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House of Commons Hansard #188 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was asbestos.

Topics

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I share the hon. member's frustration with the two opposition parties, who are not only embracing the wrong policies—or indeed, in the case of the party in the corner, no policy at all—but talking down the reality of the Canadian economy. The Canadian economy is creating jobs well ahead of the pace of any other advanced economy and has put up better growth numbers than any country in Europe, including Germany, since the start of this recession, indeed since the start of this government.

My puzzlement is unassuaged. I would like to ask the member for Etobicoke Centre what his interpretation is of the NDP's inability to talk about the facts of its platform from 2011. We campaigned on a platform of jobs and growth, and we are delivering it now. The NDP members campaigned on a platform of a $21 billion carbon tax, and for some reason they are not prepared to talk about it today. Why is that?

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I serve with the hon. parliamentary secretary on the defence committee, and he has done a brilliant job in that capacity.

I also share his frustration because the New Democratic Party did campaign on a $21 billion carbon tax. This is what would put Canadians out of business. This is what would create hardship for all the people I talked about just now. It would create hardship for families, students, reservists trying to get out and deploy into the world, and others, and would burden the rest of the country, driving us further down into economic crisis.

That $21 billion carbon tax would drive us into crisis. I share the hon. member's views that the party in the corner has no policies at all.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

November 29th, 2012 / 1 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that I am pleased to rise in this House, but of course, like for many of my colleagues on this side of the House, it is not altogether a pleasure to do so. What detracts from it is the fact that we feel that Bill C-45, the second budget implementation bill, is headed in the wrong direction.

The government's approach and that of the official opposition, the NDP, are undeniably completely different. The main difference is that the approach taken by the Conservatives ensures that Canada's economy will not achieve its potential and that economic uncertainty will continue, whereas our approach would maximize and optimize our current resources.

Let us look at what the government has done since coming to power. One of its first decisions was to take two percentage points off the GST. A one-point decrease means $5 billion less in government coffers. It then continued to cut the corporate tax rate. Indeed, the government lowered it from 19% in 2009 to 15%, where it stands at the moment. Every percentage point costs the Canadian treasury about $2 billion. The two measures combined represent an average of $7 billion in foregone revenue per year.

We must remember that when the Conservative government came to power in 2006, it inherited a budget surplus. Even before the recession, that surplus had been wiped out and, of course, things got worse with the measures in the economic action plan, an economic stimulus plan. From a $13 billion surplus, we immediately plunged into a deficit. And we are still there. We must remember that despite the Conservatives' reputation for being good managers of public affairs—a reputation I have never understood—if we disregard the year and a half after they came to power, when they rapidly made the surplus disappear, the last balanced budget under a Conservative government in Canada occurred back in 1912, under Robert Borden.

Bill C-45 truly reflects the Conservative ideology at its worst. The Conservative ideology denies that the federal government can play a constructive role in the development of our society. The Conservative government will not hesitate to say no to a federal investment of one dollar, even if that federal investment could result in economic growth equivalent to $10 where it is invested. Similarly, this government will not hesitate to make an economic cut of one dollar, even though it may cause $10 in losses.

I know this. I see it in my riding. I see it in my region, where the government has imposed huge cuts on institutions like the Maurice Lamontagne Institute and on investments through Canada Economic Development. This has major repercussions. Rimouski is Quebec's centre of marine technology. It has taken 30 years of hard work to find this region a specific niche. Rimouski is one of the three leading centres of ocean science, along with Halifax and Vancouver. This government is making it hard for the region with these cuts, which not only make no sense scientifically, but will weaken the region's economic potential.

This government rejects the very concept of one day attaining a balanced budget. I base that on a statement made by the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism on May 2, in reply to a question from one of his Conservative colleagues. He said that the government was going to continue cutting taxes after it has balanced the budget.

The government's objective is not good governance, public governance, or managing public funds for the common good; its ideological position is to diminish the size of the state—the government—and diminish the good the government can do for the general public.

The government's economic policies are also haphazard. It is putting all its eggs in one basket: natural resources. Does anyone know where the government wants to take Canada, economically, in 15, 20 or 25 years? What are the niches in which Canada can excel? We have no idea. At present, the government is relying solely on the free market, which prevents forecasting or envisioning the long-term economy.

Here is one example: we are now in the 21st century and we are operating with 20th century infrastructure. The Conservative government has not taken any steps to endow Canada with proper 21st century infrastructure.

Emerging nations are doing it. Canada is just standing by and waiting until it is no longer competitive on the world market. Bill C-45 and the 2012 budget are indicative of this lack of vision.

Other people will speak sooner or later during the report stage about some of Bill C-45's major problems, particularly the best-known one, the repeal of the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

I would like to point out two elements that clearly demonstrate this lack of vision. The government is very fond of appearances, but in the end, it will not produce results. These two examples concern scientific research and experimental development, and also the hiring tax credit for small business, which the hon. member mentioned earlier.

The NDP is in favour of this tax credit. It was in our election platform in 2011, but the government will not mention that. We even proposed a small business hiring tax credit of $4,200, which is more than the Conservative one, and an additional $1,000 if the employee was still there after a year.

At the moment, the government is proposing a $1,000 tax credit, for which 536,000 businesses are eligible. That is what we heard in the Standing Committee on Finance. But let us look at the absurdity of this situation. Last year, that tax credit already existed. Some 530,000 businesses took advantage of it. That suggests that 530,000 new workers were hired last year, but that is not the case.

In committee, witnesses were repeatedly asked whether a business could hire an employee for a few months and claim the tax credit. They said that it was possible.

Although the tax credit is a good idea based on a positive principle, and we support the principle without supporting the way it is applied, this clearly shows that this measure is not encouraging the creation of permanent jobs. The NDP's proposal, on the other hand, which would add a credit for retention after a year, would encourage the creation and retention of the jobs created by the government.

Then there is scientific research and experimental development. The government plans to reduce credits to large companies from 20% to 15%, which amounts to a 25% decrease. This proposal has been decried by the business community, particularly the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. The government argues that the overall decrease in incentives for R&D would be $500 million, but the CME argues that the losses could be $633 million.

In addition, some argue that capital expenditures should be removed from calculations for tax credit purposes. The first suggestion was in the Jenkins report, but the second was not. The government made this up; it is not based on a recommendation from the report. We heard a very persuasive argument in the committee about how some industries in the natural resources sector and in manufacturing need to be able to include capital expenses in R&D tax credit calculations. Such industries often need to establish pilot projects—model factories, in effect—to implement the research they have already done. By eliminating that option, this measure puts some industries that really need it at a disadvantage.

Many witnesses were also worried about the government's new ability to choose winners, which would make it possible for the government to choose successful grant applicants.

Claims to the effect that Canada outperformed all the other countries are truly exaggerated. Canada did better in some ways. However, I do not believe that the Conservative government can take credit for that. Canada has survived the recession so well mainly because of the monetary policies of the Governor of the Bank of Canada, and in particular his determination to immediately lower the interest rate at the first signs of the recession, when the government was still denying that there was a problem on the horizon.

To conclude, in 2015, Canadians and Quebeckers will be able to look back on the tenor of the debates in the House and have their say about whether circumstances are better than they were before the start of the Conservative government reign. The answer will be no.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my friend's speech. He railed against the tax cuts that we brought forward for small businesses and said that reducing taxes for businesses was a terrible thing. I cannot believe he would make that kind of statement.

My question for the member is this. Not only are the New Democrats against lowering taxes for business, but will they finally admit that a cap and trade scheme that would raise $21 billion in revenue is a carbon tax, which they are supporting? I do not want the member to reply by saying increased fuel efficiency standards are a tax because that is absolutely ridiculous.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are in favour of reducing taxes for small and medium-sized businesses. In fact, our program suggested a tax cut of up to 9%. The government decided on 11%. We therefore certainly do not need any lectures on this matter from the Conservative government.

Perhaps the Conservative government needs some lessons. There are three ways to combat climate change. A carbon tax like the one proposed by the Liberal Party could be introduced. An emissions or carbon exchange system like the one proposed by the NDP and the Conservatives in 2008 could be established. The third option is sectoral regulation as currently practised by the Conservatives.

Combatting climate change will cost money. The Conservatives are now spending money with their sectoral regulation system. According to a number of economists, this will cost a total of $52 billion for carbon and vehicle emissions alone.

The government should be more careful when it presents figures on combatting climate change. It is in fact generally recognized that the NDP carbon exchange approach is far superior to the Conservatives' approach thus far.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member knows that Bill C-45 is an unprecedented bill that attempts to change a wide variety of legislation that would have very profound impacts. In fact, historically, it is precedent setting that the government has tried to put so much in a budget bill. When it went to committee, the NDP voted with the government to limit debate on the bill. That would have been a wonderful opportunity to go though it clause-by-clause and ask questions of the government on a wide variety of issues.

Why did the NDP vote to limit the committee debate on the bill?

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to correct what my friend just said, which is that it is an unprecedented measure. The precedent was Bill C-38 which also established a multitude of statutes. There were amendments to more than 70 pieces of legislation. Bill C-45 is the second bill of this kind. There was therefore a precedent.

In response to my colleague's question, we discussed various things in subcommittee. Amendments to the dates were proposed and there was a vote on referring various parts of the bill to different committees. This was all done in good faith and we could all see that the government was not being responsible and not acting in good faith when it proposed that committees should study the relevant items. For example, the Standing Committee on the Environment did not adequately study the Navigable Waters Protection Act. That is why the bill or parts thereof were referred to the committees. That is what we voted on.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise and speak on behalf of my constituents of Nipissing—Timiskaming about our economic action plan 2012.

Canada, in stark contrast to other G7 countries, has had unparalleled success in leading the global recovery. We are resilient and prosperous. What has contributed to this record? Has it been by belabouring businesses with costly and redundant red tape? No. Has it been by implementing or maintaining fiscally unsustainable programs? No. Has it been by bloating government with a cradle to grave philosophy? No. Has it been by promoting an aggravating and massive $21 billion carbon tax as touted by the NDP? No, not at all.

The single reason why Canada remains resilient and prosperous, the explicit principle behind our success, is the courageous long-term vision of our Conservative government. Our sound fiscal framework has been rooted in our conviction to serve the interests of all Canadians now and well into the future.

It is easy for the opposition to sit across the aisle and fire accusations. Take, for example, our stance on the principled and necessary changes to OAS. The NDP believe, in spite of sober facts, that Canada should recklessly maintain an unsustainable framework. The member for Churchill claimed the other day that our changes were unfair to the younger generation. I challenge the NDP to explain how fair and reasonable it is to allow that younger generation to reach retirement age and realize that there is no money because the government at the time, fully seized of an unsustainable model, sat back and did absolutely nothing.

This is the kind of principled leadership that Canada needs and, indeed, is the kind of leadership Canadians voted for in 2011. Our government bases its decisions on principle and accountability to the Canadian people. This government will not sell out the future of this country for political convenience. Our plan for growth and long-term prosperity may at times be difficult, but it remains necessary. It is only our Conservative government that holds the courage and principle to do what is right.

I would like to quickly highlight three specific areas our government has improved for the long-term benefit of Canadians, ones that have a particular impact on my riding of Nipissing—Timiskaming, those being families, seniors and small businesses.

Our Conservative government remains committed to keeping families strong. Part of economic action plan 2012 has been our effort to provide families with the necessary relief and flexibility in their household budgets to ensure that they can meet the challenges and rewards of raising a family, especially those most vulnerable.

We first cut the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%, a tax write-off of about $1,000 back into the pockets of average families. We have decreased the lowest personal income tax to 15% and removed one million Canadians from the tax rolls altogether.

We also introduced the universal child care benefit, giving families flexibility and choice in daycare, by providing $1,200 a year for each child under six years of age. We have also invested in the quality of life and future of our young Canadians through the children's art and children's fitness tax credits.

New initiatives like the first-time homebuyer's tax credit are opening up new possibilities for Canadian families and reducing the economic challenges of keeping a family healthy and strong.

Our strong record of tax relief has, on average, put $3,100 back into the pockets of Canadian families. Indeed, Canadian families are the most essential part of Canadian life and they can count on their Conservative government to deliver principled results, as opposed to the opposition who remain fixed on a job-killing $21 billion carbon tax and all kinds of red tape.

With regard to seniors, our government has taken a principled stand on ensuring dignity and respect for those who have helped make Canada the great nation it is today. Our government recognizes that the global economic downturn has been difficult on many Canadians, including seniors. Again, our Conservative government has remained vigilant to provide relief and flexibility to seniors, especially those most vulnerable.

We have increased the amount that recipients of the guaranteed income supplement, GIS, can earn through employment without any reduction in their GIS benefits. We have also introduced the largest GIS increase in over 25 years, ensuring that eligible, low income seniors will receive additional assistance so that they may live in peace and security. We have increased the age credit amount to $2,000 and doubled the pension income credit to $2,000.

Our support for seniors has not been limited simply to direct financial help. We remain committed to improving the quality of life and ensuring the dignity of Canadian seniors. That is why we have taken steps to combat elder abuse in all forms; enhanced the new horizons for seniors program by providing an additional $10 million to promote volunteerism, mentorship and the social participation of seniors; and of course introduce tougher legislation for those who abuse seniors.

Having been in business and development my entire life, leading trade missions across the globe, I am particularly proud of our Conservative record in supporting small business. Whereas the opposition wants to drown small business owners with costly and redundant red tape, our government recognizes the crucial role that small business plays in the diversity and vitality of our Canadian economy.

Part of our government's principled, long-term vision is supporting opportunities for growth and long-term prosperity. We have increased direct financial support for business innovation through the National Research Council, the Canadian innovation commercialization program, and the industrial research and development intern program

Our job-creating hiring credit for small business benefited 534,000 employers in the last year alone. We have increased the small business limit to $500,000 and decreased the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%.

It is clear from these examples and the additional contents of our economic action plan 2012 that our Conservative government remains committed to making principled and necessary long-term commitments on behalf of Canadians for the benefit of Canadians.

I am rather disturbed that the only consistent argument put forward by the NDP is that this is an omnibus bill that should be reduced in size and broken up. I have news for the opposition: while we may be enjoying a fragile recovery, many Canadians have suffered in the recession and many continue to suffer.

Canadians need principled leadership now. Canadians chose a Conservative majority in 2011 because they knew and understood who would get the job done. Canadians understand that it is only Conservatives who have the intestinal fortitude to get the job done. This government will not take the easy way out. We will continue to fight for the benefit of Canadians now and in the long term.

While the NDP is continually focused on a $21 billion job-killing carbon tax, enforcing costly bureaucratic redundancy or prescribing the enforcement of the Migratory Birds Convention Act as solutions to reviving the manufacturing sector, it is our government that continues to deliver principled results.

It is no surprise that the opposition is so anti-growth, anti-business and anti-entrepreneur. Its solution to everything is to just throw money at it. A good look at Europe will show how those socialist policies turn out.

Frankly, I do not think the opposition believes in the capacities of Canadians and the potential of Canada. Opposition members consistently spout and defend divisive rhetoric. Even the Liberals, like the member for Papineau, believe that if someone is not from a specific part of the country, he or she is not fit to govern.

Our economic action plan 2012 is for the benefit of Canadians. It was tailored in consultation with Canadians from coast to coast to coast and is proving to be a sound fiscal framework. Canadians need to realize their full potential and live their lives how they want to live them.

Our economic action plan 2012 will deliver growth, jobs and long-term prosperity. I encourage the opposition to support it. I encourage them to believe in Canadians and national unity in Canada.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed my colleague's quite amusing speech. In light of the information in the public arena, I would not say that it was wrong, because I am not allowed to say that, but I would say that it was completely misguided, if you will permit me the expression.

Can the member explain the $36 billion automobile tax that the Conservatives recently proposed?

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not know about that tax, but the $21 billion carbon tax is the centrepiece of the NDP program. It seems to be focusing on a one-solution-fits-all carbon tax of $21 billion. It is beyond me why the NDP members will not explain that carbon tax yet are so focused on it. They seem to have no other policies than focusing on that tax.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I differ from my colleague. I was not amused by those remarks but somewhat saddened because they are so far off base. What was on base was a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on the effects of the government's policies in my region. The report indicates that as a result of the government's punitive action against Atlantic Canada, Atlantic Canadian communities and Atlantic Canadian families, “approximately 4400 direct full-time equivalent federal jobs, representing at least $300 million in salaries and wages, will be lost in the Atlantic region by 2014–15”.

The Conservative government is damaging the Atlantic Canadian economy. Now we have a senator, a political hack for the Prime Minister from the other place, in Atlantic Canada saying that he wants to fix this economic chaos by destroying the Constitution and eliminating Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as provinces.

I ask the member, is it the Conservative Party's policy to do away with the constitutional and sovereign rights of maritime Canadians?

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about the economic action plan 2012 here. We are talking about the growth of the Canadian economy and long-term prosperity for all Canadians, including Atlantic Canada. It is clear from the IMF and all the international bodies that Canada is doing among the best of all the G7 countries. Atlantic Canada will improve along with other Canadians as rule if we keep these policies. It is our government's plan to keep these policies, to continue the growth and long-term prosperity of Canadians everywhere, including Atlantic Canada.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Conservative Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his passionate speech and hard work on behalf of his constituents.

I wonder if the member could highlight some of the positive benefits that will happen for his constituents after the bill passes the House, and some of the things that he may have heard from his constituents, and also the possible harm that the NDP carbon tax may cause to the economy?

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, what will happen is clear from the economic action plan. I have been a part of international business for most of my career. As I mentioned in my speech, it is clear from the initiatives that we have put in place to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in business that this will be of great benefit to our particular part of the province. I am thinking of the incentives through the National Research Council and the Canadian innovation commercialization program. These are all positive benefits for businesses in my area, which are not like Atlantic Canada.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-45, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures. I already had the opportunity to speak to the bill in the House, and we are still talking about it after examining it in the Standing Committee on Finance. The process has been very long. We embarked upon a marathon of votes. Indeed, we voted on amendments for several days in a row.

I do not know whether I should thank my Liberal colleagues for having introduced 3,000 amendments. I understand what they were trying to do—they were trying to talk about the issue at hand—but I am not sure about their approach. We have proposed amendments that are fair, well written, and that are intended to improve the bill.

Basically, this bill is a step backwards when it comes to the environment. My colleagues have said this several times during question period and in the House, in general. A number of measures are very damaging to the environment. I will come back to that.

One thing that I would like to discuss is the fact that the government often boasts that the bill will create jobs. Let us not forget that based on the initial budget and figures from the Department of Finance and the Minister of Finance, we know that the unemployment rate has gone up. If the goal was to make the unemployment rate go up, then I congratulate the Conservatives, because their efforts are paying off.

Several thousands of jobs are being lost as a result of this government's cuts. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that approximately 43,000 jobs will be lost. If this is lumped together with previous cuts, approximately 102,000 jobs will have been lost.

When it comes to job losses, it is important to understand what is happening from an economic standpoint and, especially, in terms of services provided to Canadians. The Minister of Finance said from the outset that there would be no problem, and that services would in no way be affected, that Canadians would not see much of a change because services would not be affected.

In my opinion, it is already clear that services are being affected. In my riding of Brossard—La Prairie, the government closed a Canada Revenue Agency office, which means that persons with reduced mobility, who can normally apply for a disability tax credit, can no longer get information. It is becoming increasingly difficult for people who do not have access to the Internet or who have a hard time understanding what they see on the Internet. Forget about service by phone. It is extremely long and complicated. Once again, services are obviously being lost. This is just one example, but there are many others.

Another thing stood out to me in particular. Two weeks ago, I met with some people when I visited Whitehorse, Yukon.

They were really angry because the government decided to shut down the Canada Revenue Agency office in Whitehorse. That meant people had to drive 1,000 kilometres to the next CRA office. Basically, that means less services for people in Yukon and more cost to them, if they have to drive so far. Also, if they have questions to ask CRA officials, they may now have to go through a private consultant, someone they have to pay, and there will be increased fees in terms of postage.

Again, cutting off services to Canadians and increasing fees that are transferred to them is not the way to go when we talk about a budget, especially in the circumstances where we are right now with Europe being very slow and with the U.S. hopefully not going over a fiscal cliff at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. Things are not certain and what the government is doing is cutting services to Canadians and laying people off.

I want to come back to a subject that is very important to me: the environment. My colleagues often say that the NDP wants to implement a carbon tax. They refer to our plan and I know that they know they are not telling the truth.

I must admit that I am very disappointed to see adult elected officials straight out lying and spreading misinformation. It is sad to see that in the House. They try to be very nice with the Prime Minister; he gives them lines to repeat and they must listen to him.

I find it disappointing to see elected officials rising to read lies. I find it even more disappointing that they even go to the Standing Committee on Finance, where we are supposed to have intelligent discussions and talk about real issues, and they come out with such ridiculous statements.

I know that the members opposite know what a lie is. If they were listening, they would know that there is a difference between—

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. About a minute ago my hon. friend used an unparliamentary word during his speech. He used the word “lies” in referring to—

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The Chair did not hear that comment. If it was used and the member would like to retract it, he may.

The hon. member for Brossard—La Prairie.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

I would like to point out that I was not referring specifically to what an individual did, but rather about things that were being said in general. It was not an attack on a specific member. I do not, therefore, withdraw what I said—it is entirely true.

If my colleagues opposite were more aware and listened, they would know that there is a difference between a carbon market and a carbon tax.

When I ran in the 2008 election, the Liberals proposed a carbon tax, the Conservatives proposed a carbon market, as did the NDP. The difference with, and the advantage of, a carbon market is that it paves the way for the future. It is important to understand that there is a polluter-pay principle that must be taken into consideration.

Nevertheless, it is also important to think about investing in the future, in what is called “the green economy” and in technologies that, later, will ensure that we are less reliant on fossil fuels, such as oil. It is important to think about the future which, quite clearly, is not this Conservative government's intention, nor that of its members.

There is really a lack of vision, and there is a stark difference between what the Conservatives are saying, what we are saying, and even what the Liberals said about their carbon tax, which truly was a tax on carbon.

I would encourage my friends to think carefully about this and to get the information they need. If the issue is too complicated for them, we can explain it in point form and use illustrations. Then they might see the difference. However, they really need to understand these differences from the point of view of people who are interested in standing up for Canadians' interests rather than simply repeating and rehashing idiocies.

Once again, I would like to come back to Bill C-45 because it is important. The Conservatives have made changes and have chipped away at environmental protection provisions. The deputy environment critic has spoken about how the bill will directly affect lakes and navigable waters.

In fact, this bill is called “omnibus bill No. 2”. The government waged war on anything to do with environmental assessment in the first bill. Now that the Conservatives have realized that certain aspects of the environment are still protected, it has turned its attention to lakes and rivers. The Minister of Transport says that the legislation never protected lakes and rivers.

However, we know what we see, and our rivers and lakes must be protected. I come from Quebec and, in my opinion, there is nothing more important than water, and this holds true for Canada, too. It is crucial.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments, but, as I have raised before, Bill C-45 is the second budget bill that has been brought forward that contains an amazing amount of changes that would impact other legislation. Canadians need to be very much aware of just how unprecedented this legislation is. It is an attempt by the government, through the back door of a mandatory budget vote, to pass dozens and dozens of pieces of legislation that should have been stand alone. Had they been stand alone, there would have been ample opportunity for opposition parties to be diligent in posing questions and trying to get a better understanding of all that was being captured.

That did not happen and we now have Bill C-45 before us. The other night the NDP worked with the Conservative Party to limit debate on the budget bill. Why did the NDP move to limit debate and not allow the Liberal Party, at the very least, the opportunity to continue to ask questions about this very important bill that we should not even pass?

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's question, but perhaps not its underlying premise. I will explain, because I know the hon. member was not present at the Standing Committee on Finance, so I do not know if he understands everything that happened.

What happened was that a motion was moved by the Conservatives, who can do whatever they like in this committee with the majority they have. The committee was able to debate until midnight, proposing amendments and discussing them. Then, at midnight, debate was shut down. I recognize that this is a non-transparent government that pushes us around and prevents debate. At that point, all we could do was vote.

The Liberals decided to use all the time to talk about "ridiculous" amendments. There are 3,000 amendments and some are very slight and lacking in substance. Sometimes they proposed amendments, the amendments were rejected, and in the end, they voted in favour of the proposal.

What we wanted to do was to debate these amendments, propose our own, and explain the advantages and disadvantages. There were more advantages. Unfortunately, the Liberals prevented us from having a proper discussion and debate.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, one thing that astonishes me about the New Democrats is that they do not know anything about the environment. All they talk about is process.

Let me talk about our government's record. On our watch, sulphur dioxide emissions, nitrous oxide emissions and carbon dioxide emissions are down. We are number two in the world on water quality based on a 2010 UN report. We have doubled the amount of protected areas and environmental farm plans. Randle Reef is being cleaned up in Hamilton harbour. We have established new emission regulations.

We are actually doing something about the environment and all the New Democrats talk about is process. Why will they not focus on the environment?

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we on this side are truly concerned about the environment and we take a long-term view. We are not just thinking about little housekeeping tasks.

I do recognize that some action has been taken, and that is important, but the hon. member does not understand that the environment is not a concern for us alone, but also for our children and grandchildren. Right now, we say that polluters must clean up, but polluters continue to pollute, and future generations will have to pay the price. That is what we are trying to explain to our hon. colleague.

We want to invest, to move forward, and to have a sustainable economy. I hope the hon. member realizes that we will not always be able to depend on fossil fuels. One day we will have to transition to the power sources of the future. Why not do it now, to make sure the change gets made? Why not tell today's polluters that they must pay, rather than saying that if our children want a cleaner environment they will be the ones to pay the price?

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak in the House today on behalf of my constituents of Pickering--Scarborough East in supporting Bill C-45, the second budget implementation bill, and against the NDP and Liberal opposition attempts to delay and defeat it.

I fully support the legislation, which, logically, would provide the means and tools to continue to build Canada's future economic strength for many years to come. As a professional engineer, I appreciate the logic and systematic nature of our progressive efforts in Bill C-45 to maintain our country as the best place in the world to live, raise a family and do business.

As members may know, Bill C-45 includes vital implementation measures outlined in jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in Canada's economic action plan 2012 which is focused on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for our nation. It would help continue to set the stage for the next wave of job creation and economic growth and position Canada for a secure and prosperous future.

Bill C-45 contains a series of clarifications and measures to amend several acts and bring technical changes in order to streamline the application of provisions previously passed in economic action plan 2012. In fact, it reflects a logical continuation of responsible and prudent fiscal management.

I would note the baseline matters that are extremely important to my constituents in Pickering--Scarborough East. These are to maintain a low unemployment rate, the creation of new jobs with a high technological content and the logical expectation that the government is creating the proper environment for this purpose.

My riding is quite unique in that it contains the Pickering nuclear power plant, which is in the proximity of Canada's largest urban area and employs many engineers and technologists. My riding also houses the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus and Centennial College, institutions that produce many youth close to entering the job market. In addition, my riding has many small and medium size businesses.

The global economy is changing. Competition for the brightest minds is intensifying. The pace of technological change is creating new opportunities while making older business practices obsolete. Canada's long-term economic competitiveness in this emerging knowledge economy demands globally competitive businesses that innovate and create high-quality jobs.

I will take this opportunity to underline and specify to the House that engineering, my profession, is a practical vocation that makes things happen and is not hiding behind words and commas. Its practitioners are optimists who seek solutions and are confident that solutions can be found in an economical and ethical way.

Engineers do not just work on physical implementation of industrial projects. Some also use their practical knowledge to help governments understand choices and the most effective means to get things done. They are also realists who abhor abstraction and rigorous planners with a strong sense of discipline. Engineers also help to inform public opinion by illuminating what can be done and bringing to life the sense of what is possible, a hugely important motivator for all of us. They are looking for solutions and not sensations.

Indeed, it strikes me that the more complex the challenges facing the world become, the more pivotal engineering is to the search for solutions. I am talking especially about energy, where Canada has immense resources and the contribution of engineering is crucial to their responsible development. I invite my colleagues from the opposition to collaborate in its rational utilization for the benefit of our nation and mankind rather than demonizing it.

The future is never guaranteed but rational and positive resource exploitation today ensures an independent and economically stable tomorrow. It is, therefore, imperative for all of us to act today and not tomorrow.

Churchill put it in characteristically stark terms in June 1940 as he contemplated what, at the time, seemed a catastrophic future for mankind. If Britain failed to halt Hitler. He said, “the whole world...will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science”.

Science in the service of evil could enslave mankind, but what of applied science in the service of the good, in the cause of averting catastrophe?

It is to this end that our government is investing in the science and engineering of the good, and creating a fertile environment for small and medium size businesses to develop. These policies will help to maintain Canada's position among the leading industrialized countries of the world.

However, despite strong policy fundamentals to support innovation in Canada, Canadian businesses do not take full advantage. Canada continues to lag behind peer countries in terms of overall innovation performance, including private sector investment in research and development, and the commercialization of research into products and processes that create high-value jobs and economic growth.

This is why our government is committed to a new approach for supporting innovation in Canada by pursuing active business-led initiatives that focus resources on better meeting private sector needs and Bill C-45 leads in that direction.

Bill C-45 focuses on continuing to implement a strong economy and create jobs as outlined in the economic action plan 2012 in order to secure jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canada.

Our government's focus continues to be on practical matters with real commercial potential meant to create jobs and prosperity for Canadians. It does not stop there, however. It also invests in people, the most precious resource, by creating the right environment and opportunities to be creative.

I would mention some areas where the bill brings improvements and clarifications: responsible resource development ensures that major resource projects are not bogged down by the regulatory system and that one project receives only one review in a clearly defined timeframe; the hiring credit for small businesses extends the credit of up to $1,000 for one year to encourage additional hiring, and lowers total business payroll taxes by $205 million, which benefited nearly 534,000 employers last year; for helping youth gain skills and experience, $50 million to the youth employment strategy; and for connecting Canadians with available jobs, $21 million to improve job and labour market information for Canadians looking for work.

As I said before, Bill C-45 is very important for the advancement of the Canadian economy, and our Conservative government's top focus is just that, creating jobs, promoting economic growth and ensuring long-term prosperity. We know what matters to Canadians and their families, and we are getting results for them on that front with nearly 820,000 net new jobs created since July 2009, 90% full-time and over 80% in the private sector.

We all know that Canada is not immune to these global challenges and we need to be on guard. That is why we are working hard to implement economic action plan 2012 and Bill C-45 would do just that. That is why we, along with many Canadians, are so disappointed in the NDP and the Liberals for refusing to put Canadians ahead of their own partisan agenda by delaying these important measures to help Canada's economy to keep its good momentum.

The measures I have highlighted today are significant examples of this government's commitment to a strong economy and responsible management in the name of all Canadians. It represents the continuation and implementation of our longer term view of how we can become more efficient and more prudent with taxpayers' heard-earned money.

As our Conservative government has said all along, the global economic recovery remains fragile. That makes responsible management to return to balanced budgets even more important, and that is the laser focus of Canada's economic action plan 2012 and Bill C-45 provides the means for its implementation.

It is the steps we take today that will give us the ability to withstand the complex global challenges of today and tomorrow. That is why our Conservative government's main focus has been and will remain the economy, including implementing Canada's economic action plan 2012, and why I do not support the NDP and opposition attempts to delay and defeat Bill C-45.

Motions in amendmentJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The time for government orders has expired. As such, the hon. member for Pickering—Scarborough East will have five minutes for questions and comments when this matter returns before the House.

Science and TechnologyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Conservative Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, innovation is the key to Canada's prosperity and it is important that all Canadians have opportunities to succeed in the knowledge economy.

Women are underrepresented in science and technology and yet women have just as much, if not more, potential to succeed in the creative and innovative environment of high tech.

Recently, women in the Waterloo region launched a local chapter of Canadian Women in Technology, CanWIT, to mentor and support women in the high-tech community. This coming weekend, the TEDxWomen conference is taking place in Waterloo to inspire and encourage women in science and innovation.

I am proud that Waterloo is once again leading the way by motivating women to participate more fully in the technology sector and contribute in this way to our future prosperity.