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House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was taxes.

Topics

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did listen.

I am not an expert on the expected payouts that will come from the employment insurance program. I do not have anything intelligent to add to the comment from across the floor.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I begin, I note that the previous speaker from the Liberal side stated that he was happy to continue to pay taxes in order to live in the best country in the world. He provoked enthusiastic applause from his opposition colleagues, which indicates to Canadians that those members on the other side believe that what makes our country the best in the world is taxes.

We understand that it is not taxation, but the hard work of workers, small businesses, entrepreneurs and the Canadian people who make us the best country in the world.

Those members have illustrated the clear difference between the two sides of the House of Commons. I dedicate part of this speech to those on the other side who believe, for example, that the solution to the debt crisis in Europe is to have more debt in Canada, who think we can create jobs by taxing those who hire and who say that the individual cannot be trusted with his own money, but a collection of individuals can be trusted with the money of others.

Those people on the other side say that the individual is too flawed to make his or her own decisions, but that those same flawed individuals, when they combine their flaws in the collective, can make decisions for everyone else.

We on this side understand that it is the basic tenets of freedom, as laid out, for example, in the Bill of Rights of the Right Hon. Prime Minister Diefenbaker. Those freedoms are what make Canada great: freedom of speech; freedom of religion; freedom of association; and also freedom of enterprise and freedom of trade.

On the subject of trade, I will just share a bit of an excerpt from one of the finest economists of the last century, Milton Friedman. He says:

Look at this...pencil, there is not a single person in the world who could make this pencil. Remarkable statement? Not at all. The wood from which it's made, for all I know, comes from a tree that was cut down in the State of Washington. To cut down that tree, it took a saw. To make the saw, it took steel. To make the steel, it took iron ore.

This black center, we call it lead but it's really compressed graphite, I am not sure where it comes from but I think it comes from some mines in South America. This red top up here, the eraser, a bit of rubber, probably comes from Malaya, where the rubber tree isn't even native. It was imported from South America by some businessman with the help of the British government. This brass feral - I haven't the slightest idea where it came from or the yellow paint or the paint that made the black lines - or the glue that holds it together.

Literally thousands of people cooperated to make this pencil. People who don't speak the same language; who practice different religions; who might hate one another if they ever met. When you go down to the store and buy this pencil, you are, in effect, trading a few minutes of your time for a few seconds of the time of all of those thousands of people. What brought them together and induced them to cooperate to make this pencil? There was no Commissar sending out orders from some central office. It was the magic of the price system - the impersonal operation of prices that brought them together and got them to cooperate to make this pencil so that you could have it for a trifling sum.

That is why the operation of the free market is so essential. Not only to promote productive efficiency, but even more, to foster harmony and peace among the peoples of the world.

That is where we disagree with our opposition colleagues, who believe that they can control the economy from the centre. They can issue dictates out to people far and wide, tell them how to run their lives and how to run their family budgets.

Our government on this side has expanded on that international enterprise by bringing in free trade agreements with Panama, Jordan, Colombia, Peru, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland. We are working a trade agreement with the largest market in the world, the European Union. The second most populous country on earth, India. This will allow us to expand the prosperity, creating new markets for our businesses and new products available to our consumers at lower prices, all of these measures opposed by our official opposition, which would build a wall around Canada's system of enterprise.

This is an opposition that speaks often about the pensions of, for example, unionized workers. I give it credit because we should all be concerned with that subject. Defined benefit pension plans are under pressure. What to do? Some say to scale back the entitlements and others say to increase the employer contribution. Neither of these options are very favourable, but there is a third option, and that is to lower business taxes. Virtually every defined benefit plan in the country owns shares in the country's largest and most profitable enterprises. If these businesses make good after tax money, they can pay better dividends to the pension funds that own their shares.

Take the Canada Post pension plan for postal workers. During the recent debate over their strike, members of the NDP simultaneously demanded that the existing pension plan be bolstered while proposing to increase business taxes on the holdings in that very same pension fund. The irony of the two demands is as follows. The top five holdings of the Canada Post pension plan are: the Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, Suncor and Canadian natural resources. They are banks and oil companies, the twin villains in every left-wing storyline.

These are the same enterprises that pay dividends directly to the unionized workers who deliver our mail through Canada Post. These dividends come from after tax profits. If the business tax rises, the after tax profit remaining in the pension fund drops. The Canada Post fund has $202 million invested in the Toronto-Dominion Bank, roughly. As of a couple of weeks ago when I checked, that was the market value of those holdings. When TD profits, it reinvests the money in the growth of the company or it pays dividends to the shareholders. Either way, the pension funds and the pensioners, therefore, benefit.

When we lower taxes for entrepreneurs and businesses, large and small, the beneficiaries in many instances are pensioners, people who are part of defined benefit plans. Businesses are comprised of people. That is something the official opposition refuses to acknowledge. They are employees, shareholders and consumers.

When the NDP proposes to raise taxes on those businesses, it must choose on whom it would raise those taxes, the shareholders, like pensioners, the consumers through higher prices, or the workers through cut wages or lost jobs, because one of those three consequences or a combination of them will surely result when taxes are increased on the nation's enterprises.

The reason why Forbes magazine recently said Canada is the best place to do business is because we are removing the obstacles to success in overregulation and overtaxation, so that enterprises can hire and create more opportunity for Canadians.

The old utopian dream was for workers to become owners of the means of production through a process of forced collectivization. In an ironic twist of fate, it was the capitalistic stock market and not the state that transformed workers into business owners. It was inventions like the RRSP and now the tax free savings account or defined benefit pension plans which hold equities that have allowed everyday blue collar workers, who only a half century ago would have never considered share ownership to even be a distant dream, to now become owners of businesses.

The workers are the owners because in this system of free enterprise that has made our country so strong and made us succeed so vastly, even in this difficult economic time, we have unleashed the ability of workers to achieve the maximum opportunity for themselves and their families, to lift themselves up and succeed in this country.

In order for us to hold these beliefs and realize these successes, we must continue to have faith in Canadians who work hard every day to provide for their families, to share the blessings of this land with their neighbours and loved ones, and to do so without the shackles of the government holding them down and blocking their success.

I am very proud that the people of Nepean—Carleton elected me to carry on this great Canadian tradition of free enterprise and free trade.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the member opposite talks about pencils, we over here in the NDP are actually in the digital economy. I do not see many people using pencils any more.

Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman? This out of touch government is stuck in the 20th century. The World Economic Forum, during the tenure of the government, has ranked Canada's competitiveness. It went from 6th to 9th to 12th. Why is the government content with being number 12? Why does the government not want to be the number one most competitive economy in the world? Why does it not want to do that? Why will it not act to become the most competitive economy in the world?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me state the obvious. Canada is number one. We are the best country in the world.

I know that the hon. member did not like me mentioning the pencil. He was swinging his fists around. He should know that the pen is more powerful than the sword. However, the reality is that the principles I illustrated with the simplicity of a pencil, so that the member could understand them, would apply in the assembly of this BlackBerry. Everything requires that there is an intermingling of interests and productivity from around the world, that every time we build a border to block it, we lose that.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

I have no problem with entertainment. Today is Friday and our work is practically finished here. However, we have rules in this House and I feel that too many props are being used. The member should put down his pencil and BlackBerry. We need to be serious here. He can speak without showing these items. There are numerous examples demonstrating that we cannot do this type of thing in the House.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Yes, of course, members will know that props, other than documents that members can refer to from time to time, indeed are things that are not permitted for display purposes in the House of Commons.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know that I was using a pencil to gesticulate earlier on and one member said that is too out of date; another said that it is too distracting. I will try my best not to use any physical props in order to make my points. But I hope that the weight of these arguments and the success of their implementation over many years, in fact centuries, will be self-evident enough for the hon. members across to understand how the economy works.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comments. I always find him extremely entertaining. I have been asking the different members on the government side the same question. So, let me ask that question of him.

The government's tax credits contained in its budget implementation plan are a good idea. However, in the interest of fairness for those who are of low income, I would like to have his personal opinion on whether or not he thinks it is a reasonable proposition, and it will not cost that much, to make those non-refundable tax credits, and he knows the categories I am talking about, refundable so that we are not actually discriminating against low income Canadians.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, certainly, we will consider any good ideas that come our way. However, keep in mind these are tax credits that were implemented by this government because we believe in lowering taxes and leaving money in the pockets of the people who earn it. We will continue to advance that point of view because we have faith in the hard work, the ingenuity and the industriousness of every Canadian.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I really enjoyed listening to the hon. member speak because I think he speaks with such passion and conviction. All members in this House would have to agree this member has a great grasp on fundamental economics and the drivers of an economy.

I have watched some of the NDP members covering their ears and trying to look away when the hon. member was speaking because they knew that he was speaking the absolute truth.

However, could the member please provide for this House a single example of a country that is a high tax jurisdiction, that is in a high regulatory environment, which is anywhere close to Canada in job creation or economic growth?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are here today to debate a bill to keep Canada's economy and jobs growing. I would like to express my doubts about the effectiveness of such legislative measures, which I feel do very little to encourage economic and job growth.

Yet last week, this same government voted in favour of an opposition motion. The government committed to taking immediate action to create jobs and deal with unemployment. It also committed to taking immediate action so that Canadians can count on guaranteed pension benefits. Unfortunately, we are not seeing these things, and there is every reason to be disappointed with Bill C-13, which is before us today.

I am not at all convinced that this measure will stimulate job creation, improve health care, guarantee a stable retirement for all or tackle poverty among seniors. The hon. member across the way recently spoke of the magic of the free market, but this magic unfortunately does not benefit everyone. Bill C-13 overlooks far too many people who are in need of help from the Government of Canada right now.

We are told that our GDP is fine and that our economic situation is much better than that of many other countries. I do not wish to argue that here today, but even if that is true, we cannot be lulled into thinking—as one easily could be—that if our economy is doing fine, this has a positive impact on all Canadians. That is false. The magic of the free market does not include a magic wand that can be waved for the benefit of all Canadians. In fact, the middle class is shrinking and the gap between the rich and the poor is increasing. Just because the economy is doing alright, that does not mean that everyone benefits. Bill C-13 unfortunately seems to ignore that fact and does nothing to protect those who need any particular support.

I can give examples of measures that will not benefit everyone. For instance, consider the measure to eliminate the $10,000 limit on eligible expenses caregivers can claim under the medical expense tax credit in respect of dependent relatives. It has been mentioned several times today, but I would like to ask once more: do my colleagues across the floor truly believe that the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who are unemployed or living below the poverty line are really going to care about the elimination of a $10,000 limit on expenses that can be claimed for tax credits? I do not think so.

I doubt that the 1.4 million Canadians who are “officially” unemployed will jump for joy at the idea of a $10,000 limit on medical expenses being eliminated when a great deal of money—$11.5 billion—could be invested in other measures besides medical tax credits. It could be invested in getting people back to work, in updating people's professional skills and in retraining. In our recent motion, we also proposed concrete measures such as strategic investments in infrastructure, and tax relief that targets job creations, not the banks and large oil companies.

I do not want anyone to misinterpret what I am saying. I do not mean that this measure in particular is a bad thing. Of course, any help is a good thing. What I find unacceptable is the fact that there is nothing for those who need it most. The proportion of part-time workers who are looking for full-time work has increased very rapidly. The Conservatives brag about the number of jobs that have been created but they do not talk about the quality of those jobs or about the number of people who are still looking for quality, full-time employment. Jobs that truly allow families to make a living are very hard to find in many regions of the country. The actual unemployment rate, which includes discouraged workers who have withdrawn from the labour force and part-time workers who would like to be working full-time was 11.1% in July 2011. It was 9.4% in 2008.

The Conservatives therefore cannot stand idly by patting themselves on the back and telling themselves that they have done all they can and everything is going well. There is still much to be done, yet very little has been proposed today.

These statistics do not show the exorbitant unemployment rate among youth. In 2008, 2.6 million Canadians aged 15 to 24 had a job. Today, only 2.4 million of them are employed. We are therefore seeing another drop here. It is time to seriously tackle unemployment, and I am afraid that there are not enough concrete measures here to truly deal with the problem.

If we consider that 85,000 young people have entered the labour market since 2008, we quickly see that it is not only our seniors who have money problems; our young people do too. Does the government plan to one day give these people some help, which they are entitled to expect from their government?

Tax credits like the ones proposed by the government are generally useless for part-time workers, the unemployed and seniors who live in poverty—basically, for anyone who tries, and fails, to make ends meet every month. These Canadians do not have enough money to spend to have access to these credits and do not pay enough taxes to qualify. However, they are the ones who need the most help right now.

I have a particular interest in seniors, and I would like to take some time to talk about what this bill fails to address. I would like to share my disappointment at the almost complete lack of measures to help our seniors living in poverty. There is nothing in Bill C-13, or virtually nothing. What we see is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Nothing addresses seniors' issues. Most Canadian seniors will not benefit from the measures set out in Bill C-13. Statistics clearly show that a very large number of seniors—not to mention single parents and people who earn minimum wage—live below the poverty line, and two-thirds of these people are women.

In fact, 11 million Canadians do not have an employer-sponsored pension plan, and approximately 250,000 seniors live in poverty. However, last June, the government agreed to address seniors' poverty. What measures did they propose? We saw measures to provide a supplement of approximately $1 a day for seniors living in poverty. Are these the kinds of measures that the government is proposing to truly help poor seniors? I am afraid so, and I also fear that this government believes the file is closed, because there is nothing more in the documents indicating that our seniors' situation will improve.

What is the government proposing to do to address seniors' poverty? I will say it once again: nothing. Today, there is nothing. Once again, I disagree with my colleagues in government. My consultations with seniors' groups, community organizations that provide services to seniors, and workers on the front lines of health care have convinced me that our seniors need affordable and adapted housing, investments in gerontology, investments in home care and services, and investments in a drug plan. I repeat, I am not at all convinced that they need a bill that includes the removal of a $10,000 ceiling for eligible expenses.

Before closing, I would also like to mention my disappointment that the Conservatives want to limit debate on this bill.

I will wait for questions to make further comments.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2:10 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this week we had a number of very encouraging reports on the economy.

First we had the economic growth numbers for Canada, which are up 0.3% in a single month. That is 3.6% annualized growth. It is certainly very strong.

Today new job numbers are out, showing 60,000 net new full-time jobs created in this country. By any measure, that outpaces any of our competitors. The United States, which is ten times our size, created just a few more jobs than we did in total. That demonstrates how well Canada is doing.

There is still more improvement to make, but 7.1% unemployment is certainly much lower than Canada's 30-year average, and we are amid a global economic crisis. I think that Canada is certainly doing well. Forbes magazine rated Canada as the number one place to invest.

Perhaps the member could indicate why she would like to have more debate about a plan that is clearly working. It is time to move on and to keep working on behalf of employees, Canadians and employers.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his comments. I am not ready to say that Canada's economy is presently in tatters. There has been some success, but I do not think the Conservatives should claim that we are far better off than others. I do not think they should be patting themselves on the back and moving on. There are still a lot of people who need strong economic measures. If the hon. member agrees that there are improvements to be made, why not implement them instead of proposing measures that are all smoke and mirrors?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague, the hon. member for Pierrefonds—Dollard, on her passionate speech. She brought up a very interesting issue, that of seniors, and female seniors face particular challenges, as the majority of them live in poverty. I would like her to explain the concerns that are particular to this segment of the population.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, indeed, a large number of our seniors are still living in poverty and, for many reasons, most of them are women. Unfortunately, this government does not seem to consider poverty among seniors in its economic objectives. However, every person in our society is part of the economy. Seniors contribute a great deal to society through volunteer work thanks to their knowledge and expertise. They are part of this huge machine that is the economy and we need to pay serious attention to them.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if my hon. colleague could enlighten the other members.

Since this parliament began on June 2, the Conservatives keep saying that the NDP wants to raise taxes. That is false. We are simply asking the government to stop lowering taxes for large corporations and to stop giving them billions of dollars in perks and gifts. I wonder if my colleague could explain the NDP's plan so that they understand.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her heated question. I would expect nothing less from her.

It is clear that there is a lot of misinformation going around here. Members accuse our party of wanting to increase taxes, saying that everyone will have to pay the price. The NDP is in favour of lowering taxes, but not the taxes of banks and oil companies, which already have a lot of money and high profits. We would rather lower taxes for the people who truly create jobs.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, what a pleasure it is to rise today and speak to Bill C-13, Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act.

Before I do, I would like to wish all my constituents, you, Mr. Speaker, and my colleagues a happy Thanksgiving. I too would like to remind people that there are those who are less fortunate, and if we cannot be there to help out at one of the places that the less privileged go to have a meal, perhaps we could drop a few extra dollars in the collection plate on Sunday or on the day we choose to worship.

While I am on my feet, I would like to congratulate the Progressive Conservative candidate in Northumberland—Quinte West, Rob Milligan, for his success last night in Ontario's election.

As I say, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to this new budget implementation plan.

Our government remains focused on what matters to Canadians. We will follow through on our commitments that we made during the last election. The keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act would make further investments in training and education while enacting new provisions that will support families and communities like those in Northumberland—Quinte West.

I would like to spend just a few moments speaking about the important initiatives included in this bill. Extending the accelerated capital cost allowance would help manufacturers make new investments in machinery and equipment. That means they would be able to create the productivity necessary to compete with other countries in this very competitive global economy.

Providing a hiring credit for small business, which will be a one-time credit of up to $1,000 to encourage additional hiring, is geared specifically to those small enterprises that foresee making an investment in human resources and creating one or perhaps two jobs that will give somebody a living wage and at the same time increase their competitiveness and create an even better economy.

Another measure would enhance the medical expense tax credit by removing the limit on the amount of eligible medical expenses that can be claimed on behalf of a financially dependent relative.

With regard to Canadian families, the government's economic plan would support families through targeted initiatives such as the children's arts tax credit, which would provide up to $500 in eligible fees for programs associated with arts, culture and recreational activities.

I am always encouraging my children. I only had two, and they each have two. I think that is about the Canadian average. If people happen to have a son or a daughter, because of what the government has done with regard to assistance to families, if their son happens to play hockey, there would be a $500 tax credit. If their son wants to take guitar or piano lessons, this initiative in the budget would provide an additional $500. If they have a daughter who plays ringette or badminton, there would be $500 for her.

In total, for a family of two who are very active in their community, and I would suggest Canadians are active in their communities, there would be significant benefits in this budget for just such a family. I encourage all my constituents and Canadians to take full advantage of those benefits.

The bill also addresses one of the most dangerous challenges to our health in this country, and that is obesity. This government wants to incent people to go out and be the fullest, best people they can be by becoming active in sport and by becoming active mentally and displaying those talents that the good Lord gave us, whether they be in music, vocal, painting or sculpting.

Also included in this budget is the family caregiver tax credit, which would provide up to $2,000 for the caregivers of loved ones with infirmities.

This budget has targets and initiatives that will benefit all Canadians. However, there are also multiple aspects of this budget that will benefit my riding of Northumberland—Quinte West. There is $20 million in funding over the next two years for the eastern Ontario development program. The EODP is essential for the funding and support of our local Community Futures Development Corporation. The CFDC provides direct guidance and consultation to local businesses and helps foster growth and prosperity throughout eastern Ontario and in my riding of Northumberland—Quinte West.

I often speak with constituents who are starting a new business. It may be someone with a talent in hairdressing or someone who is a good cook and wants to open up a healthy neighbourhood restaurant like the 100 Mile Diner. At one time the items on that diner's menu contained only products and produce found within 100 miles to support local agriculture. The CFDCs are there to help.

For the entrepreneur who wants to expand his or her business beyond the borders of Ontario or Canada into the United States, the CFDCs are there to help mentor and provide access to those avenues of additional funding, whether they be venture funding or funding through the Export Development Bank. There is hundreds of millions of dollars to support innovation, investment and market diversification.

We are legislating a permanent gas tax rebate for municipalities. This means a total annual investment of some $2 billion in gas tax funding for infrastructure priorities in Canadian municipalities. The rebate is also a sign that the government realizes the challenges that Canadians with low incomes face. As such, the rebate is an attempt to further ensure that infrastructure costs are not downloaded onto the taxpayer.

What does this really mean?

By legislating this, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities says that the municipalities that want to leverage their gas tax money to acquire funds to build the infrastructure necessary to attract businesses and to further develop their communities would be able to do so.

The government is there for municipalities, unlike past governments which, to balance their books, actually downloaded costs onto the provinces which further downloaded costs onto the municipalities. We are doing the exact opposite. I am very proud of that.

We are establishing a volunteer firefighter tax credit for firefighters who bravely serve our communities. This tax credit is of great importance to many of my constituents who live in communities like mine that often rely on volunteer firefighters.

Whenever I go into the village of Warkworth where I live or the other towns and villages in my riding, the first thing I notice is the volunteer fire stations in those smaller communities. Men and women are prepared to jump into their vehicles at any time of the day or night to help save people's homes and lives. While we sleep soundly in our beds, they are out there helping people, sometimes in the worst weather conditions. We need to help them.

Bill C-13 reinforces the government's commitment to the communities of eastern Ontario. The bill includes a tax credit for volunteer firefighters, legislation for a gas tax rebate and infrastructure for funding for the eastern Ontario development program. These initiatives will encourage job growth in our communities and put more money into the pockets of the hard-working people of Northumberland—Quinte West.

In listening to some of the questions and answers today we were given a good lesson on how something as simple as a pencil can increase employment and make the communities in which we live an even better place.

When I hear people talking about less privileged Canadians, I think of all the good work we have done in previous budgets. We have taken one million low income Canadians off the federal tax rolls completely. Many of those Canadians are seniors, like my mother, who asked for an increase in the guaranteed income supplement. We provided that. I was proud to be able to call her to tell her that.

My mother was at my re-election victory party and I told her about her input with regard to single seniors. Most of the single seniors are mothers like mine who depend on their old age pension and their guaranteed income supplement. I know that she, as well as many of my constituents, were happy with the second increase in the guaranteed income supplement.

It is for that reason and many more that I encourage all members of the House to support Bill C-13.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was listening closely to my colleague's speech. He provided a very long list of tax credits being proposed in this budget. Unfortunately, for the most part, they are non-refundable. Therefore these tax credits mean nothing to those who do not pay taxes or pay very little in taxes, because they will not be able to use them. The bottom line is that those who need help the most to ensure that their children can take part in certain activities will not have access to these measures.

How will encouraging these measures help those who are most needy right now?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, if we were to take each of these tax measures individually, they may fall short in some other area. However, if we were to take them globally, and if we were to take the two previous budgets, we would see that, as I mentioned before, a million low-income Canadians no longer pay federal income tax.

We heard that just this month this economy created, through the good guidance of our government, 60,000 additional jobs. That, added to the 600,000, provides for people who did not have a job before.

What my hon. colleague also needs to know is that all of these measures that I just explained, in addition to many others, we had six weeks of an election campaign where we campaigned on these measures. My constituents, as well as most of the rest of Canada, at least those people who sent this side of the House here, said that they were good measures, that they were the measures that were right for our economy and that they were the measures that they thought we needed to have. We agree with them and they agreed with us, which is why we are presenting this budget again.

I am confident that every member of the House, if they really give it some non-partisan thought, will think it is a great idea and will vote for it.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Northumberland—Quinte West will have three minutes remaining for questions and comments at the next occasion that the House considers this motion.

I will take this time to wish all hon. members, and express those same sentiments to the tremendous staff of the House of Commons, our clerks, pages, viewers here this afternoon and all members who have joined us this afternoon, a terrific Thanksgiving weekend.

I would like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving weekend.

It being 2:30 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, October 17 at 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Orders 24(1) and 28(2).

(The House adjourned at 2:30 p.m.)