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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

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting to hear the Minister of State for Finance talk about Canada being a great place to do business, because in November some 11,000 jobs were in fact shed by the Canadian economy. There seems to be no recognition of that by the government.

He mentioned talking with Canadians. However, I met one of my local business improvement associations yesterday representing small businesses in Danforth, who do not like the Conservatives' hiring tax credit because they know they are going to have to pay it back on payroll taxes down the road. What they want to see instead are apprenticeships and wage assistance so they can hire and train people and we can actually bridge that skill shortage that exists in Canada. They would like to have better education and information from the government.

We know that as front-line services get cut at Service Canada and other areas, Canadians and businesses are having a tougher time getting information out of the government. What is the minister going to do about that? Why is that not in the budget?

Furthermore, the member spoke about committees. Why was there not enough in this budget to have it sent to the industry, science and technology committee? The government likes to talk about being good for R and D, and science and technology and industry, but there was not enough in this budget to actually take it there so we, the members of the committee, could look at it. Why not?

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

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, frankly, I am shocked. I did not think the NDP members were going to stand up and say there was not enough in this budget implementation bill. I thought they were actually arguing the opposite. However, so be it. I guess maybe the comments by the Liberals earlier on were actually quite reflective of the House not being quite sure of where the NDP is going.

One thing I will reflect on is what Canadians are telling me. They do not want to go down a road where they would be encumbered by a $21.5 billion carbon tax scheme that the NDP would foist on all Canadians. It is not a trading system but a tax whose revenue would go to the government.

We will not entertain that. It does not make sense. We are working on a low-tax plan. We continue on that plan. That is why we need to get this legislation in place so we can continue with that solid plan that is actually helping Canadians.

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

12:50 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I must say I was surprised to hear my friend, the Minister of State for Finance claim that everything in Bill C-45 and Bill C-38 was found in the budget. I think that has been pretty thoroughly disproven.

I would be interested to know on what page of the budget we can find the efforts in Bill C-45 to create barriers to tourism in Canada. That will hurt our economy and hurt our tourism sector. I can see no excuse whatsoever for bringing this forward without adequate consultation. The idea of having an international automated list for tourists from Europe, Australia or New Zealand who want to come to Canada is an added barrier in a sector that is currently struggling.

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

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, indeed, tourism is a very important sector of our economy. I am always proud to attend the Calgary Stampede, where this year we set an incredibly high record. It was their centennial stampede and a new record was set in Calgary this year.

We continue to encourage people to come to Canada to see the wealth of scenery and what a wonderful country we have. They come here and see what a strong government we have. Many of them reflect on that outside of this country.

When I travel outside this country, I proudly wear this lapel pin, the Canadian flag. Many people outside this country have come up to me and said they envy the fiscal position of our country and the strong Conservative government we have. I am always happy to hear that.

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

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will start by saying that I had the pleasure of working with St. Vincent de Paul volunteers on the weekend. We collected money for families in need. However, and this is the very bad news we heard on the weekend, the volunteers who work in the community and knock on doors are reporting that the situation is deteriorating and families are living in greater poverty than before.

This comes as no surprise since the government knows absolutely nothing about the economy. I will give a very specific example, a clear sign that the major players in our economy do not have confidence in this government: the staggering $550 billion that has not been invested by our businesses. They do not have enough confidence to invest this money and we cannot blame them.

How can my colleague boast about the Conservatives' achievements, when there is absolutely nothing he can say to dispute this clear sign?

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

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am not bragging about Canada's accomplishments but about the accomplishments of the businesses of this country that employ Canadians. We have put in place a lower tax plan that leaves more money for businesses to expand. It is businesses that create the jobs and employ Canadians, and that is exactly what makes the economy work.

When I hear comments like the member's, I cannot help but ask, as many of my constituents have done in the last few weeks, what on earth it would cost if we allowed the NDP to throw a $21.5 billion carbon scheme on top of this.

We put in the budget implementation act improvements to the registered disability savings plan. We are putting in place many things like that, including taxation rules for the pooled registered pension plan. These are all to help Canadians and to keep them sustainable.

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

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Marc-André Morin NDP Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am tired of hearing the minister spout nonsense about the carbon tax. I would much rather hear him talk about the list drafted by the hon. member for Halifax.

About a dozen of the lakes she mentioned are in my riding, and I am familiar with many of the other ones, since I am familiar with many lakes across Canada, including some in Yukon and British Columbia. It is clear that the Conservatives know how to shoot their mouths off, but when it comes time to protect our waterways, they do nothing.

Are they not concerned about the fact that an entire industry depends on our lakes and rivers? If they are not protected, that industry will disappear.

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

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I share my hon. colleague's frustration that we have heard so much about a $21.5 billion carbon tax. That was not our idea; we are just repeating what the NDP said. They should stop saying it if they do not want to hear any more about it.

We have an incredible environment minister who is actually at an international conference right now, making sure that we are able to protect our environment. I represent some of the most beautiful landscape in this country, beautiful mountains and pristine streams. We all realize how important they are, but we protect them through environmental regulations. We do not do it by stopping or increasing navigation on any river. There are different departments that look after different things in this country.

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

12:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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

12:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

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

12:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

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

12:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

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

12:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

All those opposed will please say nay.

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

12:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

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

12:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #520

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

I wish to inform the House that, because of the proceedings of the time allocation motion, government orders will be extended by 30 minutes.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-45, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012, and other measures, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Report StageJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleagues for their reception. I am pleased to rise on behalf of the people of my riding, Sherbrooke, to speak out against Bill C-45. This is especially true considering that I also voted against a time allocation motion. I am pleased to rise here to oppose the budget put forward by this government, which is incapable of managing public funds and our economy.

I would like to elaborate on several matters. Since the bill is 450 pages long, I could address any number of subjects, many of which were not even mentioned in the budget presented in March. So when the Conservatives say that everything in today's budget reflects what was in the budget document in March, that is completely false.

This is another massive omnibus bill that makes changes to many laws. Once again, the Conservatives are trying to rush their legislative measures through Parliament without giving Canadians and their MPs a chance to examine those measures carefully.

The Conservatives say that jobs are being created. However, with this budget, we are talking about a loss of 43,000 Canadian jobs, as pointed out by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who analyzed the number of jobs that would be lost as a result of the Conservatives' measures. They are talking about job creation, but I have a hard time believing it, since they are eliminating 19,000 jobs in the public service. This is quite simply a job-cutting budget.

The government is also severely weakening environmental regulations—

Report StageJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

Order, please. There is way too much noise in the Chamber. If you want to carry on a private conversation, please exit the Chamber. If you are going to stay in the Chamber, keep the conversations to a very low voice.

The hon. member for Sherbrooke.

Report StageJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, they may not like listening to me because I am telling the truth. I will continue my speech despite all of the noise in the House.

I was saying that this bill severely weakens environmental legislation. That was the case with Bill C-38, the first budget implementation bill. Today we are debating the second budget implementation bill, with which the Conservatives are unfortunately continuing to weaken environmental regulations, at the expense of future generations, who will have to live with the consequences of what they are doing.

The NDP thinks that Canadians deserve much better than what the Conservatives have put forward. We will therefore oppose the bill at third reading, just as we have opposed it at the other stages. We will continue to oppose it during the vote that will probably be held tomorrow, since the Conservatives are rushing us through things. We would have liked to have much more time to examine the bill. However, the vote will likely be held tomorrow. The Conservatives left us little time to examine these 450 pages, or, if we also include the budget, these 900 pages. We received the budget in March, and the two bills were then introduced. If we add them together, that makes 900 pages of bills, for a single budget. That is completely unacceptable. Furthermore, it is completely unacceptable that the government does not respect our institutions and is ramming through such massive documents.

As I said earlier, the Conservatives have laid off 19,000 government employees. In my opinion, this is contributing to poor public administration since services have been affected. It is possible to consider all the information available and make cuts in the right areas. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have decided to act blindly and make cuts to services. In Sherbrooke, many services have been cut. Positions have been cut at Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency office is no longer accessible to the public at all. No one can go there. The people of Sherbrooke have spoken out against these cuts.

We had hoped that the Conservatives would be more open-minded when we tried to move substantial amendments in committee. However, unfortunately, once again, they did not demonstrate any open-mindedness with regard to this bill. This is not the first time this has happened.

The Conservatives are also making clear cuts to scientific research and experimental development. The budget implementation bill makes changes to the tax credit program. These changes reduce the tax credit rate, particularly for big businesses, and eliminate eligible capital investments. The combined effect reduces government support for businesses that use the scientific research and experimental development program, just when Canadian businesses most need to promote innovation and productivity if they want to succeed in a very competitive global economy. This will particularly affect the manufacturing sector.

The NDP's vision involves making a place for innovation in the manufacturing sector so that it can remain competitive in relation to other emerging economic sectors that, unfortunately, have a workforce that is paid far less than ours. The government's role is to promote innovation in order to remain competitive in a globalized market, ensure the survival of our businesses, and keep our good jobs here in Canada. If the NDP were in office, things would be done much differently. We would use innovation to increase competitiveness and access other markets, thereby allowing us to keep our jobs. That is the NDP's vision.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives have done a terrible job of managing the Canadian economy. They have created the largest deficit in Canada's history. I am really surprised to hear them say that they are doing such a great job with the economy when they have created both the largest deficit and the largest trade deficit in Canadian history. Then the minister tells us that he is going to miss the deadline. That is further proof of bad management and bad public administration. I feel it is my duty to speak out against that here.

As I said at the beginning of my speech, there are other changes that affect environmental protection. It started with Bill C-38, three-quarters of which was about environmental protection, or rather, environmental deregulation. The Conservatives are chipping away at environmental protection. Bill C-45 is a continuation of the previous bill, particularly with its changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, which will now be called the navigation protection act. This small change will mean big changes. The bill is no longer about water. The word “water” has been removed from the title of the bill.

The government is discarding the concept of protecting water and is focusing solely on navigation, even though we know the two go hand in hand. It should go without saying that protecting navigation means protecting the environment that makes navigation possible. Unfortunately, the Conservatives added schedule 2 to the bill, a list of all of the lakes and rivers that will still be protected under the new act, which will be called the navigation protection act. Only about 180 of Canada's tens of thousands of lakes and rivers will be protected. Most of our lakes and rivers will not be protected under the new act, which will be passed soon.

This means that the Saint-François and Magog rivers, which are in my riding, will no longer be protected by this legislation. People in Sherbrooke have reacted negatively to these changes. People want to know what the long-term effects will be.

In the old days, projects that could affect navigation and water bodies required the minister's approval. From now on, projects such as pipelines will not require approval. Maybe the Conservatives are trying to make sure that major pipeline projects can go ahead with no environmental restrictions whatsoever. Pipelines will be laid under, over or even along rivers.

We could also talk about major energy and power line projects that pass over rivers. In Sherbrooke, people were worried about the negative repercussions that such projects could have on lakes and rivers and the potential dangers they could pose. If a pipeline is allowed to pass over a river, needless to say, a leak would have a negative impact on the environment.

Lastly, I would like to quote someone who talked about the bill and whose name might ring a bell with the Conservatives. Warren Everson, senior vice-president of policy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, had this to say: “The budget 2012 decision to cut a quarter of the SR and ED tax credit was, in our opinion, a step in the wrong direction.”

I talked about this earlier in my speech and I would like to emphasize the point: even the Canadian Chamber of Commerce opposes this decision. I therefore hope the Conservatives will come to their senses and support our proposals.

Unfortunately, I know that we are almost out of time, since the final vote will be held tomorrow. Perhaps the Senate will take a different approach and a more enlightened view in order to improve certain parts of the bill.

Report StageJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech.

I have already introduced amendments to Bill C-45 to lessen the destructive changes being made to the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Will the NDP member vote in favour of my amendments to protect all navigable waters in Canada, and not only those on the short list mentioned in Bill C-45?

Report StageJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, consider the approach that we tried this morning.

This very morning, we tried to protect all the other lakes and rivers. My colleague, the environment critic, tried to add all the other lakes and rivers to Bill C-45, but did not succeed because the Conservatives were being very closed-minded about it.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives used procedure to reject the proposal. The NDP wanted to add these lakes and rivers. Unfortunately, the Conservatives refused.

If there are other options that will help protect them, we will focus on those and definitely vote for them.

Report StageJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by my colleague from Sherbrooke, and I have a request for him. Could he talk more about the substantial amendments the Bloc Québécois presented with regard to Bill C-45?

Report StageJobs and Growth Act, 2012Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

I thank the member for his question. I did not have time to go over all the amendments from all the parties. However, I can say that we will look at them very carefully to determine if the amendments are pertinent and substantive.

We, too, are doing our part by proposing a number of amendments, and we will support them of course. I am certain that most of them are good amendments. I will have to examine the amendments more closely in order to speak to them all. Generally speaking, we have some very valid points and we hope the government will be open-minded.