Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Mississauga—Brampton South.
I am happy to stand today and support the budget action plan 2012, Canada's economic action plan, because it is so important. It is certain to bolster Canada's long-term economic strengths and promote job growth, and that is what it is all about.
We are federal representatives who support Canadians in their endeavour to have a better quality of life, and hat is exactly what Canada's economic action plan 2012 does and I am proud to stand up for it.
This is such a good budget for the people I represent. This budget is all about me coming forward to talk about what my citizens are so excited for in this particular budget. It starts with job creation to innovation and invention. It is important to continue to invent things and to work hard to have patents and intellectual interests that actually stimulate growth in our economy because we can sell that to others.
I am proud to say that in my riding of Fort McMurray—Athabasca, we have more patents registered than in all of the rest of Canada combined. It is certainly more than any other jurisdiction of that area or that population. That is why it is important to have innovation and invention, which the budget speaks to.
From my background as a retailer, although the elimination of the penny for some people it is heartfelt, it is a good business decision, good for Canadians and good for northern Albertans.
We will prosper under this budget and continue to have a great quality of life. I am very proud of our government and I am proud of this particular budget. It goes without saying that we on this side of the House are proud of this budget because it takes a step forward.
We saved serious amounts of interest payments when we knocked down $39 billion in direct payments two or three budgets ago. Then we got into a budget of promoting economic wealth through creating jobs, infrastructure and a better quality of life. Now we have an austerity budget, a budget that, in my mind, is more about efficiency and productivity than any other budget in Canada's history.
I will elaborate on a few of my favourite initiatives. I am very happy to see in this budget that some education has been taken from the Senate, in particular the Senate's ongoing inquiry into the involvement of foreign foundations in Canada's domestic affairs. This has brought a lot of attention to the Senate and to this budget, and some people speak against this. However, for me that is not the case.
I donate a lot of money to charities. I support charities and I sit on a board or two. I have done that for years. I think it is clear that some charities are not respecting the rules regarding political activities. It is necessary to do that because Canadians expect their charitable donations to be used for those particular purposes and not for some political purpose or some economic purpose beyond the mandate of that particular charity.
I will quote Senator Finley who said in March of this year:
Shady foreign money is being used to influence Canadian domestic and commercial policy in an obscure fashion.
There is nothing wrong with groups advocating for environmental conservation. However, there is a problem when their unstated intent is to undermine Canadian industries and do irreparable damage to Canada's economy.
We are not talking about $100 here or there, or somebody paying for some protest signs. We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that are being funneled from other countries, other interests, including petroleum foundations that are in competition with petroleum foundations and petroleum companies in Canada. They are actually funnelling them to our country and to other countries to fund environmental and aboriginal activists working to block our economic development.
Some people say that they should be able to do that. I have no problem with Canadians doing that as long as Canadians know what they are doing, know where the money is coming from, know where the money is going and they obey the law. However, Canadians deserve to know. It is time to find out clearly where that money is coming from, who it is going to and what it is being used to fund. Bluntly, it works against taxpayer dollars and it costs more taxpayer dollars to follow through with that economic policy that this place and the members of this place put forward and have put forward. They are working contrary to that purpose, exactly contrary to it, and it costs Canadians more money. I do not think that should continue unless, of course, Canadians want it to continue and Canadians know about it.
Economic action plan 2012 proposes measures to ensure that charities devote their resources almost exclusively to charitable rather than political activities. How would it do that? First, by proposing that Canada Revenue Agency enhance its education and compliance activities with respect to political activities by charities. I do not think many actually understand the ramifications of this and that they need to stick to their knitting and do what Canadians expect them to do with their charitable donations.
Second, to improve transparency by requiring charities to provide more information on their political activities, including the extent to which they are funded by foreign sources. We do not know where this money is coming from. We are starting to learn a little about it. I think most Canadians would be shocked to find out that some of these groups that are opposing our development strategies are funded by oil companies abroad. That is troubling because it is Canadian domestic policy in which these foreign governments are interfering and that should not be allowed. We certainly should not be allowing them tax breaks.
Whether members agree with my position, the government's position, regarding exporting our resources throughout the world, I think 99.9% of Canadians, I hope, believe that this decision is about Canadian jobs, the Canadian economy, Canadian prosperity and our quality of life, every life in the country, including the lives of the constituents of the member for Western Arctic who spoke briefly before me. It is about Canadian policy and it should not be made by foreign trusts for foreign priorities that are operating strictly against our policies and what Canadians voted for last May, one year ago. I congratulate the Conservative majority government. Canadians voted for us to move forward with these initiatives, not to have foreign interests, foreign governments, foreign oil companies interfering in our domestic policy. This is Canadian policy that should be made at home in the best interests of all Canadians.
If Canadians do not like it, their job is to de-elect us, just like it is to re-elect us. I think they will like these policies because they will have a better quality of life, a better job and a better family life as well, because all of those things add up for a better quality of life.
Probably the most obvious budget proposal for me to speak to today is responsible resource development. This is one of the things that throughout my adult life I have pursued. I consider myself an environmentalist. I have spent a tremendous amount of time outdoors. I am a registered trapper in Alberta. I almost finished a masters degree in environmental law in Australia because that was my passion at one time.
I believe the concentration on one review for one project will be better in the end because all of the resources and thought processes will go into that one review. Instead of two, three or four reviews that are competing and have competing interests, we would have one review. We would get all the experts to work on that one review and we have the assessment forwarded with a yes or no so people know where they stand. We cannot wait 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 years where we have money to invest or where outside companies or Canadian companies have shareholders who expect to receive a return on investment. We cannot wait a decade or more for a yes or no answer. We need to ensure we provide that answer to them. What is so exciting for me today is that the budget has a responsible resource development part in it.
In the next 10 years, more than 500 major economic projects, representing $500 billion in new investment, are planned across Canada. I am proud to say that a recent study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that in the next 25 years the oil sands growth, which I represent most of, will support an average of 480,000 jobs, which means $2.4 trillion to our GDP. What is important in relation to this is that there is one review. We would put all our effort into that review to ensure we streamline it, to ensure we give an answer to the people who are investing and to ensure we get the best possible results for Canadians. Protecting the environment, ensuring we stand up for Canadian families, Canadian jobs and consulting properly with first nations across the country, all of those things are important.
Our track record speaks for itself. We have gone through a minority opposition government, two minority governments and now a majority government. Canadians have spoken loudly. They trust the Prime Minister and they trust the cabinet to stand up for their priorities and we will continue to do that through this budget.