Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.


Joe Oliver  Conservative


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


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

Part 1 implements income tax measures and related measures proposed or referenced in the April 21, 2015 budget. In particular, it

(a) reduces the required minimum amount that must be withdrawn annually from a registered retirement income fund, a variable benefit money purchase registered pension plan or a pooled registered pension plan;

(b) ensures that amounts received on account of the new critical injury benefit and the new family caregiver relief benefit under the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act are exempt from income tax;

(c) decreases the small business tax rate and makes consequential adjustments to the dividend gross-up factor and dividend tax credit;

(d) increases the lifetime capital gains exemption to $1 million for qualified farm and fishing properties;

(e) introduces the home accessibility tax credit;

(f) extends, for one year, the mineral exploration tax credit for flow-through share investors;

(g) extends, for five years, the tax deferral regime that applies to patronage dividends paid to members by an eligible agricultural cooperative in the form of eligible shares;

(h) extends until the end of 2018 the temporary measure that allows certain family members to open a registered disability savings plan for an adult individual who might not be able to enter into a contract;

(i) permits certain foreign charitable foundations to be registered as qualified donees;

(j) increases the annual contribution limit for tax-free savings accounts to $10,000;

(k) creates a new quarterly remitter category for certain small new employers; and

(l) provides an accelerated capital cost allowance for investment in machinery and equipment used in manufacturing and processing.

Part 2 implements various measures for families.

Division 1 of Part 2 implements the income tax measures announced on October 30, 2014. It amends the Income Tax Act to increase the maximum annual amounts deductible for child care expenses, to repeal the child tax credit and to introduce the family tax cut credit that is modified to include transferred education-related amounts in the calculation of that credit as announced in the April 21, 2015 budget.

Division 2 of Part 2 amends the Universal Child Care Benefit Act to, effective January 1, 2015, enhance the universal child care benefit by providing $160 per month for children under six years of age and by providing a new benefit of $60 per month for children six years of age or older but under 18 years of age.

It also amends the Children’s Special Allowances Act to, effective January 1, 2015, increase the special allowance supplement for children under six years of age from $100 to $160 per month and introduce a special allowance supplement in the amount of $60 per month for children six years of age or older but under 18 years of age.

Part 3 enacts and amends several Acts in order to implement various measures.

Division 1 of Part 3 enacts the Federal Balanced Budget Act. That Act provides for certain measures that are to apply in the case of a projected or recorded deficit. It also provides for the appearance of the Minister of Finance before a House of Commons committee to explain the reasons for the deficit and present a plan for a return to balanced budgets.

Division 2 of Part 3 enacts the Prevention of Terrorist Travel Act in order to establish a mechanism to protect information in respect of judicial proceedings in relation to decisions made by the designated minister under the Canadian Passport Order to prevent the commission of a terrorism offence or for the purposes of the national security of Canada or a foreign country or state. It also makes a related amendment to the Canada Evidence Act.

Division 3 of Part 3 amends the Industrial Design Act, the Patent Act and the Trade-marks Act to, among other things, provide for extensions of time limits in unforeseen circumstances and provide the authority to make regulations respecting the correction of obvious errors. It also amends the Patent Act and the Trade-marks Act to protect communications between patent or trade-mark agents and their clients in the same way as communications that are subject to solicitor-client privilege.

Division 4 of Part 3 amends the Canada Labour Code to increase the maximum amount of compassionate care leave to 28 weeks and to extend to 52 weeks the period within which that leave may be taken. It also amends the Employment Insurance Act to, among other things, increase to 26 the maximum number of weeks of compassionate care benefits and to extend to 52 weeks the period within which those benefits may be paid.

Division 5 of Part 3 amends the Copyright Act to extend the term of copyright protection for a published sound recording and a performer’s performance fixed in a published sound recording from 50 years to 70 years after publication. However, the term is capped at 100 years after the first fixation of, respectively, the sound recording or the performer’s performance in a sound recording.

Division 6 of Part 3 amends the Export Development Act to add a development finance function to the current mandate of Export Development Canada (EDC), which will enable EDC to provide development financing and other forms of development support in a manner consistent with Canada’s international development priorities. The amendments also provide that the Minister for International Trade is to consult the Minister for International Development on matters related to EDC’s development finance function.

Division 7 of Part 3 amends the Canada Labour Code in order to, among other things, provide that Parts II and III of that Act apply to persons who are not employees but who perform for employers activities whose primary purpose is to enable those persons to acquire knowledge or experience, set out circumstances in which Part III of that Act does not apply to those persons and provide for regulations to be made to apply and adapt any provision of that Part to them.

Division 8 of Part 3 amends the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act to, among other things, provide that the Chief Actuary is not permitted to distinguish between members of either House of Parliament when fixing contribution rates under that Act.

Division 9 of Part 3 amends the National Energy Board Act to extend the maximum duration of licences for the exportation of natural gas that are issued under that Act.

Division 10 of Part 3 amends the Parliament of Canada Act to establish an office to be called the Parliamentary Protective Service, which is to be responsible for all matters with respect to physical security throughout the parliamentary precinct and Parliament Hill and is to be under the responsibility of the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons. The Division provides that the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness must enter into an arrangement to have the Royal Canadian Mounted Police provide physical security services throughout that precinct and Parliament Hill. It also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Division 11 of Part 3 amends the definition “insured participant” in the Employment Insurance Act to extend eligibility for assistance under employment benefits under Part II of that Act, while providing that the definition as it reads before that Division comes into force may continue to apply for the purposes of an agreement with a government under section 63 of that Act that is entered into after that Division comes into force. It also contains transitional provisions and makes consequential amendments.

Division 12 of Part 3 amends the Canada Small Business Financing Act to modify the definition “small business” in order to increase the maximum amount of estimated gross annual revenue referred to in that definition. It also amends provisions of that Act that relate to eligibility criteria for borrowers for the purpose of financing the purchase or improvement of real property or immovables, in order to increase the maximum outstanding loan amount.

Division 13 of Part 3 amends the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to extend the application of that Act to organizations set out in Schedule 4 in respect of personal information described in that Schedule.

Division 14 of Part 3 amends the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to require the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada to disclose designated information to provincial securities regulators in certain circumstances.

Division 15 of Part 3 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to

(a) clarify and expand the application of certain provisions requiring the collection of biometric information so that those requirements apply not only to applications for a temporary resident visa, work permit or study permit but may also apply to other types of applications, claims and requests made under that Act that are specified in the regulations; and

(b) authorize the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to administer that Act using electronic means, including by allowing the making of an automated decision and by requiring the making of an application, request or claim, the submitting of documents or the providing of information, using electronic means.

Division 16 of Part 3 amends the First Nations Fiscal Management Act to accelerate and streamline participation in the scheme established under that Act, reduce the regulatory burden on participating first nations and strengthen the confidence of capital markets and investors in respect of that scheme.

Division 17 of Part 3 amends the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act to

(a) add a purpose statement to that Act;

(b) improve the transition process of Canadian Forces members and veterans to civilian life by allowing the Minister of Veterans Affairs to make decisions in respect of applications made by those members for services, assistance and compensation under that Act before their release from the Canadian Forces and to provide members and veterans with information and guidance before and after their release;

(c) establish the retirement income security benefit to provide eligible veterans and survivors with a continued financial benefit after the age of 65 years;

(d) establish the critical injury benefit to provide eligible Canadian Forces members and veterans with lump-sum compensation for severe, sudden and traumatic injuries or acute diseases that are service related, regardless of whether they result in permanent disability; and

(e) establish the family caregiver relief benefit to provide eligible veterans who require a high level of ongoing care from an informal caregiver with an annual grant to recognize that caregiver’s support.

The Division also amends the Veterans Review and Appeal Board Act as a consequence of the establishment of the critical injury benefit.

Division 18 of Part 3 amends the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act to, among other things, provide that the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act do not apply with respect to records and copies of records that are to be destroyed in accordance with the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act. The non-application of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act is retroactive to October 25, 2011, the day on which the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act was introduced into Parliament.

Division 19 of Part 3 amends the Trust and Loan Companies Act, the Bank Act, the Insurance Companies Act and the Cooperative Credit Associations Act to modernize, clarify and enhance the protection of prescribed supervisory information that relates to federally regulated financial institutions.

Division 20 of Part 3 authorizes the Treasury Board to establish and modify, despite the Public Service Labour Relations Act, terms and conditions of employment related to the sick leave of employees who are employed in the core public administration.

It also authorizes the Treasury Board to establish and modify, despite that Act, a short-term disability program, and it requires the Treasury Board to establish a committee to make joint recommendations regarding any modifications to that program.

Finally, it authorizes the Treasury Board to modify, despite that Act, the existing public service long-term disability programs in respect of the period during which employees are not entitled to receive benefits.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


June 15, 2015 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
June 15, 2015 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “this House decline to give third reading to Bill C-59, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures, because it: ( a) introduces income splitting and supersized Tax-Free Savings Account measures that will primarily benefit the wealthy few while wasting billions of dollars; ( b) does not introduce a $15 per hour minimum wage or create a universal, affordable childcare program, both of which would support the working and middle class families who actually need help; ( c) leaves Canadian interns without protections against excessive working hours, sexual harassment, and an unending cycle of unpaid work; ( d) sets a dangerous precedent for Canadians’ right to know by making retroactive changes to absolve the government of its role in potential violations of access-to-information laws; and ( e) attacks the right to free and fair collective bargaining for hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers.”.
June 10, 2015 Passed That Bill C-59, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
June 10, 2015 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-59, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
May 25, 2015 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
May 25, 2015 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “this House decline to give second reading to Bill C-59, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures, because it: ( a) fails to support working- and middle-class families through the introduction of affordable childcare and a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage; ( b) imposes wasteful and unfair income-splitting measures which primarily benefit the wealthy and offer nothing to 85% of Canadian families; ( c) fails to protect interns against workplace sexual harassment or unreasonable hours of work; ( d) implements expanded Tax-Free Savings Account measures which benefit the wealthiest households while leaving major fiscal problems to our grandchildren; ( e) rolls a separate, stand-alone, and supportable piece of legislation concerning Canada’s veterans into an omnibus bill that contains vastly unrelated, unsupportable measures; and ( f) attacks the right to free and fair collective bargaining for hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers.”.
May 14, 2015 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-59, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures, not more than two further sitting days shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the second day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / noon
See context


Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

moved that Bill C-59, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be back here again this week with the opportunity to speak to Bill C-59 after a busy weekend in the riding of Crowfoot, having been in Camrose and Stettler for their art walk, as well as the rodeo and parade, and a number of other events that were held throughout my riding. I know all of us are busy on weekends. A great way to start Monday is debating Bill C-59.

This morning I would like to outline some specific features of the bill that would support families, seniors and rural Canada, as I represent predominantly a rural riding.

Let me begin by reaffirming that under the bold leadership of our Prime Minister, our government's top priority has been creating jobs, and focusing on economic growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians. That is why our government brought forward a number of measures to do that, such as cut taxes for job-creating businesses, invested in research and development, expanded markets for Canadian businesses abroad, committed unprecedented support for job-creating infrastructure, and established the framework for responsible development of our natural resources, despite global economic fragility, geopolitical uncertainty with what was happening in Europe, Ukraine and the Middle East, and also volatile oil prices.

Make no mistake that our economic action plan is working. It is the plan that has steered Canada out of the great recession and created over 1.2 million net new jobs, overwhelmingly in the private sector, full-time and well-paying jobs. According to KPMG, total business tax costs in Canada are the lowest in the G7 countries and 46% lower than our closest ally and trading partner, the United States. Bloomberg has ranked Canada the second best place in the world to do business.

However, this success does not just happen. It does not occur overnight. It requires tough decisions, sound judgment and a focus on priorities. Supporting small business has been one of those priorities. It is also a central element in the budget that we are debating here today, the economic action plan. the budget implementation act. We have delivered substantial ongoing tax savings to small businesses and their owners. This enables them to take those savings and reinvest in their businesses, which helps create more jobs for those businesses.

We already reduced the small business tax rate from 12% to 11% earlier, and in 2015 we propose to take it from 11% to 9% by 2019. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has strongly endorsed this measure and agrees with our plan. Many of the small businesses that benefit from our tax relief are from rural Canada.

Our government recognizes the important role that farmers play in our economy and communities. Canadian farmers have always been among the best producers, the best farmers in the entire world. For generations, they have fed Canadians around the globe, while providing jobs and opportunities across Canada. My grandfather moved to Canada in 1905-06 with the hope of homesteading, breaking the land and starting a family farm. That story has been told many times throughout the west and throughout Canada.

As someone who has owned and operated a farming business, I can say first-hand that to ensure these operations succeed, it demands hard work, focus and discipline. A farmer's budget does not simply balance itself. Our government firmly believes Canadian farmers should be strong and profitable, and able to capitalize on market opportunities. We believe Canadian farmers deserve support from their elected officials, not the mistreatment and high taxes that Liberal Party elitists imposed for 13 long years. Those high-tax measures and bloated government policies burden our agricultural sector and set our farmers back.

By contrast, our Conservative government stands with farmers. We are working to provide them access to millions of new customers. Through our free trade agreements, through expanding our customer base, we have an opportunity to get into countries that we have never been in before, and we have lowered tariffs so we can have trade with many of those countries.

Let me remind members that last year we simplified the tax rules relating to the lifetime capital gains exemption and the intergenerational rollover for many Canadian farmers. To accomplish this, our government passed legislation to generally treat the taxpayer's combined farming business the same as perhaps a separate farming business conducted by the same taxpayer. This will ensure consistent treatment for taxpayers who conduct various farming activities.

Economic action plan 2015 would build upon the work we have been doing since 2006 to foster a strong, stable, sustainable and prosperous agriculture sector for all of Canada.

I was pleased to join members of the Saskatchewan farming community and our Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the member for Battlefords—Lloydminster, to announce new federal supports for agriculture. What we announced was to allow farmers to maintain more of their capital for retirement. Economic action plan 2015 would bring forward the measures to provide funding to increase lifetime capital gains exemption for farmers and fishermen, but certainly for farmers, up to $1 million.

This was welcomed by the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. It said:

The CCA appreciates another measure of practical importance to producers, particularly those wishing to retire or transition from the industry.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture also praised this measure. It said:

The Lifetime Capital Gains exemption is an important tool for helping farmers manage the tax burden associated with the transfer of farm assets. The CFA is pleased the increase to $1 million is effective immediately, as it will assist farmers in their transfer of assets to the next generation by providing greater flexibility for both the retirees and new entrants.

That answers a lot.

Farmers realize they may be living poor, but they have some savings in their farm assets. When they retire, they need those to help them through their retirement so they may have a secure, dignified retirement.

I would like to now turn to parts of the bill which deal with improving the quality of life of Canadians, in particular, the health of Canadians.

There are measures in the bill that would continue our government's proud record of being a champion for persons with disabilities. This is an area where the former finance minister was a very strong advocate. As we shaped economic action plan 2014, I was pleased to witness this commitment by former Minister Flaherty first hand at the budget table. His legacy includes the landmark registered disability savings plan, which helped to ensure the long-term financial security of Canadians with severe disabilities. Since becoming available in 2008, more than 100,000 Canadians have opened a registered disabilities savings plan, and with that has come a great deal of confidence and security.

To ensure this program continues to serve Canadians who need it most, today's bill proposes an extension of the federal temporary measure that allows a qualifying family member to become the plan holder of a registered disability savings plan for an adult individual who might not be able to enter into a contract on his or her own. We are also introducing a new home accessibility tax credit for persons with disabilities and for seniors. This non-refundable credit will provide tax recognition for the cost of improvements that allow a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit, or is a senior who wants to stay in his or her home to be more mobile, safe and functional within their own home. These measures will assist Canadians who face the daily challenges of living with a disability or who are in their seniors years in leading a much better quality of life.

Let me also highlight how today's legislation builds on our government's support for families and communities across our great country of Canada.

Since Canadians gave us our first mandate in 2006, this government has taken significant action to support and protect Canadian consumers by reducing taxes time and time again, including cutting the GST twice. Keeping taxes low and putting more back into the pockets of hard-working Canadians to spend in the way they decide is essential for jobs and growth.

Today, because of the measures introduced by our government, a typical two-earner family of four will receive up to $6,600 in tax relief and increased benefits in 2015. Economic action plan 2015 builds on the government's record of support for Canadian families by keeping taxes low and helping them save.

We are focused on helping 100% of families with children with policies like the family tax cut, and increased and expanded benefits through the universal child care benefit. Unfortunately, the opposition parties, both the Liberals and the NDP, would scrap the universal child care benefit and cancel income splitting for families.

Our government is also providing tax support for seniors and persons with disabilities, as well as measures to help students pay for their education.

Whether they want to purchase a new home or a car, start a new business or save for retirement, Canadian families have many reasons to save. That is why our government introduced the groundbreaking tax-free savings account, or TFSA for short. This savings measure is a flexible, registered, general purpose savings vehicle that allows Canadians to earn tax-free investment income. They can watch compounding interest grow in their favour. That gives them a much more secure, dignified retirement.

Canadians get it. Canadians understand. Canadians have embraced the tax-free savings account for their savings needs. It is unfortunate that the members opposite have all but rejected it. Let me remind them of some important facts.

Eleven million Canadians have opened a tax-free savings account, and half of those earn less than $42,000 a year. Sixty percent of those who have contributed to the tax-free savings account and who maximize their account earn less than $60,000. Six hundred thousand seniors, aged 65-plus, with income below $60,000 a year are currently maximizing their tax-free savings account.

Due to popular demand, today's legislation proposes to increase the tax-free savings account annual contribution limit from $5,000 to $10,000, effective 2015 and subsequent years.

While we are making it easier for Canadians to save money, at the same time we want seniors to feel confident that their savings will always be there, or that it will be there for them while they are enjoying their golden years. Seniors are already benefiting from important money saving measures, such as pension income splitting and taking advantage of the tax-free savings account.

The fact is that Canadians are living longer than ever, and we want to ensure that they have a secure, dignified retirement throughout their most senior years. That is why the bill that we debate today, Bill C-59, will reduce the minimum withdrawal rate for registered retirement income funds, or RRIFs.

As some members may know, the rules concerning registered retirement income funds and registered retirement savings plans dictate that RRSPs must be converted to RRIFs by the end of the year in which the RRSP holder reaches 71 years of age. A minimum amount must then be withdrawn. Alternatively, the RRSP savings may be used to purchase an annuity.

Economic action plan 2015 proposes to adjust that RRIF minimum withdrawal rate that applies in respect of ages 71 to 94 to better reflect more recent long-term historical real rates of return and expected inflation. The seniors advocacy group, CARP, says its members welcome this measure. As a result, the new RRIF factors will be substantially lower than the existing factors. By permitting more capital preservation, the new factors will help reduce the risk of outliving one's savings, while ensuring that the tax deferral provided on RRSP and RRIF savings continues to serve a retirement income purpose.

Our government has been consistent in advancing innovative options to allow Canadians to save and manage their finances for a secure and dignified retirement, and our work continues. Currently, 96% of pension plan assets in Canada are in a defined benefit plan, as compared to 71% in the United Kingdom, 42% in the U.S., and 15% in Australia.

That, in part, is why we began consultations on the framework for target benefit plans. These innovative plans would allow businesses to offer a third option, a middle ground between defined benefits and defined contribution models. At the same time, employees would receive a pension with a high degree of retirement income certainty.

Let me be clear. Current pensioners and retirees should be assured that it is not our intention to convert any pensions to target benefit plans without the explicit consent of that individual. A retired person's plan would not be converted unless that individual expressed a desire to convert the pension or agreed to do so. In the interim, those who are retired or saving for retirement will benefit tremendously from targeted tax relief and new optional savings methods, such as the tax-free savings account.

However, while we keep Canada's retirement system strong, I must inform Canada's seniors about a possible new threat to CPP benefits. The Liberal leader has announced that if given the chance, he would fund his favourite infrastructure projects with “...alternative sources of capital, such as pension funds.”

I regret to inform the House that it gets even worse than that. The Liberal leader has confirmed that he would implement the Ontario Liberals' dramatic payroll tax increase on every worker and small business in Canada. For a worker who earns $60,000 a year, the Liberal leader's plan and the Liberals' policy would mean a $1,000 tax hike. It would cost a two-worker family up to $3,200 more per year, whether those workers like it or not.

This mandatory payroll tax increase would kill middle-class jobs and force small businesses to cut hours and wages. According to the Meridian Credit Union, the majority of Ontario's small business owners believe this type of payroll tax would the greatest challenge that they have ever faced. According to a CFIB survey, 69% of employers in Ontario indicated that they would have to freeze or cut salaries. This is even further evidence that now is not the time for untested leadership and Liberal high-tax policies.

In closing, while I have touched on only a few of the measures in today's legislation, they are measures that would help create jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity for all Canadians. Through this legislation, we will maintain and strengthen our advantages by continuing to pursue those strategies that made us so resilient in the first place: responsibility, discipline, and determination. That is what it is going to take.

I appreciate this opportunity to serve with a government that has steered our nation out of the great recession and brought Canada back into the black. Our balanced budget and low-tax plan for jobs and security will strengthen businesses, families, and communities across the country. I urge all hon. members to give their support to this bill.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:20 p.m.
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Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, there were a few omissions in my friend's speech, which I will help put in so that he can comment on them. One is that there are 11 million Canadians without a workplace pension right now, and the Minister of Finance has invented this new pension scheme and is going to go out and consult. Why did the government never consult a single Canadian when it decided to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67, costing every single Canadian senior upwards of $24,000 in pensions? Pensions are now delayed by two years because the Prime Minister stood in front of a bunch of billionaires in Europe to decide what Canadian pension policy would be.

More specifically, my friend across the way and all our colleagues in this place enjoy a stable pension plan. It is a defined benefits plan as opposed to a defined contribution plan, and my friend knows the difference. Since he and all of us collectively enjoy a pension plan of a kind that most Canadians will not have access to and will never have access to, how can he stand in this place and reject the option of allowing Canadians to contribute to the most solid and secure pension plan we have, the CPP? How can the member stand in this place when the Conservatives have broken the promises the Prime Minister made to create 125,000 child care spaces in Canada and they have not created a single one?

Finally, how can the member in any good conscience want to double the TFSA, which will help the top 20% of earners by 180% more than the rest of Canadians combined?

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:20 p.m.
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Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his questions, although I think what he said was more of a statement than a question.

Again, our government understands the importance of a secure and dignified retirement for the seniors who have helped build this country. That is why we are bringing forward measures that will give them that kind of retirement. Currently, many federally regulated pension plans are defined benefit plans, but Canada Post and others are finding that they have a massive pension debt. In fact, the liability is so big that they have taken a rider on even paying back into their pensions.

What companies, corporate agencies, and crown companies have asked for is not to get rid of the defined benefit plan and not to get rid of the defined contribution plan, but to have a third option. Indeed, many companies and crown corporations are even now looking at moving all new employees into a defined contribution plan. We want more security for them than that.

The opposition is saying we should have only defined benefit plans for everybody. The truth is that those who are now bringing forward pension plans are moving employees into a defined contribution plan. We want a better target benefit plan so that employees will be able to understand what their retirement will look like.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:20 p.m.
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Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, in the hon. member's speech he mentioned that he represents a lot of farmers in his area. As a farmer and as the agriculture critic, I will focus on what the Conservatives have done wrong with agriculture and what they are still doing wrong with it.

We know what happened with the grain shipping problem. Farmers lost billions of dollars out west because of that. They had a good crop, and the prices were good.

However, my concern and my questions are on business risk management. Under the Conservatives' watch, millions of dollars have been cut from business risk management. Let us hope it does not happen, but what will happen if we have a drought this year and prices are low and yields are down?

My questions are these: how much did his party cut from business risk management, and why would the Conservatives make those cuts when farmers need that support when they go through hard times? How are the farmers in his riding and across Canada going to deal with it when they go through that dip and lose money and find that business risk management will not be there for them because the Conservatives have cut over $200 million from it?

I want to know exactly how much was cut and what is going to happen to the member's farmers if they have a drought this year and try to get business risk management.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member. I know he is an egg producer and a very important farmer in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Out west, in Ontario, through Quebec, and in Atlantic Canada, farmers understand that when there has been a disaster such as a flood or drought, this government has been there. This government has stood with them. This government has brought forward programs and plans, such as Growing Forward and others, that recognize the importance of insurance and of helping farmers and the agriculture sector get through in those times of difficulty.

The member mentioned rail transport for farming. We have had record production, especially in the prairie provinces, over the last three years. The yields have never been higher and the amount of grain has never been greater, yet that has undoubtedly been a frustration as we watched more and more oil come onto the rail lines and sometimes not as much grain as we farmers would have liked to have seen. The NDP and the Green Party are the parties that oppose pipelines for oil, and in reality what they end up saying is that oil should be shipped by rail, which pushes grain out.

We have always been there for the grain producer. We have always been there for the agriculture sector. We will stand with them through thick and thin. Right now in my area we have been dry, but we have not yet lost a crop early in June. However, this government will stand with them come what may.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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Essex Ontario


Jeff Watson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the Minister of State for Finance, for his speech on retirement income.

He raised the appropriate alarm and concern for pensioners and hard-working families. The Liberal leader would like to impose a $1,000 pay cut with respect to the CPP, which is very similar to what we are now bracing for from Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government in Ontario and what businesses in Ontario are saying they oppose. As well, big unions are out promoting the NDP's plan, which is to double the amount that would be taken off families' paycheques or workers' paycheques for the Canada pension plan.

I wonder if the member could comment on that risky scheme and what that take-home pay cut would mean to workers, particularly in Ontario.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is troublesome, I think, to all of us. We are in the midst of a very fragile global recovery. We see Europe with very small growth. Japan is just coming out of a recession. The United States' growth is not to the degree that we had hoped. Everywhere there are geopolitical concerns, such as ISIL, Ukraine, and others, and businesses are struggling to make it. However, the Liberal leader comes forward and confirms that he would impose a $1,000 tax hike on middle-class workers. His plan to enact the Ontario Liberal dramatic payroll increase on every worker across Canada is not good for the economy. This would eliminate jobs and it would definitely set working families back.

More now than ever, I think Canadians understand that it is crystal clear that our Conservative government can be trusted with their tax dollars. We can be trusted to keep taxes low. That is the way to help grow an economy. That is the way to stimulate growth. The high-tax, high-spend plan of the NDP and Liberals would not promote growth in this economy.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in the bill to address climate. The hon. member speaks of addressing drought and flooding after the fact, yet nothing is included in the bill to try to prevent the growing impacts of climate on Canadians, which were identified decades ago by our natural resources department.

Why has the Conservative government not included anything in response to what we are hearing over and over again? Where are the measures to support the clean tech industry and innovation in clean energy? What do we see in the bill to deliver on the Prime Minister's promise of moving toward a carbon-free country?

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:30 p.m.
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Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, here we go again. Now that we have seen the volatility in oil prices, the NDP's plan is simply higher taxes. Tax them now. Bring forward a $20-billion carbon tax. What is the NDP's answer to everything? High tax, high spend, and bigger government.

Compared to the Liberal government, we have seen greenhouse gases drop. We have brought forward more parks. We have provided more green spaces than ever before. As we approach the environment, Canadians get it.

We believe in the responsible development of our oil sands. That means keeping an eye on our environment and making sure that emissions and environmental controls are there and are some of the strongest in the world.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:30 p.m.
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Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is really something to hear what the Conservatives are saying.

It will come as no surprise when Canadians reject this government's platform and policies, since the economy has been very weak for nearly 10 years now, and the government has done nothing to fight climate change and poverty here in Canada.

This is another omnibus bill that is over 150 pages long and has over 270 clauses. Not only is the Conservatives' lack of leadership affecting their popularity in the polls, but it also represents a wasted opportunity to stimulate our economy and help families. Families need a government that understands the economy and the current reality.

There are two ironies that exist within this one bill, and in a sense, they are going to be the Conservatives' legacy when Canadians finally throw them from office. The first part is their shutting down debate. Just last week, we saw the Conservatives more than triple the previous record of any government in any Parliament in Canadian history for shutting down the democratic process in here by shutting down debate on something like the budget bill, as they have done with so many other bills, like Bill C-51 and all the other controversial bills they have brought in.

That is the first part of the government's legacy, and that is what it will be remembered for.

The second part will be its horrible economic management. More than 1.3 million Canadians are out of work today. The government has added more than $150 billion in debt to the national debt. That is more than $4,000 for every man, woman, and child. We can ask what we got for it. According to the Governor of the Bank of Canada, who, like most bankers, is hardly one to use such strong language, called this Canadian economy and the circumstances we are in right now “atrocious”.

We would have thought that on the eve of an election, with an economy that continues to shed jobs, the government would have brought forward some sort of, dare I say, action plan. I am not talking about the action plan the Conservatives refer to in the $750 million in self-promoting ads they constantly shower Canadians with. I am talking about an actual action plan. I know that it is hard to imagine that the spin could actually match some reality, but that is what we were hoping for. Canadians, from all the polling the government has done, have grown increasingly cynical about its advertising scheme, because it has met so little with the reality.

Canadians are waiting for action, hoping for action, and demanding action. Let us see what they actually got from the government in the most recent omnibus bill. Again, the government has moved thousands of pages of omnibus legislation through the House. In all of that omnibus legislation, there was virtually not a single amendment or change.

What typically happens, and it is true with this bill, is that an omnibus bill goes in to fix the mistakes of the last omnibus bill, which was fixing the mistakes of the omnibus bill before that. If we look up “incompetence” in the dictionary, we will now see a picture of the Prime Minister, and under a subheading, all of his legislation.

Let us look at the Canadian economy right now. It is shedding jobs in retail, manufacturing, and the energy sector. As I said, more than 1.3 million Canadians today are out of work.

There was the fiasco of the temporary foreign worker program. The Conservative government created a loophole so big someone could drive a truck through it. It put more than 300,000 Canadians out of work and brought in temporary foreign workers, with absolutely no provisions to protect Canadian jobs or even the temporary foreign workers in the job conditions under which they were going to work.

The Canadian economy has lost more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs since the government took over. That is more than half a million manufacturing jobs since 2000. What is the reaction? What is the response? These are the jobs we built up over generations. We built the Canadian middle class on this. We built the strength of the Canadian economy on this. Meanwhile, these guys are fiddling while Rome burns. We have lost more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs, and the Conservatives pretend that there is no problem and that there is nothing to address.

We have also seen, according to the CIBC, that job quality in Canada is at its lowest level in a generation. It has never been this bad. The work has become more precarious, jobs are becoming more part-time, and there are fewer and fewer benefits, like pensions and true protections through the employment insurance program. That has been under the Conservative and previous Liberal governments' watch, with no addressing of it. Canadians know this experience. Their jobs have become more precarious and less certain.

This is a strange contradiction for the Conservatives. They continually stand in this place, as my friend just did, and talk about families and family-supporting jobs, yet in their policies, they go about destroying the very jobs that support Canadians and Canadian families. That is the great contradiction of Conservative policy. On the one hand, we get the talking points that say how important it is to build Canada and Canadian communities and Canadian families and all that Leave It to Beaver talk. They would like to go back in time it seems sometimes. On the other hand, the very jobs that support our homes, our communities, and our families are the very jobs the Conservatives have watched disappear, without any hint of concern whatsoever.

Child care one would think would support Canadian families. Does it not seem like something logical to take a step toward? It is so important that this Conservative Prime Minister promised Canadians in the last election that he would create 125,000 child care spaces in Canada, somewhat recognizing that there is an actual need out there. How many have they created? They have created zero spaces. When we have asked them about it, they seem to have no shame and in fact now call child care spaces institutionalizing children. Is that not a fascinating turn of phrase? Somehow the public contributing to a system like a national child care program would be institutionalizing our kids. Do they refer to our medical system that way or our public school system? When I send my children to public school, are they being institutionalized? This is rhetoric that is unfitting for any government, yet here we have it.

On pensions, this is going from bad to the bizarre. We saw the Conservatives unilaterally raise the retirement age for Canadians from 65 to 67, with no consultation. In fact, the Prime Minister stood in a roomful of billionaires in Europe to make the announcement. He decided that it was the best place to tell Canadians that the entire pension regime was changing.

It will cost seniors as much as $24,000 per senior in lost pensions across the board. Low income or high income, it does not matter. For Conservatives, going after pensions was their primary goal. We said this was a concern, because we thought the provinces would then follow suit and raise the age, thereby costing seniors even more. We found out just this past week that the Government of Quebec has made such an announcement to raise its retirement age in Quebec as well.

The consequences of the Prime Minister unilaterally making this policy decision have hurt seniors. The Conservatives know this, but they do not seem to care much for poor folks or the general population at large if they do not happen to vote for them. However, this is a moment when the Conservatives are now suddenly concerned, because seniors do in fact vote in our country, and lo and behold, there is an election coming soon.

What do the Conservatives do? Realizing they are losing support among Canadian seniors, they roll out a scheme, they float a balloon, saying, “Maybe we will have a voluntary system to contribute to the CPP”. This is something the Conservatives themselves looked at not that many years ago and that Jim Flaherty pronounced upon. He said that they had consulted with the experts and the provinces and that such a scheme would not work. Now the Conservatives are saying they know better than the pension experts and better than their dearly departed friend Jim Flaherty. Now they are going to go to a voluntary system, undermining the basic foundation of what the Canada pension plan is.

When we ask Canadians if they would like the ability to contribute more to the CPP, along with their employers, because that is how it works, upwards of 82% of Canadians are in favour of it. Conservatives are not in favour of that. They call contributing to one's pension a tax. When Canadians take some of their salary, and that contribution is matched by an employer, they call that a tax on Canadians. My goodness. People paying into their own pensions so they can live with some dignity when they retire the Conservatives have somehow morphed into a tax.

When the only attack they have is to call everything a tax, then I guess everything starts to look like a tax, whether it is or not. I wonder if the Conservatives are walking around their ridings asking Canadians if they are contributing to their RRSPs and telling them that they should not do that, because they are self-imposing a tax, and that they should fight to get rid of their CPP contributions at work with their employers, because that must be a job-killing tax as well.

That is such stupidity. That is ludicrous. It comes from a government that is desperate, obviously. The Conservatives are getting to the point now where they are starting to cling and grasp. They will bring up any debate they can to stir up a little more in donations and perhaps a couple of more votes. However, the plan is not working, obviously.

We also see a government that is in the midst of global concerns and a lack of job growth in Canada. In fact, in the last 16 months, job growth was at its lowest level in Canada, outside of a recession, in four decades.

One would think that if the Conservative plan were working, it would be working, but it is not. One would think that the Conservative strategy of giving billions away in corporate tax cuts to the largest, most profitable corporations, without any strings attached, would be creating those jobs, but it is not. The lowest job growth, outside of a recession, in 40 years is the Conservative legacy. The Conservatives are busy pulling muscles patting themselves on the back. They think this has been a job well done, that it is mission accomplished.

Let us look at the new programs the Conservatives are now going to launch. They actually ran a debt on them. Many Canadians do not know that the Conservatives ran a debt of $2 billion is year. The cost of their income-splitting scheme is, lo and behold, about $2 billion. They are going to borrow money to retroactively apply an income-splitting scheme that benefits only 15% of Canadian families. There is nothing for single parent families. That might not sit in the Conservative world view. I was raised by a single mom. Many Canadians are being raised by single parents. The Conservatives' income-splitting plan does nothing for them or for couples who happen to earn similar amounts of money or for individuals who sit in the middle- or lower-income bracket.

Two billion dollars has been rushed out the door by the Conservatives, who say that this will provide great help for Canadian families, yet the bottom 20% of income earners, families who might actually qualify, will get nothing, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

They reject the NDP proposal for up to $15-a-day affordable, quality child care across the country. We know, from TD Bank and other economists who have studied this, that for every $1 we put in, $1.50 to $1.75 goes back into the economy. This has worked in Quebec, which is largely where our child care model is based.

We understand that there is value in helping women, if they choose, to get back into the workforce. Every industrialized country in the world looking to improve its productivity needs to help women in particular get back into the workforce. We need to do that here in Canada. We have the lowest female participation rate in the Canadian economy since 2002.

The Conservatives might think they want to do a little social engineering and turn the clock back to 1950 and that all will be well. However, this is the reality for Canadian women working today: they want access to affordable child care. They want to make the choice. When the average cost in the GTA is $1,600 per child, there are Canadian families going to work today who are spending more on child care than they are on their mortgages. That is a reality, and that reality often keeps incredibly qualified, talented people out of the workforce, because they simply cannot afford child care.

It is no wonder the private sector economists have said that this is an investment, but not in the way the Conservatives use the term when they talk about income splitting being an investment. It is not an investment. It is a scheme. Child care is an investment that would pay back into the economy.

The Conservatives also have no evidence that the TFSA shows an increase in investments and retirement security for Canadians. There has been no increase in contributions toward retirement vehicles. It has mostly been an exercise in people taking their retirement money and moving it from one vehicle to another. That is fine, but the Conservatives should not pretend that this is suddenly going to make retirement security better in Canada, because it will not.

The Conservatives now want to double this program. Who has $10,000 burning a hole in his or her pocket at the end of every year? Is it the middle-class families and individuals the Conservatives are talking about? Maybe they are in their world, but they are not the people I deal with. They are not looking through their books at the end of the year and finding an extra $10,000 sitting around and wondering what they are going to do with it, until they see an ad, which they paid for, on TV to help them figure out what to do with all that extra money. Canadians are having a hard time making ends meet.

The current personal debt rate in Canada is at an all-time historic high. Canadians owe more personal debt right now than they ever have before, and there is a reason for that. Job quality and job security have gone down, yet the cost of living has continued to rise.

Every once in a while, the Conservatives have stumbled across, almost by accident, a program that could work and help Canadians and help create jobs. Does anyone remember the home retrofit program? This was an interesting program. The Conservatives announced it once, killed it, announced it again, and killed it again. What did this program do? It helped Canadians deal with the rising cost of heating and cooling their homes. It also created jobs in the small business sector, in the localized sector. It also helped us deal with climate change. Earlier my friend talked about the drought conditions and the concerns about the weather and the increase in the intensity of storms.

It did these three things, the Holy Trinity. There it is. The program helped Canadians reduce costs. It helped small businesses get some work and provide jobs. It helped us deal with our climate change commitments. Conservative and Liberal governments made these promises but had no plan to follow through on them. They killed the program not once but twice.

We are going to bring it back and actually run the program and let Canadians enjoy the benefits of dealing with climate change, because the Conservatives constantly try to pit the economy versus the environment. However, we know that not to be true. The most productive, most efficient, most prosperous countries on earth right now are doing both. They do not trade one off for the other, because anyone foolish enough and ignorant enough to think that he or she can simply drive an economy through the environment, through the ecological footprint that we bear, that there is some other virtual reality that he or she can create that is not constrained by our environment is a dinosaur and should do what dinosaurs do and have always done, which is to just go away and move along so that we can actually evolve the Canadian economy into something much more fair and much more prosperous.

We on the NDP side believe in clean technology. We saw last year globally for the first time that contributions into the clean tech sector exceeded all of the investments into the oil and gas and carbon economies. We have seen the globe moving this way, not just the so-called advanced countries, but also China, India and Brazil. Where is Canada? We have a Prime Minister who can barely utter the words “climate change”, who stands up and the only promise he is willing to commit to is something that would happen at the end of this century. When we ask him how we would get there, he says that is not for him to worry about because he will not be around.

That is similar to the Conservatives' commitments on the tax-free savings accounts. When the finance minister was asked how he was going to pay for these things, because it gets expensive really quick, he said that it was not really a problem for him to worry about, that it was a problem for the Prime Minister's hypothetical granddaughter to worry about. That was a moment of insight, almost a bit of a Freudian slip, when he said he was not concerned with it, that the Conservatives are not concerned with the huge cost of a program they hope would just maybe get them enough votes in the next election because the real costs would be paid down the line by our grandkids. “So be it and so what,” say the Conservatives, which is so similar to their approach on climate change.

Since the Conservative government's coming to office, how many years have we been promised regulations in the oil and gas sector, which by the way, is the most expensive way to deal with climate change according to the oil and gas sector. It would much rather have a price on carbon that actually meets the reality. That is why the major oil companies in this country are calling for such a thing. Do members think that the Conservatives are running into the offices of Suncor and Syncrude and yelling at them about their carbon tax policy and how they want to kill the economy? Of course they are not. We understand that businesses need certainty. They also understand that pollution costs and that the polluter pay principle should be based in law and based in science. What do the Conservatives do with science? They muzzle it.

We have also seen $14 billion in cuts to government programs, austerity programs in the midst of this fragile economy. What the IMF, the World Bank and the EU all are suggesting right now is that we need to move our economies forward, not try to cut them to some prosperity. However, we have seen time and again where the Conservatives, and before them the Liberals, try this ideology, which is not new; it is as old as Reaganomics. The ideology is that if they simply cut $650 billion in corporate taxes, which the Conservatives did, as did the Liberals before them, companies would just magically reinvest in hiring more people, in manufacturing, and all of the rest of that. Mark Carney said for years that there was $650 billion of dead money sitting in corporate bank accounts in Canada right now not being invested. Therefore, the philosophy of the Conservatives has failed.

With the Conservatives' recent infrastructure announcements and the announcements for transit, we have seen time and again that all of it is to come years down the road. What the Conservatives most care about is themselves and trying to get themselves somehow re-elected despite all to the contrary. It seems to me that the Canadian people and the Canadian economy have called for real action, not ads, not another scam, not a bit more spin. They want something that will actually help the Canadian economy.

Two suggestions which we made, and the Conservatives voted against, would have helped the manufacturing sector and the small business community. The Conservatives voted against them one month and then put them in the budget. Let us give them a bit of credit at this moment of hypocrisy where they vote against something and then drive it into the budget the next week and suddenly think it is a good idea because it is painted blue.

Canadians need and deserve a lot more than what they are getting, but the good news is this. There are only a few months to go until this tired and worn-out government will be tossed from office. To that effort, I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “that” and substituting the following:

“this House decline to give third reading to Bill C-59, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures, because it:

a) introduces income splitting and super-sized Tax-Free Savings Account measures that will primarily benefit the wealthy few while wasting billions of dollars;

b) does not introduce a $15 per hour minimum wage or create a universal, affordable childcare program, both of which would support the working and middle class families who actually need help;

c) leaves Canadian interns without protections against excessive work hours, sexual harassment, and an unending cycle of unpaid work;

d) sets a dangerous precedent for Canadians' right to know by making retroactive changes to absolve the government of its role in potential violations of access-to-information laws; and

e) attacks the right of free and fair collective bargaining for hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
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Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario


Bernard Trottier ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for La Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively to the rant from the member opposite. It was a very demagogic rant, a bit of stream of consciousness and a laundry list of all of these promises.

The one thing about the budget and the reason I support it is that it is comprehensive, cohesive and fits together. When it comes to this long list of things the hon. member talked about, there is no plan in anything New Democrats say about how they will actually pay for them. After the last election, they had something like $56 billion in increased spending. It sounds as though they are going to outdo themselves this time around and have maybe $100 billion in increased spending by the government.

Would the member like to comment on where the money for all of these things New Democrats want to put forward will come from? Will all the taxes be increased? Carbon tax will get them part of the way there. What about all of the other taxes they will raise? That is what I would like to hear.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
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Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, being lectured by a Conservative about running debt is like being lectured by a pyromaniac about fire safety. The Conservatives have added $150 billion to the national debt, and 1.3 million Canadians are still out of work with the highest personal debt rate in our history.

I refer him to his own finance department's report. Every year, and it did it again this year, it looks at all the parties in this place to see which party most often balances the books over time, historically, and lo and behold, it is New Democrats who balance the books more than anybody else.

I will give the Conservatives some credit in that they beat the Liberals a little bit, but it is so ironic to hear Conservatives now lecturing everybody, after having just borrowed about $2.5 billion to pay for income splitting that helps 15% predominantly of the wealthiest Canadians, that they somehow think they are entitled to lecture anybody on managing the books.

The hard reality for the Conservatives is that we present a fully costed plan to Canadians for infrastructure, for child care, and when we say invest, we actually mean invest, that when we put the money in, we get some money back. In fact, in most cases like infrastructure and child care, we get more back into the Canadian economy as opposed to shipping it out the door like the Conservatives do, no strings attached, to businesses that do not end up reinvesting. How do we know that? The facts support it. There were 400,000 lost manufacturing jobs in places like Windsor, and the Conservatives have nothing to say for it and no plan to make things better.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:55 p.m.
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John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to compliment the hon. member on his rant. It was one of the finer rants I have heard in a while.

The previous question actually went where I wanted to go, which was to the self-congratulatory nonsense the Conservatives continually put forward. They have run up the national debt between $150 billion and $160 billion. That means that over the last 10 years, their average expenses have exceeded their revenues by somewhere in the order of $15 billion on an annual basis, which is hardly a way to run the economy.

Since I have already answered that question, I want to ask a second question which is on the so-called carbon pricing. Clearly, every government in Canada gets it now. B.C. prices carbon. Alberta prices carbon, and certainly the new government will be much more sensitive on pricing carbon. Ontario prices carbon. Quebec prices carbon. About 80% to 85% of the economy already prices carbon. The only place that the pricing of carbon is bad is across the aisle here, where the Conservatives simply want to keep their heads stuck literally in the sand, but I will not describe which kind of sand.

I would be interested in the hon. member's views that as a nation we have actually moved a great deal forward on the pricing of carbon, where the government has actually been a drag on the pricing of carbon.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 12:55 p.m.
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Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the debate, while important, around the pricing of carbon and the mechanism that one chooses, and to base that on experiences, of course the Conservatives have been laggards on this. Any time they show up at any international meeting or any business forum on clean tech and clean energy, the Conservatives are shown to be what they are, laggards, trying to pull the train back, but the train has its own momentum and force. We see the Americans signing a deal with the Chinese. Again and again we are seeing countries coming forward, including less developed countries, all committing to this.

The point is that what little credit the Conservatives can take at any point when they flash a number forward about Canada's performance on climate change is directly and entirely the result of the work of the provinces and our municipalities, which have been leading this conversation from the beginning.

As the Toronto Region Board of Trade points out, the number one lag and drag on the Toronto economy, the largest city in Canada, is congestion. We actually need to invest in infrastructure, such as transit and more affordable ways to get around simply because it is costing the economy billions of dollars every single year with people stuck in traffic.

At the most practical levels, and I think this is where we need to take the debate, when we are solving the questions that Canadians have about how to produce energy, how to use it, and how to get to and from home and work, those are questions that are encapsulated in the climate change debate.

Clearly, the days are long gone in which a government like the Conservative government for years now has said that we have to choose, that it is either the economy or the environment. The Conservatives have made their choice. It does not make any sense. It does not make any practical sense. We need practical solutions. One of them is pricing pollution. We believe in it as New Democrats, and lo and behold the global consensus has moved that way as well.

We look forward to working with our provincial partners in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, right across the country, because we know the opportunities are great, not just to battle climate change but also to fix the manufacturing crisis and get Canadians back to work.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 1 p.m.
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Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank my colleague for his fantastic rant.

This weekend I was at the peace for Scarborough event at Warden Woods Community Centre. In Scarborough, we have many impoverished neighbourhoods with few economic opportunities. In talking to a group of young people, I asked them about employment. Two of them shot up their hands, saying they had part-time jobs. Then when I asked who wants to have a job, all their hands shot up. There is clearly a lack of opportunity for young people.

Today a report came out showing that in Ontario, the low-wage workforce has skyrocketed by 94% over the past two decades, and that Ontario's workforce has gone from having 3% of the workers making minimum wage to over 12%. This really demonstrates that over the last two decades, successive Liberal and Conservative governments have done a terrible job on improving the living conditions of people in Ontario living in poverty, particularly young people who need opportunities.

I would like to ask the member if he has some ideas on what perhaps should be in this budget implementation bill to actually help young Canadians.