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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

Employment InsuranceAdjournment Proceedings

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes that sound policies come from inclusive decision making, and we are seeing results.

We are proud to have seen over 820,000 jobs created since the end of the economic recession.

Our government is working to help Canadians in local areas find jobs appropriate to their qualifications. At the same time, we recognize that Canadians are having difficulty finding work, particularly in the off-season in parts of the country where much of the economy is based on seasonal industries.

For those who are unable to find employment, employment insurance will be there for them, as it always has been.

Regional Economic DevelopmentAdjournment Proceedings

December 3rd, 2012 / 7:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, my leader gave me a new responsibility in May, that of the Liberal advocate for co-operatives in Canada. One of the first things I did in that capacity was to propose the creation of a committee to the House. This committee was created once unanimous consent was given in late May.

In July, the committee held five days of hearings and, on September 17, we tabled a report in the House. We hope to have an answer from the government in mid-January.

One of the six recommendations, which were unanimously supported, involved the need to capitalize co-operatives. A short time later, in early October, I participated in the International Summit of Cooperatives, the most important event of the year for co-operatives, which was held in Quebec City. Three hundred of the largest co-operatives in the world were there, as well as nearly 3,000 participants. We had the opportunity to hear about and examine many of the challenges and great successes of the co-operative community, both in Canada and abroad.

During the summit, an announcement was made that piqued my curiosity. This announcement tied the Government of Quebec and, indirectly, the Government of Canada, to the creation of a $30 million fund for the development and expansion of Quebec co-operatives.

The Government of Quebec contributed $4 million to it, the organization of co-operatives in Quebec invested $1 million and the Mouvement Desjardins put in $10 million, for a total of $15 million. On the federal side, the Business Development Bank of Canada, the BDC, committed $10 million, and the CFDCs and BDCs provided $5 million. Altogether, that comes to a $30 million envelope.

Not long after that, I asked the minister a question, and in response to his answer I requested that the debate be extended. I congratulated the government when I asked my question, because I thought this was a welcome initiative, given co-operatives’ crying need for capitalization, which the committee had identified over the summer.

I therefore asked whether we could expect similar announcements for other provinces of Canada, since the BDC is a federal institution.

I did not receive a satisfactory reply, and so I want to come back to this issue this evening, because afterward, I met with representatives of the Business Development Bank of Canada, who were very affable and very open. They told me about certain restrictions they were having to deal with under their mandate.

And this prompts me to ask the parliamentary secretary who is speaking for the government tonight when we can expect to see a review of the BDC’s mandate.

By law, the mandate was to be reviewed in 2010. I think that if we look to the recommendations made by the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, the banking committee, we would see that there is in fact a need to amend the BDC’s mandate to make sure it is able to do in other provinces of Canada what it has done in Quebec, at least according to the announcement that was made.

That is essentially the reason why I am here this evening. I would like the government to tell me when we can expect it to be reviewing the mandate of the BDC.

Regional Economic DevelopmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to respond to the member for Ottawa—Vanier.

Cooperatives are important economic drivers that support development in all regions of Canada. Our government is taking decisive steps to ensure that Canadian cooperatives can prosper.

Industry Canada offers an array of services to support small businesses and cooperatives, including training, information and funding. For example, the Canada small business financing program seeks to increase the availability of loans to establish, expand, modernize and improve small businesses.

The Business Development Bank of Canada also provides support to small and medium-sized businesses. The BDC has provided financing to cooperatives in the past and will continue to do so. The BDC partners with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation to extend its reach to small businesses. The CYBF is an important source of financing and support for young entrepreneurs, including those within cooperatives.

The Canada Business Network is a multi-channel government information service for start-up entrepreneurs and cooperatives, as well as small businesses.

Cooperatives can also access BizPal, an online service that provides corporations with information on the registration and licenses needed to start and operate a business.

In addition, regional development agencies and the innovation commercialization program, with an initial commitment of $40 million, aim to help demonstrate new products developed by Canadian small businesses and cooperatives.

Quebec cooperatives are a significant source of lending for small and medium-sized business. They have an important role to play in fostering the economic and social fabric of Quebec and are a major source of job creation. As the member opposite noted, the Quebec government recently announced its intention to create a Fonds de co-investissement COOP financing alliance. This alliance would foster the development of cooperatives in Quebec. More specifically, it would increase and simplify the access to financing for cooperatives in the province. The BDC is one of the members that will participate in this worthwhile initiative.

In 2012, the International Year of Cooperatives, it is particularly important to take note of the many initiatives that Canada has in place to foster the development of cooperatives. I encourage the member opposite to look to those opportunities that are available to cooperatives across the entire country.

Regional Economic DevelopmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would ask my colleague to focus on the one question that I raised tonight. I do not expect her to have an answer for me this evening, as that would be unfair, but I hope she will bring this message back to her colleagues and the relevant minister.

The BDC, in its participation in Quebec, which she mentioned, is restricted because it cannot invest indirectly or lend indirectly. It has to do so directly. The $10 million figure is basically a commitment to further loans. The BDC will not put money into funds. It took me a while to get that information. The answer to allowing the BDC to do this, either in Quebec or in other provinces, would be to review the mandate of the BDC.

When can we expect the government to review the mandate of the BDC, as the law requires? The law says that in 2010 a review was to be initiated. I am not expecting an answer but I hope the message will be conveyed to the government.

Regional Economic DevelopmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned before, cooperatives are important economic drivers that support development in all regions of our country and our government is taking decisive steps to support them.

I appreciate the member opposite's comments and questions. I will be happy to relay them to the government.

Regional Economic DevelopmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:16 p.m.)