Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to talk about the budget implementation bill and to put a few comments on the record about how I see it and how people in the constituency I represent see it.
I often refer to Brandon—Souris as the heart of Canada. I think many would agree that if something will sell in Brandon, it will probably sell in either the eastern part or the western part of Canada. It just seems to be the kind of community and the kind of region where we understand a lot of the little intricacies of each province and each part of the country. I am very proud to represent the people of Brandon—Souris.
When I look at the budget implementation bill, it is obvious that a lot of the information has been put before the House in a previous bill. This is basically the implementation part, which looks after the acts and updates the current acts so that they can actually apply to what was stated in the previous budget.
I see a couple of things. Obviously, I see a very challenged situation, not only for our country but for countries around the world. We know that many countries are struggling to get their financial feet under them again. They have had to make many difficult decisions. In some cases, I might suggest, they are not making enough of them and are not making them in a timely fashion.
I want to congratulate our government for taking the hard steps they have. Everybody would know that when faced with a tough financial situation, be it in one's home or in one's business, in our provinces or in our country, one has to make decisions and resolve to continue along that path. I think that is what this budget and what this implementation bill does for Canadians.
We have known for quite a while that other parts of the world are working and are working hard. They hold Canada up as an example of how things can and may be done to improve the lives of the people in the countries they represent.
The Prime Minister, cabinet and our government have listened to what people are saying. I do not think I would be underestimating by saying that hundreds of consultations have taken place across Canada. I know that I have been fortunate to participate in many of them with ministers and with members of communities to find out their needs and concerns.
One of the issues we heard, particularly in the communities I represent, was the benefit of the hiring credit for small businesses. It is a measure that provides an incentive for small businesses to hire new workers. What we want to do is create that opportunity, that first job, that first position where people can get their feet wet and get an understanding of what lies ahead of them.
The one thing I heard from my communities was that the credit is applied automatically. I think everybody here who has ever filled out a form of any kind finds that the paperwork continues to be burdensome. Every time a person finishes one page and thinks it is finished, another page is presented. That is not what we did. Businesses like it. They like the fact that it is simple and straightforward.
One of the other things I believe has benefited my communities and Canadians is the fact that every member of the government is committed to developing and signing free trade deals. We are fortunate to have ministers who understand the need, be it in agriculture or trade, to go out there and look for the opportunities. People in retail know that the situation is that nothing ever comes to them. They have to go out and find the opportunities. If they go out and find them and create those opportunities, not only do Canadians benefit but the people in countries we actually do business with benefit. The intent is to improve their quality of life as well. Both countries will benefit from that.
We know that jobs are not automatically created. There has be an investment in the people, in the Canadians, who will fill these jobs.
I know there has been a lot of discussion about employment insurance. It is a very difficult challenge. Yet, if we talk to, say, the old timers, my father's generation and friends of his, they would suggest that employment insurance, at one time unemployment insurance, was merely a fund to provide a person with an opportunity until his or her next job.
I know there has been a lot of discussion about where jobs and opportunities are. I do not think any government or any person should suggest that because people do not have a job today where they want to live, they should stop looking for work. Opportunity presents itself in many forms and in many varieties. Sometimes if we close our minds to just one item or one opportunity, we miss many of the opportunities that might present themselves. I think it is important for Canadians to open their minds.
Yes, we have challenges. No one is denying that. However, I think what we want to do is to try to create the opportunity where if someone is unemployed and an opportunity presents itself, they can take that step. It is a first step and it could be a step into a far better opportunity.
We are a government in Canada, the federal government, that has said to people that the way we create the opportunity is, one, to not raise taxes on people and, two, to find ways to reduce taxes to allow them to put more money in their pockets and more opportunity to spend that money as they see fit. I think that is the right way to go. If we give people $500 and tell them to spend it as they see fit, they are going to spend it on their needs. If we tax them and give them $250, they are not going to be quite as happy and they will not invest in the economy, which we are trying to continue to keep going and keep growing.
There are a couple of things that I do want to highlight about the implementation bill. One that I know my colleague spoke about is navigable waters. In reality, most of the changes that we are now talking about were implemented in 2009, when they were first introduced, so it is not a shock to people.
However, I can tell members and I can give examples. Having served as a municipal councillor and a provincial member, I know that provinces and small communities were being crushed by the burden of paper, the burden of rules and regulations. I am not saying they are not important, but I will give members the example of a small community that had a rock bridge washed out. All they ever wanted to do was to replace the rock and the culvert that washed out. It took them five years to get that done. How they got it done was that they waited until the flood last year, when pretty much no rules applied and they could actually do it with approval.
I know we have heard it before, but I think it is important to continue to mention that we believe we are on the right track. We believe that we have created the environment. Governments do not create jobs. They create environments so that businesses and investment want to come to our country and create those opportunities.
When we talk about the 820,000 net new jobs. We did not create them. The government did not create them. We created the opportunity for it to happen and businesses have stepped up. For that, I am very proud.
What happens is, first, they do a study. Then they say, “This is not right. You have to meet this challenge”. They do that, and then there is a next one and a next one. It is extremely burdensome. Just look at the projects in Canada that were up for infrastructure dollars, that were up for infrastructure investment in their communities. Many of them could not go forward because of the time constraint that was imposed upon them, because we were trying to stimulate the economy. However, many of them could not go ahead because of the burdensome regulations that were imposed upon them.
I think it is important to note that, as everyone else has, we all often talk about our own programs. I think that is the best way to sell what we are trying to do. I have heard about the $20 billion carbon tax, maybe. What I am saying is that the intention of what we are doing is for the good of all Canadians. We are trying to move the ball forward in a very difficult economic time and I think it is important that we all do.
One of the members from further down suggested that he can find things that he likes about the budget. I encourage members to do the same and perhaps instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive. There are good things in every budget that we like or do not like. I think at this particular time, in this particular economy, it is important that we focus on the positive things that would help our communities and help Canadians in general