Mr. Speaker, I am speaking out today against Bill C-13, which supposedly supports economic and job growth in Canada. I do not feel that it does enough.
I will be focusing on two issues: first, the fact that this bill demonstrates that the government is out of touch with what families and individuals in Canada are facing. Second, I will talk about the lack of vision in this bill.
When we look at the current situation, it is obvious that the government is out of touch. Families are having more and more trouble making ends meet. Families are in debt and household debt sits at more than 150%. Just look at what is happening with the Occupy Canada, Occupy Montreal and Occupy Toronto movements. People are unhappy and the government is not listening. People are unhappy because the gap between rich and poor is growing. Yet the government continues to contribute to that gap. Just like the IMF, the Conference Board is saying that the gap between rich and poor in Canada is growing, and at an alarming rate.
What is the government's response? To reduce the taxes of large corporations. We know that, in reality, reducing the taxes of large corporations does not help the population. In the Standing Committee on Finance, we have heard it said that this will benefit everyone. That is not true because not everyone owns shares in large businesses and corporations. We also know that the large businesses that benefit from these tax reductions are currently keeping $500 million in their own coffers rather than reinvesting it. So the entire population is not benefiting.
From a job creation perspective, we need look no further than the case of Electrolux, which benefited from tax reductions and then transferred jobs to the United States. Is this how the government should move forward? We do not think so, and many economists agree with us.
This government remains out of touch because it is still not taking action. The economic situation is a growing concern. People need reassurance. The New Democratic Party proposed a motion, which was unanimously adopted by the House, indicating that action must be taken; however, there is nothing in the bill to deal with this issue. We asked what Canadians want, and they said that they want more jobs and more security and that they want the government to take action.
The hon. member spoke about the election promises that the Conservatives made. However, the Conservatives are not really looking at what is happening right now, for example, the bank debt crisis in Europe or the uncertainty in the United States, which were not issues at that time. Nevertheless, the government is still not taking action. The government is therefore extremely out of touch with what is currently happening.
I spoke of this government's lack of vision. In this budget, the government could really move forward and think about a green economy. With regard to the economy, job creation and industries, the government could think about developing and investing so that employment is created not just now, but also for a long time to come.
The hon. member spoke about Germany. Germany was one of the first countries to invest in research and development in the public sector, and the country is currently reaping the benefits. Our government, on the other hand, is giving some tax credits, but they do not benefit everyone. We are not saying that tax credits are a bad thing. On the contrary, they are important, but they are not enough. The government needs a more comprehensive, more long-term vision. The government needs a strategy. That is what this government is lacking.
We asked for investments in infrastructure. As many members know, the Champlain Bridge is in my riding. We thank the government for finally listening to the NDP and giving in to our requests. However, this still does not appear in the budget. Why are there no infrastructure investments? We are not even the ones saying this; it is the Minister of Finance. In 2009, he said himself that infrastructure investment has five times the economic impact of corporate income tax cuts.
This is purely economics. The government, which claims to care about the economy and job creation, should listen to what its own finance minister said. It is important to invest in infrastructure; however, we are not necessarily talking about just stimulus, but rather about a structural deficit of $130 billion for Canadian municipalities. This government is doing nothing about that, and instead prefers giving gifts left and right, like the $50 million given to the riding of the President of the Treasury Board. It hands out gifts instead of making infrastructure investments that would benefit Canadians now. And, in the long term, this would also mean savings in terms of productivity.
My riding has suffered a loss of $1.3 billion in terms of productivity and, for over five years, we pressured this government to act. Once again, we still have not seen any schedule or plan for moving ahead with the Champlain Bridge project. We asked to work with this government, not only on the Standing Committee on Finance but also on the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, but this government refuses to act or to work with the other parties. Quite the reverse, it stubbornly clings to its ideology and its election promises, which do not take into account the current reality. It has no vision whatsoever.
During the last campaign, I met people affected by the pension issue. A woman who had worked for Nortel told me she was devastated because she had worked for years and contributed to her pension fund only to lose everything. We know what happened with Nortel. This government did nothing to protect the pensions of those people. It is doing nothing to help seniors living below the poverty line. Do you realize that seniors are now being asked to go back to work and pay? Nothing is being done to help them, which we believe demonstrates a lack of vision and compassion.
As for nurses and doctors, the proposed measures are already in place, but they are not enough. It is important to create positions for doctors and nurses. In Canada, there is a problem in that regard. Just ask those around you if they have a family doctor. It is difficult to find one, especially in rural areas. This government has not yet taken action on that issue.
We are not asking for much. First, the government must listen to us and to our proposals, which are very logical. Members spoke earlier about small businesses and the fact that they create more than 50% of jobs. Why not help these small businesses not just by giving them a tax credit to hire people, but also by lowering their taxes? Instead, the government has decided to cut taxes for big business—unfortunately, the Liberals got the ball rolling on that one— which really has no impact. We can see that.
What is really shocking is that this government still continues to say that everything is fine and that it is business as usual when, in fact, 1.4 million people are unemployed. And if we add those who are discouraged or who have stopped looking, that number climbs to 2 million. That is serious.
The government lacks vision and is not in touch with reality. With regard to job cuts, this government has cut 600 or 700 positions at Environment Canada. It clearly lacks vision when it comes to the future and a green economy.
Oil and gas companies are receiving $761 million in tax credits or reductions.