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

House of Commons Hansard #190 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was lake.

Topics

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That in relation to Bill C-45, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and one sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill and,

at the expiry of the time provided for the consideration at report stage and at fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I move: That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, Bill C-45, in clause 321, be amended by adding after line 13 on page 291 the following: (2.1) The addition of the navigable waters listed below is deemed to be in the public interest and the Governor-in-Council shall, by regulation, as soon as is reasonably practicable after the day on which this act receives royal assent, add those navigable waters to the schedule, including, with respect to lakes, their approximate location in latitude and longitude and, with respect to rivers and riverines, the approximate downstream and upstream points, as well as a description of each of those lakes, rivers and riverines, and where more than one lake, river or riverine exists with the same name indicated in the list below, the Governor-in-Council shall select one to be added, namely: Natla Lake, Chartrand Lake, McDonald Lake, Hottah Lake, Moraine Lake, West Hans Lake, Bunting Lake, Grodsky Lake, Lake Bovie, Jennejohn Lake, Germaine Lake, Seven Islands Lake, Fallaize Lake, Fishing Bear Lake, Willowlake River.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. We are going to do the same thing we did in the past where members have a minute to put the question and give the response.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I move that, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, Bill C-45, in clause 321, be amended by adding after line 13 on page 291 the following: (2.1) The addition of the navigable waters listed below is deemed to be in the public interest and the governor in council shall, by regulation, as soon as is reasonably practicable after the day on which this act receives royal assent, add those navigable waters to the schedule, including, with respect to lakes, their approximate location in latitude and longitude and, with respect to rivers and riverines, the approximate downstream and upstream points, as well as a description of each of those lakes, rivers and riverines, and where more than one lake, river or riverine exists with the same name indicated in the list below, the governor in council shall select one to be added, namely:

The list is short: Ross Lake, Giauque Lake, La Loche Lakes, McCrea Lake, Bewick Lake, Broken Dish Lake, Sam McRae Lake, Magrum Lake, Winter Lake, Lac à Jacques, Greyling Lake, Basler Lake, Rummy Lake, Tatti Lake and Yellowknife River.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I want to clarify whether the question period to the government's invocation of closure has begun and we are now into the process of the 30 minutes. Could you clarify this? The clock started as of a couple of minutes ago after the House leader for the government moved it. Are we now into that section of time?

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Yes, we are.

Just to make it formal, the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the rules reign supreme.

The government has sought again today to shut down debate on an incredibly important budget bill. It seems the number of times government members have to come face to face with democratic principles of the House is fatiguing to them. It is tiresome to them that democracy is such a cumbersome weight to drag around, particularly when the Conservatives have a majority government, of which they like to abuse their power so frequently and with such fervour. The government members need to rationalize and justify, each and every time, why they shut down our ability to hold them to account.

The principal role of any Parliament, and this one in particular, is to hold government to account. Conservative members might be interested in this as well. The last time they did this charade of democracy and parliamentary function was Bill C-38, which stripped away pension rights for seniors, employment insurance, environmental protection. They got a bunch of it wrong. How did that happen? They rammed the legislation through. What are they doing now? Correcting their mistakes from the first time.

The problem with this is not just the Conservative Party's inability to write good legislation, but this impacts the lives of Canadians each and every day. We began to talk about the number of lakes and rivers, tens of thousands of them in our country, that would no longer be protected by the laws of Canada. The Conservatives who claim to have such a love for the great outdoors, the hunters and fishermen they seem to represent, do not seem to mind this idea. It does not really matter when put up against the interests of oil companies and large outfits that do not want to go through the hassle of an environmental assessment, or public meetings and those annoyances.

Again, why does the government seem to be so upset with the idea of democratic process and principle? Why does it seem to have such an allergy toward the idea of debate and of holding government to account and of improving legislation, which this time is meant to afford us, that it has to bring in these measures to shut down debate again?

This is so reminiscent of the government members' absolute blunt denial and refusal to admit there was a recession in 2008. We all remember that. If they just stuck their heads in the sand long enough, the recession would simply go away. They introduced an austerity budget in the middle of a global recession and called themselves economic geniuses.

Here we are again with a fragile global economy, all sorts of indications within the Canadian economy that there is serious trouble at home. This is not some European, Greek, American problem. This is a Canadian situation. The government has introduced another bill, another austerity measure in the face of the growing concerns of Canadians. It has cut to the bone on the services Canadians rely upon.

Rather than face the music and hold a democratic debate, the government members do this. They shut down Parliament again. They like prorogation, closures and shutting down debate, but Canadians do not. It may serve the Conservatives in the short term, but we know for a fact that Canadians are watching. Canadians care and want parliamentarians to do their jobs. Why will the government not let MPs do their work?

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about why we are actually extending debate beyond an unprecedented number of hours.

Witnesses were actually brought to 11 different committees. Canadians need to know there were 11 committees that oversaw witnesses appear in front of members of Parliament to answer fair and open questions. It was a great opportunity for those individuals.

I have spent a fair bit of time, as much as I could on weekends, back in Alberta. In fact, I was in Edmonton this last weekend, talking to a number of constituents who were quite encouraged to hear that Canada was still on track. The fact is we have nearly 820,000 more Canadians working now than at the end of the recession. We have said this all along, if there are any Canadians still looking for work, we as legislators need to ensure we put in policies that will encourage those people to get back to work. That is what we are doing.

A lot of this is time sensitive. I can refer to the specific items in here that are time sensitive. We need to get that moving, but we are encouraging debate in the House.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is encouraging to see the New Democratic Party come alongside the Liberal Party, at least at this stage. In committee, the NDP members were quite eager to vote with the government to pass things through and limit debate on the bill.

Only the Liberal Party has constantly held the government to task for the introduction of this budget bill, and for good reason. We believe that the budget bill, which is historic in terms of the way in which it is abusing the House, needs to be opposed at all stages, not just at third reading or second reading. We are glad that the NDP has finally seen the light and has decided to join the Liberals in opposition to the bill. We look forward to maybe having a little more support toward that.

The government, once again, has seen the merit in bringing in time allocation in order to force through the bill. Surely to goodness it recognizes, given that the bill takes into consideration numerous pieces of legislation, that the bill itself could have been a legislative agenda. It is unfair to expect Canadians, especially parliamentarians, to provide due diligence in ensuring that what we are passing is being done properly.

A number of years ago, when the Liberals brought in a 21-page budget bill, the current Prime Minister criticized the Liberal government saying that the bill was far too big. Now we are talking about hundreds of pages. In fact, the Prime Minister back then told the Liberal government that dividing the bill into several components would allow members to represent the views of their constituents on each of the different components of the bill. There are a lot more components to this bill. We are talking about hundreds of pages as opposed to 21 pages.

What has changed? Why has the Prime Minister decided that these types of bills are proper today when he opposed them so firmly back in the 1990s? Like the NDP, he has had a flip-flop. Why?

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

Just before I go to the Minister of State for Finance, I have allowed both the opposition parties lengthy first questions but from now on questions will be limited to one minute maximum. I expect the responses from the government side will also be limited to that same period of time.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member referred to some of the pieces that are in the legislation. I knew that a lot of these were time sensitive, so I just did a bit of fact checking to ensure I was right. Passage of this bill is urgently required urgently because a lot of the improvements and enhancements that we are making to grow the economy, to help grow jobs and to make an environment where businesses are interested in expanding their businesses and, therefore, growing their labour populations, a number of these are dependent on getting this passed and receiving royal assent by January 1, 2013.

One, for example, division 14 of part 4, amends the agreement on internal trade implementation. It also repeals subsection 28(3) of the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act. This is important to moving forward so we can actually trade from province to province. I think all members in the House recognize the impediments that we have had. We had a piece of legislation just plain and simply trying to allow Ontarians to enjoy the beautiful wine that is produced in British Columbia. We have internal trade barriers. We need to move forward on getting trade opened up interprovincially.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, they keep talking about investment, but one of the internal problems we have is a dollar that is too high for those who want to export their products. The government does not have much to say about that.

Since the member wants to talk about urgency, I would like to raise an urgent matter in my riding: fortunately, the Richelieu River is still protected by the Navigable Waters Protection Act, but none of its tributaries are protected.

A river is like a human body: cut off a limb, and the rest of the body suffers as a result. It is ridiculous to suggest that protecting some of our waterways but not others will not have negative consequences. The Minister of Transport said that the Navigable Waters Protection Act had nothing to do with the environment. I am trying to understand how failing to see that all departments are connected can possibly qualify as good governance.

This all seems very irresponsible to me.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, many questions have been answered in the House about the purpose of protecting navigation, and that is exactly what we are doing, but not to the detriment of the actual functioning of municipalities and those who are operating outside the rivers. It is important that we protect navigation but it is also important that we protect individuals who live along those river courses and water courses. That process is already in place. The Minister of Public Safety oversees that.

There have been some challenges all across this country this year with flooding. The Minister of Public Safety does not use navigable waters to deal with that. He uses his authority to compensate people who have been flooded.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, before I ask a question of my hon. colleague from Calgary, I must say that my colleague from Winnipeg needs to take a little history lesson. In fairness to him, the fact is that it was the Liberal Party, through confidence votes, that kept the Conservative government alive for 100 votes. He is the last person who should be talking about supporting the Conservative Party.

What the Minister of State for Finance is saying is incorrect. If there are urgent aspects in the bill that need to be done by January 1, the government could easily take those aspects out of the omnibus bill, seek consent from the House, especially from the official opposition, and move those aspects of the bill quite quickly, like we did with the pension reform legislation. The problem is that by lumping all of these aspects into a massive bill, which even he has not read and I doubt anyone in the House has read, there will be mistakes and errors.

Why does the government not just take out those aspects that the member says are so critical, seek unanimous consent, see if they can be moved rather quickly and allow proper debate on the rest of the bill?

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have read quite a bit of the budget. Everything that is in the budget implementation act, both part one in the spring and budget implementation act two, is a reflection of what was approved by the House in the budget.

I know my hon. colleague wants to slow things down.

We are a government that promised Canadians that we would do everything within our power to provide an environment so they can get a job. We have put forward policies in the budget that will encourage businesses. We are reducing taxes for businesses. We are getting red tape out of their way so businesses can grow, prosper and continue to provide jobs in this country. That is of primary importance.

Canada is in exceptionally good shape when compared to many other countries but we need to continue with our plan so we can ensure that anyone who hopes to find a job has that opportunity.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, on Thursday evening, in Bouctouche, New Brunswick, I was at a large public meeting with over 600 people who were very concerned about the changes that the government is making to employment insurance, particularly with respect to employers in seasonal industries and those who work for those employers.

The government has decided to shut down debate on this budget implementation bill. That will do nothing to reassure these 600-plus people who are concerned about the changes that the government is making. Many people live in small rural communities where there is no other employment and forcing them to drive perhaps an hour to accept a minimum wage job would not be economically possible.

I am wondering what the Minister of State for Finance could say to these people who are worried that these last minute changes, which his colleague, the Minister of Human Resources, is making, will make the situation much worse and will lead to real anxiety on the part of employers and employees.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. House leader from the Liberal Party on his appointment.

We are concerned when we hear that people are uncertain about their access to employment insurance. That is why the minister has ensured that she is improving the system and making it more accessible for people. Not only that, as part of this legislation is a portion that would allow people who are still collecting EI to accept part-time work. That was not allowed before. We look at that as a good option. People can now get themselves into a job that, hopefully, will turn into a full-time job.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, people at home are truly worried. They are worried about what is in the budget and especially about the attitude of this government, which amended 70 acts with Bill C-38 and will amend 62 acts, without debate, with Bill C-45.

My question is for the minister. In light of the Conservatives' strategy, will they one day introduce a bill to automatically amend 200 or 300 laws, and then bid farewell to Parliament and parliamentarians for the rest of the year?

That is the kind of distortion of democracy we are seeing. People at home are worried about the Conservatives' brand of democracy.

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, what I hear from Canadians as I travel across the country is support for what we are doing, support for the fact that we are providing an EI hiring tax credit for businesses that want to employ more people and yet are just on the edge. This would help them offer a job to someone who is not working right now. That is the message I am hearing from businesses. They are supportive of that. That is also very time sensitive. We all know that for this to take place we need royal assent by January 1, 2013.

Why would the hon. member want to stand in the way of businesses being able to hire more Canadians?

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I will address my question to my colleague across the way.

Today, in The Globe and Mail, a study came out on Canadians' attitudes toward democracy which showed that over the past eight years there has been a substantial decline in their belief in the democracy that we hold in this Parliament.

We have seen the government bring closure after closure on a multitude of issues, issues which, in some cases, had no time relevance at all. Does the Minister of State for Finance believe that moving forward with further closure would in any way assure the people of Canada that their democracy is in working shape?

Bill C-45—Time AllocationJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I, too, was reading the newspaper this morning. Guess what I discovered? I discovered a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers stating that Canada has now moved up three notches and is within the top 10 countries in the world with the best tax rate for businesses to operate.

The last time I checked, it is not government that employed people, it is businesses that employ people. Businesses have moved up its role.

I will quote from the PricewaterhouseCoopers report. It states:

Canada...[has] attractive tax regimes, which impact all companies—in particularly small-medium sized domestic companies.

Is the opposition going to stand up and vote against small and medium-sized businesses having these opportunities?