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House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not understand why the Conservatives are so against small businesses, as the hon. member pointed out.

The hon. member mentioned an extremely important factor, namely the accumulated funds or the $500 billion in cash held by Canadian companies, particularly large corporations. To use some imagery, it is about the same as the captain of a ship putting the ballast at the top of the mast, which, with the speculation we have been through in the past, will make it pitch more and more sharply and will make everyone feel sick.

All this risk is expensive and makes life difficult for Canadian families and small businesses. I therefore call upon the government to put an end to it.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. colleague to change the subject from big business to the so-called arts tax credit. I have worked in the arts field, and I have used the arts to help young, at-risk youth to connect with themselves and to learn the tools to become better citizens.

This arts tax credit that the Conservatives are producing seems to me to be something that only works for those people who actually have an income and who can actually pay for arts classes. Can my hon. colleague comment on that?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Jeanne-Le Ber raises a crucial point. He is in a unique position to understand the needs facing the most disadvantaged groups.

The Conservative measure excludes so many families that, in the end, we have to wonder why they bothered introducing it at all. What is truly unfortunate is that, at the same time, many organizations are seeing their budgets being cut, even where money was well invested and producing results. Meanwhile, unfortunately, even for the families that can benefit from it, this tax credit does not even amount to one cup of coffee a week. How does this benefit everyone? It is basically a waste of $110 million.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to add to the debate on behalf of the people of Don Valley West on Bill C-13, keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act. It is the people of Don Valley West who placed their confidence in me to ensure that we continue to move the economy forward and work to create a better Canada for all Canadians.

In April during the election campaign, there were three main issues that were foundational to my campaign, three issues that were consistently discussed on the doorsteps of my constituents, and it is these three issues that I would like to address with regard to Bill C-13 this afternoon. These three issues are: families, job creation and the economy.

I would like to begin with the economy as resolution to all of these issues flow from a strong and strengthening economy. Our Canadian economy is being recognized as one of the strongest and most stable in the world today and this is clearly a result of strong leadership and vision. Our government has cut taxes over 120 times since 2006, helped remove over one million low income families, individuals and seniors from the tax rolls altogether, and helped an average family save over $3,000 a year through our economic initiatives.

I note that both the IMF and the OECD have forecasted that Canada will be at the head of the pack for economic growth in the G7 for several years to come. Canada enjoys the lowest debt to GDP ratio among its G7 partners. With all of these positive initiatives, we cannot forget that the global recovery remains fragile, something we have spoken about over the past four months.

Our government campaigned and committed to balancing our books and eliminating the deficit. Before the global recession, our Conservative government paid down nearly $40 billion in debt. Our plan to balance our budget over the next few years is the cornerstone of the next phase of Canada's economic action plan. The good news is that we will do all of this without raising taxes on Canadians, unlike the official opposition that would raise taxes immeasurably and kill jobs or something the previous Liberal government accomplished by slashing provincial transfers to health, education and seniors in order to effect their balanced budget.

We understand that when Canadians are balancing their budgets at home, sacrifices need to be made. That is why, as a government, we are going through an extensive review of government spending, including scrapping the per-vote subsidy that was given to all political parties. We believe in using taxpayers' money wisely and that includes no free handouts to political parties.

The Toronto Board of Trade recently stated:

The 2011 federal budget achieves a prudent balance of tax stability and deficit reduction measures while pointing to longer-term infrastructure investment opportunities.

Additionally, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants stated:

[The budget] strikes the right balance by keeping Canada competitive and demonstrating prudent fiscal management. This budget charts a course that will help Canada be competitive in attracting investment while establishing a fiscal framework that sets the stage for sustainable recovery and economic growth.

With regard to business and job creation, Canada has the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7, an open invitation to new investment in this great country. In the Year of the Entrepreneur, we introduced a new hiring credit for small business. I have heard from constituents in my riding of Don Valley West who own a small family manufacturing business that they are able to hire two more employees as a direct result of this specific initiative.

We are working to reduce red tape through the Red Tape Reduction Commission.

Since we formed government in 2006, over one million new jobs have been created. Since July 2009 over 600,000 net new jobs have been created, taking us to a higher level than the pre-recession level.

We are lowering taxes for businesses in order to help create an environment that encourages sustainable growth, so that they can continue to hire Canadians. Let us not forget that over 90% of businesses in Canada are small and medium-sized businesses.

Our economy has become so well regarded that even Forbes business magazine, the influential business magazine, has just this week ranked Canada the number one country in which to do business and create jobs.

To again quote the influential Toronto Board of Trade, it stated:

--welcomed new initiatives to spur small business productivity and hiring, such as the hiring credit for small business. SMEs are the engines of job growth. Spurring productivity and employment growth among SMEs, as this budget does, should help Canada's economic recovery.

And it is doing just that.

Within this sector, manufacturing continues to play an important role. Our government is working hard to create the right environment to stimulate manufacturing growth and job creation in Canada.

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association said:

The extension of the two year write-off for investments in manufacturing and processing technologies announced in [budget 2011] is critical to sustaining Canada's economic recovery...In an era of economic uncertainty, this tax measure gives manufacturers the confidence to invest in their future by boosting purchases of productivity-enhancing technologies.

Finally, I would like to address what our government is doing to assist families at this time.

We believe in families, and to prove that we have introduced a new children's arts tax credit of up to $500 in eligible fees for programs associated with children's arts, cultural, recreational and developmental activities.

We introduced the children's fitness tax credit, promoting physical fitness among our youth through a credit of up to $500 in eligible fees for programs associated with physical activity.

We brought in the landmark tax free savings account, the most important personal savings vehicle since the RRSP was born.

We have introduced a new family caregiver tax credit, an amount of $2,000 for caregivers of all types of infirm dependent relatives, including for the first time, spouses, common law partners and minor children.

Our government is extending the eco-energy retrofit program to help families lower their heating and electricity bills by making their house more energy efficient.

I have nine seniors homes in my riding and this past weekend on National Seniors Day, I had the pleasure of visiting hundreds of seniors in these homes and witnessing the impact the new horizons for seniors program has on the every day lives of seniors.

Our government has enhanced the guaranteed income supplement. Eligible seniors will receive additional annual benefits of up to $600 a year.

The C.D. Howe Institute stated:

--the new Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) top-up benefit for low-income seniors, would bring a meaningful increase in benefits too low-income seniors.

We have eliminated the mandatory retirement age, allowing Canadians to work longer.

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, “People have a right to determine how long they work, and this is a major step toward eliminating poverty for seniors”.

Our government is working for Canadians. I urge the opposition parties to abandon their high tax, job killing agenda, and support these initiatives which are working for Canadians and for all of Canada.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, Conservative after Conservative has mentioned the IMF, Forbes business magazine, and other agencies around the world and how well our economy is doing.

Here is another fact. The IMF projects that Canada's balance of payments deficit as a percentage of GDP is on its way to becoming one of the worse among advanced economies, worse than the U.S., and we are slowly approaching Italy and Spain.

What does this mean? It means that the Conservatives plan to ship raw materials such as oil and logs from British Columbia and other parts of Canada to the states or other countries. This means that jobs are going to be shipped from Canada. That is the Conservatives plan.

I would like to know from the member what the Conservatives are going to do in the budget that will help our secondary industries have value-added industries as part of a plan that will bring jobs to Canada?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the debate this afternoon and there are two very separate ideological differences between us and the opposition. I am here to celebrate our successes. I want to celebrate Canada and all the good things that we do in the country. As I listened to some of the questions and comments coming from the opposition, as I stand here proud of the country and all the good things we are doing, I do not understand how we can take a negative approach from the other side and pummel this economy into the ground.

World expert after world expert talk to us about the great things we are doing in our country. I encourage the member to celebrate our successes, not knock them.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know the member has an interest in health. One in three, or ten million Canadians, will be affected by a neurological or psychiatric disease, disorder or injury at some point in their lives. There are no cures for ALS, MS, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease and no effective treatments that consistently slow or stop the course of these devastating neurodegenerative diseases.

Statistics are neat and tidy. They do not show the reality of those living with the diseases. Nor do they truly reflect the significant burden on Canadian families. Does the hon. member think the government should commit to a national brain strategy for Canada?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know the member has spent a tremendous amount of her career and efforts on addressing these issues. I clearly understand her empathy and understanding of these issues.

Our government is deeply concerned, as is every Canadian about these issues. We have created the new brain centre initiative to fund the new brain centre. We recently announced that we would be reviewing all initiatives and spending in this area to see what other initiatives we could become involved in that would help in finding solutions. We are probably not far apart in terms of understanding and addressing these issues. I look forward to greater dialogue in that area with the member.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my friend, the hon. member for Don Valley West, who was a very successful entrepreneur in his own right, a fairly simple question. What does it take to create jobs and wealth? Why does the NDP not understand the principles of wealth and job creation?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as an entrepreneur and a business person, Canadians work hard every day. There was a comment made earlier that we did not celebrate entrepreneurs. I entirely disagree with that. We celebrate the entrepreneurial spirt of Canadians. Business people need to work in a positive environment. They need to build success in order to meet obligations, to pay the bank, the payroll, all the things that businesses do every day in all shapes and sizes of small and medium enterprises.

I do not understand why the party opposite cannot get on board with these initiatives to help Canadians become more successful in their everyday lives.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-13 contains a number of intolerable elements. For one, the Conservative government wishes to use this bill to end public funding for political parties. What a shameful proposal. Public funding for political parties is a key element to maintaining democracy in Canada.

The political party financing system offers equal access for all political parties and gives political parties that cannot afford it an opportunity to have their voices heard. Obviously, the Conservative Party would prefer to have a system that favours rich political parties to the detriment of smaller parties. No one is surprised by the fact that the Conservative government is proposing such a measure. It is yet another tactic to solidify their power and muzzle those who have a different vision for Canada.

Public funding for political parties was implemented to put an end to corruption in politics and meddling by rich entrepreneurs. If the state does not subsidize political parties, the funding must come exclusively from private sources. Without public funding, the government would not be much different from a business. Perhaps the government's next proposal will be that political parties be put on the stock market, I do not know.

I will tell hon. members a little tale. About a year ago I was a student and my wife was a student as well. We are both educated people. I have a master's degree. She was a lawyer in Turkey. All the same, we had a hard time making ends meet through these difficult economic times.

An organizer saw me in the summer of 2010 and asked me if I was interested in becoming a candidate for the NDP. Here I was, struggling to keep my business running, studying and taking care of my family. The party thought I might make a good candidate, so it approached me. I accepted, knowing that the campaign financing through the per vote subsidy would support me rather than having to raise my own money, which would have been an impossibility at that time, since I was working, studying and taking care of my family.

I clearly did not have the time to raise money while I was studying and doing all these things, so the elimination of the per vote subsidy might eliminate guys like me as candidates. Instead, they will prefer the professional politicians who have well-polished political machines and this will leave the grassroots voiceless and further alienate the people from the political process.

Voting and elections are part of the common good, so I do not understand why the Conservatives continue to deride the electoral process and thus show their contempt for the electoral process.

However, with that said, we will be in good shape to raise our own money as a party, living without the subsidy, but my fear is that it will discourage certain candidates, those who cannot get involved in the political process because they do not have the money.

There is nothing worse when one is broke to get hit up by a political party for money. I know this from experience. That is when an individual is earning $25,000 a year and a political party says it needs help and asks if he or she has $500 to give. Most Canadians do not have that money and they resent being asked for it.

That is why the subsidy is in place, so the costs of political activity are borne by the greater public for the greater good. Everyone pays, but those who do not have any money will not get dinged for this $2 per vote. It will be borne by the more well off in the taxation system. That is what happens. Those who do not make enough money during the year do not have to pay for this. Those who are well off would end up paying this money through their taxes.

This is the way of the government. The Conservatives believe more in the prosperity of the few rather than the prosperity of all Canadians. They believe that the electoral and democratic system, through the per vote subsidy of our country, is not worth investing in.

I will leave this subject briefly and say that the government is also scattershot on the economy. The Conservatives continue to applaud their Minister of Finance, who was chosen by Euromoney magazine as the best finance minister in the world two years ago.

The current best finance minister in the world is Wayne Swan, a Labour brother from Australia. Why? Because he not only acted quickly on this year's economic downturn, but the one in 2008 as well.

Both times, Canada's Minister of Finance was asleep at the wheel. While he was reading Forbes, with his feet up on the desk in his fine tailored suit in the warmth of his leather and wood office, perhaps he could not hear the voices of our most poor from his Ottawa bubble. He waited too long before acting and it shows, because these measures in this bill are scattershot. They lack coherency.

That is why the government rests upon its platitudes. It says that it is leader of the G7, while ignoring that the top four countries in the World Economic Forum competitiveness report are not from the G7 at all. Why ignore these countries? Because countries like Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, Finland invest in public transit. They have coherent plans. They have state-of-the-art infrastructure. Their governance models are orderly and transparent.

The solution of the government has been like the kid in class who neglects to study. He sits next to the smart kid and when he can peek at what the smart kid is doing, he cribs the smart kid's notes.

The small business tax credit was our idea, except our proposition is in a half measure.

The government's tax credit for small business will not be effective in helping small businesses. We proposed the $4,500 tax credit for small businesses and a reduction in small business tax from 11% to 9%. Perhaps the government did not see that part when it was peeking over our shoulder.

Regarding Montreal's infrastructure, we said that the Champlain Bridge needed to be built. We talked about the economic significance of the bridge and its contribution to productivity. Six months later I listened to the minister repeat my exact words to a room full of journalists. He also said it would not cost the taxpayers anything. I guess he missed part of our notes. We have done our homework on the way PPPs work and they often cost more than a regular procurement. There is no such thing as off-the-book accounting and the government should be transparent about that.

However, I guess when the Conservatives cribbed from our notes, they missed the substance of our argument. They prefer the comfort of their own ideology.

Let me remind the hon. members of the 12 pillars of the World Economic Forum's competitiveness index. I will open the answer book to give them a peek so perhaps they can create the jobs necessary to build this economy. We will give them the answers so we know they do not have to copy off of us.

The basic requirements of the 12 pillars are: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, and health and primary education. These are the keys for factor-driven economies.

Efficiency enhancers are: higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, and market size. These are keys for efficiency-driven economies.

Innovation and sophistication factors are: business sophistication and innovation. These are key for innovation-driven economies, of which Canada is one.

The Conference Board of Canada identified weaknesses in these last two areas, business sophistication and innovation. That is why since 2009 Canada has slipped from sixth place to ninth place and in September of this year to twelfth place.

The member for Calgary Centre can cherry-pick the facts and figures in this report, but the fact remains that the stability of our financial system was not due to his government but the foundations built by Canadian governments of the past. That is a fact I will acknowledge to the third party in this House even though its last Prime Minister wished to change that system. We are glad he decided not to. Members can take credit where credit is due, but they must realize that it is a misleading practice to claim credit for something someone else has done.

Let us return to the weaknesses identified in the report, that being innovation and business sophistication. The report states:

--greater R and D spending and producing goods and services higher on the value chain, would enhance Canada’s competitiveness and productive potential going into the future.

What is the government's answer to this criticism on competitiveness? It is to focus on export of raw materials like bitumen from the oil sands. To make it a priority to invest in basic--

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. I would remind hon. members that in the course of their speeches it is always a good idea to look this way once in a while as I will give an indication as to how their time is proceeding.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, to be honest, it is rare that I listen to the NDP's economic policies. However, as I was listening to the member, what really surprised me was the point he made regarding political subsidy. He wants Canadian taxpayers to pay for his party. His party has difficulty raising money from the Canadian people. If people liked his party's policies they would give it money. When its members realize that is not a possibility, they want Canadian taxpayers to pay for their party.

What is even more interesting is the member mentioned that big corporations would be coming back and paying back. He forgot to look at the other side of the coin. There are limits regarding donations to political parties. Businesses are not allowed to donate to political parties. Unions and their buddies are not allowed to donate to them. That is why they are feeling the punch and why we see them crying about it.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, our party is in a fairly good position to raise its own money, so it will not be a problem for the party.

What I said was that the most disadvantaged members in our society may not be able to participate in the political process because they will not be able to afford it. Therefore, if political parties have to constantly hit up individuals for money, those who do not have the money or whose social situation is affected by the government's economic policies might resent the fact that a political party is asking them for money. Therefore, we see that the per-vote subsidy would allow those poorest members of society to take part in the political process.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, first I want to congratulate my hon. colleague for what is one of the most thoughtful speeches I have heard delivered here from either side of the House. He talked about facts and developed arguments using logic that was respectful to all parties and history.

When I listen to the members opposite, what is always interesting is how rhetorical they get and substitute invective, such as name calling, for logic. My hon. colleague across just talked about us crying or something to that effect. What kind of childish argument is that?

Here are some facts. The two biggest deficits in Canadian history are Conservative: Michael Wilson, under the government of Brian Mulroney; and, the deficit last year of this current Minister of Finance.

What are the policies that led to our stable banking system? The Conservatives wanted banks to merge, to be deregulated and to sell insurance, all measures that were stopped and that Canada was thankful to not have in place to help us with the recession.

I ask my hon. colleague for his thoughts on the Conservatives' record and what he feels the NDP would do instead?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am disturbed that the debate on this motion is being guillotined. We have time limits in the House. I am aware that I was not prevented from speaking, rather my speech was cut off in accordance with those time limits. However, I believe there are more comments of substance to be said about this legislation that might not be said due to time constraints.

To answer my hon. colleague's question, if we look at the economic record of NDP governments in Canada at the provincial level, we have shown ourselves to be fiscally responsible, fact-based and realistic about measures.

During the cuts to the transfers to provinces, in British Columbia Mike Harcourt's government did not reduce costs. It actually invested in infrastructure at that time. We now see that it is in a healthier position regarding its infrastructure.

There are many examples of NDP governments having been successful at managing the economy.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a pleasure to rise and speak to this bill, a very important bill that talks about keeping Canada's economy and jobs market growing.

Members will remember quite clearly the recession of 2008. The government acted very strongly and brought in the first economic action plan, which included spending for infrastructure to ensure that there was money flowing into the country and that there were jobs.

The stimulus package worked all across the nation. It was a step that helped Canada weather the storm. I can say to all members that Canada, despite the fact of the global turmoil, weathered the storm very well.

Now we are coming to the same situation, due to the eurozone crisis and the instability in the U.S. market. We are again facing economic uncertainty, so the government has come forward, once more, with the second stage of the economic action plan which this bill is addressing.

When the first economic action plan was presented in the House, the NDP had the same arguments opposing it. The NDP opposed all the measures put into that action plan. Now those members are standing up and using the same arguments.

It is no surprise to anyone that members of the NDP are standing up again to oppose an economic action plan that works for Canada.

We hear the arguments made by the other side. The last speaker was talking about nitpicking. It is amazing. There is a recession in the world and this party is bringing bad news. Members of the NDP are saying that everything is going wrong and the sky is falling. It is the same thing they have always been saying. I have been sitting here, all these years, listening to this party giving the same arguments.

Despite the fact that some of the members have changed, nothing has changed in the NDP ideology. The NDP does not look at critical factors or what this bill will do. This bill addresses how we can get more people working. That is a key thing. Right now, as we speak, President Obama has a bill in the U.S.A. trying to get people back to work.

It is quite interesting that the NDP members will get up and talk about how we are losing jobs. Then they talk about the pipeline that is going to be built to the benefit of Canada. Who is opposing it? It is the NDP.

They will find some rationale, at any give time, to oppose anything that would benefit Canadians and the Canadian economy. Their rationale for always opposing everything is their ideology, which is big business, higher taxes, bigger taxes.

We just heard the NDP members talking about subsidies and how the taxpayers should pay for them, so they can go and collect money. I find it quite strange, but if they did make an effort to go out, they would find out what Canadians are actually saying. This time Canadians are saying that politicians should not get free money from taxpayers.

It is important to recognize what this bill is all about. It is about creating an economic environment that is there for businesses, big and small, to have the opportunity to hire people.

The bill talks about training people to ensure that our workforce is capable. People who have lost their jobs can get training and go back into the workforce. The important point here is to get people to work. That is what the NDP should understand.

There are provisions in the bill to help. Maybe the members of the NDP should see that this would help Canadians and maybe they should support this for a change. Now that they are the official opposition, they should take a rational look at it and support those measures. After they support it, they can come back and give their ideas on what would help Canadians. Working together is how we will get out of the recession.

My friend from Winnipeg talked about the ostrich with its head in the sand. That applies to the members of the NDP. They have their head in the sand and do not see what is happening globally. There is a crisis in Europe and in the United States. We do not live on an island. We are an integrated economy with the world. The impact of these things are being felt in this country.

A recession is going on. This is not a good time. It is not a time when figures are flying high and the economy is booming. The economy is not booming anywhere around the world. There are danger signs all around the world and we need to take steps to create an environment that will enable Canadians to get jobs. A Canadian who is willing to work can feed his family, take care of his children and send his children to school, and all those things that make societies very strong. However, the NDP would never find anything good. It is always negative.

In conclusion, I ask my friends on the other side to look at this carefully, as there are excellent points in this, and to support it because it is for the good of the country. If they have any better ideas, we would be more than happy to listen to them and work together. However, at the end of the day, we are talking about Canadians going back to work and a sound economy.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was actually quite surprised that the hon. member opposite was so upset when asking the question.

It is outrageous that taxpayers must pay for political parties. What is more outrageous is that the government is saying that taxpayers need to pay for prisons, jets and all kinds of right-wing policies. This is outrageous.

Why are these policies part of an economic plan for a country that is in a recession?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I should not be surprised by that question from the NDP.

Are we talking about jets? No. We are talking about arming our armed forces and getting them the best equipment for the future. We are talking about the future defence of this country. When we talk about our crime bill, it is about making our streets safe. That is what Canadians want and that is why Canadians chose us. Maybe she should consider that.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether I want to thank the hon. member for his speech. It was not really a sales pitch for the budget. It was really more a diatribe against the NDP. However, he did say somewhere in there that he would be glad to hear some useful ideas.

I will give him this idea. There are a number of tax credits in this plan but they are non-refundable. I would make the suggestion that they should be refundable so that the least fortunate, the lowest income Canadian, would actually be able to benefit from them. I think that is a good suggestion. I would like to hear what he has to say about it.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, at least we have a suggestion, as opposed to criticism, from the other party. It was not a diatribe against the NDP. It is the NDP that is opposing Canada's action plan. However, he has given us a suggestion and we will look into it to see if it does benefit. We may come back with good news, who knows.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the NDP for the entire day and the last member actually talked about cherry-picking the facts. Who are the New Democrats going to believe? Do they believe the OECD, the IMF, Forbes magazine, Statistics Canada? All of these organizations have talked about the success of Canada through this global downturn and the fact that we added 600,000 new jobs.

The previous NDP member, again cherry-picking, mentioned that the report said that we needed more research and development. What he did not say was that was in the private sector. We lead, per capita, as far as government spending goes, in research and development.

I want to ask my colleague if he thinks that we should replace what the private sector should be doing with taxpayer money?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, first he asked what the NDP believes in, which reports or anything else. I will be very blunt. The NDP will believe in any report that is negative to Canada. That is how it cherry picks.

In answer to my dear colleague's question, it is very simple. There needs to be a good balance between the government and the private sector, but, most important, we know that it is the private sector that will carry the most important innovation and investment. Therefore, our job is to create that environment.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in the House today to speak to Bill C-13, the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act. Our government has made Canada's economy our number one priority. We have been keenly focused on creating jobs and providing the right conditions for economic growth. We recognize the economy is what Canadians are concerned about and we are working hard on their behalf.

The bill that we are debating is an important part of the next phase of Canada's economic action plan. It builds on the tremendous work done by our government to secure Canada's economic success. There are many positive aspects of this bill that are deserving of mention and that I am pleased to address. Most important, this bill is a clear plan to promote job creation. It is a clear plan to create economic growth. It provides support for our communities. It helps families and invests in education and training. Not only does this bill address these many important issues, but it does so while respecting taxpayers, something that has been the hallmark of our government.

This bill contains several measures that would encourage the hiring of more Canadians and create necessary jobs. It would provide a temporary hiring credit for small businesses, the very companies that are so vital to building our economy. This bill would reduce red tape because reducing red tape makes it easier for Canadians to get jobs and keep them. We are also supporting young entrepreneurs by providing $20 million to enable the Canadian Youth Business Foundation to continue assisting young entrepreneurs.

These initiatives—

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Since the government put closure on this bill, one would think members would be here to listen to it. There should be a quorum call right now.