Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my hon. colleague, the member for Nickel Belt, the great riding that surrounds my great riding.
I am proud to rise in the House today to debunk the Conservative spin machine about the myths which members of the governing party have been reciting verbatim in their talking points on the government's second massive omnibus budget implementation bill that has been presented this year.
No, this is not The Matrix, but I think I am having a case of déjà vu as yet again parliamentarians have been presented with another massive omnibus bill that would make amendments to a wide range of acts often unrelated to one another and many having no place whatsoever in a budget bill.
The Conservatives clearly have not learned the lesson, which their own backbenchers like the member for Kootenay—Columbia highlighted in a meeting with his constituents on omnibus budget one back in the spring, namely, that Canadians do not approve of the Conservative approach of ramming legislation through Parliament without allowing Canadians and MPs to thoroughly examine it.
New Democrats understand this and, in our role as official opposition, we will not let Conservatives quietly pass this new omnibus legislation.
Canadians deserve better. They deserve transparency. They deserve a government that understands their priorities. They deserve a government that does not place the gutting of environmental protections over job creation. Come 2015, Canadians will get the government they deserve when they elect New Democrats from coast to coast to coast to govern, to increase transparency and prosperity for all Canadians.
The Conservative spin machine would like Canadians to believe that the second budget implementation act would lead to widespread job creation across the country. However, in spite of the ironic name of the bill, the jobs and growth act, the bill lacks significant measures to create jobs and stimulate long-term growth in the Canadian economy.
In fact, while the Conservative's PMO-supplied talking points claim that budget 2012 centres on job creation, Canada's Parliamentary Budget Officer has indicated that the budget would cost 43,000 Canadians their jobs. Moreover, the budget itself forecasts a real rise in unemployment. So much for the self-created myth that the bill will lead to job creation.
The main policy prescription contained in Bill C-45 to stimulate job creation is the extension of the small business tax credit for new hires. This temporary measure offers a tax refund for small business employers on a portion equal to about $1,000 maximum of the employer's contribution to EI premiums, if the employer's EI premiums, which were $10,000 or less in 2011, and are greater in 2012.
While New Democrats support this measure, it is very limited and only gives employers a maximum of $1,000 in credits on their new EI employer payments. To make matters worse, it is only applicable in 2012.
Further, because the extension of this tax credit was not presented in the first budget implementation act, but rather was deferred until this fall session, small businesses were not able to plan for this measure for 2012, as the timing of this measure's introduction may come too late in the year for businesses to begin the planning necessary to take advantage of this tax credit.
As the Conservative's spin machine has taken a liking to referencing the NDP's 2012 election platform, let me use this opportunity to highlight that the New Democrats proposed a similar yet far more robust job creation tax credit, which can be found on page 8 of the party's platform.
The New Democrats proposed the introduction of a job creation tax credit that would provide up to $4,500 per new hire. Under the New Democrat's plan, employers would receive a one year rebate on the contributions for the Canada pension plan and Employment Insurance premiums for each new employee hired.
Further, companies and organizations that keep a new employee for 12 months or more, would have been eligible for a retention bonus, a $1,000 non-refundable tax credit. At the time of its presentation, independent analysis determined that this initiative would have helped create approximately 200,000 family-supporting jobs a year. Certainly this more expansive tax credit would be more beneficial than the meagre job creation strategy contained in budget 2012. If my math is right, this plan would create 243,000 more jobs than budget 2012 would, as the budget would directly result in the net loss of 43,000. That is some job creation strategy the PMO has cooked up.
Let me now use an on the ground example of how budget 2012 is having a negative effect on job creation in my riding of Sudbury, and I am certain in communities right across our great country. With budget 2012, there was a specific element designed to “streamline” government services. However, this streamlining was really just an exercise in slashing, cutting and burning with what had been effective programs provided by government to serve the needs of businesses both small and large in my community and in communities across our country.
For example, the closure of the regional Citizenship and Immigration office serves as a prime example of this ideological drive to cut back on these important services. The shuttering of Sudbury's office deprives my region of vital service which cannot be replaced by online services. In fact, there are a number of functions that are mandatory and have to be carried out in person, such as immigration interviews and citizenship exams. Depriving my region of immigration offices means that these interviews have to be carried out in southern Ontario, adding a burden for both employer and employee, while making it less likely that people will choose northern Ontario for sectors that require skilled workers and skilled immigration.
Moreover, cuts at Service Canada has businesses of all sizes waiting 14 weeks, which used to be two weeks, for labour market opinions, a dramatic increase in that traditional processing time of two weeks. As a result, some of Sudbury's business owners are now forgoing expansion because of this extra unneeded hassle.
I am not the only one in my community sounding the alarm bells over these cuts. According to the president of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, skilled labour remains vital to the success of the local industry and it is a really big issue for its members. He said, “They cannot find sufficient skilled labour locally and are looking nationally and internationally for those workers”.
These examples are illustrative of how the PMO's ideological crusade against government services are having an adverse effect on local industry and the competitiveness of Canadian business, further debunking the Conservative spin that budget 2012 will result in robust job creation.
Ultimately this begs this question. Why is the government stifling economic growth, curbing job growth and putting the long-term health of Canada's economy at risk with reckless cuts contained in budget 2012?
I will close by reinforcing the notion that the New Democrats will always be proud to stand up for transparency and accountability. We will always stand up for sound economic policies which promote job creation and economic prosperity for all. We will always stand up for environmental protection. Finally, we will always stand up for retirement security and health care.