This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberals.

Topics

A message from His Excellency the Governor General transmitting supplementary estimates (C) for the financial year ending March 31, 2011, was presented by the President of the Treasury Board and read by the Speaker to the House.

National Strategy for Serious Injury Reduction in Amateur Sport ActRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-616, An Act respecting a national strategy to reduce the incidence of serious injury in amateur sport.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in the House today to introduce a bill that represents an important first step in addressing the serious concussion epidemic plaguing our sports community. This bill is the result of a great deal of research and consultation with the sports, health and academic communities.

This bill is entitled an act respecting a national strategy to reduce the incidence of serious injury in amateur sport. If passed, the bill will create a national sports injury surveillance and data collection system, establish substantive concussion guidelines, including a sufficient deterrent mechanism to ensure athletes are not being returned to play against expressed medical recommendations, create a national strategy and educational standards for coaches and other persons involved in amateur sport, and institute incentivized funding guidelines to assist amateur sports organizations in implementing these protocols.

I encourage all members to support the bill. I encourage the government to review the contents of the bill and consider what is being asked. The government has an opportunity to take a leadership role on this public health crisis and I hope for the sake of our young athletes that it rises to the challenge.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Justice for Victims Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill S-7, An Act to deter terrorism and to amend the State Immunity Act.

(Motion deemed adopted and bill read the first time)

Neurological DiseasesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions that Victorians have signed because of the diligent efforts of Chris Groot, an 18-year-old student at St. Michaels University in Victoria, to help more than 100,000 Canadians suffering from Parkinson's diseases and other neurological diseases.

The petitioners note the growing gravity of these conditions and are asking the government to increase federal funding for the prevention of neurological diseases and for a cure for Parkinson's disease.

Multiple SclerosisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a third petition signed by 70 of my constituents who are asking the government to accelerate the efforts to make the CCSVI treatment available to Canadians suffering from multiple sclerosis.

AfghanistanPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my petition deals with Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan.

As we all know, in May 2008, Parliament passed a resolution to withdraw the forces by July 2011. The Prime Minister, with the agreement of the Liberal Party, broke his oft-repeated promise to honour the parliamentary motion and, furthermore, refuses to put it to a vote in the House.

Committing 1,000 soldiers to a training mission still presents a danger to our troops and an unnecessary expense when our country is faced with a $56 billion deficit. The military mission has cost Canadians more than $18 billion so far, money that could have been used to improve health care and seniors pensions right here in Canada.

In fact, polls show that a clear majority of Canadians do not want Canada's military presence to continue after the scheduled removal date of July 2011. Therefore, the petitions call upon the Prime Minister to honour the will of Parliament and bring the troops home now.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.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 ask that all questions be allow to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

February 8th, 2011 / 10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

moved:

That, in the opinion of the House, the Government’s decision to proceed with cuts to the tax rate for large corporations fails to address the economic needs of Canadian families, and this House urges the Government to reverse these corporate tax cuts and restore the tax rate for large corporations to 2010 levels in the upcoming Budget.

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time today with the member from Brossard—La Prairie.

The Liberal Party has a history of prudent fiscal management and balanced budgets. Under the previous Liberal government, deficits that had persisted for decades were finally eliminated by Prime Minister Chrétien and finance minister, Paul Martin. The books were balanced and Canada posted nine consecutive surpluses.

The Chrétien and Martin governments put prudent financial measures in place, including the $3 billion annual contingency reserve, otherwise known as the rainy day fund. We made sound investments in public infrastructure, in research and development and in people. The Liberals listened to and worked with the provinces. Historic health and social transfer agreements were reached, giving the provinces long-term, predictable funding that enabled them to make investments and provide the services that Canadian families and our aging population needed.

Within this environment of sound fiscal management, the Liberals cut personal and corporate income taxes. I believe in personal and corporate income tax cuts and so does the Liberal Party. In fact, the Liberals cut the corporate income tax rate from 28% to 21% in four years as part of the largest income tax cut in Canadian history. However, as Liberals we did so sensibly, during times of surplus, never risking the public treasury or the programs that Canadian families depended on.

What a difference five years under the Conservatives has made.

When the Conservatives were elected, they inherited a surplus of $13 billion from the Liberal government. But after increasing spending by 18% in three years—three times higher than the inflation rate—the Conservatives plunged Canada into a deficit before the financial crisis even hit.

They increased the size of government by a whopping 40% in just four years while, at the same time, with their ill-advised, economically stupid tax policy, they gutted the government's capacity to pay for the programs that it was spending on. The Conservatives borrowed and spent their way toward a record $56 billion deficit, the largest in Canadian history.

While the finance minister is now promising to balance the books by 2015-16, the truth is that he has no credible plan to get Canada there. It is no wonder that the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the IMF both report that the finance minister will not be able to keep his word and balance the books.

In fact, after five years of the Conservatives' borrow and spend agenda, the IMF and the PBO believe that the Conservatives have given Canada a structural deficit. Structural deficits are bad for business. They create uncertainty. With ballooning debt levels, the public's ability to sustain investments in infrastructure and social programs like health care and education are imperiled. Persistent deficits also create higher taxes for the future as tax bills get deferred and higher interest costs are factored in. The best thing that the government can do to improve the business climate in Canada is to get back to balanced budgets.

We must bring Canada back to a balanced budget.

There is also a moral imperative for the government to prepare for the large demographic shift facing our country and its people. We have a rapidly aging population that will place greater demands on our health care system. At the same time, more and more Canadians are looking to retire, at least those who can afford to, so there will be fewer people in the labour force paying taxes.

Under the Conservatives, we are also seeing both higher unemployment numbers and, at the same time, higher labour shortages. We have jobs without people and people without jobs. The need to invest in learning and training has never been greater.

With record deficits, an aging population, increased demands on health care and education and a shrinking tax base, this is no time for the Conservatives to gut Canada's fiscal capacity with corporate tax cuts on borrowed money, corporate tax cuts we simply cannot afford right now.

As cost-sharing agreements with the provinces get ready to expire in 2014, why are the Conservatives gutting the federal government's fiscal capacity now, right before negotiations are set to start with the provinces on important health care and social transfers?

There is no pressing need to cut corporate taxes further at this time. Canada already has a competitive corporate tax rate. It is 25% lower than the U.S. rate and the second lowest in the G7.

It is also clear that corporate tax cuts are not always the most effective way to create jobs. The Conservatives' own numbers show that when it comes to creating jobs and economic growth over the last two years, a dollar spent on public infrastructure has been eight times more effective than a dollar spent on corporate tax cuts.

Last week, the chief economic analyst at Statistics Canada, Philip Cross, described any impact of further corporate tax cuts on Canada's economy as “trivial” and “relatively small”, given the huge flow of money driven by other forces.

With Canada's weakened fiscal position under the Conservatives, coupled with the fact that Canada's corporate tax rate is already comparatively low, it is bad policy for the government to borrow even more money to pay for further corporate tax cuts we do not need and cannot afford at this time. We are calling on the government to restore the corporate tax rates to 2010 levels so that we can balance the budget and invest in the government programs that Canadian families depend on.

Right now, Canadian families are finding it difficult just to make ends meet. Canadian families are paying 29% more for out-of-pocket health care expenses. Over 40% of family care givers are using personal savings just to get by, just to survive.

Under the Conservatives, household debt is at a record high. The typical Canadian family now owes $1.50 for every dollar of disposable income. Personal bankruptcy rates are up by 33%. Students are also facing a personal debt wall as nearly two-thirds of parents think they will not be able to afford post-secondary education for their children, and 16% of low income students already plan to delay their education because of high student debt.

That is why the Liberals would cancel the most recent corporate income tax cut and use that money to reduce the deficit, put us back into surplus and to invest in the priorities of Canadians, helping Canadians with the rising cost of living, family care giving, saving for retirement and access to post-secondary education.

The Conservative finance minister has in the past supported delaying planned corporate tax cuts. In 2002, as an Ontario cabinet minister, the minister voted to delay corporate tax cuts that he himself had announced the year before. He did so because of a financial downturn related to what he referred to as “extraordinary circumstances”.

The Conservatives' record deficits and fiscal mismanagement have once again presented Canada with extraordinary circumstances. That is why I moved the motion, which reads:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government's decision to proceed with cuts to the tax rate for large corporations fails to address the economic needs of Canadian families, and this House urges the government to reverse these corporate tax cuts and restore the tax rate for large corporations to 2010 levels in the upcoming budget.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his speech. However, I most certainly disagree with what he is proposing. As a matter of fact, I would like to quote a member of this House who said:

—we cannot increase corporate taxes without losing corporate investment. If we lose corporate investment, we have a less productive economy.... That means fewer jobs. That means more poverty.

Would members like to know who said that? It was the member for Kings—Hants.

I come from Oshawa, and right now our largest employer, General Motors, is just coming out of a bankruptcy and is restructuring. In Ontario's economy there are many manufacturing corporations that, as we speak, need every ounce of those dollars to reinvest in productivity. They need those dollars to reinvest in pensions and benefits.

I ask the member if he disagrees with Ontario's finance minister, Dwight Duncan, who said that scrapping such a big slice of corporate tax cuts would hurt the fragile economic recovery by raising taxes on the struggling forestry and automotive sectors. He stated:

It is about the most short-sighted, dumb public policy pronouncement one can envision.

He said that just two weeks ago.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party certainly believes in competitive corporate tax rates. That is why the Liberal government, under Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien, cut corporate taxes from 29% to 21% during times of surplus.

It is a fundamentally different argument to cut corporate taxes during times of surplus, when we can afford to do so, and to cut corporate taxes during times of record deficits, when we clearly cannot afford to. That is the difference between cutting corporate taxes in the past, when we had those surpluses, and today.

Today we need to protect Canada's fiscal capacity to invest in the priorities of Canadians in the future. The reality is that putting Canada further into debt today to cut the corporate taxes of some of the most profitable corporations in Canada will not create more jobs, but will create more debt and lead to higher taxes in the future.

It is morally wrong to pay for today's tax cuts on borrowed money, which will force the next generations of Canadians to pay higher taxes for reduced services. It is bad economics and that is why we are defending the Canadian people against this kind of misguided economic policy of the Conservatives.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, thank you for recognizing me.

Just recently, I was reading some statistics that showed that the annual profit of the six major banks in Canada totalled over $20 billion in 2010. That is an increase of $6 billion compared to the previous year.

This Conservative government is going after the middle class and the least fortunate. It continues to lower taxes for major corporations at the expense of funding and improving the employment insurance system for the unemployed, helping low-income seniors with the guaranteed income supplement and indexing funds for seniors. A number of measures to help the middle class and the least fortunate just are not there. The government is simply increasing the profits of the major banks and the oil industry.

I have a question for the member. When will we see a real change in these policies, knowing that the Liberals did the same thing in 2003 by supporting tax cuts for the oil industry?

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

It is clear that the well-being of Canada's middle class is not a priority for the Conservatives. We believe that it is also important to make investments for seniors, particularly in light of current demographic changes. There will be more seniors, and it is very important to invest in our health care system now, across Canada, and to be prepared to invest more in the future, particularly with the accord negotiations in 2014. It is very important to work with the provincial governments to make investments.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the member for Kings—Hants for sharing his time with me.

I am pleased to rise today to talk about choices. We are here to talk about choosing between corporate tax cuts and helping Canadian families. We are here to talk about a government that does not govern but simply strives for more power.

We are here to talk about what is important to Canadians, because on this side of the House we are listening to Canadians. We are listening to their wants and their needs.

We are here to talk about corporate tax cuts. Are they something Canadians want? Are they something Canadians need?

Canada cannot afford to give big corporations $6 billion in tax cuts because of a record $56 billion deficit caused by the Conservatives. I believe in competitive corporate tax rates. Liberal governments cut corporate tax rates from 28% to 19% when we had a budget surplus.

The Conservatives had led Canada into a deficit situation even before the recession started, and with a deficit of $56 billion we cannot afford to borrow billions of dollars more in order to give tax cuts to Canada’s big corporations.

Education and innovation, foreign investment, energy efficiency, environmental innovation, better Canada-United States relations and a credible approach to budget cuts are key elements in our plan for the Canadian economy in the medium term.

But our immediate economic priorities start and end with reducing the tax burden on middle-class Canadian families because they are facing ever-growing demands in terms of caring for family members, pensions, post-secondary education and sustained employability.

After five years under the Conservatives, the situation of Canadian families has not improved in any way, and $21 billion for the untendered purchase of stealth fighter planes, megaprisons and tax cuts for big corporations will certainly not bring them any relief.

Reducing corporate taxes now is irresponsible and costly. Unlike in 2007, when these taxes were voted on, Canada now has a $56 billion deficit and has piled up over $200 billion in new debt because of the utter and complete incompetence of this government. These additional tax cuts for big corporations will have to be paid for with borrowed money.

More tax cuts for corporations are not necessary. Last year, the Bank of Canada said the income tax rate in Canada was the most attractive in the world. In Canada, corporate taxes have been cut by 35% in recent years, and we now have the second-lowest rate in the G7, after the United Kingdom. Our rate is 25% lower than the rate in the United States.

In fact, the Conservatives are raising taxes. When the government wants to give tax cuts to big corporations in Canada, it raises employment insurance premiums, and this means it raises the tax burden on small businesses. The Conservatives simply do not understand. They raise the payroll taxes on all employers and employees, which eliminates jobs, while cutting the tax rate for big corporations.

The Conservatives are not offering tax cuts for small business. In reality, their $6 billion in tax cuts will not apply to 95% of the 2.2 million companies carrying on business in Canada. These tax cuts are not a viable proposition. The Department of Finance has said that tax cuts are not an effective way of creating jobs and contributing to the growth of the economy in the short term. Supporting infrastructure, housing and families is a much more effective way of encouraging growth and job creation.

The Liberals know that middle-class families are in a difficult situation. They are having problems with debt levels and the rising cost of living, caring for family members, saving for retirement and access to post-secondary education. These are the priorities the Liberals are focusing on. The Conservatives have ignored these issues and chosen instead to spend billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on fighter planes without a bidding process and on tax cuts for big corporations.

After five years of Conservative government, Canadians' lives have gone downhill. Canada is no longer as fair, the rich are getting richer and middle-class families' incomes have plateaued. Families are facing mounting pressure. Their breaking point is not far off.

The Liberals will make different choices and stand up for Canadian families and their priorities. We will cancel the $16 billion agreement in principle for fighter jets, and will save billions of dollars by holding an open, competitive tendering process to replace the CF-18 aircraft.

The Liberal's approach to the deficit will be credible and effective. Within the first two years of a Liberal government, the deficit will be reined in to 1% of GDP. This will be further reduced every year until a balanced budget is restored. The Liberals will re-establish an economic prudence fund as part of the budget process so as to provide a cushion as we set out to meet our objectives.

The Liberals will control spending and work with the public service to identify targeted and sustainable efficiencies. We will refrain from proposing anything in our upcoming platform that cannot be financed without increasing the deficit.

The Liberal Party intends to promote equal opportunities for middle-class families under its Liberal family care plan so that caregivers will no longer have to leave the labour market in order to look after their loved ones. The Liberal Party also intends to reduce the cost of post-secondary education and occupational training so that Canadians have access to full-time, highly skilled, well-paid jobs in a competitive global marketplace. The Liberal Party intends to increase the number of early childhood education and child care spaces so that parents have an opportunity to remain at work while their children are in reliable, good quality child care. The Liberal Party will also propose a voluntary supplement to the Canada Pension Plan so that the 75% of private-sector wage earners who do not have a retirement plan have access to one that is simple and inexpensive.

We will cancel the tax breaks the Conservative government gave to big corporations and we will freeze the rate of taxation at 2010 levels. Canada's corporate tax rates are already among the lowest of the G8 countries and are 25% below the rates in the United States. The Liberals will reinvest these savings in order to reduce the deficit and meet the priorities of Canada's middle-class families: pensions, education, health care and family care. There are real challenges facing working families. The Liberal Party will fight for these priorities.

Choosing families over large corporations is a matter of principle that Liberals will not barter away. We are calling on all parties to take a principled stand against billions in more tax cut giveaways during a time of deficit, money that would be better directed toward relieving the burden of middle-class families.

The Conservatives have delivered nothing to ease the burden on middle-class families. Instead, the government has refused to budge from its original plan of adding to its record deficit in order to pay for more corporate tax breaks that we cannot afford right now. Liberals continue to call for measures in the upcoming budget that would alleviate the economic pressures on Canadian families struggling with record personal debt, measures such as support for family care and post-secondary education and pension reform.

I am disappointed that the Conservatives ignored our advice to stop borrowing money to cut taxes for our largest corporations. Now it falls to the other opposition parties to take a principled stand in favour of middle-class families by refusing to support the Conservatives' unaffordable tax cut plan.

My party and I are listening to Canadians and we have heard that they do not want corporate tax cuts. They do not need corporate tax cuts. Now the question is: Will the government govern or will it continue to push for more power while ignoring the needs of Canadian families?

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to what both Liberal members said. One of them mentioned what the IMF said, which I think he misrepresented. This is what the IMF really said on December 22, 2010:

Canada has weathered well the global recession.... [And the government's] ambitious fiscal consolidation plans include growth-friendly measures to support Canada’s long-run economic potential, notably...cuts in corporate income tax.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague why she and her party are so anxious to take away from 100,000 Canadian corporations the ability to create jobs and increase Canada's economic potential?

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we clearly do not want to take away the ability of Canadian companies to be competitive and create jobs in a tax environment that would be beneficial to them. Still, Canada must determine how much it can actually afford to reduce taxes for the most profitable companies in the country. We are not talking about small or medium-sized companies, which will be burdened with additional employment insurance contributions. We want to maintain a degree of flexibility in Canada so that help can be provided to Canadian families. Major corporations do not need that help right now, and we are not in the financial situation to be able to offer these tax cuts.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to rise on this important issue, as I have so many times in the past. It is interesting to see the Liberal position on this. I remember quite vividly, even months ago, that whenever we spoke about the failing corporate tax cut reductions not leading to job improvements, the Liberals would literally light their hair on fire and scream at the socialist agenda. We would see that go on. It was like the sky was falling in.

Now we see this reversal of policy and it is interesting. The former Liberal finance critic said:

We're the party of deep corporate tax cuts, and I'd like to see Canada as the Ireland of North America.

That is a real good suggestion from the Liberals. Basically, we have seen Ireland having to be bailed out now, and one of the reasons is because it has no income stream coming back in even for government services.

I would like to pose this question to the member. If it is morally inappropriate, as the member for Kings—Hants said, to borrow money to pay for corporate tax cuts now, why did the Liberals join with the Conservatives to borrow $6 billion to bring in the HST, which is going to cost $8 billion to $10 billion after the interest is paid, according to an independent economic analysis?

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, as far as I remember, and I was not elected then, we were still in a surplus situation when those cuts to the HST were brought forward. Obviously, at the time, it seemed like it was possible for the polyfinances to support those kinds of cuts. It is not the case right now. We are in a major deficit; the largest deficit Canada has ever known. We cannot bring forth tax cuts at a moment when Canada is borrowing money to pay for basic services to its citizens. It is as simple as that.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today and speak to this issue.

The Liberal leader would have Canadians believe that he will simply freeze the taxes on job creators, but that statement is actually false and misleading. The Liberal plan aims to raise taxes. Our tax reductions have brought tax levels to 16.5% as of January 1, but the Liberal plan is to raise that to 18%.

I simply want to ask the opposition member if they will increase taxes from the current rate of 16.5% to 18%.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have no problem confirming that we would restore tax rates to 2010 levels. We would not be raising taxes, we would be returning them to 2010 levels. Since last year we have been calling for taxes not to be reduced on January 1st.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I wish to stand here as the newly-appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and address this very important question. This opportunity to stand up against the tax and spend philosophy of the Liberal Party, as demonstrated through today's attack on Canada's job creators, is an important one.

While our Conservative government believes in keeping taxes low for Canadians, the Liberal Party is always looking for ways to increase taxes on Canadians, as just suggested by the Liberal member who has confirmed they will raise the tax rate from 16.5% to 18%. The Liberals do not think Canadian families or businesses, still trying to recover from the worst recession since World War II, are sending enough of their hard-earned money to Ottawa.

While the Conservative government believes in keeping taxes low, the Liberal Party is always looking for ways to tax Canadians.

The Liberals, the people behind the HRSDC boondoggle, the sponsorship scandal, the wasteful long gun registry, and countless other examples of wasting taxpayers' money, want families to forget about trying to save their money for their retirement and for their kids education because they want it. From a GST hike, to the carbon tax, and now increasing taxes on Canadian businesses, the Liberal Party is constantly thinking up ways to have big government in Ottawa dig deeper and deeper into the pockets of hard-working Canadians.

The Liberal leader himself has been at the forefront of a tax hike movement. He is a self-described tax and spend Liberal. He was the first Liberal to propose a carbon tax. He has publicly demanded a GST hike. During the worst of the global recession in 2009, he went to southwest Ontario, among the regions most negatively impacted, and publicly boasted that under a future Liberal government federal taxes must go up and we will have to raise taxes.

Clearly, then, it is well established that the Liberal leader believes that higher taxes and more government deficit spending are the way to go when it comes to the economy.

Our Conservative government believes that higher taxes are harmful to families and businesses. The tax hikes called for by the Liberals will curtail growth and the economic recovery and will cost Canadians jobs. For that reason, we are determined to reduce the tax burden through our policy of low taxation, which, together with Canada's economic action plan, helped Canada get through the recent economic crisis better than other industrialized countries. While the global economy continues its fragile recovery from the worst recession since World War II, Canada remains one of the least affected countries.

That is why we are committed to keeping taxes low through our low tax plan, a plan that, along with Canada's economic action plan, has helped Canada weather the recent economic storm better than other industrialized countries around the world.

Indeed, as the global economy continues its fragile recovery from the worst and deepest recession since World War II, Canada has remained among the least affected.

We know the Liberals like to constantly talk down the Canadian economy, but the facts are clear. The Canadian economy has seen five consecutive quarters of growth. Over 460,000 new jobs have been created in the last year and a half, the strongest job growth in the G7. Our financial system has been again ranked the soundest in the world. Statistics Canada announced that nearly 70,000 net new jobs were created in January.

Additionally, both the IMF and OECD continue to project that Canada will have among the strongest average growth in the G7. As the Conference Board of Canada recently declared:

Canada is clearly in better shape than almost anybody else in the world.

Or, as the New York Post enviously reported, following the announcement of Canada's strong January job numbers:

--Canada's economic comeback seems to be in full gear, no rose-colored glasses required. Back here in the US, the first report of 2011 shows a situation that is the near-polar opposite, as the jobs picture looks as tricky as ever. (...) Yes, Canada is leading the continent out of the Great Recession. Let's hope the President and the Fed Chief are taking notice.

What a fantastic quote to really honour the efforts of this government here in Canada.

Nevertheless, Canadian workers and businesses were negatively affected during the global recession. What is more, ongoing events beyond our borders, especially in the United States and Europe, posed risks to a sustained economic recovery. However, as widely acknowledged, Canada has been both better prepared for and has better responded to the recent economic turmoil.

Indeed, prior to the onset of the recession, our Conservative government situated Canada in an enviable economic position with significant personal and business tax relief, key investments to improve the country's infrastructure, record health and social transfer support to provinces and territories, and much more. What is more, our nearly $40 billion in aggressive debt reduction ensured Canada has more flexibility when competing in the global downturn.

We built on our already strong economic record with the introduction of a timely and effective response to the global recession, Canada's economic action plan. The plan was a $60 billion shot in the arm for the Canadian economy when it needed it the most. This plan proved instrumental in fuelling growth and putting Canadians back to work.

So, what did we do as part of this plan? Taxes were lowered. Benefits and retraining were expanded for the unemployed. Over 26,000 job-creating, infrastructure-improving, projects were launched. Major investments were made in science and technology. Vital support was extended to struggling sectors of the economy like the auto and forestry sectors. Extraordinary steps were taken to improve access to financing, and much more. Clearly, Canada's economic action plan has proven a tremendous success.

As of December 2010, it is estimated that the economic action plan has created or maintained over 220,000 jobs. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities agrees, noting the plan has been effective and has created a lot of jobs.

Despite Canada's relative position of strength, compared to other countries, we cannot rest on our laurels by adopting the Liberals' dangerous spending policies. In order for Canadian families to benefit from the economic recovery, our Conservative government will continue to make the economy and job creation its priorities, while remaining firmly committed to returning to balanced budgets.

That is why our Conservative government is preparing the next step in Canada's economic action plan. A key element of this next step is our unwavering commitment to our job creation and tax reduction program.

Once again, in contrast to the Liberal opposition's tax and spend policy, we believe that Canadians should not have to pay higher taxes, period. That is why, since first being elected in 2006, our government has reduced more than 100 types of taxes. We have in fact reduced all types of taxes collected by the government: personal income taxes, consumption taxes, corporate taxes, excise taxes and more. We have lowered the GST from 7% to 5%. We have removed more than one million low-income Canadians from the tax rolls.

We have created a legacy of tax relief by reducing taxes on savings with the new tax-free savings account. We have reduced the overall tax burden to its lowest level in nearly 50 years.

Our Conservative government's tax reduction plan has already made it possible for the average Canadian family to pocket tax savings of more than $3,000 per year, as well they should.

The tax and spend Liberals and their big government friends may not like that, but our Conservative government has delivered for Canadian taxpayers.

As Andrew Jackson, the chief economist of the left-leaning Canadian Labour Congress, begrudging admitted recently:

They [the Conservatives] have really implemented the tax cut agenda they championed when in opposition.

We are also lowering taxes on job creators, leaving more money in the pockets of Canadian businesses to grow our economy and jobs.

Since 2006 our government has been working to create the best possible climate in which businesses can invest. This plan is not a short-term plan but a long-term plan announced and passed by Parliament in 2007 to reduce taxes, to encourage investment and the creation of jobs, a plan that is making Canada one of the best places in the world to do business and to invest. The purpose of our long-term plan is to allow businesses to have the certainty of a stable tax regime so that they can plan ahead.

Businesses, like families making a household budget, do not make major investments overnight. They plan ahead for the level of taxation they will face and how much money they will have left to invest in their business, invest in productivity, improving machinery and equipment, and most importantly, to invest in more workers, more families, more individuals with children to create them more jobs.

That is not all that we have done. We also eliminated the federal capital tax. We increased the income limit for the small business tax rate to $500,000. We reduced the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%, and much more.

Canada's long-term economic recovery will be driven by our job creators, by the entrepreneurial hard-working Canadians, businesses large and small, by their hard work, not permanent government deficit spending as advocated by the Liberal leader. That is why our Conservative government is backing an ambitious plan to create a competitive low tax environment for job creators to succeed.

The Liberals are saying we should raise taxes on job creators. Should we do that now as we try to recover from a global economic recession? We know that higher taxes mean less money for businesses to invest. That means fewer jobs in Canada and more unemployment for our families. We know that higher taxes mean more unemployment in Canada.

Our Conservative government is working to create jobs in Canada. We realize the best way to do that is to encourage job creators to actually grow.

In fact, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters recently released an analysis that concluded that reducing corporate taxes “creates jobs, boosts investment...and puts more money in the pockets of the Canadians”. The conclusions of the report, which I encourage Canadians to read online, show that the Conservative government's plan to reduce the tax burden is creating nearly 100,000 jobs in the short term. It is increasing the personal incomes of Canadians by $30.4 billion or 2.4%. It is increasing per capita personal income by $880 and is contributing from $2.6 billion to $3.7 billion in additional net revenues for all levels of government.

Maybe the Liberals could look at the recently released study by a respected academic, University of Calgary economist Jack Mintz, who predicts over 200,000 jobs will be created due to our low tax plan over the long term. In the words of Professor Mintz:

We’re just beginning to stake our claim as a country that is good for business. To revoke Canada's planned corporate tax cuts would reverse that trend, and cost jobs, business growth and competitiveness. Calling for an increase in corporate taxation is irresponsible policy as far as the overall economy is concerned.

Maybe the Liberals should actually talk to private sector businesses across Canada, businesses which, despite the fact they employ the vast majority of Canadians, the Liberal leader seems more content with demonizing and threatening for cheap political purposes.

The Liberals really should meet with some business people, for instance from the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association, which recently told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance that it recommended:

...that the already announced corporate tax reductions be fully implemented in coming years. The best way for the federal government to spur investment in job creation is to allow businesses to reinvest more of their profits to fund self-sustaining private sector growth. Our members, and indeed all businesses, require a large degree of stability and certainty regarding tax policy in future years. To plan for one set of previously announced tax reductions while conducting medium- and long-term business planning only to learn down the road that they may not be implemented is the very opposite of the certainty businesses need to create self-sustaining economic recovery.

The Forest Products Association of Canada emphasized that “the tax reductions announced in 2007...are an important part of the industry's recovery plan for the period ahead”.

Even the Canadian Chamber of Commerce noted that:

The single most important or most damaging thing the government could do at this point to stall the recovery would be to cancel the planned tax reductions. Business has been planning on them. The private sector has been hiring based on them. The private sector has been investing based on them. If suddenly those were repealed at this point, the impact would be to get business to shelve its plans for expansion and getting people back to work.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business proclaimed that the planned business tax cuts are necessary. This has been laid out as a plan for several years now and businesses do not just plan on a three-month basis. Changing direction is problematic for a number of different reasons. If that is to happen we are already seeing favourable foreign investment flow into Canada, which benefits everyone ultimately as a result of being reasonably competitive. We are still not competitive where we are now compared to some countries. We are getting there.The notion that this is some outrageous thing is just dead wrong. Also, it is not just big companies that benefit, small and medium-sized companies benefit as well by lower corporate income tax rates.

That is from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. I do not understand why the Liberals choose to ignore that kind of expertise.

Maybe they should talk to Ontario's Liberal finance minister, Dwight Duncan, who said:

Scrapping such a big slice of corporate tax cuts would hurt the fragile economic recovery by raising taxes on the struggling forestry and automotive sectors. It is about the most short-sighted, dumb public policy pronouncement one can envision.

While our government is focused on continuing to implement our job creation, low-tax plan, the Liberals want to dramatically hike taxes, halting our recovery in its tracks, killing hundreds of thousands of jobs and setting hard-working families back. This is a recipe for disaster.

Canadians cannot afford that risk. Canadians need the continued strong economic leadership that reflects the values and principles of hard-working Canadian families such as living within our means, producing savings by reducing waste and duplication, keeping taxes low to create jobs and sustain growth and letting Canadians keep more of their hard-earned money. The Liberal job-killing tax and spend agenda will only hurt hard-working Canadian families.

In the words of a recent Times &Transcript editorial:

--while [the Liberal leader] is touting raising taxes and says spending on education and families will create growth. The Liberal Party is obviously still stuck in its outmoded 1960s style tax and spend mode. Nobody disputes the importance of education or families, but throwing money at them has a dubious connection with spurring the economic growth we need...[the Liberal leader] and the Liberal welfare state approach will only worsen the nation's debt and deficit, forcing hikes--

In conclusion, as a mother of five, on behalf of Canadian families who rely on jobs to sustain their families and to really count on education for their children, I implore the Liberal leader and the Liberal Party to stop playing political games, to do the right thing and to reverse their push to hike taxes which would destroy Canada for years to come. I invite them to join with the rest of Canadians and our government to ensure our fragile recovery is not jeopardized.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the parliamentary secretary to her new responsibilities.

The parliamentary secretary did not speak of the Conservative government's record of big borrow and spend government. She did not discuss the fact that her government increased spending by three times the rate of inflation and actually put Canada into deficit before the economic downturn. It burnt through a $13 billion surplus and put Canada into deficit before the downturn. She did not talk about the $1.2 billion that her government wasted on a three-day G20 conference, or the $16 billion that it wants to spend on untendered fighter jets, or the $13 billion it intends to spend on prisons.

The parliamentary secretary did not discuss her government's failure to present Canadians with a real plan, a credible plan, to eliminate the deficit and get us back into surplus, and that is what the International Monetary Fund and the Parliamentary Budget Officer have said. There is no real plan.

The member quoted a couple of folks during her speech. I would like to know if she agrees with the following quote from the chief economic analyst at Statistics Canada, one of her own government economists, Philip Cross, regarding the impact of more tax cuts:

--is going to be relatively small, given the huge flow of money driven by other forces.

Also, I would like to know if she agrees with Don Martin who said:

How a government, which has emptied the public purse far into the future, ratcheted up the deficit to historic highs and bloated the bureaucracy to unprecedented size can stand for re-election as a conservative-friendly government is beyond me.

I would appreciate the member's response to both those quotations.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have to address a number of things the member did not mention. He did not mention the decade of darkness that the Liberals threw our military troops into when they cut all spending so that troops did not have the equipment to properly protect themselves. I, as a police officer, would never go into battle without those tools and I am proud to be part of a government that is providing the tools necessary to our men and women in uniform.

He did not talk about the fact that under the Liberal government there were a number of slashes to transfers to our provinces. It slashed billions of dollars, which led to crises in our health and social systems. We, as the Conservative government, are not prepared to put families in crisis. We are here to support families and job creators as we move forward with the economic action plan.

I would like to address the quotes. The member chose to quote one person with regard to this issue, but let me quote another Liberal just to put this into perspective. Ontario's Liberal finance minister, Dwight Duncan, just a month ago said:

Scrapping...corporate tax cuts would hurt the fragile economic recovery by raising taxes on the struggling forestry and automotive sectors. [Scrapping them] is about the most short-sighted, dumb public policy pronouncement one can envision.

That is the quote that I think matters most.

Opposition Motion--Tax Rate for Large CorporationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague. The oil industry received a total of $3.2 billion in benefits in 2010. The international sustainable development industry estimates that each year, the oil companies receive $1.3 billion in direct and indirect subsidies. The banks made more than $20 billion in profits in 2010, an increase of $6 billion over the previous year. Statistics show that the banks' use of tax havens allowed them to save more than $1.3 billion in 2009.

And the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance is telling us, here in this House, that the government is working to help families and the less fortunate in society. I do not believe my ears. Instead of giving tax cuts to these large companies that are making huge profits, could the Conservatives not do more to help the unemployed, seniors whose incomes border on the poverty line, and our farmers in Quebec who are experiencing serious financial difficulties?

What are the Conservatives waiting for to implement a real policy to truly support people in need and not oil industries and banks that are making huge profits?

What is more, with banks hiding income in tax havens we effectively have less tax revenue to support people in need.