An Act respecting payments to a trust established to provide provinces and territories with funding for community development

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in September 2008.

Sponsor

Jim Flaherty  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment authorizes the making of payments to provinces and territories for community development.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Opposition Motion--The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

May 8th, 2008 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the House for the opportunity to speak in opposition to today's motion.

This House is going to hear a lot of rhetoric from the NDP during the course of today, a lot of skewed statistics, in fact we have already heard some, and a lot of misinformation.

Before continuing, I would like to refute something we have heard repeatedly from the NDP. If one were to only listen to that party on the issue of the Canadian economy, one would think we were in the midst of the Great Depression with double digit unemployment. It is disappointing the NDP would paint such a pessimistic picture for Canadians, especially when we consider the actual state of our economy and the job market.

We all acknowledge that certain sectors of the economy, like manufacturing, are having trouble adjusting to Canada's changing economy. We have unfortunately seen some job losses specifically in these sectors. This must be truly difficult for those directly affected. We need perspective here, however. The Canadian job market has remained exceedingly healthy under our Conservative government and let us review some of the facts.

Over the past 12 months, 325,000 net new jobs have been created, 100,000 plus net new jobs in this year alone. What is more, the unemployment rate is near a 33 year low with the share of the adults working at a record high rate. Overall, net employment is up over three-quarters of a million since we took office in 2006 in all regions of this country, with full time jobs accounting for 80% of that increase.

One would hope that even the NDP would recognize that the robust job creation we are seeing in Canada is good and the best way to ensure that our economic prosperity is broadened. If they do not believe me, they should listen to their NDP colleague, the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore, who we need to recognize this morning. I think he may actually be at the hospital getting a cast on his wrist as a result of one of the page's trying very actively to score a goal on him in a soccer game last night. Our thoughts are with that member.

I will quote the hon. member who, during an exchange in this very House in February last year with the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, stated the following:

He said that the best social program is a job; that the best thing we can give Canadians is a full time job. He was absolutely right. When Canadians have jobs that they like and can depend on to look after their families, they have pride and dignity.

I could not agree more with the NDP member. I further want to briefly clarify something we will also hear today about new net job growth in Canada. Often, observers on the left, when trying to paint a doom and gloom scenario, will dismiss positive job numbers, claiming new jobs being created are in sectors of the economy that are not as high paying or as high quality. Let us be clear. That is not the case. New jobs being created today are largely equivalent to or are of greater quality than those being lost. Listen to CIBC economist Benjamin Tal, who said:

Not only did the Canadian economy generate close to 400,000 new jobs in 2007, but the vast majority of them were in high-paying sectors...in Canada the loss of manufacturing jobs is being offset by job gains in sectors with equivalent and higher employment quality.

However, as I mentioned previously, we are seeing specific sectors of the economy bearing the brunt of this economic volatility.

As a trading nation fully emerged in the global economy and international financial markets, it is only natural that we would be facing economic challenges from outside our borders. As the United States is our largest trading partner, we are bound to feel the impact of its economic slowdown, especially on our exports. Additionally, the weak U.S. dollar has caused the value of the Canadian dollar to appreciate thus challenging the manufacturing, tourism and forestry sectors.

We are further seeing increasing economic competition from abroad, especially emerging economies like China, Brazil and India. Unfortunately, this is leading to job losses in Canada. We recognize that and we are taking real concrete action to assist those workers in communities that are affected.

That is why we are investing $1 billion in the community development trust. This money will support provincial and territorial initiatives that help communities, as well as help workers transitioning from the economic challenges of today into the opportunities of tomorrow. The fund will provide for job training and community transition plans that foster economic development and create new jobs, and infrastructure development to promote economic diversification.

I would note the reaction to our initiative has been overwhelmingly positive. It was unanimously endorsed in Parliament through Bill C-41. It was also supported by provincial premiers of all political stripes across Canada. New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham was “pleased that the Prime Minister and his government have made this commitment”. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty applauded it as well saying that it is “good for the people of Ontario. The Prime Minister has done something which we've been asking of him”. Even Manitoba's NDP Premier Gary Doer has praised our initiative by stating, “I also believe that this is very, very important to the regions and the communities in Canada and the money will be very, very helpful and important”.

This Conservative government's approach has been to encourage economic growth and job creation while simultaneously assisting those facing economic downturns. It has been an approach of balance. I am not merely referring to balanced budgets, although we have of course three of those already completed. I am also referring to a prudent, long term approach addressing the priorities of Canadians. That includes lowering taxes, reducing debt and carefully managing government spending. That approach will allow Canada the ability to face the upcoming economic challenges.

Indeed, our solid economic and fiscal situation has put Canada in a position of strength, well prepared to meet future challenges head on. However, we cannot rise to a strong position like this in a hit and miss fashion. In times of economic uncertainty, Canadians cannot afford leaders who would advocate panicky, band-aid and ultimately short term solutions. These are not solutions but rather, irresponsible attempts at public policy that would lead to deficits and higher taxation that would only drive businesses and jobs away, in effect only exacerbating the economic downturn it has attempted to correct and further disadvantaging those Canadians for whom today's motion purports to speak.

The sponsor of today's motion, the member for Sault Ste. Marie, should know that better than most members in this House. In the early 1990s he served provincially as a member in Ontario's disastrous NDP government under the leadership of the then premier, the current Liberal member for Toronto Centre. That NDP government in Ontario reacted to economic turbulence not through prudence but through panic, and panic at a price. The NDP government's first budget alone tripled Ontario's deficit to $9.7 billion, and increased to $10.1 billion in its final year. The damage was long term, leaving future generations to pay the price.

As Sun Media columnist Lorrie Goldstein reminded us earlier this week, the NDP government, which the member for Sault Ste. Marie belonged to:

--ended up doubling the province's debt in five years.

What that disastrous experiment showed is what nanny states forget--they can't command the economy to do what they want and when they try, the usually make things worse.

Even the member for Toronto Centre has acknowledged the fiscal havoc wrought by his government noting, “I'll admit I ran a deficit during the worst recession since the 1930s”. Regrettably, it would appear neither the sponsor of today's motion nor the member for Toronto Centre has learned from their experience. They both still advocate panicky, short term, band-aid measures, measures that would max out the national credit card with billions and billions in reckless deficit spending, leading to massive tax hikes and a greater debt burden for future generations.

We must ask ourselves then, if we are talking about ensuring the economic prosperity of typical Canadians, why do the Liberals and the NDP persist on tax and spend ideology along with short term, panicky reactionary measures that would do absolutely nothing but ensure such prosperity is never fully achieved?

Contrast that with our Conservative government's prudent action to ensure Canada has strong economic fundamentals through our long term economic growth plan Advantage Canada. That plan seeks to provide Canada with global advantages through lower taxation, to reduce net debt, and to provide more entrepreneurial freedom, the best educated and most skilled workforce and modern infrastructure.

We are making steady progress toward reaching the objectives of that plan, and we have very solid economic fundamentals to help us do it. Our budget is balanced and it will remain balanced. We have the fastest growth in employment and living standards in the G-7. Interest rates are low and inflation remains low and stable. Canadians have countless reasons to remain confident and optimistic.

The true power of our strong economic and fiscal fundamentals, however, lies in their ability to make constructive choices possible. Thanks to these solid economic fundamentals and long term economic planning, we have made the kinds of choices that put Canada ahead of the curve. While others have only recently begun grappling with the effects of global uncertainty, our Conservative government saw signs of an economic slowdown coming well in advance. We knew we had to act, and under the leadership of the Prime Minister and the finance minister, we did.

Our strong fiscal position provided Canada with an opportunity that few other countries have to make broad based tax reductions that will strengthen our economy, stimulate investment and create more and better jobs. That is why in last October's economic statement we announced bold new steps to build a better Canada by reducing taxes for Canadians, including a reduction in the GST, by establishing a new era of declining business taxation, and by reducing federal debt by $10 billion this year.

In total, actions taken by the government since 2006 are providing $21 billion in tax relief to Canadians this year. This is equivalent to 1.4% of Canada's GDP. As a share of the economy, this is significantly greater than the stimulus package just now reaching U.S. households.

Moreover, our tax relief is sustainable, backed by a track record of balanced budgets, and this tax relief is permanent. This proactive aggressive action to support the Canadian economy has been praised by prestigious non-partisan international and domestic economic organizations for its foresight and effectiveness.

The University of Toronto's Institute for Policy Analysis declared, “helping offset the weakness here will be the 'fortuitous' injection of stimulus from the tax cuts...announced” in the October economic statement. BMO economist Doug Porter congratulated our government for our economic statement that was “brilliantly timed. Just as the economy was running into serious heavy weather”, Canada has some “serious fiscal stimulus”. Most impressively, the distinguished IMF World Economic Outlook released this April praised the measures, “A package of tax cuts has provided a timely fiscal stimulus”. The Canadian government's “structural policy agenda should help increase competitiveness and productivity growth to underpin long term projects”.

Since coming to office, this Conservative government has taken action to reduce the overall tax burden for Canadians and businesses by nearly $200 billion.

Overall, we are bringing taxes to their lowest level as a percentage of the economy in nearly 50 years. Canadians are getting back their own money in increasing amounts, more money in their pockets where it belongs, which means our economy will benefit from consumers with thicker wallets and every reason to be confident about their future.

As for those who suggest that our economic leadership and tax reductions are not benefiting low income Canadians, I ask them to consider the facts.

Statistics Canada reported this week that in 2006, the first year of our Conservative government, the rich did not get richer but lower income Canadians did. Families at the bottom of the income ladder saw strong growth in their earnings in 2006. I will quote from the report:

After-tax income improved for families in all five income groups, except for those at the top, where it remained stable.

Why? Consider that approximately 700,000 low income Canadians will be removed from the tax rolls by 2009 because of our actions. Consider that since coming to office, our tax cuts have disproportionately benefited the bottom two income tax brackets. Indeed, over three-quarters of personal income tax relief is being provided for Canadians in the lowest two tax brackets with people in the lowest bracket alone realizing almost 30% of all annual personal income tax relief. Most important, we cut the GST, the only tax cut benefiting the one-third of low income Canadians not paying income tax.

Accordingly, it is somewhat odd that the NDP and their colleagues on the left have been so adamantly opposed to this reduction. Even Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom is puzzled. I will quote him at length:

The New Democrats say the [GST] cut favours the rich....

And yet...were equally outraged...by a new study pointing out that the tax system has become less fair since 1990 because (wait for it) governments have been relying too much on regressive sales taxes, like the GST.

He continued:

The reason that sales taxes are unfair is that those toward the bottom tend to spend more of what they earn (and hence pay more in sales tax as a proportion of their income) than those at the top.

He further noted:

Economist Marc Lee, who authored the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives study, calculated that roughly half of the increased tax burden borne by the poor between 1990 and 2005 came from small hikes in regressive levies such as sales taxes....

So in this context, it could be argued that [the Prime Minister] struck a small blow for social justice by reducing Canada's most notorious regressive tax. Indeed, it could be said that he took a small step towards rectifying the tax unfairness created by former prime minister Jean Chrétien's Liberals...

I find the left's attack on the GST cuts both baffling and sadly indicative.

Nevertheless, unlike the Liberals, we are taking concrete action to help low income Canadians through tax measures like the landmark working income tax benefit ensuring people are better off as a result of taking a job. Taxes, reduced income support and loss of benefits often discourage individuals receiving social assistance from working, clawing back nearly 80% of their income. This benefit, a first step we hope to build on, will increase income support while simultaneously strengthening work incentives. This is a move that has also been praised across the political spectrum.

The Caledon Institute of Social Policy acknowledged it was a “welcome addition to Canadian social policy. It fills a long recognized gap in Canada's income security system”. The NDP member for Winnipeg North approved our measure as an “important program that goes in the right direction”. Even Ontario's Liberal finance minister called it a progressive move saying, “I think that will help those at the lower end of the income ladder and I think”--the Conservative government--“has taken a good step.”

Clearly today's motion ignores what this government has accomplished and will be defeated accordingly. For that I applaud the Liberal opposition for once again expressing its unwavering confidence and approval of our Conservative government.

May 6th, 2008 / 7:15 p.m.
See context

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I strongly disagree with the member's assertion that the government is not supporting communities affected by the loss of manufacturing jobs.

I want to thank the member for giving me the opportunity to highlight all of the positive steps this government has taken since we have taken office.

We continue to work with all the provinces and territories to help them deal with the economic challenges they are facing. For example, in January we announced a $1 billion community development trust. This investment will support communities and workers who are affected by international economic volatility.

Furthermore, the government moved quickly to pass Bill C-41. We did this so that payments through the trust could be provided. Bill C-41 was supported by all parties in the House, including the Bloc Québécois.

Through the trust, the provinces will receive a base amount of $10 million and the territories $3 million, with the balance being provided on an equal per capita basis.

As a result, Quebec will get $216 million to help its communities and workers. The Province of Quebec can use the money provided in the community development trust to invest in job training and skills development, to support the development of community transition plans, and to support initiatives that help diversify local economies.

Budget 2008 went even further by building on funding that was provided by the community development trust. It did so by providing an additional $90 million to extend the targeted initiative for older workers to 2012 to help older workers stay in the workforce.

It also provides $10 million over two years to Natural Resources Canada to promote Canada's forestry sector in international markets as a strong model of environmental innovation and sustainability.

Furthermore, it allocates $72 million over two years to farm programs. It improves access to $3.3 billion in potential cash advances to Canadian farmers.

I question why the member is ignoring the fact that since 2006 we have provided key support for the manufacturing and forestry sectors.

We are also helping manufacturers and processors, including those in Quebec, through the Advantage Canada framework by helping them to better invest and compete.

For example, the government will provide over $9 billion in tax relief by 2012-13, including broad-based tax reductions.

Through the community development trust, as well as other measures introduced in budget 2008, this government is helping the manufacturing sector in Quebec, as well as all communities across Canada that are affected by global economic uncertainty.

April 30th, 2008 / 6:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is aware that the communities and people facing economic hardship need help without further delay.

That is why we have taken action and introduced Bill C-41 providing for the creation of a $1 billion national community development trust, which was unanimously approved by representatives from all parties in the House of Commons. The trust will be set up as soon as possible, following talks with the provinces and territories about proposed projects consistent with the objectives of the trust.

April 30th, 2008 / 6:30 p.m.
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Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the national community development trust is a very important initiative, and I am glad to have the opportunity to give you our point of view.

Thanks to the national community development trust, our government plans to provide real, lasting benefits for communities and workers that have to adapt to changing global economic conditions. Although Canada's economy is very prosperous on the whole, we are aware that global economic instability weighs heavily on some communities and groups of workers, especially those that depend on a single industry or a single company that is in difficulty.

That is why we will invest $1 billion in the national community development trust to support provincial and territorial projects that help these communities and workers cope with economic upheaval. Communities across the country told us that they needed help quickly, and that is why this government introduced Bill C-41 to create the trust without further delay.

I am proud to announce that Bill C-41 was unanimously approved by the representatives of all parties in the House of Commons and received royal assent on February 8, 2008. We are currently working with the provinces and territories in order to identify the priority areas for action and to seek their public commitment to support communities consistent with the objectives of the trust. When these conditions have been fulfilled, the government will set up the trust as quickly as possible.

The community development trust is another important measure that we have taken to stimulate the economy, to improve the business climate and to allow companies in all sectors to increase their competitiveness and to make an investment in the future.

We have adopted significant measures that provide tax relief and we are on our way to becoming the country with the lowest corporate tax rate in the industrial world.

We have invested in skills development and training in order for all of Canada to have the most educated and flexible work force in the world. We have allocated an unprecedented level of funding for infrastructure—$33 billion over seven years—in order for our infrastructure, which is essential for a modern economy, to be on the leading edge of technology.

And we have taken steps to reduce the burden imposed by government so that businesses can concentrate on what they do best, namely investing, creating value and creating jobs for Canadians. Our government intends to put in place conditions conducive to economic progress and to help the disadvantaged, and the community development trust is an indicator of this commitment.

February 28th, 2008 / 6:25 p.m.
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Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I will respond to the accusations of my hon. friend from Thunder Bay—Rainy River that the community development trust will not be effective in helping his constituents and many others.

Canada's forest industry is a key component of our economy, and our Conservative government's actions through budget 2008 demonstrates our support for it. While Canada's overall economy remains robust, we acknowledge rising challenges facing certain sectors, ranging from global economic turbulence to a weakening American dollar.

Budget 2008 builds on an aggressive pre-emptive action taken both in the 2007 fall economic update to reduce the tax burden for businesses and earlier this year to support struggling communities and workers.

Since forming government, we have brought forward significant broad-based tax reductions that will deliver over $9 billion in tax relief for manufacturers and processors by 2012-13, including the extended capital cost allowance for new manufacturing equipment announced in budget 2008.

Budget 2008 further provided greater accessibility to the enhanced scientific research and experimental development tax incentive program and additional funding to improve the administration of the program.

In addition, we are providing $1 billion for the community development trust to help provinces and territories assist one industry towns facing major downturns, communities plagued by chronic high unemployment or regions hit by layoffs across a region of sectors such as manufacturing and forestry, especially in northwestern Ontario.

We introduced Bill C-41 to quickly implement the important initiative, and I am pleased that it received unanimous all party support for royal assent.

Budget 2008 also announced $10 million in funding to promote Canada's forestry sector in the international markets as a model of environmental innovation and sustainability. The Forest Products Association of Canada applauded this measure noting that the budget:

—recognized that Canada is a world leader in the manufacturing of high-quality, environmentally sustainable forest products, which will be in high demand as the middle classes in Asia grow and consumers insist on planet-friendly products.

Also of interest to northern Ontario is the provision in budget 2008 to extend the mineral exploration tax credit, an incentive available to individuals who invest in flow-through shares that are used to finance mining exploration, intended to assist companies raise capital for exploration.

Also related to the mining industry was the $34 million provided for geological mapping to support economic development.

It is little wonder that the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada thanked the Conservative government for such measures, measures which will “Canada remains a world leader in mineral exploration”.

Even the member from Thunder Bay—Rainy River liked the aforementioned aspects of budget 2008, noting that he “likes that there is positive news for the mining sector in the region”.

I accordingly would hope that the Liberal member would stand up and vote in favour of budget 2008 and its positive news for the Thunder Bay—Rainy River region.

Canadian Content in Public Transportation ProjectsPrivate Members' Business

February 14th, 2008 / 5:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to take part in the debate on a motion tabled by the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River.

On November 6, 2007, the Prime Minister launched the $33 billion building Canada infrastructure plan. This plan is the most comprehensive of its kind in Canadian history. It provides stable and predictable funding for the longest period of time ever committed to by any federal government. No other federal government in Canadian history has ever made such a large, long term investment to modernize infrastructure.

I speak to the plan because of its connection to transit and because of the way we seek to manage it in conjunction with provinces and territories.

Through its new plan, the Government of Canada is providing $33 billion over seven years, which includes: $17.6 billion, or over 50% of the plan, in base funding for municipalities until 2014, including a full GST rebate and $11.8 billion through the gas tax fund; $25 million per year over seven years in base funding to provinces and territories, $175 million for each jurisdiction for basic infrastructure needs like bridge safety; $8.8 billion for the new building Canada fund, which will be applied to strategic projects in large urban centres as well as projects in small communities, with particular attention to those smaller than 100,000 people; $2.1 billion for the new gateway and border crossings fund to improve cross-border trade with the United States; $1.25 billion for a new national fund for public-private partnerships; and $1 billion for the Asia-Pacific gateway

These investments are an important contribution and address the infrastructure needs of municipalities, provinces and territories. This funding will be dedicated to things that matter to Canadians, such as clean water, more efficient public transit, safe roads and green energy.

Building Canada will help support a stronger Canadian economy by investing in infrastructure that contributes to increased trade, efficient movement of goods and people and economic growth that creates jobs. This will include projects such as improvements to the core national highway system, short line railways, short sea shipping, regional and local airports, broadband, and convention centres.

A healthy environment is a clear priority for our government. As such, building Canada will also focus on infrastructure investments that contribute to cleaner air, water and land, including public transit, waste water and solid waste management, brownfield remediation and also green energy, as mentioned before.

To promote the development of strong and prosperous communities of all sizes, building Canada will support investments in public infrastructure that improve the health and safety of families and make communities more liveable. For example, projects that would be eligible for funding include safe drinking water, local roads, bridge rehabilitation and sports and culture.

The Government of Canada is responding to its 2006 consultations with the provinces, territories and the municipal sector. We are doing this by providing more long term and predictable infrastructure funding, as well as more streamlined programs.

Overall, our approach highlights the extent of federal involvement and confirms our respect for jurisdiction, as well as our commitment to working collaboratively on the issues raised during our discussions in developing the plan.

Framework agreements under building Canada have been signed with British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. We are working closely with the other provinces to complete framework agreements with them as well.

The member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River has made a motion asking the Government of Canada to implement a policy to mandate Canadian content levels for public transportation projects.

Our government agrees that this motion should be at least debated in order to understand how it can best support Canadian industries, while at the same time respecting other federal government responsibilities and commitments, such as our commitment to get the best value for taxpayer dollars.

The government understands the importance of supporting the Canadian economy. Earlier this month our government introduced Bill C-41 to allow $1 billion in federal funding to begin flowing to struggling communities through the community development trust. This was recently announced by the Prime Minister.

This support will greatly help single industry towns suffering from major downturns, as well as communities facing chronic high unemployment or layoffs across a range of sectors. Our government also understands that the transportation industry is strong in Canada. Generally, our partners in infrastructure projects tend to be other levels of government. At this time municipal, provincial and territorial governments together are responsible for over 90% of infrastructure spending in Canada. Procurement decisions with respect to infrastructure are ultimately the responsibility of these governments.

After all, these are the orders of government that will let the contracts choose the suppliers and ultimately bear the responsibility for completing the project on time, handling any cost overruns that occur and also managing the infrastructure plan long term. We treat these other levels of government as partners, able to make their own decisions in their own best interests.

Our government is prepared to discuss with our partners how to encourage more Canadian content in these investments, but we will not and cannot force or dictate to provinces, territories and our municipal governments how they should do their procurement.

As I have noted earlier, our key concerns should be getting as much value for the infrastructure dollar as possible. This decision is consistent with the requirements under the Federal Accountability Act that stipulates that federal procurement be conducted with a commitment to fairness, openness and transparency.

The federal budget of 2006 indicated that the federal government will manage infrastructure funding in a manner that will maximize taxpayers' value for money. I think this is a very valid principle that frankly defines our government.

For public transportation projects that receive federal funds under the building Canada fund, the federal government will require that limitations on tendering, such as sole source contracts, be omitted from consideration. Our government has a responsibility to ensure that procurement decisions are consistent with Canada's international trade obligations. What impacts Canadian content levels may have on this is a subject that should be fully discussed.

Mandating Canadian content levels, as has been proposed in the member's motion, would not necessarily get the best value for taxpayers' dollars. By using incentives to encourage people to buy Canadian, there could be some effects we need to fully understand. These could include increased project costs, as the number of potential suppliers diminish; limiting the choice with respect to rolling stock available for infrastructure projects, which is of particular concern to transit projects; and also limitations on available technology.

Additionally, based on federal experience in dealing with municipalities through several generations of infrastructure programming, we believe that domestic procurement requirements dictated by the federal government with respect to infrastructure provisions would be met with resistance by many of our provincial and municipal partners. Our only requirement is that procurement for projects funded with federal dollars is done in a fair, open, transparent and competitive manner.

Let me restate that our government, through its infrastructure program, is investing heavily in a modern economy and economic growth. Canadian workers, engineers, suppliers and manufacturers will all benefit from these investments. We hope that a fulsome discussion will bring about clear solutions in order to support Canadian industries, while also being mindful of the need to obtain the best value for our taxpayers' dollars.

With the building Canada fund, our government is taking steps to address the infrastructure challenge and ensure that our cities and communities are prepared for current and future growth, and can compete internationally.

Modern infrastructure is at the centre of Canada's standard of living and contributes greatly to the quality of life that we value. The building Canada fund is about investing in our country's future. It is about a stronger economy, about a cleaner environment, and about a more prosperous community.

February 11th, 2008 / 6:40 p.m.
See context

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am once again pleased to inform my friend from Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup of the extensive support that our government is delivering for the manufacturing and forestry sectors, especially through the community development trust.

With the community development trust, our government intends to make a concrete difference for communities and workers who are adjusting to a shifting global economic landscape.

While Canada's economy is very strong overall, we know that global economic volatility has put pressure on particular communities and workers, especially those communities that rely on a single sector or company that is being challenged. That is why we will be investing $1 billion in the community development trust to support provincial and territorial initiatives that help these communities and workers weather the economic storms facing them.

This initiative has been widely praised by key organizations and provincial leaders. For instance, Shawn Graham, the Liberal premier of New Brunswick, remarked that his government was “pleased that the Prime Minister and his government have made this commitment”. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities declared that it “applauds the federal government's decision to help Canadian communities hit by economic upheaval”. The fund “is more than welcome”.

Indeed, communities told us that they need to receive this assistance in a timely fashion. That is why we introduced Bill C-41 to rapidly implement the trust. That is why that legislation received unanimous all-party support in this House, including support from the Bloc.

As Bill C-41 has now received royal assent, we are currently working as quickly as possible with each province and territory to identify priority areas for action and to seek their public commitment to support communities consistent with the objectives of the trust.

This trust builds on the significant actions we have already taken to strengthen the economy and improve the business environment, enabling businesses in all sectors to become more competitive and invest for the future.

We have brought in significant tax reductions and are on our way toward the lowest business tax regime in the major industrialized economies.

We have invested in skills development and education so that Canada can have the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world.

We have provided unprecedented funding for infrastructure, totalling $33 billion over seven years, to ensure that we have the critical and up to date infrastructure that drives a modern economy.

We have acted to reduce the burden of government so that these businesses can focus on what they do best: investing, producing value and creating jobs for Canadians.

Our government is committed to providing the conditions for economic success, and the community development trust demonstrates that.

February 7th, 2008 / 5:45 p.m.
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Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received which is as follows:

Rideau Hall

Ottawa

February 7, 2008

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bill listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 7th day of February, 2008, at 4:41 p.m.

Yours sincerely,

Sheila-Marie Cook

The Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor

The schedule indicates the bill assented to was Bill C-41, An Act respecting payments to a trust established to provide provinces and territories with funding for community development--Chapter 1.

Message from the SenateGovernment Orders

February 7th, 2008 / 3:50 p.m.
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Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following bill: Bill C-41, An Act respecting payments to a trust established to provide provinces and territories with funding for community development.

National Community Development Trust Fund ActRoutine Proceedings

February 5th, 2008 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to order made earlier this day, Bill C-41, An Act respecting payments to a trust established to provide provinces and territories with funding for community development, is deemed read the second time and referred to a committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage and deemed read the third time and passed.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, considered in committee of the whole, reported without amendment, concurred in, read the third time and passed)

National Community Development Trust Fund ActRoutine Proceedings

February 5th, 2008 / 10:10 a.m.
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Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-41, An Act respecting payments to a trust established to provide provinces and territories with funding for community development.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)