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.