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House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

Noon

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question and I congratulate the hon. member on her election to the House.

In my riding of Parkdale—High Park there is a similar situation. Far too many people are driving taxis when they ought to be practising medicine or some other field for which they are qualified but cannot practise in Canada. My party would dedicate funds toward its commitment to work with the provinces and make sure that foreign credentialed professionals here in Canada get the recognition they need in order to practise.

However, more than that, unlike the Conservative government that moves doctors from south to north and from urban to rural areas and does not train one new doctor or health care professional, my party would invest in training 6,000 new doctors, many more nurses and other health care professionals, because it is unacceptable in a country as rich as Canada that there are Canadians who cannot find family doctors while there are doctors from other countries driving taxis. We in the NDP will fix that.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

Noon

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the NDP's finance critic whether, before making their decision, she or the members of her party had the opportunity to speak with Quebec's finance minister, Raymond Bachand, about what is in this budget and what was unfortunately not in the March budget, and that is the $2.2 billion for sales tax harmonization. Many of the members from Quebec are now NDP. I am wondering whether their caucus or the member herself spoke with these people before making a decision about the final vote. I am also wondering what the NDP is going to do. In Quebec, we are very satisfied that the government has finally listened to the arguments of the Bloc Québécois and granted $2.2 billion for sales tax harmonization in Quebec. This is very important to Quebec.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question.

The $2.2 billion in compensation for sales tax harmonization was proposed by the NDP. We are very happy that the government took our suggestion and modified the budget to include this proposal. It is very important to Quebeckers, and it is the NDP members from Quebec who made this suggestion. We are pleased that the government listened to us.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Madam Speaker, please note that I will be splitting my time with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

As this is my first time rising in the House since the election, let me start with some thanks. First, I would like to thank my constituents of Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont for giving me the honour of serving them once again.

I thank my wife Debi and my kids, Jaden and Jenae. I love them and their understanding of the importance of this job that keeps me away from them and away from home 130 nights a year. When we started six years ago, we said this would be our family adventure, and it has been a wonderful one, not always easy, but wonderful, nonetheless.

To my staff in Edmonton and Ottawa, my re-election is really a vote of approval for the service that we perform together for our constituents. I would like to thank them for their hard work in that regard.

Finally, I thank my volunteers. Of course, I cannot name them all, but I know I would not be here without them. They are like an extended family to us and we are truly blessed by their incredible efforts and support. In particular, I would like to publicly acknowledge my campaign co-managers, Bill Witzke and Leigh Johnston, who literally put in countless hours and ran a fantastic campaign.

As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, I welcome the opportunity to outline the government's agenda to support Canadian business, foster innovation and promote competitiveness.

Budget 2011 continues to focus on the task at hand, shepherding our country through the global economic recovery, while at the same time continuing to lay the foundation for long-term, sustainable economic growth.

In the context of the current global economic rebalancing, Canada has stood out among nations as a pillar of economic strength. To date, we have successfully navigated through global economic turbulence, thanks to timely, temporary and targeted interventions.

In response to the global recession, Canada's economic action plan provided $60 billion in extraordinary stimulus to support jobs and growth. The results speak for themselves: first, seven straight quarters of economic growth. For those of us on this side of the House the most important statistic is this: Canada has created nearly 540,000 net new jobs since July 2009. That speaks to the strength of our economy, the ingenuity of Canada's small and medium size enterprise sector, and the strong economic record of our government.

In the last election, our party said that we would focus on the economy, as we have done in the past and as we will continue to do in the future. That is what Canadians expect of us and that is what this budget delivers. In particular, the budget takes key steps to help businesses, including the thousands of small businesses across the country that are so fundamental to Canada's economy. For example, we are providing $20 million over two years to the Canadian Youth Business Foundation to help young entrepreneurs become the leaders of tomorrow.

To make it easier for all entrepreneurs to determine the government licences and permits they need, we have also announced measures to upgrade the BizPaL service and expand online capabilities. As we make it easier for Canadians to start new businesses and to build those businesses, we will continue to see new jobs and growth in the Canadian economy.

I would now like to focus on two additional priority areas where we can support jobs and growth, the digital economy strategy and research and development.

Supporting jobs and growth means giving workers and businesses the tools they need to succeed in a competitive global economy, tools which include digital technologies. These technologies power activities in all areas of the economy, from manufacturing and transportation to advanced telecommunications and web-based services. They also provide a platform for all sectors to become more innovative and productive.

This is about setting the stage for the economy of tomorrow, and our plan announces a suite of initiatives that will contribute to this strategy.

Our government is doing its part by announcing measures that will ensure that Canada provides world class infrastructure and a competitive framework to encourage the private sector to create and adopt new information and communications technologies.

Additional initiatives will help Canada develop the digital workforce of tomorrow and create Canada's next generation of digital content by providing $80 million in new funding over three years through the industrial research assistance program to help small and medium size businesses accelerate their adoption of key information and communications technologies through collaborative projects with colleges; $60 million over the next three years to promote increased student enrolment in key disciplines related to the digital economy; and $100 million per year to the Canada media fund for investments in the creation of digital content across multiple platforms.

Our government has also committed to reintroduce and seek passage of copyright legislation that balances the needs of creators and users. The copyright modernization act would bring Canada in line with advances in technology and international standards, as well as provide a framework that is forward-looking, flexible and technologically neutral.

Overall, these measures will help ensure that by 2020 Canada's economy is leading edge, driven by innovation, boosting productivity and sustaining high levels of prosperity.

I am proud that our government is taking the steps necessary to foster long-term growth in the economy and providing young Canadians with as many opportunities to succeed as possible.

Beyond the digital economy, the global economy depends increasingly on knowledge and innovation. In order to be a global leader, Canada must attract and develop talented people, increase our capacity for world-leading research and development and promote education and skills development. Our government measures will help strengthen Canada's leadership position by supporting international research collaboration and world-class research centres in Canada.

Specifically, the next phase of Canada's economic action plan announces new resources to support leading edge research, to improve commercialization and support the adoption of new technologies in the marketplace, including: investing an additional $37 million per year to support the three federal granting research councils and providing an additional $10 million per year for the indirect costs program to support costs such as those related to operating and maintaining research facilities; investing $53.5 million over five years to support the creation of 10 new Canada excellence research chairs; investing $4 million over three years to support the construction of a cyclotron for the production of medical isotopes at the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute; and providing $50 million over five years beginning in 2012-13 to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics to support its leading research, education and public outreach activities.

Research and innovation drive jobs and create opportunities for Canadian companies to succeed all around the world. Our government knows that Canadian students, businesses and workers have the skills to succeed. We know we can compete with anyone in the world. With this budget, Canadians know they have a government that believes in them.

Our plan is supported. Here are just two examples of what Canadians had to say about these measures. Seneca College president, David Agnew, says:

This budget speaks to the role that colleges play in increasing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises. This on-going investment also illustrates the important role that our students and graduates play in today's economic prosperity.

The president of a Toronto company, Darcor Casters & Wheels, Rob Hilborn, says:

These budget measures supporting the link between businesses and polytechnics will increase innovation and entrepreneurship for many Canadian companies. Budget 2011 opens more doors for small and mid-sized firms to access college research facilities and talent.

In conclusion, budget 2011 will position us on a path to a stronger economic recovery. As we move ahead, we will keep taxes low, we will create jobs, we will promote investment and growth, we will encourage innovation and we will deliver on initiatives that improve Canada's business environment.

I am proud to support this plan and I hope all members will join me in passing this budget expeditiously.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague and I do not disagree that there is some good stuff in this budget. I know we advocated for a lot of the items that were put in this budget.

However, when we look at the regional economic development, we see that there will be a decrease in funding for regional economic development. How does that help bolster our communities that have been hit hard by the loss of jobs in the forestry sector?

We have FedNor. We see $4 million over three years to Industry Canada's federal economic development initiative in northern Ontario to buy a cyclotron for the production of medical isotopes at the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute.

We appreciate some of the money in here but we are seeing a decrease in funding. Maybe the member could explain to me why there would be a decrease in funding when it comes to regional economic development.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2011 / 12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Madam Speaker, the premise of the question is completely incorrect.

However, let us deal with the big picture of the facts. It is well-known around the world that the Canadian economy is strong relative to other industrialized countries. Of course, organizations, like the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum and the OECD, have praised the Canadian economy and the Government of Canada for the measures that we have taken during the economic downturn. Those measures have led to a strength in the economy that has seen, as I mentioned in my speech, 540,000 net new jobs being created in the economy since July 2009, which is a considerable positive impact. That has a positive impact on all regions across the country. All regions and all Canadians benefit from that increase in jobs due to the steps that the government has taken.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague for coming back to the House and on his fine speech starting out with his family. I wish him and his family all the best.

I will start with the copyright legislation that will be, as the member pointed out, reintroduced. If memory serves me correctly, I believe he was on the special legislative committee that was struck in the last House. If not, my apologies. However, I do want to ask about that because a great deal of input came into the committee about the legislation at that time, which I believe was Bill C-32. A lot of that input was about the balance between the creators and the users.

Specifically, what will be absorbed from that input that will be brought into the reintroduced version of the copyright legislation?

If the member has time, my second question concerns the influence of foreign ownership over telecom. I am wondering what the member's thoughts are about protecting the cultural industries, like broadcasting, from foreign ownership for the sake of Canadian culture.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Madam Speaker, I, too, congratulate the hon. member for his re-election.

In regard to the question about the copyright legislation, I was on that special legislative committee. We heard much input and, as a government, we heard much input prior to the committee hearings, before the legislation was drafted, as we did cross country consultations on that legislation.

What we found in the committee was that the testimony reflected the fact that we did have a balanced bill. There obviously were people with several points of view. Copyright legislation is very complex. It is not one of those pieces of legislation where there are two sides. There are 15 or 16 different sides to the legislation.

However, I found that, as we listened to the testimony, it was reflective of the fact that we had done a pretty job balancing all of the different expectations as we went through that process.

One of the things we did find through that committee process was that it would have been nice to have moved a little quicker. As we went through the process at the committee, we could have held more hearings and made sure we had listened to more people in a manner that was faster than what we were doing. Of course, the opposition parties had the majority of members on the committee which made it kind of difficult.

I do look forward to getting back into the committee room on the new legislation and hearing from stakeholders. Hopefully, we will get more co-operation from all members of the committee in terms of getting the legislation passed, which, according to all members of the committee, is long overdue.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, as this is my first time rising in the House following the election, I will take a moment to thank the people of Oak Ridges—Markham for returning me here. As I said during the campaign, there is not a day that goes by that I am not honoured to serve them in the House and not a day that goes by that I do not thank them for giving me this opportunity to serve our community.

I also want to thank the members of my campaign team for all of the hard work they did to help me get re-elected. I thank my campaign manager, Mathew Ellis, who came back to help me win my second election, and the over 200 volunteers who each and every day knocked on doors and set up signs, not just during the election but in the lead up to the election.

I must say that when I was first elected to this place two and a half years ago, I won by a small plurality of 542 votes. This last time I increased that a bit with a margin of 22,000 votes. While I would like to think that it was my own hard work, I know that it was due to a lot of hard work by the team that surrounds me in both my constituency office and in my Parliament Hill office.

I also want to take the opportunity to thank my constituency team led by Natalie James, Rena Sassano and Owen Macri and, on the Hill, Alli Filleul and my volunteer student Michael Seccareccia. They have done a tremendous amount of work to help me reach the people in my community. My riding is the largest riding in Canada in terms of population. It is twice the size of a normal riding. They have worked very hard to help me secure my re-election.

Of course it goes without saying that I thank my family, my beautiful wife Melanie and my beautiful daughters Natalie and Olivia for their understanding and the sacrifices they make to allow me to be here. They are my best supporters and some of my best advisors. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank them because without them I would not be able to be here in Ottawa living out my dream each and every day.

When I first came here in 2008, the world was changing. We were in the midst of what is now being called the great recession. It was, of course, a recession that did not start here in Canada but, with a global economy, we felt the effects quickly.

Before I was elected, the government, the Prime Minister and the award-winning Minister of Finance made some changes. They knew something was coming and, as the world economy was heading toward choppy waters, they decided that the best way to keep our economy going was to reinvest in Canadians. They did that by paying down almost $40 billion worth of debt. They did that by reducing taxes for families and for businesses. We reduced the GST from 7% to 6% to 5% so that Canadians and businesses would have more money in their pockets to invest in themselves, their families and their communities.

We invested in families. As I said, I have two small children, a five-year-old and a three-year-old and, thanks to some changes that we introduced, my family receives $100 per child, as do all Canadians with children under six. It has been a big help to Canadians in meeting the everyday needs of their families.

We also invested in infrastructure. In phase one of Canada's economic action plan, we did what Canadians asked us to do. We sat down with our counterparts at the municipal and provincial levels. Canadians were telling us that they wanted us to work together to get us through the economic downturn and that is what we did. The results in communities like mine and the York region were some $300 million worth of investments in roads, bridges, public transportation and community centres.

We invested in areas that would help us create jobs and also improve infrastructure so that as we emerged from the global economic downturn our small businesses, our communities and our job creators, small, medium and large, could seize on the benefits of the first phase of the economic action plan. The results have been spectacular. We have seen some 540,000 jobs created, as was mentioned by the parliamentary secretary.

In my community, the results are evident across the riding, and it is because of the hard work of this government. It is also because of the hard work of Canadian taxpayers and the fact that we were able to work with our counterparts at the municipal and provincial levels to get the job done for Canadians.

The minister reintroduced his budget, which is the second phase of Canada's economic action plan. I am just as excited about the next phase as I was about the first phase of the economic action plan because the minister has made out a path to a balance budget. Not only that, we will be doing this a year ahead of time.

As I was out on the campaign trail, Canadians told me that they wanted to see the government back into a balanced budget. They understood the investments that we needed to make in the economy during a recession. They approved of it, but they wanted to see us move toward a balanced budget, and we will do that.

As I said earlier, we will continue to invest in job creation for our small, medium and large job creators. In the last Parliament we introduced the Red Tape Reduction Commission. It is criss-crossing the country, working with small businesses to find out where government is getting in the way and impeding them so we can reduce the red tape and regulation to allow them to meet their potential.

As well, we are introducing a small business hiring tax credit so small businesses in main streets such as in Stouffville, where I live, can hire students, hire individuals and unleash their potential to create jobs.

We are extending the accelerated capital cost allowance for manufacturers.

I represent a portion of Markham that is known as one of the high tech capitals of Canada, but the manufacturing industry in Markham was hard hit by the recession and the lead up to the recession. Some of the changes we made to reduce taxation will allow them to invest in new machinery to upgrade facilities and compete, not based on a low dollar but based on productivity. This allows manufacturers to create jobs, expand and compete. They are not only competing with other Canadians; they are competing around the world.

In Markham they are succeeding and it is because of the hard work of this award-winning Minister of Finance and this entire government. We understand that we need to unleash the potential of our economy and our communities.

We are doing more and are again focusing on families.

In this budget we introduced some increases to the GIS for our seniors. On this side of the House, we understand it was our seniors who helped make this the best country in the world in which to live, invest and raise a family. We are going to support our seniors.

We are introducing a children's art tax credit to make it a little easier for families that want their children to participate in their communities.

We are introducing a family caregiver tax credit. As the population ages, we know it will sometimes fall upon the rest of the family to take care of the parents or grandparents. We want to support them as they do that.

We are also introducing the volunteer firefighter tax credit.

I represent four communities: Markham, Stouffville, King City and Richmond Hill. In two of those communities, King City and Stouffville, it is volunteer fire fighters who put their lives on the line each and every day in responding to hundreds of calls for help. I know our communities would not be as successful as they are if it were not for the hard work of these brave community volunteers.

I had an opportunity to meet with some volunteer firefighters before and during the election. They were very excited that a government had finally recognized the hard work and sacrifices they made. I am very pleased this budget will continue those investments.

As I said earlier, I am extraordinarily proud to have the opportunity to represent my community in the House. Over the last two years in government we have helped guide the country through the worst global recession in history. We have done that while providing more money to Canadians. We have done that by providing support for small, medium and large job creators. We are unleashing the potential of our communities across the country so they can compete not only locally but globally with anybody, any time.

I am so excited about the future of our country because of everything that this government has done to help unleash Canada's potential. We should all be proud of what we have done and thank Canadians for the hard work they have done to allow us this success.

I congratulate you, Madam Speaker, on being appointed Deputy Speaker and I congratulate all the members for being elected as well.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, I congratulate you on taking on the position of Deputy Speaker. I know you will keep us all in line and ensure proper decorum in the House of Commons.

I congratulate the member on being in the House again.

I was very interested in his comments about seniors. We have had a massive series of corporate tax cuts. About $60 billion has been shovelled off the back of a truck by the Conservative government, but many Conservative members seem to have indicated that they are proud of what would be a $600 increase for an entire year for seniors living alone and $840 for seniors living as a couple. Could the member to confirm that for Canadians?

If we did a calculation, it is about $1.15 a day more for seniors living as a couple. We know the HST that the Conservatives have imposed on British Columbia basically adds about $2 a day on to the costs of those seniors. Could the member confirm to me that what the Conservatives are offering in the budget is $1.15 a day for seniors living as a couple at a cost with the HST—

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. I regret to interrupt the hon. member. I must give the hon. parliamentary secretary time to respond.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Madam Speaker, here is the difference between this side of the House and that side of the House. We are offering Canadians hope. We are offering them a better path than the opposition could ever offer them.

We have invested in seniors. We are increasing the GIS. It is not just about that. We have the new horizons for seniors program, which has been an effective program across my riding. I look at the Markham seniors. I look at the Sanatan Mandir Cultural Centre in my riding, which received a $25,000 grant so it could educate seniors on how to use the Internet and computers so they could take care of their own banking and become more educated on the new technology. I look across my riding at investments we are making in recreational facilities that seniors use.

Seniors have come to me over the last two and a half years and have said that it is not just about support payments. They enjoy the tax cuts. They approve of the tax cuts for their families that we have made. We listened to seniors with respect to the increase in the GIS. We have done that in co-operation with all sides of the House.

I hope the opposition will join with us in looking forward and work with us in helping to truly unleash the potential of the country. I hope it will look at all the positive things we have accomplished over the last two and a half years and work with us to improve not only the lives of seniors but the lives of all Canadians even more than we have done over the last six years that we have been in office.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Congratulations, Madam Speaker, on your appointment. Congratulations to every member of this Parliament who was elected. My thanks to my campaign team and to the people of Northumberland—Quinte West for sending me here for the third time.

My hon. friend talked about his riding being one of the largest. I am familiar with the Markham area and I know many of the industries.

Would he like to comment upon some of the comments that were made by other representatives of Canadian industries, such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Association, the chemical industry in Canada, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, and I could go on, including the Canadian Homebuilders' Association and how he interprets them and his vision of our economy?

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my friend, who does an extraordinary job in representing his communities, somebody who was a mentor to me when I was first elected.

Small, medium and large job creators across the country understand they have a government that is prepared to invest in helping them create jobs. It is prepared to invest to ensure that the economy meets the needs of Canadians. It is helping to ensure that our businesses, no matter how big or how small they are, can compete not only locally but globally.

One of the things we learned during the global recession is that Canadian businesses not only can compete, but they can compete and win when a government gets out of the way when possible, when a government supports them, when a government reduces their taxes, when a government allows them to invest in themselves and in their businesses. When we do that, we succeed.

The heads of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and all the business organizations, including the president of Seneca College, understand that this government will always put the needs of the communities first.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, congratulations on your posting. I know you will serve with honour and distinction in the chamber and hopefully there will be some changes.

First, I want to offer condolences to the member for Kitchener—Conestoga. He continues to work at this time and his commitment to people across Canada is very impressive.

I want to thank the constituents of Windsor West for returning me to the House. I was first elected in 1997 and 2000 as a city councillor and federally in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011. Having a break from elections is a good thing for me and my family. I want to thank my spouse Terry, as well as my daughter Alexandria and son Wade for allowing me to do this. They have paid an incredible price and I am truly grateful for all of the small things we are able to treasure because of this opportunity.

I also want to thank my staff. It is very important to recognize Joanne, who filled in for Melanie, as well as Karen Kieran Darlene and Ian, who have been tremendous supporters of mine for many years and have done great work for the residents of Windsor West. They often put in far too many hours because they love their jobs and I love working with them. It is very special to have them as a support system.

Last, I want to thank all the volunteers, the other candidates who ran in the election and all those who participated in the open democracy. We have a declining vote ratio and it is critically important to get younger people to vote and recognize that our democracy has to change to re-engage people.

When we look at what is happening on the world stage now, people are using cellphones and other types of devices to text and email and are demonstrating on the streets for the right to vote.

It is important to support veterans by recognizing that they have made the ultimate sacrifice in the past, and will in the future, by giving us the opportunity to have a franchise. Despite the misgivings of our democracy, it still is the best in the world and I look forward to improving it.

I want to move now to the budget. The NDP has moved an amendment to the budget related principally to the fact that many Canadians are still falling behind. I find it very interesting that the government often refers to the fact that, measured against the world, Canada is doing much better. It is bragging in a sense about that. However, the reality is that, despite what is happening in Canada, too many people are falling behind and it is no way to measure ourselves.

When we look at the situation in the United States, it is also in a spiral. Just because we are doing modestly better than the U.S. does not mean the decisions we are making are right, principally the continued gutting of the public purse and the increasing expenditures on issues that Canadians do not support.

It is clear the government has delivered a budget that is very similar to the last one, which was not voted on because the government was brought down, for the first time in history, on a non-confidence matter as it did not provide the proper economic information to the chamber related to planes and prisons. It was not due to the budget. It was due to the fact that the House had lost confidence in the government. That is why we had an election, in which New Democrats made history.

It is important to recognize that the vast majority of Canadians do not support the direction in which the government is moving. We are hopeful there will be some amendments and improvements to the budget. What I have heard on the streets of Windsor West and across the country is that planes and prisons are not priorities for Canadians. In fact, people are interested in pensions and pharmaceutical issues related to health care costs.

I had a recent conversation with a veteran at the Windsor Veterans Memorial Services this past Sunday.

I forgot to mention when I started my speech that I will be splitting my time with the member for Burnaby—New Westminster. I apologize for that, but I was anxious to thank the people of Windsor West when I began. However, I am very honoured to share my time with the member for Burnaby—New Westminster.

It is important to think about the people who are having a hard time getting by. The government's priority is large corporate tax cut reductions. People are not getting the same type of treatment.

Yes, we do see a modest improvement to the GIS of a few hundred million dollars, which is $1.15 a day, as has been pointed out by the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, when it is broken down. That will enable seniors to get a cup of coffee a day more. So, perhaps that will lead to a boon at Tim Hortons for a caffeine fix in the morning, but it is certainly not going to take away from the problems that they are facing with regard to paying rent, having a pension that is going to be sustainable and also participating in society. I heard that at the veterans memorial services.

If we look at where the government's priorities are, and I asked this of the Liberal leader, they are under the ideology of large corporate tax cut reductions which supposedly lead to economic development and growth. When we start to look at the real numbers and the real situation we find that this ideology is flawed and is not working.

In fact, when we look at the number of different issues around this since we have had large corporate tax cut reductions, research and development has fallen to 3% in 2008. It is actually the lowest amount since the 1990s. We see deepening trade deficits. Canada's trade deficits, which were in a surplus a number of years ago, are now in a deficit because we have been using the wrong economic policies. Also, we have more foreign control over Canadian companies. We have witnessed a series of takeovers where there were supposed to be undertakings that were going to protect Canadian jobs that never took place or are actually in the courts, one being U.S. Steel right now, where Canadian jobs were usurped.

In fact, we saw those companies actually relocate some of those jobs overseas. They did a vertical integration in the industry where they bought Canadian natural resources and basically either flatlined them or reduced them so that their commodities abroad would actually rise in price. We have seen that with a number of Canadian companies in the mining industry and the steel industry. We have seen other takeovers, like Nortel, where we have lost our place in the world. Where we used to be the cutting edge, we have now basically flatlined in this regard and the government has done nothing to protect those jobs.

There is an issue with regard to productivity. Productivity is stalled in Canada. We have seen that not being the workers' fault but the fact that we have actually had lower investment in research and development and modernization of our plants. Because of the government's policy on the border between Canada and the U.S. where basically 40% of Canada's trade comes through my riding every single day, it has allowed the militarization and the thickening of the border without challenging the U.S. about these issues. It has signed a series of agreements and protocols in the hope that it would get some relief with regard to trade and tourism, but that has not happened. In fact, the exact opposite has happened. Some of those deals that the government has signed have created more problems right now in reduced services and increased problems. It has affected our ability and capability to compete.

In fact when we look at where this has been going, it has also driven the dollar up. The large corporate tax cuts and a petrodollar based upon export of raw resources has driven our dollar up approximately 20%, in terms of overvaluation. So manufacturers in the hotbed of Quebec or Ontario, and even other parts of Canada, are now competing at a disadvantage because we have artificially inflated the dollar and we watched the U.S. devalue its dollar. That makes it difficult when manufacturers with branch plants here are looking at expansion, renewal, a whole series of things, they are also looking at the border and saying that maybe they will invest in the United States, especially given the massive incentives they have had.

Interestingly, the U.S. has done it differently. Instead of large corporate tax cut reductions which is basically the ideology here, in terms of the Conservatives and the Liberals prior to that, the U.S. has done it through targeted initiatives. It has been stealing back its jobs and so forth, and we have done nothing about that. We witnessed this strategy with the softwood lumber industry, in particular, but it is also happening in the manufacturing sector.

Where has the money gone? The money has gone to a series of tax cuts. The tax cuts and subsidies for the oil and gas industry have resulted in the fact that they pay around 10.6% in federal tax. Meanwhile, every other corporation out there playing with value added is actually paying 16.5%.

The result is that the value-added manufacturing sector has been subsidizing the oil and gas industry at a time when people are getting ripped off at the pumps, being gouged by unfair practices that have cost people in their pocketbooks. This has to stop. This is why the budget fails and New Democrats are not going to stand for it.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I certainly appreciate the comments regarding the valuation of our Canadian dollar as it is now at parity or slightly above, not just for manufacturing but certainly for raw resources, such as the fishery on the east coast and the forestry. As we get an appreciation in price of a particular species it seems that many factors negate that value coming back to the fishermen and certainly one of those is the value of the Canadian dollar.

A headline I read this morning said that finding $4 billion to cut from the federal government's $80 billion in program expenses is “no big deal”, our finance minister said Tuesday.

Of course it is not a big deal because it has not been done yet. I suspect it is going to be a much bigger deal as time goes by and the cuts need to be made.

I would like to specifically ask the member, in light of the large deficit that we have and in order to get to that balanced budget figure by 2014, how he would propose the government do that?

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12:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank my cousin from Windsor for the question.

It is really important that when the member looks at this question he knows that it is a big deal. We know that the cuts are going to come on things that are being targeted for ideology at the expense of Canadians. It could be health care, the social services or a series of things.

It is important for Canadians to understand the choices they did not make. The oil and gas industry right now, and the last figures available are from 2008, is getting around $2 billion worth of subsidies. The industry is getting it from a number of different tax breaks. There is the flow through shares tax break, the Canadian explorer expenses tax break, the Canadian development expense tax break, the Canadian oil and gas property expense tax break, the Canadian capital cost reduction allowance tax break. It goes on and on.

These are specific targeted subsidies. We are actually borrowing money and paying interest on it, because we are in a deficit right now. We are borrowing money from all Canadians, our kids and our future and we are going to pay interest on that until we finally get to a surplus position. It is to provide a tax cut for the oil and gas industry, when people going to the pumps are getting ripped off every single day. That is what needs to change.

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12:45 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Madam Speaker, does the member for Windsor West, who voted against the last economic action plan and who sounds like he is not happy with this one either, recognize the improvement in employment in the member's own riding?

The member's area used to be have the worst unemployment rate in Canada. It does no longer. Indeed there is still work to do.

Will the member acknowledge that Canada's economic action plan has worked? Would he stop with the rhetoric and admit that it has worked, that it has worked in the member's own riding, and that the member is very happy about some of the announcements in his riding that he voted against?

Can we get an assurance from the member that he recognizes the good work of Canada's economic action plan and that this time he will vote for his riding constituents and not the leader of his party?

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, the reality is there are still far too many people unemployed in my riding. Some of the actual success in my riding is from its own hard work, not necessarily from the government and its policies.

What is really important is that since the Conservative government has been in power, part-time employment has increased 50% in Canada. Yes, there actually are more jobs because people are working several of them just to get by and they are barely doing that.

With regard to the government's programs, it is interesting. We have had federal programs, stimulus programs, and the member would know this as would the member for Essex, where there are announcements for projects in Windsor and what actually happens is the contract is outsourced and people come from other places, like Orangeville where there is a 3% unemployment rate. The workers drive down with their trucks, do the work, sleep in their cabs and then go back home at the end of the day.

That did not help the Windsor area. What we need is specific strategies. When it comes to the border, yes, I have been pushing for work on the border since 2002 when people called it a pipe dream and it is now coming to fruition. The government has done some good work on the border, there is no doubt about that.

We need a local workers' mandate because we are going to witness foreign workers and other types of workers that will not specifically address some of the shortages we have in Windsor. We need to plan this opportunity.

The government refuses to do that and it needs to change because we are going to be spending billions of dollars. Let us make sure it is done right so that we get the value-added employment that is necessary.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, I am happy to rise today to speak to the budget that has been presented in the House.

I would like to start by thanking the voters of Burnaby—New Westminster, who honoured me by re-electing me for the fourth time to the House of Commons in the election held on May 2. I would also like to thank my family: my partner Limei, my son Stefan, my parents Ruth and Terry Julian, my sister Randi and her family, my brother Patrick and his family. They were all, and continue to be, extremely supportive of the work that I do in the House and my long absences from home in British Columbia.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to my staff in Ottawa, Henri Sader, Mounia Lahbabi, and in my Burnaby office, Sandra Bell, Katrina Chen and Marja Kauppi, all of whom provide excellent services to the constituents of Burnaby—New Westminster. It is because of their work that I am able to do the work in this vastly enlarged NDP caucus that will be playing such a key role in the years to come.

I would like to address the budget and follow up on the comments of my colleague from Windsor West about how the Conservative government has approached what is basically a retread budget.

I do not think it is a secret to any of the Canadians who live across this country who are on the main streets out in the real world in this country that for them, Tory times have been very tough times. If we look at the last five years and look at the erosion of employment in many of our key sectors, we can see just how difficult it has become for Canadians under the mandate of the Conservative government.

No one votes Conservative because they expect a better health care system. Conservatives have not been renowned for building an effective public health care system, for providing access to public education, for providing the kinds of services that Canadians need. Nobody votes Conservative for those reasons, but we would expect the one thing Conservatives would be able to get right would be the economy.

However, we see here that what the budget does is simply enhance the previous measures the Conservatives have taken that have led to what is very clearly an economic decline for ordinary Canadian families, for the middle-class and poor Canadians.

As the member for Toronto—Danforth, our leader, said earlier today, it does not mean that there is not anything good in the budget. Corporate CEOs and corporate lobbyists will find this budget very much to their liking, but the reality is on Main Street in this country there is very little that ordinary Canadians will have to be joyful about.

We have seen, and other NDP speakers have raised this issue, $60 billion doled out in massive corporate tax cuts. These are not targeted tax cuts. These are not tax cuts that are linked to job creation. These are not tax cuts that are actually linked to building viable community economies. This is just money that is shovelled out the back of a truck. After five years of seeing these progressive policies of massive corporate tax cuts, we have to wonder just where Canada has ended up.

The Minister of Finance likes to point to the slight increase in the overall job creation, but the reality is over the last five years, given the growth in labour force, which is 1.5% a year, that the Conservatives have the responsibility of creating 300,000 additional jobs every year. How have they fared? StatsCan gives us the results. The results are that there is a million jobs deficit. Over the last five years since the Conservatives have been in power and where they needed to create about 300,000 new jobs or new people coming into the labour force every year, they needed to create 1.5 million. They have actually created about half a million jobs overall and these jobs have largely been part-time or temporary in nature, certainly not the permanent, family-sustaining jobs that Canadians are calling for from coast to coast to coast.

If we dig even deeper and look at the statistics around where these jobs have been created, they tend to be in the low end, in the temporary, part-time and in the service sector, but what has actually happened with the type of manufacturing and value-added jobs that are the basis, the foundation of the community economy across the country? When we put those figures out, they show a narrative of why it is becoming increasingly difficult for Canadian families.

In manufacturing we have seen, on the Conservative watch, something that started under the Liberals, which is why they are in the penalty box. However, it is has continued under the Conservatives. We have lost 250,000 manufacturing jobs since they came to power.

We have lost jobs in the agricultural sector. As you know, Madam Speaker, being from British Columbia, we have lost tens of thousands of jobs in the softwood lumber sector. That has not been in just British Columbia: it has been right across the prairies, it has been in northern Ontario, it has been in Quebec. It is due to a foolish strategy that was put into place by the Conservative government.

Overall, in manufacturing we have seen a significant decrease in good family-sustaining jobs that have been available in our economy. What we have seen is a growth of part-time, temporary, low-wage jobs in this country. That is the Conservative legacy. The reality is that just to maintain the labour force, they are a million jobs short from when they came to power.

The Conservatives will point to the unemployment rate and say that the unemployment rate is not that bad. We have heard some Conservatives say that, but the reality is that the only reason the unemployment rate has not gone through the roof is that there are progressively an ever-increasing number of Canadians who have simply opted out. They are not in the labour force. They are not counted as part of the labour force participation rate. That is a singular growth we have seen under the Conservative government: the number of Canadians who simply cannot find work.

Coming from a riding that has been economically challenged by Conservative policies, I can tell members that we have seen the fallout from the softwood lumber sellout that led to the closure of three mills and the direct loss of 2,000 jobs in my riding and my area.

We also see how the other economic policies of the Conservative government have impacted Burnaby—New Westminster. There has not been any overall comprehensive strategy to bring new Canadians, who often come with a wide variety of skills and abilities. There has been no real movement on credential recognition, aside from some ribbon-cutting. As a result, in a lot of cases we are seeing that labour force participation has meant that new Canadians are simply realizing they are not going to be able to provide their skills, their abilities, their experience and their education to Canada.

When we look at the Conservative legacy after five years, what we see is a loss of good jobs, continued sellout and stimulation of exports of raw materials. The Conservatives are renowned for exporting raw bitumen, raw logs and raw minerals, and the manufacturing sector has suffered. Value-added manufacturing has suffered.

What is the net result?

We know the debt load of the average Canadian family has climbed over the past decade. It has doubled, which means that Canadian families are facing the erosion of real income. It is not the corporate lobbyists or corporate CEOs, but the middle class, the ordinary Canadian families. It is the middle class and poor Canadians who are contributing and are the bedrock and foundation of our country. The erosion of that income has led to record levels of debt.

What does this budget do to address their issues, aside from $60 billion in corporate tax cuts? Not much.

For the average senior and hundreds of thousands of seniors living in poverty, we have seen that if they are a couple, they get $1.15 more from the Conservative government. It is shameful. It is disgraceful, especially when the HST imposed on B.C. charges $2 a day for those same seniors.

For students facing record debt levels, particularly in British Columbia, there is nothing in this budget that addresses their problems.

The reality is that 4.5 million Canadians voted for the NDP because they wanted to do away with those old policies that only lobbyists benefit from. That is why there are so many of us here now. The 103 NDP members are listening to Canadians, and we will pressure this government to change its policies, which are not good for ordinary families, for middle-class Canadian families or for the poorest Canadians. That is our mission and what we will continue to focus on in the years to come.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House once again and to do so as the re-elected representative for Kitchener Centre. I want to thank the electorate there for returning me to the House.

I also want to compliment my colleague across the way on his re-election. It is always interesting to listen to his speeches because of the ideas he presents, and also because I often find myself very entertained by the weird and fantastical stories that I hear from him.

In particular, I was struck by his comments that under the Conservative government we are going to low-paying and part-time jobs. I notice that Statistics Canada and the Department of Finance have said that between July 2009 and April 2011, 90% of the jobs that we have recovered have been in high-wage industries, and that during that same time 84% of the jobs that we have recovered have been full-time jobs.

I wonder if my colleague would agree with our very competent officials in Statistics Canada and the Department of Finance. If he does not--

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1 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. member for Burnaby--New Westminster.

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1 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, I will return the compliment to the hon. member.

Statistics Canada gets the real figures out. The reality is that we can understand in budget documents what the Conservatives will do. I can perfectly understand that this cuts a little slice of what is most favourable to them. However, we have to look not at that single tree, but at the overall forest.

The reality is that after five years of Conservative government, we have seen an erosion in real family income. We have seen more people leaving the labour force and not participating, because those good jobs are simply not available. There has been a catastrophic decline in manufacturing jobs, value-added jobs and family-sustaining jobs.

The Conservatives can take credit for massive and bloated corporate tax cuts that they have strewn around everywhere. They can certainly take credit for that. It is a record. It is even worse than the former Liberal government was in that respect. However, they cannot take credit for real economic initiatives that have led to the kind of prosperity we want to see for every Canadian. For seniors, $1.15 a day is simply disgraceful.

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House again representing the constituents of Vancouver Quadra. I want to thank the very educated, engaged citizenry of my riding for re-electing me and for their continued support.

The member for Burnaby—New Westminster mentioned a wealth of adjectives and types of jobs and industries and labour force issues, all of which are important.

What I did not hear was the word “green”. I heard nothing about the kind of innovation that is so badly needed, innovation that would lead to a greener economy and to jobs in green industries. I did not hear anything about the absence of stimulus funding to alternative energy and other green measures and their importance for our future.

Does it not matter, or was it just an omission by error?

Financial Statement of the Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the raising of this issue by the member for Vancouver Quadra. She is absolutely right. In 10 minutes I addressed more of the macroeconomic issues we are facing as a country.

The member is absolutely right to point out that the Conservative government is not undertaking any sort of environmental or green initiatives. Our environment critic, the member for Halifax, will be raising those issues in the coming days, as will our entire caucus.

Many members of our caucus are environmental activists and are very concerned about the impacts of climate change. The member is right to point out that it is not in the budget. Many Canadians have given up on the Conservatives' ability to even understand the importance of the environmental challenges we face.

There is no doubt that this budget does not in any way reflect that environmental imperative. That too is a shame.