Budget Implementation Act, 2009

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and related fiscal measures

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in December 2009.

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.

Part 1 implements income tax measures proposed in the January 27, 2009 Budget. In particular, it

(a) increases by 7.5% above their 2008 levels the basic personal amount and the upper limits for the two lowest personal income tax brackets, thereby also increasing the income levels at which income testing begins for the base benefit under the Canada Child Tax Credit and the National Child Benefit supplement;

(b) increases by $1,000 the amount on which the Age Credit is calculated;

(c) increases to $25,000 the maximum amount eligible for withdrawal under the Home Buyers’ Plan;

(d) introduces amendments to the rules related to Registered Retirement Savings Plans and Registered Retirement Income Funds to allow for recognition of losses in accounts between the time of the annuitant’s death and final distribution of property from the account;

(e) repeals the interest deductibility constraints in section 18.2 of the Income Tax Act;

(f) extends the mineral exploration tax credit for one year;

(g) increases to $500,000 the annual amount of active business income eligible for the 11% small business income tax rate and makes related amendments;

(h) clarifies rules relating to timing of acquisition of control of a corporation; and

(i) creates cost savings through electronic filing of tax information.

In addition, Part 1 implements income tax measures that were referenced in the January 27, 2009 Budget and that were originally proposed in the February 26, 2008 Budget but not included in the Budget Implementation Act, 2008. In particular, it

(a) clarifies the application of the excess corporate holdings rules for private foundations;

(b) increases the amount that corporations will be able to pay as “eligible dividends”;

(c) enacts several regulatory amendments that complement and complete measures enacted in the Budget Implementation Act, 2008;

(d) introduces minor adjustments to the Tax-Free Savings Account rules and the scientific research and experimental development investment tax credit rules included in the Budget Implementation Act, 2008;

(e) implements rules in respect of donations of medicines; and

(f) reduces the paper burden on businesses by allowing a larger number of government entities to share Business Number-related information in connection with government programs and services.

Part 1 also implements other income tax measures referred to in the January 27, 2009 Budget that either were themselves previously announced or flow directly from previously announced measures. In particular, it

(a) implements technical changes relating to specified investment flow-through trusts and partnerships and new tax rules to facilitate the conversion of these entities into corporations;

(b) contains amendments to take into account financial institution accounting changes;

(c) extends the general treatment of capital gains and losses on an acquisition of control of a corporation to gains and losses that result from fluctuations in foreign exchange rates in respect of debt denominated in foreign currency;

(d) enhances the carry-forward for investment tax credits;

(e) implements amendments relating to the computation of income, gains and losses of a foreign affiliate;

(f) implements amendments to the functional currency tax reporting rules;

(g) implements minor tax amendments relating to interprovincial allocation of corporate taxable income, the Wage Earner Protection Program and the Canada-United States tax treaty’s rules for cross-border pensions;

(h) provides for an extension of time for income tax assessments that are consequential to provincial reassessments;

(i) ensures the appropriate application of the Income Tax Act’s trust rules to certain arrangements and institutions under Quebec civil law;

(j) enacts regulatory amendments relating to prescribed amounts for automobile expenses and benefits, eligible medical expenses, and the tax treatment of foreign affiliate active business income earned in a jurisdiction with which Canada has concluded a tax information exchange agreement;

(k) introduces rules to reduce the required minimum amount that must be withdrawn from a Registered Retirement Income Fund or from a variable benefit money purchase pension plan by 25% for 2008, and allows related re-contributions;

(l) extends the deadline for Registered Disability Savings Plan contributions; and

(m) modifies the provisions relating to amateur athletic trusts.

Part 2 amends the Excise Act, 2001 and the Excise Tax Act to implement measures to reduce the paper burden on businesses by allowing a larger number of government entities to share Business Number-related information in connection with government programs and services.

Part 3 amends the Customs Tariff to implement measures announced in the January 27, 2009 Budget to

(a) reduce Most-Favoured-Nation rates of duty and, if applicable, rates of duty under other tariff treatments on a number of tariff items relating to machinery and equipment imported on or after January 28, 2009;

(b) divide tariff item 9801.10.00 into two separate tariff items pertaining to conveyances and containers, respectively, and make two technical corrections, effective January 28, 2009; and

(c) modify the tariff treatment of milk protein substances, effective September 8, 2008.

Part 4 amends the Employment Insurance Act until September 11, 2010 to extend regular benefit entitlements by five weeks. It also provides that a pilot project ceases to have effect. In addition, it amends that Act to provide that the cost of benefit enhancement measures under that Act, provided for in the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009, are not to be charged to the Employment Insurance Account. Finally, it sets the premium rate provided for under that Act for the years 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2010.

Division 1 of Part 5 amends the Financial Administration Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to take, subject to certain conditions, a number of measures intended to promote the stability or maintain the efficiency of the financial system, including financial markets, in Canada.

Division 2 of Part 5 amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act to provide the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation with greater flexibility to enhance its ability to safeguard financial stability in Canada. The Division also adds Tax-Free Saving Accounts as a distinct category for the purposes of deposit insurance. It also makes consequential amendments to other acts.

Division 3 of Part 5 amends the Export Development Act to, among other things, expand the Export Development Corporation’s mandate to include the support and development of domestic trade and business opportunities for a period of two years. The period may be extended by the Governor in Council. Division 3 also increases the Corporation’s authorized capital.

Division 4 of Part 5 amends the Business Development Bank of Canada Act to increase the maximum amount of the paid-in capital of the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Division 5 of Part 5 amends the Canada Small Business Financing Act to increase the maximum outstanding loan amount in relation to a borrower. It also increases individual lenders’ cap on claims. These amendments will apply to new loans made after March 31, 2009.

Division 6 of Part 5 amends a number of Acts governing federal financial institutions to improve access to credit and strengthen the financial system in Canada, including amendments that will

(a) provide new authority for further safeguards to promote the stability of the financial system;

(b) enhance consumer protection by establishing new measures to help consumers of financial products; and

(c) implement other technical measures to strengthen the financial sector framework in Canada.

Division 7 of Part 5 provides for payments to be made to provinces and territories, provides authority to the Minister of Finance to enter into agreements respecting securities regulation with provinces and territories and enacts the Canadian Securities Regulation Regime Transition Office Act.

Part 6 authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for various purposes, including infrastructure and housing.

Part 7 amends Part I of the Navigable Waters Protection Act to create a tiered approval process for works in order to streamline the approval process and to exclude certain classes of works and works on certain classes of navigable waters from the approval process. This Part further amends Part I of the Act to clarify the scope of the application of that Part to works owned or previously owned by the Crown, to provide for the application of the Act to bridges over the St. Lawrence River and to add certain regulation-making powers.

Part 7 also amends the Act to clarify the provisions related to obstacles and obstructions to navigation. The Act is also amended by adding administration and enforcement powers, consolidating all offence provisions, increasing fines and requiring a review of the Act within five years of the amendments coming into force.

Division 1 of Part 8 amends the Wage Earner Protection Program Act and the Wage Earner Protection Program Regulations to provide that unpaid wages for which an individual may receive payment under the Wage Earner Protection Program include unpaid severance pay and termination pay.

Division 2 of Part 8 amends the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act to, among other things,

(a) require the Chief Actuary of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to report on financial assistance provided under that Act; and

(b) authorize the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to suspend or deny financial assistance to all those who are qualifying students in respect of a designated educational institution.

Division 2 of Part 8 also amends both the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act and the Canada Student Loans Act to, among other things,

(a) terminate all obligations of a borrower with respect to risk-shared loans and guaranteed loans if the borrower dies;

(b) authorize the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to require any person who has received financial assistance or a guaranteed student loan to provide that Minister with documents or information for the purpose of verifying compliance with those Acts; and

(c) authorize that Minister to terminate or deny financial assistance in certain circumstances.

Division 3 of Part 8 amends the Financial Administration Act to provide express authority for agent Crown corporations to lease their property, restrict the appointment of employees of a Crown corporation to its board of directors, require Crown corporations to hold annual public meetings, clarify Treasury Board’s duties to indemnify Crown corporation directors and officers, permit more flexibility in the frequency of special examinations of Crown corporations, and require the reports of special examinations to be submitted to the appropriate Minister and Treasury Board and made public. This Division also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 9 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to set out the amount of the fiscal equalization payments to the provinces for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2009 and amends the method by which fiscal equalization payments will be calculated for subsequent fiscal years. It also amends the method by which the Canada Health Transfer is calculated for each fiscal year in the period beginning on April 1, 2009 and ending on March 31, 2014.

Part 10 enacts the Expenditure Restraint Act. The purpose of that Act is to put in place a reasonable and an affordable approach to compensation across the federal public sector in support of responsible fiscal management in a difficult economic environment.

It sets out rules governing economic increases to the rates of pay of unionized and non-unionized employees for periods that begin during the period that begins on April 1, 2006 and ends on March 31, 2011. It also continues certain other terms and conditions at their current levels. It preserves the right of collective bargaining with regard to other matters and it does not affect the right to strike.

The Act does not preclude the continued development of workplace improvements by employers and employees’ bargaining agents through the National Joint Council or other bodies that they may agree on. It also permits bargaining agents and employers to agree to the amendment of certain terms and conditions of collective agreements or arbitral awards.

Part 11 enacts the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act and makes consequential amendments to other Acts. The purpose of the Act is to ensure that proactive measures are taken to provide employees in female predominant job groups with equitable compensation.

It requires public sector employers that have non-unionized employees to determine periodically whether any equitable compensation matters exist in the workplace and, if so, to prepare a plan to resolve them. With respect to public sector employers that have unionized employees, the employers and the bargaining agents are to resolve those matters through the collective bargaining process.

It sets out the procedure for informing employees as to whether an equitable compensation assessment was required to be conducted and, if so, how it was conducted, and how any equitable compensation matters were resolved. It also establishes a recourse process for employees if the Act is not complied with.

Finally, since the Act puts in place a comprehensive equitable compensation scheme for public sector employees, this Part amends the Canadian Human Rights Act so that the provisions of that Act dealing with gender-based wage discrimination no longer apply to public sector employers. It extends the mandate of the Public Service Labour Relations Board to allow it to hear equitable compensation complaints and to provide other services related to equitable compensation in the public sector.

Part 12 amends the Competition Act. The amendments include

(a) introducing a dual-track approach to agreements between competitors, with a limited criminal anti-cartel provision and a civil provision to address other agreements that substantially lessen or prevent competition;

(b) providing that bid-rigging includes agreements or arrangements to withdraw bids or tenders;

(c) repealing the provisions dealing with price discrimination and predatory pricing, replacing the criminal resale price maintenance provision with a new civil provision to address price maintenance practices that have an adverse effect on competition, and repealing all provisions dealing specifically with the airline industry;

(d) introducing an administrative monetary penalty for cases of abuse of dominant position, increasing the maximum amount of administrative monetary penalties for deceptive marketing cases, and increasing the maximum fines or terms of imprisonment, or both, for agreements or arrangements between competitors, bid-rigging, criminal false or misleading representations, deceptive telemarketing, deceptive notice of winning a prize, obstruction of Competition Bureau investigations and failure to comply with prohibition orders or production orders;

(e) clarifying that, in proceedings under section 52, 74.01 or 74.02, it is not necessary to establish that false or misleading representations are made to the public in Canada or are made in a place to which the public has access, and clarifying that the “general impression test” applies to all deceptive marketing practices in sections 74.01 and 74.02;

(f) providing that the court may make an order in respect of cases of false or misleading representations to require the person who engaged in the conduct to compensate persons affected by the conduct, and may issue an interim injunction to freeze assets if the Commissioner of Competition intends to ask for such a compensation order; and

(g) introducing a two-stage merger review process for notifiable transactions, increased merger pre-notification thresholds and a reduced merger review limitation period.

Part 13 amends the Investment Canada Act so that the review of an investment will be applied only to the more significant investments. It also amends the Act to allow more information to be made public. This Part also provides for the review of foreign investments in Canada that could threaten national security and allows the Governor in Council to take any measures that the Governor in Council considers advisable to protect national security, such as prohibiting a non-Canadian from implementing an investment.

Part 14 amends the Canada Transportation Act to provide the Governor in Council with flexibility to increase the foreign ownership limit from the existing levels to a maximum of 49%.

Part 15 amends the Air Canada Public Participation Act in relation to the mandatory provisions in the articles of Air Canada regarding constraints imposed on the issue, transfer and ownership of shares. It provides for the repeal of the provisions requiring that the articles of Air Canada contain provisions imposing limits on non-resident share ownership and the repeal of the provisions requiring that the articles of Air Canada contain provisions respecting the enforcement of these constraints.

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.

Votes

March 4, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
March 4, 2009 Passed That this question be now put.
March 3, 2009 Passed That Bill C-10, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and related fiscal measures, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 394.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 383.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 358.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 317.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 445.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 295.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 6.
Feb. 12, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
Feb. 12, 2009 Passed That this question be now put.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

It is difficult to know where to start when it comes to Bill C-10, the budget implementation bill. This budget contains so many items that are not in the interest of major groups in society, and that penalize Quebec in particular, that it is hard to know where to start. I will first look at an issue raised previously by other colleagues, the treatment of women.

With this government we had become accustomed to policies with misogynist undertones. In the previous budget, cuts were made to programs that supported women's organizations, especially women's centres that provide support to organizations in every region of the country. There used to be 16 such centres; only four remain and they are barely surviving because they are forced to find money wherever they can. Nonetheless, over the years, our society acquired these tools thanks to the struggle—especially by women, unions, and workers' and grassroots movements—to give rights to women in our society.

Despite our reactions here in the House of Commons, the government has gone ahead with this measure. To our great surprise, this budget contains an attack against women once again. This is inexplicable and has nothing to do with kick-starting the economy. Women will no longer be able to go before the courts to have their right to pay equity within the public service recognized. It is unbelievable. What is even more unbelievable is that the Liberals will be supporting it. It is beyond comprehension, even more so because they say they oppose this measure. Under the pretext of not triggering an election, they are prepared to stoop this low and take us back to the 1940s. It makes no sense.

What is even more despicable is the clause saying that if a union dares to file a complaint before the courts, that union could be fined up to $50,000. Where is the logic in that? We tell women that not only can they not go to the courts, but that the organization that is normally there to support them and ensure that their rights are recognized will be penalized if it dares to do so. They are saying that we need to trust free collective bargaining, but if the employer refuses, where does that leave us? What is more, they are saying that if the employer does not agree with the union, if there is a disagreement and they want help and want to take a complaint before the courts, the employer will also be penalized and could face a $10,000 fine. Why should one pay $50,000 and the other $10,000? We have to find the answer. We do not know the answer, but we are faced with an illogical argument that does not hold water.

There are, of course, some embellishments around these measures to try and make us forget them. There are accessories and buffers. That is the main gist of it, however. And it is nonsensical. It is something that we cannot agree with and something that we must object to. We thought that there would be objections from the Liberals as well as the NDP and ourselves. But the Liberals just making a symbolic last stand. They say they disagree with it, but they are in a bit of a bind, because otherwise they will have to go through another election. What better than an election for having debates about our society? This is a topic for a real societal debate.

Have we, in 2009, not reached the point where we must stand up for recognition of the rights of just over 50% of the population of our society, that is, the rights of women?

I wanted to start by addressing this element. It alone ought to be sufficient grounds for rejecting this budget. There are many other measures, for example, that affect Quebec.

There are such anti-Quebec measures as the matter of equalization. Other provinces are also affected. The government has reneged on its commitment regarding the distribution of equalization. That means a $1 billion shortfall for Quebec.

Then there is the centralized securities commission. The government is going to say that Quebec can continue to have its own. But we know very well that, as soon as there is a centralized body and financial institutions or companies have the choice of registering with one or the other, there is always pressure created where the most transactions take place. This is also called the passport system. We know that in the long run, the Quebec body will be undermined. That is, moreover, the reason the Quebec National Assembly unanimously condemned this measure. The premier of Quebec backed down a bit afterward, but there was nevertheless a motion against this measure. It is the duty of the premier of Quebec to come and defend it here, along with his finance minister.

What does this budget have to offer society's most vulnerable? Sure, it has some measures, some tax deductions, but they actually benefit high income earners. These deductions will benefit high income earners more than anyone else.

For the unemployed, this budget is a disaster. That alone should prompt us to vote against it. Like us, the Liberals said that the government should improve access to employment insurance. We agree with that. They even made that one of their election promises. They debated it, and it was part of the platform when they created the coalition with the NDP, a coalition that we supported. They also talked about measures for women. This budget does nothing to improve access to employment insurance. Even so, they plan to vote for it.

Worse still, this budget contains a provision stating that workers' and employers' contributions must remain at $1.73, their lowest level since 1982. What does that mean? It means that we are giving the government permission to make it impossible to improve the employment insurance system. That makes no sense. The government is going back on yet another promise, betraying the people to whom it promised it would fix the employment insurance system.

According to Human Resources and Social Development, only 46% of those who lose their jobs are eligible for employment insurance benefits. Women, in particular, get the short end of the stick because only 33% of them have access to benefits.

I have just one minute left, so I will wrap up. This budget is a gift when it comes to tax havens. The government is getting rid of any tools it had to prevent excessive use of tax havens. This is party time for tax havens. There are measures to help oil companies and measures to help nuclear development, but no measures to reduce poverty. That is the budget the Liberals are about to support. We refuse to support this budget because it is not in the best interests of Quebec or Canadian society.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have listened carefully to the comments by the hon. member for Chambly—Borduas. I find some parts of his speech contradictory. He speaks of the very obvious suffering of Quebeckers and Canadians who are unemployed. He is absolutely right. There is nothing worse than being out of work.

Does he think that the economic issue is an urgent one, and that jobs must be created as quickly as possible? Does he think that public sector money should be spent to lower the unemployment rate? If so, does he not think that we need to be practical right now, and get spending that money in order to raise the employment level? Would he rather have an election, with a potential eight weeks of campaigning, followed by another two months when the House would not sit until there was a throne speech? Does he think we ought to wait until fall to take practical economic measures to fight the recession?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 5 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his very relevant question. First, we had a useless, or almost useless, election because the Prime Minister ambitiously thought he would get a majority government. In addition, he violated his own law on fixed-date elections. As a result, we have not sat since last June, which is quite outrageous.

This government could have taken action to kick-start the economy without coming before the House and without having an election. When it needed a mandate, all of the elements were there to take action to stimulate the economy. We all know about the government's disastrous attempt in November.

We agree that there have to be measures to create jobs. But what about the people living in regions where there are no jobs? That is the question. Should we abandon them? Is that what our colleague's question is suggesting? I hope not. We have to recognize that in this time of crisis, despite all our efforts, people will remain on the streets because they will not be able to find work. Do they not deserve to be supported, even more so given that the money is right there in the employment insurance fund? Instead of continuing to skim money from the employment insurance fund, the government should be supporting those people who are losing their jobs.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 5 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Madam Speaker, my question will be simple and relates to the question asked by the hon. Liberal member for Lac-Saint-Louis. The Liberal Party was offered the chance to solve the crisis through the coalition, but they refused. That was their decision. The party decided to abandon the most vulnerable members of society. The Liberals decided not to govern. They were handed the opportunity on a silver platter. We were not even going to participate in governing; we were going to leave it up to them.

My question is simple. What does my hon. colleague think of the Liberal Party, which has, once again, abandoned the forestry and manufacturing industries in Quebec, as well as Quebec's unemployed workers?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 5 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, I am not sure if this is parliamentary, but I think it is when applied to a party.

I think this is an act of cowardice. The courageous thing to do would have been to consider two things. First of all, this side of the House had the majority. Also, the opposition is mandated by the people to prevent the government from deciding whatever it likes. The Liberal Party is allowing it to decide whatever it likes and, more importantly, to implement very ideological measures.

My colleague is quite right. A platform was created based on points that the three opposition parties agreed on and that would have been very beneficial. That is what should have been done. It would have been an act of courage and, more importantly, responsibility and respect for the mandate we are given here.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 5:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Winnipeg North.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage my Liberal colleagues to stop and think about what they are about to do if they vote in favour of Bill C-10 this evening. They are handing out a death sentence to pay equity in the country.

Women have fought long and hard for the right to equal pay for work of equal value. By standing in the House and voting in favour of Bill C-10, the Liberals are undermining the aspirations of women for equal pay for work of equal value, throwing away their human rights, disrespecting the contribution women make to our communities and our economy. It is a slap in the face to all women in Canada.

Yesterday afternoon, the Leader of the Opposition told reporters, just outside the chamber, that he was willing to “swallow” the loss of pay equity. This is profoundly disrespectful and unapologetic to a breathtaking degree. Violations of human rights are not something we as Canadians should be willing to just “swallow”.

We are not talking about lofty academic principles here. We are talking about real people, real women who are fighting for equality right now. With the passing of Bill C-10, our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will be tarnished and women will be told loud and clear that women's equality means absolutely nothing to the Liberal and Conservative members of the House.

I want to ensure that my colleagues hear the names of the groups of women who will be denied justice if they pass Bill C-10. They are not faceless or nameless. They are women who will be denied justice if we pass Bill C-10 tonight.

The first is file number 20000209 filed by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Local 70396, against the Canadian Museum of Civilization on March 31, 2004. It involves a number of women.

Next are file numbers 2000257, 2000258 and 2000451. Again, the women involved are with the Public Service Alliance of Canada. This complaint is filed against the Treasury Board of Canada and Citizenship and Immigration. It was filed on March 31, 2006.

Next is file 20010822. Again, it is the Public Service Alliance of Canada against Correctional Service Canada. This was filed July 25, 2006.

Next is file 20021375 filed by Local 404 of the Professional Employees Union against Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. It was filed on March 27, 2006.

Next is the Canadian Association of Correctional Supervisors against Correctional Service Canada. It is an employee complaint filed July 6, 2006.

Next is the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 404, against Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. It was filed March 7, 2007

File H30055 by Cathy Murphy against the Treasury Board was filed June 21, 1984.

I have a list of a number of complaints, as everyone can see.

File number 2000209 involves the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Local 70396, against the Canadian Museum of Civilization. This complaint was filed December 22, 2003, a very long time ago. This group is waiting for justice with regard to pay equity because the Government of Canada keeps appealing the decisions of the Human Rights Tribunal.

Conservatives say they care about women. They say that they want to propel these cases to a decision and not be entangled in the court, but they keep going back to the courts and appealing every chance that they get in order to stop what women are entitled to, and that is their pay equity settlements.

File No. XOO180, on behalf of Chris Jones, a real woman, was filed against the Government of the Northwest Territories on June 10, 1993.

COPEU, another union representing a number of women, filed against Atomic Energy of Canada on March 30, 2007, only two years ago, but two long years of waiting and fighting against government trying to get justice. This is justice denied.

I have a number of complaints from the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

File No. 20000257 was filed against the Treasury Board of Canada on March 31, 2006.

I will only address some of the complaints. I have at least 35 pages and all of these are complaints against various agencies of government.

The next file is No. 20050721, Arlene Abrey, against Social Development Canada, filed on November 28, 2005. Arlene also filed against the Treasury Board of Canada and the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada, again on November 28, 2005.

I will move through a few other cases.

Gloria Allan filed against Social Development Canada on May 3, 2006.

Cindee Andrusiak filed against the Social Development Canada in November, 2005. Cindee Adrusiak also filed against Treasury Board and PSHR.

Elizabeth Antony filed a complaint in November 2005 against Social Development Canada and the Treasury Board.

These last few, Arlene, Gloria, Cindee and Elizabeth are all nurses and they do important work. Unfortunately, and it is painfully clear to me and I would guess to the women of Canada, their contribution as experts and vital contributors at the Museum of Civilization, Treasury Board, Citizenship and Immigration, Corrections Canada, Atomic Energy means nothing to the Conservative government, nor the Liberal government before it. Neither does the work of hundreds of women who are nurses matter.

In the eyes of the government, or the previous government, they do not have the right to equal pay for pay of equal value. That is why both parties are supporting Bill C-10. It is a travesty perpetrated against the nurses who work for Social Development Canada Human Resources. In short, it is a travesty against the people of Canada.

For years, the government has constantly appealed these pay equity complaints. For years, justice was delayed. This evening justice will be denied.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 5:10 p.m.
See context

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Madam Speaker, I want to talk about a true travesty. The member brings up travesty, but the real travesty here today is the NDP. Those members do not care about Canadian workers. They mean nothing to them. I listened to the member's speech and it was all fearmongering, all against the budget. Members of the NDP decided to vote against the budget before they even saw it.

I come from Oshawa. Oshawa has been hit hard by this economic downturn. In this budget we have an improvement to the EI system. We have increased benefits. We have increased work sharing benefits. Oshawa needs that right now. We have money that will flow through this budget for the auto sector and we need it now.

What does the NDP want to do? It wants to obstruct and stop the passing of the budget.

There is money for our university, our infrastructure and our research, but the NDP says no. Its members are obstructing. We need that money now. There is money for our recreational facilities. This stimulus needs to go through right away. Every time the members of the NDP have a chance to vote for our workers, they vote against it.

Will the member stand today and ask her leader to pass the budget with unanimous consent?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to know how removing human rights for women is going to help a single auto worker in Oshawa.

I would like to remind the member that New Democrats stood in the House month after month and year after year asking the government and the previous government to adopt economic policies that would help workers through a green job strategy that would address the needs of the auto and construction sectors while still protecting our environment. The response we got from this bunch and the previous bunch was that they were not interested. They made it crystal clear that they were interested in nothing but their own power.

If they want to talk about obstructionist behaviour, I would like to talk about prorogation. The Conservative government had an absolutely perfect opportunity in October and November to come back to the House with something constructive that would address the needs of Canadians in this economic downturn. What did the Conservatives come in here with? They came with a throne speech that was vacuous and an economic update that was insulting, one that took away labour rights, took away women's rights and proposed to sell off assets. Then they prorogued the House because they could not get their way. They had a temper tantrum and we called them on it, so they ran out of this place. They had months, Madam Speaker, and they did nothing.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened very carefully to the hon. member for London—Fanshawe. The other day I pointed out that Bill C-10 was 527 or 528 pages. She categorically gave us a list of individuals, and I respect that. Then she talked about a death sentence for pay equity.

First of all, we Liberals are very respectful of that issue and have been in the past. However, I want to ask her this simple question: is she telling me that she is going to deny my constituents or people who live in the greater city of Toronto the money they need to repair their roads and sewers? The budget is a multi-faceted bill. Unfortunately, there are areas in there that we find disagreement with. I want to ask her to stop touching on these hot-button issues and move forward.

She can go ahead and laugh. How can you sleep at night? It is because of the NDP and their betrayal to Canadians that the party is where it is today. We have to work with it. Unfortunately, you know very well--

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I would again question how on earth taking away women's fundamental human rights is going to fix a single street or help a single community. The basic truth is that this party, which is so full of bombast and self-righteousness, has a choice today. They have a choice to stand up for principles, for women and for the unemployed, and they are going to pass it up because they apparently do not have the principles that they espouse.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, when we were dealing with this matter at report stage yesterday, I said it was a minute to midnight. We had an opportunity yesterday to stop this elimination of basic human rights for the women of this country, but the Liberals refused to do what was right. They refused to stand up for their principles and vote with us on those amendments to separate out the pay equity provisions of Bill C-10, the budget implementation act.

Today we are hearing that all we are doing is talking about and focusing on some hot-button issues that are really small and insignificant. We are hearing that we should just put them aside and deal with the bigger issues. I cannot think of a bigger or more important issue than the elimination of fundamental human rights in this country. That is what is happening today.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, on a point of order, for the benefit of Canadians, I respectfully ask the member for Winnipeg North to withdraw her comments. I never even used those words. They are putting words in people's mouths, and she should be ashamed of doing that and misrepresenting Canadians. I ask her to withdraw those words.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Obviously the truth hurts.

What the Liberals are doing, propping up the Conservatives and in the process eliminating pay equity in this country, is a shame. I will stand in this House every minute of every hour to say shame on the Liberals and shame on the Conservatives for allowing the death of pay equity today. That is what will happen unless those Liberals clue in to what is really at stake here. This is not a side issue. This is not a hot-button issue. This a fundamental human right.

The member for Oshawa can stand all he wants and pretend that we are blowing things out of proportion and that it is really not the case. Well, when it comes to pay equity, he just has to listen to every expert in this country and every organization that deals with human rights to know that what his government is doing and what his Prime Minister has set out to do and is accomplishing today is to kill a fundamental human right, the right to be able to take a complaint or a concern about whether a woman is receiving equal pay for work of equal value to a higher body to ensure that she is able to obtain justice. That is a fundamental issue in this country.

I do not understand the Liberals. It is what Pierre Trudeau fought for years ago. Civil liberties and the charter are at the heart of everything we stand for in this place. I cannot understand how any Liberal can sit there today and smirk and try to suggest that this is a hot-button issue when we are dealing with something so basic, so fundamental. This is the darkest day I have yet experienced in the 20 years I have been in elected political life. I cannot understand how anybody can sit here and not stand and say that we will not let this happen.

In fact, the Liberals could have done so. They said they could not because this section of the budget implementation bill was deemed to be a matter of confidence by the Conservatives, and they had made this foolish commitment to prop up the Conservatives no matter what.

When they realized what the Conservatives were really doing and how they had trapped them and cornered them into supporting a budget that was not only far from adequate in terms of the question of dealing with the recession but was also filled with all kinds of poison pills, such as the destruction of pay equity, the elimination of environmental assessments when it comes to navigable waters, and more, the Liberals should have realized what was happening to them and found a way around it.

In fact, I dare say that if the Liberals had stood up to the Conservatives and said that they wanted to see this section on pay equity removed from the budget bill, set aside, and dealt with separately, the Conservatives would never have come back and said that it was all confidence and that if the Liberals didn't like it, they were going to go to the polls and to the Canadian people on a platform of eliminating pay equity. I do not think so.

I think the Liberals just lack the guts and the gumption and the courage to stand up for their principles, as has been the case for Liberals over the last 20 to 30 years that I have been around.

I may get very heated in these debates. I may express some very emotional feelings, but that is what is at stake here. This is not just a fly-by-night issue. This is not just some sideline. This is not a frivolous matter. This is not a soft social policy issue. This is fundamental justice. This is human rights. This is pay equity.

This is something we fought for in this country and achieved more than 30 years ago. In 1977, the women's movement had documented systemic discrimination in this country and had clearly shown that the only way to deal with that discrimination and to eliminate pink-job ghettos was to move toward a concept of equal pay for work of equal value. We could compare jobs dominated by men and jobs dominated by women and find a way to balance the equation.

It is a simple concept.

What do the Conservatives want? They want to take us back to the 1950s, when equal pay for equal work was the dominant way, the only way, that people compared men's and women's jobs and dealt with the wage gap.

When I started off working in this area 30 years ago, the wage gap at that time was that a woman made about 55¢ for every dollar a man made. As a result of work in this country on equal pay for work of equal value, we have been able to get that up to about 70¢.

In a province like Manitoba, which has a pervasive program of equal pay for work of equal value, we are well above 90 cents for every dollar that a man makes. We can see what a difference it makes.

We are talking about economic security for women. We are talking about bread-and-butter issues. We are talking about the ability of women to be paid what they are worth so that they can contribute to the economy, can actually ensure that their families are cared for, and can grow the economy and be a part of it. That is what we are talking about.

This is not some airy-fairy academic issue that has no bearing on real life. It is bread and butter. It is about the right of women to earn what they are worth. For the government to take this away is an absolute abomination. It makes no sense. The way it is turning the clock back to the 1950s is absolutely deplorable. I presume this fits with its ideological agenda, along with the Prime Minister who called pay equity a rip-off, who called this a stupid idea that should be gotten rid of.

The Conservatives over there, especially the President of the Treasury Board, stand up and try to tell me that what they are doing is much better and that they are going to make this happen for women.

How does that explain the nurses in the federal system, who just won their case before the Canadian Human Rights Commission? They would not have won if we did not have that provision. How is it that justice will be served if there is no avenue at all for women to pursue their rights under the charter, a fundamental right that I thought we all believed in?

Maybe we really are dealing with a group of Conservatives who, along with Tom Flanagan, believe pay equity really is one of those bad ideas that has to be gotten rid of, as he said, along with “big hair and polyester leisure suits and Petro-Canada”. Is that what these Conservatives believe? Is that why they are doing it?

I can think of no other reason, because it is not a cost savings. In fact, because they are breaching a fundamental right in society today, there will be challenge. There will be a challenge by women. There has to be one, to try to regain a right that has been taken away. It will cost the government millions of dollars to try to combat that challenge.

In the end the women will win. We will regain what has been taken away from us today, not because of the Liberals, not because we waited patiently for them to come to their senses, but because the women of this country will withstand this attack on their fundamental rights and freedoms and will decide to fight back.

We are not going to give up for one second. All my colleagues in this caucus, including our critic for the status of women who just spoke so eloquently, and all my other colleagues who believe passionately in this as a fundamental principle, will not sit idly by. My colleague, our finance critic, has spoken out on this issue in committee and in the House.

We will work together until we achieve that day when women once again will be treated with respect and dignity and will have access to the law for all their just rewards and their rights. We will ensure that pay equity and true equality reign supreme in Canada once again.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Routine Proceedings

March 3rd, 2009 / 10 a.m.
See context

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of State and Chief Government Whip

Madam Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and I believe you will find consent for the following motion regarding the report stage of Bill C-10, the budget implementation bill.

I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, at the conclusion of debate at report stage of Bill C-10, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009, and related fiscal measures, all questions necessary to dispose of report stage of this bill be deemed put, and recorded divisions be deemed requested and deferred to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, 2009, provided that the bill may be taken up at third reading in the same sitting.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to join this debate on the budget implementation bill today. I have to say right at the beginning that I find it distressing that we are standing here and having to deal with a budget bill that is going to spend a huge amount of money and put us back into a huge deficit position. I am sure that all of us as parliamentarians are not happy about what has happened to the economy. We are hoping that we can work together and overcome some of the issues where we have differing opinions, and that we will do what is necessary for Canada and what all Canadians expect of us in difficult times.

Looking back a brief couple of years ago when the Conservative government was elected, its members were fortunate enough to come in during good, strong economic times and find themselves with a $12 billion surplus. Now we are talking about going into a $34 billion to $50 billion deficit. How fast the times have changed. It is too bad that money was not put aside in the rainy day fund in order to help Canadians during this very severe downturn we are having to deal with today.

Had the Conservatives not spent the cupboard bare, we would have had more resources and not have to be dealing with going into such a massive deficit, not even knowing whether or not that is really going to help us through these difficult times. But as responsible parliamentarians on this side of the House, we are going to do what we need to do and what Canadians expect us to do, and that is work together with the government to try to make sure we have accountability and that the investments are being done where they are needed.

Quite clearly we are not afraid to stand and put a motion of confidence in when it is necessary if we do not see the kinds of investments going where we believe would better serve Canadians. When looking at all of the decisions we had to make as the official opposition in this last bit of time, a very wise man I know in the House said quite recently “Canadians need another election like a hole in the head”. That clearly reflected on behalf of the official opposition where we were coming from, that we were putting the interests of Canadians first. We know we are going along with a budget that gives us huge concerns in various areas such as navigable waters and the changes being made to that act, as well as other ones. But on behalf of Canadians and in their best interests, we are going along with that. The wise man that I referred to, of course, was the leader of our party who made that comment about the election. It is a tribute to his level common sense approach that he brings to the challenges facing all of us in government.

We said earlier we would put the government on probation and will not be afraid to call the government to task if we do not believe that the investments are going in the right direction, that they are not meeting the needs of our country and meeting the needs of Canadians. Putting the Conservatives on probation and having a reporting process was a very smart, intelligent way of working with the government, working on behalf of Canadians and making sure that we were following through, and that the money would be getting where it needs to be spent and not just being scattered all over the place like the previous $12 billion surplus that really did not create any significant job creation or investment that we could actually point back to that really made a difference in the lives of Canadians.

We will be supporting the budget with reluctance as we have heard from many in the House on the condition that Canadians will clearly get the accountability and the help from the government that they expect and that they deserve to have. We are bringing the government to account by amending the budget bill. If the Conservatives are unwilling to provide this accountability, or if they fail to satisfy the expectations of Canadians, we will act and we are going to do whatever is necessary on behalf of the citizens of this country. That is our responsibility.

Canadians are going to get regular reports to Parliament on the budget's implementation and its cost, one in March, which we look forward to coming in soon, one in June, and another one in December. We will examine those reports. They will be the subject of much discussion and review, and we will go forward very carefully. Each of them will provide us an opportunity to withdraw our confidence should the government fail Canadians at this important time in our country.

There are some positive investments proposed in the budget. Some of the measures the Conservatives are putting forward, as a result of work with the Liberals and pressure from us, deal with investment in social housing and infrastructure, something we have been calling for, for many years.

When we were in government, we had a minister of housing. We had committed significant dollars toward affordable housing throughout Canada as well as investments in infrastructure. We all know that investing in infrastructure is a huge bonus for our country. We have an aging infrastructure and the needs are many. Investment in infrastructure, providing that it really gets done, provides an amazing amount of jobs and spinoffs.

The concern we had with the so-called building Canada fund is that very little of that money actually hit the streets of our cities. Instead, it was tied up in cumbersome red tape. It is up to the government to cut through that. The minister has said he is going to do all of that, but sometimes talk is just hot air and there is lots of it. The money needs to hit the street. We need to see the equipment out there and the necessary building going on.

There is targeted support for low and middle income Canadians through an expansion of the child tax benefit and the working income tax benefit. Again, we have to face the struggles of the unemployed and people with low incomes who cannot make ends meet. The government has a responsibility to be there when those people need a helping hand.

With respect to colleges and universities across Canada, young people are the future of our country. We need to invest more and provide the opportunities for education for our young people. This is critical if Canada is going to compete in the future. Those areas are in the budget because the Liberal opposition pushed for them. We intend to continue to monitor that money to ensure that it is getting to the places where it is needed.

There are some aspects of this budget that we are still concerned with. We will be watching very carefully and we will be holding the government to account. One aspect we are concerned with is the reference to the modernizing of pay equity for women. The Conservatives call it modernizing, but it clearly looks as though it is two steps backward.

Another aspect that concerns us is the heavy-handed and divisive approach to federal-provincial relations. This is a broken promise to all of the provinces on equalization. This is not the time to be getting into fights with the provinces, as they are all dealing with their own challenges in these difficult times.

What kind of strings are going to be tied to the infrastructure funding? What strings are going to be attached to the funding for the auto industry? It is important that the official opposition and all parliamentarians know, because we have a responsibility to do the right thing to make sure that the conditions that are put on all of these things are fair, adequate and will protect our investment as well as achieve the goal, which is to keep some companies operating. The auto industry is critical for Canada and there are spinoff jobs. I am anxious to see that they get the assistance they need.

The public service collective agreements have been undermined. Those are not the kinds of things that should be in a budget implementation bill. That gives us a lot of reason for concern, because they were negotiated agreements and it would have been far better not to have them in the budget implementation bill. They should have been discussed and negotiated rather than put in a government bill.

There is a missed opportunity to target significant stimulus toward the green sustainable economy. There are very few comments in the budget when it comes to the green economy. Changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the weakening of the environmental requirements are things that we have to watch very carefully. There are not enough improvements to the employment insurance program. There is no help for Ontario. I had hoped that the government would balance the employment insurance benefits all across Canada. Ontario is a have not province now and those changes need to be met sooner than later.

The Conservatives also failed to extend EI eligibility, which is critical during these tough economic times. There is no credible plan to get us out of an $85 billion deficit.

These are things that we on this side of the House are very concerned with. I would have liked to see more help for our veterans and seniors, who are also dealing with difficult times.