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House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was allegations.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said in committee when this hon. member raised that motion, I was not just sure what planet he had been living on through this global financial recession because everyone in Canada knows that we have the strongest financial sector in the world. It is the envy of the world. Not one penny of Canadian taxpayers' dollars went into propping up a bank. Why would we impose a tax on banks when they cause no harm to Canadians?

Mining IndustryOral Questions

April 15th, 2010 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, the doors of the Prime Minister's office are wide open for large companies such as Vale Inco.

The day after the strike began in Sudbury, on July 14, 2009, the Prime Minister's policy director, Paul Wilson, met with Vale Inco representatives.

There have been a total of 25 meetings since 2008 between government and Vale Inco representatives.

Did the Prime Minister's Office and various ministers discuss the labour conflict with Vale Inco at their meetings or did they ignore the reality?

Mining IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I do not know about the meetings that the hon. member is talking about. However, we do continue to monitor this situation. We evaluate, of course, under the Investment Canada Act, equality to proposed reductions throughout the entire enterprise.

Vale Inco had announced temporary shutdowns in other parts of the world and has not targeted Canada. We see Vale Inco planning to stay invested in Canada in the long-term, but of course we will continue to monitor the situation.

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, while the Liberal leader continually pushes for higher taxes, our Conservative government is focused on supporting our economic growth and happy to create new jobs. Canada's economic action plan is a positive plan to protect Canada's economy and to prepare for the opportunities of tomorrow, and it is working. Just today, Statistics Canada reported that Canada fared better in this recession than in previous ones and is in the best position in the G7.

Would the parliamentary secretary please tell this House what else is being said about Canada's economy?

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Saint John for raising this important issue.

Once again proof today that our Conservative government's economic action plan is providing real leadership. What we are hearing and what we have said all along is that Canada holds one of the best positions economically in the entire world.

Last week, OECD forecasted Canada's economic growth by a wide margin to lead the G7. KPMG lined up with that, saying that we have become the most competitive industrialized country on the jobs sector.

We are accomplishing what we have set out to do.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and First Nations University have undertaken a lot of change: a new board of governors; a new CEO; a new president; a new governance agreement with the University of Regina; a sensible, sustainable business plan; and the renewed support of the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Saskatchewan government. They have all turned the page.

Will the Government of Canada constructively join the team long-term for the sake of hundreds of young lives which otherwise might not get a chance?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, it is important to realize that of all the first nation learners in the country, less than 5% attend First Nations University. It is not fair to say that first nations people are going to be on the ropes. Ninety-five per cent plus find other ways to get a post-secondary education.

But, more important, when I talked to the chief and the president again today, there is no business plan with a single number in it, not a dollar, not a number in it, yet. They are still working on that. There is no agreement signed with the University of Regina, yet. Nor is there any proposal before us, yet, asking for a single dollar.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, in budget 2010, the current government announced $10 million in funding to address the tragedy of the hundreds of murdered and missing aboriginal women in Canada. It has been over a month since that announcement and still the current government has failed to be forthcoming in regard to when and how moneys will be distributed.

The Native Women's Association of Canada has been the only group to provide evidence of the number of missing and murdered aboriginal women and is the most appropriate group to do the essential future work.

When will the current government commit to funding a second phase of Sisters in Spirit?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I think we are all delighted in this House that our government committed $10 million in the budget to address this issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women. That was a great step forward.

Our government has also signed an agreement to take the next series of projects forward called “evidence to action”. It is building on a Sisters in Spirit research project that was done so well by NWAC.

We look forward to working with NWAC and other aboriginal groups, and individual aboriginal women as we get to the bottom of not only the missing and murdered aboriginal women but making life better for aboriginal women from coast to coast.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the government House leader would describe the agenda that he has in mind for the rest of this week and next week. In his answer, I wonder if he could follow up on a comment made in the Standing Committee on Official Languages by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities indicating that it is the government's intention to introduce a bill on Air Canada's compliance with the Official Languages Act.

Could the government House leader indicate when that legislation is likely to be tabled in the House of Commons?

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to reply to my hon. colleague, the House leader of the official opposition, as to the business of the House for the remainder of this week and into next week.

Today I hope to conclude the debate at second reading of Bill C-9, the jobs and economic growth act. The budget implementation act is a very important legislation. We have heard a lot of debate about it in the Chamber. I am very pleased that we are getting our message out about all the good things we are doing to help sustain jobs and create new jobs in our country.

The next bill I intend to call following Bill C-9 is Bill C-5, the international transfer of offenders act.

Next week we will continue with the business of this week with the addition of Bill C-4, Sébastien's law, and Bill C-13, fairness for military families act.

Tuesday, April 20, next week, shall be an allotted day.

As for the hon. opposition House leader's inquiry about specific pieces of legislation, all I would ask is that he be patient. We are bringing forward a lot of legislation. All of it is excellent legislation that I know he can hardly wait to support.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to bring to your attention what I believe was unparliamentary language used by the member for Vancouver South today during question period.

In the member's question for the Minister of National Defence, the member for Vancouver South accused the government of lying and of exhibiting cowardice with respect to the detainee issue. In my view that was extremely unparliamentary.

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that in your ruling of last year, when you shared with the House your three determinants on considering whether or not unparliamentary language was used, you said that you considered the tone, the content of the question and whether or not the House was disrupted because of the question.

I would suggested to you, Mr. Speaker, that in this case the tone was highly inflammatory, the content was confrontational and, of course, there was the resulting disruption. I would ask you to advise the member for Vancouver South to immediately withdraw his remarks and, if he refuses to do so, Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to examine the blues and make a ruling in due haste.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I will be pleased to examine the blues and make a ruling in due haste, in compliance with the hon. member's wishes, but I will need to examine it. I think I remember hearing the word but I did not think it was directed to an individual. However, I will certainly double check it.

The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas was on a point of order before statements by members began at 2 o'clock, so I gather he will want to continue his argument from the sound of it and the fact that he is standing there. I will recognize the hon. member for Burnaby--Douglas.

Allegations Regarding the Former Minister of State for the Status of WomenPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will complete my point of order regarding my attempt to allow two ministers to correct the public record concerning the recent assertions that the government had referred recent allegations concerning the former Minister for Status of Women to the Ethics Commissioner. This is in light of the Ethics Commissioner's statement this morning on CBC radio that she had not received an official request from the Prime Minister to relate anything relating to the former minister.

I was giving some examples of how the Minister of Transport had responded to questions in the House on Monday on this issue. In response to another question, he then said:

Mr. Speaker, it was for the very reasons that the member described that the Prime Minister, when he received these allegations, allegations that are unproven to him or anyone else, referred these allegations to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and to the Ethics Commissioner. Those are the independent agencies that are charged with making this type of determination.

Later, in another response to a question, he then said:

Mr. Speaker, when the allegations were brought to the Prime Minister's attention, he moved expeditiously and quickly. He immediately referred them to the two relevant independent authorities, the RCMP and the Office of the Ethics Commissioner. Those authorities will be the ones who will come to conclusions with respect to these matters.

As well, in response to another question, and I am reading from the translation, the Minister of Natural Resources said:

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, we learned of allegations made by a third party. Those allegations were referred to the RCMP and the Ethics Commissioner. The RCMP and the Ethics Commissioner will draw their own conclusions.

Furthermore, later on in question period, the Minister of Natural Resources, in response to another question, said:

When we learned of the allegations we immediately referred the matter to the RCMP and the Ethics Commissioner. They will draw their own conclusions.

I thought it was only fair to allow these ministers an opportunity to correct the record concerning this matter before we continue this discussion. This way, there will be no question of them having misled the House.

Allegations Regarding the Former Minister of State for the Status of WomenPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments by the member for Burnaby—Douglas. I think he clarified the issue in his last speech. He said that the matter was referred to the Ethics Commissioner. These allegations were brought forward to the Prime Minister. He does not know whether they are true. He does not know whether they warrant an investigation.

Since he did not want to simply sweep these allegations under the rug, he forwarded the allegations and referred them to the Office of the Ethics Commissioner. He said that this individual had come forward and raised some very serious allegations and that he wanted to refer this matter to the Ethics Commissioner. The Ethics Commissioner has the capacity, as she said on CBC this morning, to initiate an investigation proactively if she sees fit.

I understand that the Ethics Commissioner telephoned the third party in question, who then declined to co-operate, which is regrettable, but I think it demonstrates that the Prime Minister acted quickly, appropriately and ethically by not trying to somehow sweep this matter under the rug.

He also referred the matter to the RCMP. He did not ask the RCMP to conduct an investigation because the prime minister in this country does not ask the RCMP to do investigations. There was a matter of concern over serious allegations and he referred them to the RCMP. It is up to the RCMP to make a determination as to whether it does or does not want to open an investigation, just as it is with the Ethics Commissioner.

Again, I want to highlight that it showed that the Prime Minister did the right thing. He acts responsibly. I know the member for Burnaby—Douglas to be a fair and reasonable person. I do think we are splitting hairs. It does underline the Prime Minister's ethics in this matter and that he did the right thing.

Allegations Regarding the Former Minister of State for the Status of WomenPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am not sure the situation is one that constitutes a point of order for the House. It appears to be a dispute as to facts or things that may have transpired, but I am not sure it has much to do with the rules of the House of Commons.

Accordingly, I will review the comments made by both the Minister of Transport and the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas and, if necessary, I will get back to the House. However, my suspicion is that we can consider the matter dealt with at this point, but I will have another look.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-9, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak on behalf of the Bloc Québécois regarding this budget implementation bill. It is no surprise that the members of the Bloc Québécois will be opposing this bill, just as we opposed this budget tabled by the Conservative government. Unfortunately, I have only ten minutes to explain to my colleagues the reasons why our party is opposed to this budget implementation bill.

The reasons are many, and each of them might require a speech of at least 30 or 40 minutes. But I shall review just a few of them in the time I am allotted. One of the reasons why the Bloc Québécois is opposed to this bill is that it confirms the desire of the Conservative government to spare rich taxpayers at all costs, including the banks and large corporations.

Earlier, during question period, our colleague the hon. member for Hochelaga and Bloc Québécois finance critic was telling us about the astronomical profits made by the banks in recent months. He mentioned profits of $5.6 billion. When it is time to look for money in the pockets of the middle class and the disadvantaged, governments, and this Conservative government—a government which, by the way, is heartless—have no hesitation about making the middle class, workers and the disadvantaged pay for the deficit.

Another reason why we are not in favour of this bill is that the measures it contains are proof of the above-mentioned desire, since corporations will not be asked to contribute to the government’s coffers. It is workers, people who cannot benefit from tax havens, people who work very hard in plants, in factories, in stores, people who often work for minimum wage, that the government will turn to. But unlike the big corporations that benefit from tax deductions, they are taxed from their first penny, and as soon as they build up a little nest egg, the government is immediately upon them with its taxes.

With regard to tax loopholes, it could be said that the government is talking out of both sides of its mouth. On the one hand, the government says that it wants to go after tax havens and, on the other, in this bill, the Conservative government is opening loopholes in the Income Tax Act to make it possible for corporations not registered in Canada to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. It is despicable on the part of the government to take this approach.

Once again in question period, we went back to the former minister of the status of women, now an independent MP, who, according to rumours here and elsewhere on the Hill, allegedly took advantage of a ministerial trip to Belize to open three bogus companies to again avoid paying income tax. We know that Belize is most definitely a tax haven, just like Barbados and certain other islands in the West Indies or some other small countries where corporations can take advantage of tax loopholes.

In Quebec, there have been two cases of flagrant fraud where small investors were literally fleeced. I am referring to the cases of Vincent Lacroix and Earl Jones. The money of the small investors who were swindled was not in the bank accounts of Vincent Lacroix and Earl Jones.

That money was hidden in countries that serve as tax havens. When they have served their sentences—I will remind members that the Bloc had asked for the abolition of release after serving one-sixth of a sentence, but the Conservatives refused—they will get out and collect their money, which is somewhere in the West Indies. They will be able to resume their princely lives, unlike ordinary investors.

There is the case of two young girls who lost their parents in a car accident. The insurance award was managed by the girls' grandfather. They literally lost everything. That is unacceptable and astounding. That is what tax havens are used for. The Bloc Québécois is anxious for the government to assume its responsibilities and ensure that those listening to us, the middle class workers, are not the only ones who pay their fair share of taxes.

There is another point I want to say a little more about. This budget implementation bill will allow the government to dip into the employment insurance fund surplus until 2014-15. Once again, as we have said many times, the employment insurance fund surplus does not belong to the government. It belongs to the workers and employers who pay premiums. In 2008, the fund reached $1.5 billion and the government cleaned it out. It helped itself to that surplus. That is completely unacceptable.

The Bloc Québécois proposed an independent employment insurance fund that would be jointly managed by workers and employers, similar to the CSST model in Quebec. If there was a surplus in the fund, the board of directors—or whatever it is called—of the independent employment insurance fund could decide which categories of unemployed workers or which categories of workers would benefit from improvements to the plan.

I see my colleague from Manicouagan nodding his head. On the North Shore, in the Lower St. Lawrence, and in Gaspésie, they have to deal with seasonal work. We need to stop calling them seasonal workers. They are not “seasonal workers”; the work is seasonal. Even if they wanted to plant99 trees and do silvicultural work in the forest when there are several centimetres of snow on the ground in February, it would not be possible. It is rare to have a winter where there is almost no snow on the ground, but either way, the ground is frozen, making it impossible. The fishing industry cannot be forced to operate in February. Charlevoix, in my riding, is a very touristy location. There are inns and beautiful sites. We would love to have the inns full in February, but that will not happen in the winter. Some tourists come to go snowmobiling, but not enough to keep our inns and lodges open year-round. So, employers are forced to shut their businesses down, or those that remain open are forced to cut staff.

With the current EI system, which is totally unfair to seasonable workers, these people are forced to experience periods of unemployment on a regular basis. That is not their choice; there is just no work to be done. So, when the working season is short, as it was last summer, these workers do not get called back to work because of poor weather conditions and do not qualify under this unfair employment insurance system. They then experience what is known as the spring gap, which they are currently going through in March and April, when benefits have run out, but it is too early to be called back to work, which will likely be sometime in May. Since it is not May yet, these people have nothing to live on.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I did sense the member could have made a lot longer speech and I will give him an opportunity to continue.

The member talked about bank profits, and we know they were $15.9 billion last year, with the CEO of the Royal Bank making about $10.4 million. This was at a time when 800,000 Canadians were out of work. This was at a time when the world was slipping into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The government essentially supports the big banks. Tara Perkins has a story in the Globe and Mail today. In essence, the Minister of Finance is pretty much an unpaid lobbyist for the banks, by the looks of it. She says, “bankers are more concerned about a number of international rule changes, and when it comes to fighting those they have Ottawa's backing”. Therefore, the Minister of Finance is fighting international rule changes on behalf of the banks at the international level.

President Barack Obama is trying to overhaul the entire financial regulatory system. Meanwhile, Ottawa is working on just minor changes.

In addition, the G7 and the G20 nations are trying to set up a fund to take care of failing banks in the future. Once again, the Minister of Finance and the government are opposed to this. They are fighting the measure on behalf of the banks.

In addition, the G7 and G20 countries are coming out with guidelines for remuneration for bank executives. Guess what? The government and the minister are opposing it on behalf of the banks. Once again, the minister is essentially an unpaid lobbyist for the banking interests in our country.

Would the member like to comment on that and offer any other insights and information about that point?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, five minutes are usually allotted for questions and comments following a 10-minute speech. I figure that the member used 4 minutes and 50 seconds to put his question. I will therefore attempt to answer within 10 seconds.

Banks are the classic case. Tell me who feeds you and I will tell you who you will look after later. The Conservatives are more favourably disposed towards banks and oil companies because these generously feed their campaign fund. Anything that will further regulate the powers of banks and the earnings of bankers is a good thing.

President Obama warned people that after the health reform, they will have to seriously consider reforming banks, which are making absolutely obscene and unacceptable profits, and I am all for such reform.

In the budget, the Conservatives' handouts to banks and oil companies came as no surprise. They are acting like reliable poodles. It is payback time for those who influence Conservative government policies.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak on behalf of the constituents of Vancouver Kingsway and to offer their feedback and views on Bill C-9, the budget presented by the Conservative government.

Prior to the budget being presented in the House, I spent several months meeting with my constituents in my office and in my community in every kind of context one can imagine. I visited owners of small businesses. I went to community centres. I went door-knocking from house to house. I visited my constituents on the streets, in the markets, in the businesses and in the cultural and recreational venues of Vancouver Kingsway.

I asked them about their lives. I asked them about the federal government and about the priorities they would like to see presented in the budget. This is a particularly cogent question. As we all know, over December, January and February of 2009 and 2010, many people, including the people of Vancouver Kingsway, had to deal with a challenging economic environment. Many people, from children to seniors to working men and women, to single mothers to owners of small businesses have been struggling.

These are the priorities that my constituents overwhelmingly and repeatedly mentioned they would like to see in this budget.

They wanted to see a budget that focused on creating jobs and not just jobs as a number on a page, but good, well-paying jobs upon which someone could raise a family. They wanted to see the federal government get back into developing affordable housing in the country. They wanted to see the provision of federal funds to create a national, universal, affordable and accessible child care system.

My constituents told me they wanted to see the federal government increase its transfers to the provinces in every aspect of education, from preschool to elementary and secondary public education to universities, trade schools and community colleges of every type. They told me they wanted to see the federal government increase spending on public transit. They wanted to see the government make a clear stand, both in policy terms and in financial backup to protect our environment.

The people of Vancouver Kingsway told me they wanted to see help for seniors, whether that was providing medical, dental and transportation support. They wanted to ensure that every senior in British Columbia and across Canada could have a decent, comfortable, safe and secure place to live.

They told me they wanted to support for small businesses. They told me they wanted to see fair taxation returned to the country. On that score, the people of Vancouver Kingsway, unlike the people on the other side of the House, believe in government and believe that if we pool our resources together, we can collectively build the kind of country that will provide strong public services for every person from coast to coast to coast.

Last, the people of Vancouver Kingsway wanted to see action taken on pensions. As the baby boomers age, as the demographics in the country move us closer to retirement in ever-increasing numbers, people across Canada, including those in Vancouver Kingsway, are starting to be concerned that they will not have enough money to live decent and dignified lives when they retire at the age of 60, 65 or 70.

I submitted these submissions to the Minister of Finance and I submitted them well in advance of the budget. I am also proud to say that I submitted a number of specific requests that also emanated from direct requests from the people of Vancouver Kingsway.

They wanted us to build a mid-sized performing arts theatre in Vancouver Kingsway. They wanted to see federal help to build a Filipino cultural centre and a Vietnamese cultural centre. They wanted to see investments in affordable housing at the Little Mountain site and at the RCMP headquarters site, which will soon be vacated. They wanted to see senior stand-alone housing, public housing projects and affordable renting housing developments backstopped by the federal government.

The people of Vancouver Kingsway wanted to see the federal government make a clear stand for the children and youth of our communities and the recreational needs of our citizens by helping contribute funds to the Mount Pleasant outdoor pool, to help fund the programs and capital requirements of Cedar Cottage, Little Mountain and Collingwood Neighbourhood House

They wanted the federal government to help make sure that our community centres, such as Renfrew Park, Douglas Park, Trout Lake and Riley Park, have adequate space and enough funding for their programs.

They wanted to see increased services for new Canadians, the funding of more language training programs and more settlement and counselling services which are critically important to ensure that new Canadians can get settled and prosper in their new country of choice.

The people of Vancouver Kingsway specifically wanted to see more investment in community crime prevention programs and increased community policing in the riding. They wanted very practical environmental solutions right in the riding, things like bicycle paths and greenways in Vancouver Kingsway. They wanted to see increased tax credits and government grants to encourage the green retrofitting of residential and commercial buildings. They wanted to see the federal government lead the way in encouraging urban food production by investing in community gardens and other community food safety and security programs.

Most importantly, the people of Vancouver Kingsway wanted to see investments in our children. They wanted to see federal contributions to help us seismically upgrade our elementary and secondary schools. As we all know, Vancouver is in a seismically active area, and schools are the first places that people will go to in the case of an earthquake. We have seen earthquakes devastate so many countries in the world. I can say that the schools in Vancouver Kingsway and Vancouver are seismically unsafe.

They wanted to see capital and operating funds for elementary and secondary schools in Vancouver Kingsway, and operating funds for new and existing child care providers, because nothing is more important to the people of this country than their children.

Last, as I said, they wanted to invest in public transit to increase service levels on overcrowded bus routes, expand rapid transit in Vancouver and keep transit fares affordable.

This is what the people of my riding told me they wanted to see. But what did they see? Did they see the Conservative government deliver those priorities? Absolutely not.

We see very little new in this budget. It shows a government that has no clear vision for the economy. Even worse, it is repeating the failed policies of the past instead, policies that are based on the flawed assumption that increasing corporate tax cuts and deregulation are the way to fuel the economy of the future.

We see a budget that provided a missed opportunity to create jobs, help the vulnerable and contribute to building the strong kind of economy that will be needed in the years ahead. The truth is that none of the priorities expressed by the people of Vancouver Kingsway are reflected in the budget.

I heard it expressed recently that a budget represents the soul of the government. When we read the budget's priorities, we can see deeply into the very soul of the people who make up the government. We can tell what they think is important. In this respect we have a very clear picture of the type of soul on that side of the House, which is one that favours corporations, ignores the vulnerable and needy and does not fundamentally believe in building a strong, public system and delivery of services to all Canadians.

The budget should have included a national industrial strategy that focuses on investing in green jobs and the green economy. We would have liked to see a budget that provided high-paying jobs that are based on fostering innovation in green technology and green energy and, at the same time, adopting provisions that save families money on energy costs and that make sure that we have clean air, clean water and protect the environment for future generations.

We wanted to see a budget that was an opportunity to deliver on child care. Canadians need help getting back to work. Nothing is more important to them than their children, so what better way to invest and support working families than by making sure that when they drop their children off in the morning, they are in safe, secure, stimulating environments. Having a lack of child care disproportionately impacts women and low income families of all types. It is time we had a national child care program. Canadian families are waiting.

The budget was an opportunity to launch an affordable housing strategy. In Vancouver, housing is incredibly unaffordable, and the lack of affordable housing is a huge issue for many families. Too many Canadians have no adequate housing at all. Shamefully, in this country there are many people who are homeless.

Many people who are struggling to maintain housing, would like to purchase housing, or rent clean and affordable housing cannot do so. It is time that we had a federal government that came back into the housing file instead of leaving it to the provinces and cities. Without federal government participation we simply cannot provide acceptable affordable housing for everyone.

My colleague from Vancouver East has Bill C-304 before the House right now and it is time that we all got together and supported it.

I could go on, but I will conclude by saying that the budget needs to be rejected by members in the House. We need to replace it with a budget that works for everyday Canadians based on the priorities that have been identified by my constituents.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Madam Speaker, I listened to my hon. colleague with great interest and heard him talk about many things that he wanted to see in the budget. If he looked more closely at the budget, he would actually see those things.

I will use my riding as an example. We had an amazing announcement to support seniors in rural communities, in low income housing. We have provided upgrades for our aboriginal communities. Last week we announced a green transformation for our pulp industry which is actually going to decrease emissions by 67.2%, increase power to the grid. This is all great news. I am sure these things are going on in ridings throughout the country.

Does the hon. member not recognize the importance of also having a strong economy, strong businesses so that they can support these very important things that we all want for Canadians?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, of course New Democrats absolutely want a strong economy for this country, but our vision of how that would be delivered is very different from that of my friend opposite.

The budget delivers no tax cuts for Canadian families. The budget increases EI premiums on working Canadians and businesses which the government simply refuses to acknowledge. It imposes more fees on the travelling public at airports. It gives tens of billions of dollars of tax cuts to corporations that do not need it. I am talking about big companies such as the oil companies and banks. On the other hand, small businesses in this country are struggling and that is why the New Democrats support the amount of small business income eligible for the reduced federal income tax rate of 11% being increased from $400,000 to $500,000. That is a positive move that we support.

The bottom line is that the budget does not provide the priorities that I mentioned. There is no national child care system. There is no national affordable housing strategy. It guts environmental examinations and environmental reviews. Unbelievably, it transfers environmental assessments from the Environmental Assessment Agency to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Energy Board. Now who could stand in the House and say that represents a positive move to protect the environment when the government is transferring assessments from the chickens to the foxes?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I would like to drift away from Bill C-9 for just a moment to ask my colleague a question. He spoke of the social groups within his own province.

Recently I read a report about the despicable occupation of human trafficking. I found in my reading that his province and the social groups there have gone a long way in trying to alleviate the social cost in human trafficking of mostly women, by getting women out of the business and providing a safe haven for them. It seems in the House the debate is focused primarily on the penalties being given to those who traffic, which is a good thing and I supported the bill in relation to that. What would the member support for the federal government to get involved in providing a social safe haven for people who are victims of human trafficking in this country and around the world?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I very much appreciate the question from the member. I would indeed like to get into that dialogue at some appropriate time, but really the matter before the House is Bill C-9, and I want to focus on that.

The government's own budget documents show that corporate tax cuts are the worst way to stimulate the economy. Page 281 of the Conservatives' own budget, which I have read, reveals that in 2010 every dollar spent on infrastructure grows the economy by $1.60. Every dollar spent on housing grows the economy by $1.50. Every dollar spent on low income households grows the economy by $1.70. However, every dollar spent on tax cuts for families only grows the economy by 90¢, and every dollar spent on corporate tax cuts grows the economy by a mere 20¢.

If we are talking about smart economics, what government would put forth a budget that is based on massive corporate tax cuts that we get 20¢ on the dollar return when we could get $1.70 return for every dollar spent by giving that money to low income households?

That is what I mean by the New Democrats proposing measures that are smart economics for the 21st century that will build an economy that works, that is green and that is fair. That can be done, but this budget does not do it.