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 3rd, 2009 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, there are many things the member stated as the priorities of her party and there are some that I would agree with. If there are things in this budget that can be changed, they should be changed. We are here today to amend what is an ill-conceived budget in many ways.

She indicated that there were many things on the fiscal update that were wrong, including the problems with the public service collective agreements and the pay equity issue. At the time, people were not supportive. We are not supportive. We want those facets taken out of the budget bill. They have no place in the budget implementation bill in terms of stimulus and helping Canadians.

I want to know why her party is not supporting us in removing the retrograde parts of this bill, such as pay equity, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, and the collective agreements.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Madam Speaker, we have issues and the NDP has issues. We are the official opposition and I believe we are acting responsibly.

The government has clearly indicated that any amendments to the bill will trigger an election. Is it a threat? Sure, but we are not prepared to go down that road right at the moment. We are going to try to work with the government. We are going to hold the Conservatives to account.

Report cards will be coming up in March, June and in the fall. If the government is not meeting the needs of Canadians and is putting us into a negative position, we are not going to run away from it. We will stand here and we will vote non-confidence in the government. We will do it with the full intent of knowing what we are doing.

However, we have a responsibility to try to make Parliament work. Canadians expect that of us. I would suggest that if the NDP members were really looking at what their role is, they would be joining with us in trying to make Parliament work rather than being obstructionist at a time when they know Canadians expect us to do better for them.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, the member mentioned items in the budget that have no business being there, such as pay equity, the Competition Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

I want to ask her about infrastructure. She has worked hard on the city and urban agenda. Over the last two years some $2 billion of approved infrastructure funding never got delivered. It was approved, appropriated, promised, but never spent.

We are into the last month of the current fiscal year. The budget deals with the year starting on April 1, but we still have a month to go and we have money that is approved which is going to lapse.

It seems to me that even with regard to the budgeted infrastructure money, and I think 40% of the stimulus package is for infrastructure, that we just do not say it should be done and then put the shovel in the ground. There is a lot of pre-work. There are the considerations, the approvals, all of the administration and set-up.

I fear that the only reason work is not happening with the existing approved funds in the current fiscal year is that the government is trying to window dress the results of the current fiscal year to make it look a little bit better than it actually is. It appears to me that the government is putting partisan interests ahead of the people's interest.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Madam Speaker, certainly we have seen that in the past, with the so-called building Canada fund which involved the gas tax of $33 billion, and 4% of that has actually been applied.

I have grave concerns about two things. One is that there are lots of announcements and lots of hot air but nothing actually gets done. That is partly why we have brought in the accountability measures. We are going to monitor that and see whether things are being done right.

Also, there is money that could have gone out to the cities to address the aging infrastructure. There are sewers and water mains breaking in all of our major cities in Canada. We have seen that throughout this really tough cold winter. Those are items that are on the books right now for our cities to do. They just need the assistance from us.

I thank the hon. member for that question because it makes me think about matching funds. Whether we are talking about my city of Toronto or we are talking about smaller cities, they do not have the funds to match. As much as I understand how the government does things in requiring a 50% commitment from my city or some of the smaller rural areas, it is going to be very difficult for them to match.

I think it is just pretending that there is money there--

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:20 a.m.
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NDP

Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise today to raise concerns about a budget bill which is not really a budget bill but contains poison pills. It contains poison pills that the Liberals seem all too willing to swallow for months and months to come, poison pills regarding women's rights, workers' rights, and the one on which I especially want to comment today, environmental rights, because the environment should have rights.

I rise today to raise my concerns regarding the review of the Navigable Waters Protection Act. This is an act with good goals but it is a bad act and it especially should not be in the budget bill. It should be a stand-alone bill that we can debate without fear of bringing down the House and precipitating an election.

I have been getting a lot of correspondence from my constituents and many groups in Thunder Bay and the rest of northwestern Ontario, such as the Mattawa First Nation and other first nations, Environment North, which is northwestern Ontario's largest and oldest environmental group, many paddling groups, including the Lakehead Canoe Club, and EcoSuperior, which is a non-profit group seeking to protect the environment of northern Ontario. Those concerns are around the proposed changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. I know that nationally there are many dozens of other organizations that have concerns about this act. They are all up in arms over these changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

In February 2008 the government requested that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities undertake consultations to develop a new Navigable Waters Protection Act. That act was written in 1882. It is one of the oldest pieces of legislation in Canada. It certainly is time to rewrite it, but the way we are going about it and the suggested changes are not acceptable.

Last year the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities wanted to eliminate a lot of the red tape around municipalities, in particular building infrastructure in and around waterways. At the same time, it wanted to modernize this 127-year-old act. Those were laudable goals. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have done it the wrong way and the result of a rewritten Navigable Waters Protection Act is fewer navigation rights, less environmental protection, less accountability and less transparency.

During the committee hearings, numerous government departments, both federal and provincial, testified and brought forth their issues and proposals for modernizing the act. Unfortunately, the committee restricted the number of witnesses from environmental groups, first nations and citizen organizations. The NDP opposed this limitation and regarded this as a violation of both the concept of consultation and the proper functioning of parliamentary committee reviews.

As a result, the committee then attempted to offer a comprehensive proposal for modernizing the entire act, which was the original government request, and instead of doing that, chose to recommend a series of amendments to the act which are problematic at best and completely unexamined at worst. The NDP voted against these proposed amendments.

The committee, through a majority vote of the other parties, would not allow a supplementary or dissenting opinion to be included in the report. This action is rather unusual since it is a traditional practice to include supplementary opinions and recommendations when there is not yet a unanimous vote in favour of the committee reports and studies. This is yet another example of the increasing dysfunction of that committee acting beyond traditional procedures and practices of parliamentary democracy.

While this is the first phase of the process for changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, this method sets a troubling precedent. The committee now awaits the government's legislative amendments which are anticipated and now available. At that time the NDP had intended to ensure that all interests, including environmental, first nations, recreational and citizen organizations, were to be allowed to make both written submissions and oral testimony in regard to all changes, but that has not occurred.

The Navigable Waters Protection Act does need to be modernized. The process must be comprehensive and transparent, and truly consultative. We need to do it, but now is not the time, and this budget is not the place.

A rewritten Navigable Waters Protection Act would create a class system for Canadian streams, granting the minister absolute authority to deem certain waterways worthy and others unworthy of environmental protection, and designate some as minor waterways. There is no such thing as a minor waterway.

Work on newly defined minor waterways is to be exempted from environmental review processes. This would likely mean that most environmental review requirements for projects on Canadian waterways would be eliminated. Reviews for even major bridges, dams, causeways, and barrages will be left up to the discretion of the minister.

By taking out today's automatic triggers for environmental assessment, these changes mean that politics and money will govern our streams and rivers, not the environment, and not society's long-term needs.

Where is the transparency and accountability in all of this? Eliminating public notification and consultation on these projects on the minister's whim will pose problems for the historic public right of navigation on our waterways, which has been in place since the founding of our country.

I can guarantee that this issue will not go away even if the changes in part 7 are not decoupled from the government's omnibus budget legislation. The government is trying to inappropriately slip environmental changes in with a fast-tracked budget omnibus bill. More than just transport, this issue impacts the protection of our waterways and the access to those waterways by everyday recreational Canadians and other Canadians. What we need is a separate debate in the House and in the appropriate committees.

We agree that the Navigable Waters Protection Act must be modernized, but this must not come at the expense of the public's right of navigation or environmental protection.

We propose that these proposed changes be decoupled from the budget implementation legislation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I know that my colleague has personal experience in his professional life with the issue that he is speaking about. I want to thank him for the comprehensive remarks he made and the very real and important points he put forward on behalf of all those who care about the conservation and stewardship of our water systems.

Would my colleague tell me a little bit about the background that led him to hold these views, some of the personal experiences that he may have had working with the conservation groups in the region that he represents, and expand somewhat on the state of the stewardship of our waterways as it stands today, as that compares to what has been put forward in this bill that he spoke about today?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Madam Speaker, I am a biologist, and in a former life I used to write environmental impact assessments and review them.

Over many years of doing that work I have discovered that rarely do environmental assessments stop projects, rather they improve them. Environmental assessment is one more tool, a useful, necessary, and in this case, essential tool to help us to do better planning, better building, better construction, and to assess the likely impacts upon the environment—in this case, upon our streams—by proposed projects.

Environmental assessment is just one more kind of good planning. I am sure everyone in this House supports good planning. We should not be reducing environmental assessments in these days; we should be ensuring, particularly in our waterways, that environmental assessments occur.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on this group of amendments to Bill C-10, the budget implementation bill. I believe it would be appropriate at this point to actually recap where we are, so Canadians understand just how significant this debate is and how we are at a defining moment in the life of our country.

We remember that the budget for 2009 was intended to address the economic crisis. It was supposed to be a stimulus package. It was supposed to kickstart the economy. It was supposed to create new jobs, protect current jobs, and protect the most vulnerable. At least those were the parameters or the principles going into this debate on the part of many parliamentarians, and certainly articulated by the Liberals. They specifically mentioned protecting jobs, creating new jobs, and protecting the most vulnerable as their mark, as their defining description of how they would judge the budget implementation bill.

The bill does not achieve those objectives. It does not protect jobs, it does not create new jobs, and it does not protect the most vulnerable. Despite that, the Liberals gave their blessing to the bill and to the Conservative agenda.

The other side to this whole budget debate is that not only does it miss the mark in terms of a true economic stimulus for the economy, it is also, as my colleague from Thunder Bay just pointed out, filled with poison pills. It is filled with a whole set of favoured projects of the Conservatives, part of their neo-Conservative agenda to try to use every avenue, every opportunity to destroy, to eliminate, to hijack those developments, those innovations and those important projects that were developed over many years reflecting the values of Canadians.

Despite the fact that it is neither a true stimulus budget and despite the fact that it is filled with poison pills that kill important initiatives in this country, critically important issues such as pay equity, such as environmental assessments pertaining to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, and the list goes on, despite all of that, the Liberals will hold their noses and vote with the Conservatives, despite the permanent damage that this will have on our economy, on our environment, and on our record around human rights.

That is truly mind-boggling. How did the Liberals let themselves get hoodwinked by these Conservatives? How is it possible that they still stand here to this day being inundated with information from organizations, groups and individuals right across this country about the devastating impact of this budget, and they can still stand in the House and tell us they want to avoid an election, and therefore, in the interests of political expediency, they will support the Conservatives, no matter the damage done, no matter the hardship created, and no matter the principles involved?

That is what is so frustrating and so disappointing in this chamber, because as Canadians look at Parliament they will ask, what does it means, why are we here, and what do we stand for if, in the blink of an eye, politicians can abandon their principles for the sake of a partisan political agenda?

How is it possible that we are dealing here right now with the Navigable Waters Protection Act, which, as my colleague said, has been around since Confederation, an act that allows for accountability when major projects are embarked upon, whether we are talking about dams, bridges, the widening of navigable waters, or dredging of waters, whatever the term may be? Whatever the issue involved, this was an act that allowed for some accountability to the people of Canada, that required environmental assessments, that had some protections in place to ensure that something as precious as our navigable waters were not tampered with and not in any way that would affect the lifestyle or the working requirements of people right across this country.

In one fell swoop, without a blink from the Liberals, we are going to eliminate something so historic as these protections under the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:40 a.m.
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NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Thank you for reminding me, too, of that Liberal who is yapping from his seat, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence, who seems to be on the defensive as a result of my statements around Liberals propping up Conservatives. How many votes are we up to now, 55 votes in the last couple of years, propping up Conservatives? Still, every day, the Liberals stand in this House, saying, “We don't like it. It's not good for this country. It's against our principles. But we're going to go with the Conservatives anyway.”

When do we draw the line? When do we say enough is enough?

How is it that we are dealing with something as important as environmental assessments right now, as we speak? That is what these amendments are about: amendments being made to the Navigable Waters Protection Act to supposedly “streamline the approval process”. What does it do? It gives more authority to the minister; it takes away authority from members of Parliament and from Canadians; it allows for construction without further environmental assessments; it will exclude certain classes of work and works on certain classes of navigable waters from the approval process.

That means we are giving carte blanche to the Conservatives, these great defenders of our environment, to, on their own, without any consultation with us, with Canadians, with the environmental community, make decisions about our navigable waters.

Do Liberals trust that? Do Liberals here believe they are putting the best interests of this country first? I would remind members, the future of our planet is at stake. Do the Liberals believe, in fact, that they can trust the Conservatives to do what is best? I see some nods. Well, that might explain it, then. So they talk out of both sides of their mouth at once. One minute, they stand in this House in question period and condemn the government for everything that is in the budget, from the Navigable Waters Protection Act to pay equity, to the way students are being treated, to just name it; and then, the next minute, they are nodding their heads with the Conservatives and going along with them.

I think Canadians have had it with that type of two-faced, double-standard politics. They are sickened by the way people give up their principles so easily, the way they cave in to pressure. They could not bear the heat. They could not figure out a way to work with the opposition parties to create a reasonable budget, a progressive budget that not only was a true economic stimulus package but that also had none of these extreme right-wing poison pills throughout the budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:40 a.m.
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NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, the Conservatives are suggesting that I protest too much. They are suggesting that the sky will not fall. They are suggesting that everything is good with the budget.

I have to tell members something that Canadians know full well: There are some very critical elements in the budget around which the sky is falling. In fact, the bill actually brings down the sky on a number of key issues.

It kills pay equity. Is that not the sky falling? Of course it is. It is not tongue-in-cheek. It is not to be toyed with. It is true. It is a fact. We know the Conservatives' agenda on pay equity. They are killing pay equity. It is gone with this legislation. We have one moment, today and the next day only, to stop it.

They are also killing any kind of checks when it comes to navigable waters and environmental assessments. That is a fact.

And the list goes on.

I suggest that we stand today in this House, with my colleagues from the Liberals joining us, opposing the bill by supporting these amendments that put back what is essential when it comes to navigable waters and ensuring that we are doing our jobs as members of Parliament to protect the environment and to save the planet for future generations.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Madam Speaker, I think my friend doth protest way too much. With respect to the issue of navigable waters, apparently she does not understand that there is an environmental assessment done anytime a public work will touch a body of water. The province is responsible for the foreshore of a river and a lake, the bed of a lake, the bed of a river and the water in the river. The only thing the federal government has anything to do with on the navigable water is what people so on the surface of the water.

What we want to do is to get the money out. We want to create economic activity in Canada. Having the additional environmental review about what people do on the surface of the water is redundant, considering the environmental review that will already have been done by the province.

She does protest way too much. In fact, by making this amendment, it creates the ability of being able to efficiently assess environmental concerns and, with satisfaction, moving forward.

She really does protest way too much.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, do I protest too much when we reference the fact that the government, despite all of its emphasis on dealing with crime, turns around and cuts RCMP salaries? Is that protesting too much?

Is it protesting too much when I say that the budget totally ignores child care and does nothing to ensure that working people and families are able to do the best they can in these tough economic times and know that their children are cared for?

Is it protesting too much when we reference some of the groups that work with those who are impoverished and homeless each and every day and say that the budget does nothing to help the most vulnerable in our society?

Do I protest too much when I refer to all the organizations and individuals, those knowing that pay equity is dead under the Conservatives unless we can convince the Liberals to change their minds?

Do we protest too much when the former director of pay equity for the Canadian Human Rights Commission stands up for us, as he did yesterday, and says that this is contrary to the charter and human rights?

Do we protest too much when we say, with respect to navigable waters, that we are dealing with federal jurisdiction? We are dealing with the fact that the Conservatives are taking away checks and balances on something as vital as the environment and the future of this planet.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Madam Speaker, I was almost swept away by the member's protestations of protestations. Yes, she does protest too much.

The fact that we have the government opposite is in large measure thanks to steps that she personally took two elections ago, and that her party has taken ever since then.

However, since she would profess to have the greater interest of the future of Canada in mind, does she have a plan in place that the government has already put to one side, or does she have a better plan in which she would like to engage the official opposition in order for us to support a viable plan?

We are determined to be co-operative and, as members heard me say, when we were prepared to work with the members of the NDP, the government objected. Now that we are moving ahead with others, they are objecting.

Which one does she want?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, what the member for Eglinton—Lawrence said has just reinforced what we all know, and that is the Liberals never seem to accept the will of the people. They did not accept their defeat two elections ago. They do not accept the fact that Canadians want them to stand up for their principles today, and it is about time they did.

If the member truly believes what he is saying, if he truly believes in representing his constituents, he would not for one minute stand here and support a bill and a budget that kills pay equity, a fundamental human right in our country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 3rd, 2009 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

moved:

Motion No. 32

That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 358.

Motion No. 33

That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 359.

Motion No. 34

That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 360.

Motion No. 35

That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 361.

Motion No. 36

That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 362.

Motion No. 37

That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 363.

Motion No. 38

That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 364.

Motion No. 39

That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 365.

Motion No. 40

That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 366.

Motion No. 41

That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 367.

Motion No. 42

That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 368.