the government would help provinces like Alberta and B.C. get the skilled workers they need right now.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that this government inherited a system that was a complete mess from the previous Liberal government that had played the game of , “We promise you a spot. We promise you a job in Canada. Just sign up and we'll get it processed”. It just did not happen.

We have had a number of years now where we have had to deal with the problem. It has grown. We made a decision, as a government, that we would reassess the foreign worker program, that we would redo it, start it over again and allow people who want to reapply to do so right away and have their application processed in a timely manner. It was completely unfair to keep hundreds of people on a waiting list that was not getting any better because of the previous government's mismanagement of the file.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I just finished reading The Guardian. I do not know if my colleague reads it or not, but it talks about the urgency around the world to get a new environment agreement. This is a British newspaper, but it specifically mentioned Canada as a country that cannot be trusted because of the Conservative government's attitude. The Guardian talks about how the Conservatives break international agreements and have a reputation now of undermining environmental standards. We see that all through this budget.

I want to concentrate specifically on the decision to attack the Freshwater Institute. Not only Canadian scientists but international scientists have decried that as an attack on science that is going to undermine our capacity to manage our freshwater resources. The government has shut down the round table on the environment. However, we now find out that it is going to cost millions to actually shut the program down, so my question to my hon. colleague is this: why would the government spend millions to shut down a world-class program when for less it could keep it open? Where is the fiscal sense?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, part of our government's review of various agencies, boards and commissions was to make sure that those organizations and the services being provided were actually doing what they were mandated to do and to make sure that what they were doing in 2012 was still relevant.

What we found with many of these agencies, especially the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, was that after 25 years, the mandate that the organization had over that period of time was not reflective of the needs and advice that we as a government, and the general public, wanted in 2012. As a result, yes, some decisions were made to close some things or to reduce their services, and in others to create new, purposed bodies that would make more sense and have more relevance to 2012.

That is the package. Obviously you folks do not support it. We believe it is the right way for Canada to move forward in an efficient and effective way to continue to deliver strong environmental sustainability to the people of Canada.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton) Barry Devolin

Is the hon. government House leader rising on a point of order?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table documents that are the government's responses to Questions Nos. 642, 644 to 649, 651 and 652.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton) Barry Devolin

The House thanks the hon. House leader for the intervention and for the tabling of said documments.