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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environmental.

Topics

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to stand and speak on the budget implementation bill, Bill C-38, on behalf of my constituents in Vancouver Kingsway and on behalf of all Canadians who want to see democracy, accountability and sound fiscal planning for a fair and prosperous Canada.

I stood in the House three weeks ago and presented what the people of Vancouver Kingsway told me are the priorities they would like to see in a federal budget. Those priorities were things like housing. We know that the government of Brian Mulroney removed CMHC's participation in affordable housing in 1992, leaving only CMHC's role in insuring mortgages to this day. We also know that the Liberal Party promised in three successive elections to restore the federal government's role in housing and never actually delivered on that. It leaves Canada as one of the only G8 countries that does not have a national housing policy.

The people of Vancouver Kingsway said that they needed childcare. Working parents, single parents in particular, have said time and time again to politicians that they need an affordable, accessible, quality childcare system that will not only help them raise their children and make sure they have a good start in life, but also return an economic benefit that has been estimated at between $5 and $7 for every $1 of investment. We know that childcare is one way to unleash the full economic potential of millions of Canadian families so that they can participate in the workforce.

The people of Vancouver Kingsway told me that they wanted to see meaningful and immediate action on the environment. They know that there is no dichotomy between the economy and the environment. People who are thoughtful in our country know that the environment is the basis for all economic activity in the country. Only the most short-term, blinded people would think that not taking care of our environment is some way to develop our economy.

The people of Vancouver Kingsway told me that they wanted to see a meaningful jobs strategy in the country, not jobs that are part-time, or service sector, or temporary, but jobs that one can actually raise a family on. They told me they wanted to see a budget that would take care of our seniors.

Bill C-38 is a bill that, I am sorry to say, fails in every one of those aspects. There is no national housing plan in the budget. There is no national childcare plan in the budget. Far from taking care of our environment, as I will talk about in a few minutes, the budget bill contains one of the most destructive programs of anti-environment policy that this country has witnessed.

Not only does the budget not provide any meaningful program for jobs, but it is going to see some 19,000 public servants lose their jobs. This is a job destroyer.

What did the seniors of the country see? They saw the government introduce a provision that will see seniors, starting in 2023, have to wait two years longer to receive their old age security. This puts in jeopardy the retirement of millions of Canadians, including any Canadian under the age of 54 right now.

We see a massive 421 page bill, which not only contains implementation of the 2012 budget, but that has many provisions on traditional, non-budgetary matters. Those are buried in the bill. We see fully one-third of the budget bill is dedicated to environmental deregulation. A major narrative in the bill removes powers of the Auditor General and removes many staff. I think what Canadians are seeing in the budget is a reduction in the accountability and transparency of their federal government.

Another major narrative in the bill surrounds the creation of a more secretive and non-transparent government through the removal and closure of oversight powers and bodies and a concentration of many powers in the hands of cabinet ministers who make decisions at cabinet, behind closed doors.

I would argue that, far from being a budget bill that is aimed at jobs and prosperity, as the government members assert, it is actually a budget bill that could be more properly characterized as one of destruction and an attack on democracy, accountability and our environment.

Let us see what is actually in the bill with regard to the environment. This bill would gut the federal environmental assessment regime to speed up major projects, notably pipelines. It would delegate environmental assessments to other authorities, including provinces. It would make sure that projects outside Canada are not held to account under Canadian laws, presumably targeting mining companies.

The division in the budget makes related amendments to the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act and consequential amendments to other acts and repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act entirely. This bill would give cabinet authority to make decisions regarding major pipelines and would allow the National Energy Board authority over permits related to pipelines and power lines over navigable waters, overriding tribunals that would find those projects unacceptable.

It would change the rules around fish habitat protection and the deposit of deleterious substances in fish-bearing waters. The bill would give sweeping powers to the minister to transfer authorities to other bodies to allow fisheries management. Many have questioned the constitutionality of that provision. It would weaken rules for disposal at sea. It would allow the government to issue longer-term permits under the Species at Risk Act and allow the National Energy Board to issue permits for development when such developments may affect the species listed.

It would change the definition of interested parties to weaken public participation in environmental decision making and exclude anyone not “directly affected” by a project. It would repeal the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, meaning government would no longer be required to report on its emissions under the act. I note that a report of one of the parliamentary officers responsible for environmental regulation is now saying that the government will not even meet its weak environmental targets by 2020. This act would give cabinet the ability to ignore the National Energy Board and any environmental tribunal and approve a project that had been turned down.

Those are not rhetorical comments, those are provisions of this bill. How anybody could read those provisions and not find that this budget bill is a frontal attack on environmental regulation and sustainability in this country is beyond me.

Let us turn to old age security. Conservative members stand in the House weekly and say they received a strong mandate from the Canadian people to govern. In some cases I think they are right. There are things the government campaigned on and delivered what it said. However, during the campaign the Conservatives did not mention one word ever about raising the old age security requirements.

They claim that this is required because of the demographic trend. The demographic trend in this country did not sneak up on them. The baby boom generation and the demographic trend in this country have been known by everybody for years and years. One is left with only one conclusion: the Conservatives did not mention their plan to raise old age security and put it before the Canadian people during the last election because they knew it would be unpopular and that the Canadian people would not give them a mandate to take that step.

Not only is there no mandate for raising the eligibility age for old age security but there is no evidence to support it, there is no need for it and there is no fiscal prudence in doing so. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has been clear. He studied this issue very carefully and found that the old age security program is fully sustainable the way it is. That only stands to reason. The demographic reality is that retirees will peak with the 1964 cohort and then start declining. Since we fund old age security out of general revenues, it is simply a question of policy. If a government wants to fund old age security, it can do that.

What has the current government done? It has cut somewhere between $25 billion and $50 billion of revenue very year over the last five years by reducing the GST two points and reducing corporate income tax. Now the government says there is not enough money to pay for old age security. The government is financing corporate tax cuts today on the backs of our seniors tomorrow. That is irresponsible and unfair.

In terms of the Auditor General, Canadians want to see their government scrutinized. It is what makes us a democracy. We are not a dictatorship. By removing a dozen bodies from scrutiny by the Auditor General, Canadians know what they see, and what they see is a government that is afraid of having its activities scrutinized by the Auditor General, and that is undemocratic.

This budget is unaccountable. It does not reflect the priorities of Canadians. It is undemocratic, and I am proud to vote against it.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Madam Speaker, I have heard this member and several other members from the official opposition and the third party make comments along the line that they simply do not have enough time to debate the bill. It is such a big bill that they just cannot deal with it for some reason or other. I would like to remind the member and others that it is their job to do some work on legislation like this. They have to spend some time. They have to work on it. If they do their job, then they could handle this much better.

Members opposite talk about not having enough time to debate. Yet one NDP member stood in this House for 11 hours. With ten-minute speeches and five-minute question and comment periods, which is the common speaking time, 44 NDP members could have spoken in the time that one member spoke, so they are really speaking out of both sides of their mouths.

I suggest they change their ways, start to view these things in a more positive fashion and show some support just once. They have never supported a budget bill of this government. Yet around the world, our budgets are looked to as exemplary.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I would say to my hon. colleague that what we are talking about here is the proper way to present a budget in the British parliamentary system. That traditionally has been to present the budget, not to present a 421-page omnibus bill that contains measures on environmental regulation, veterans affairs, cutting centres of excellence for women's health and removing fish habitat protection from the Fisheries Act. Those are areas that this member knows full well are not properly contained within the confines of a budget,

His own Prime Minister knows that, because the Prime Minister stood up in this House when he was the leader of the Conservative opposition and railed against the Liberals when they brought in omnibus legislation and decried it as undemocratic and improper. My, how things change when the Conservatives are in opposition and then they are in government. All we are talking about is having proper parliamentary scrutiny.

Every member of the House was sent here to do the same job, which is to properly scrutinize government spending and properly study government legislation. When a government puts in legislation on 25 other areas outside of the budget, which should go to committees for proper study with Canadians and stakeholders coming to those committees to have proper input, but instead is put into the budget that will go to one committee, and then invokes closure on it, that is undemocratic, it is improper and it should be decried by every member of this House.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I have been in opposition when there were Progressive Conservative governments, here nationally when we have a Conservative government and even when provincial governments were NDP. I have seen governments of all political stripes introduce ominous...

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

An hon. member

Omnibus.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

...omnibus bills, but the difference is the length of this particular bill and the number of pieces of legislation that the bill would impact.

We in the Liberal Party believe it is not a question of having the bill broken down and sent to different committees, even though we would prefer to see that than it just going to one committee. Our first preference would be for the government to recognize that it is an anti-democratic bill and that it should take back the bill and bring forward other pieces—

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. I must give the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway a minute to respond.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I full agree with my hon. colleague when he says that the bill is ominous. It certainly is.

I would point out as well that one of the greatest myths in Canadian politics is that the Conservatives are good money managers. Under the government when the Conservatives took office, the annual debt was $460 billion. It is $570 billion six years later.

The biggest deficit in Canadian history is that of the Minister of Finance, second only to the deficit of Michael Wilson, a previous Conservative finance minister. Yet the Conservatives talk about how they are careful managers of the public purse. They have put us over $110 billion into debt and they have put us into deficit. To get themselves out of that, they cut core services to Canadians while giving irresponsible corporate tax cuts.

I ask one question. If we are in deficit and we have to say to our seniors that they have to work two years longer, what business does the government have giving corporate tax cuts to banks and oil companies that are making billions of dollars of profits a year, which all evidence shows does not result in the creation of jobs?

Madam Speaker—

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I am sorry. The hon. member's time has elapsed.

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Davenport, the Economy; the hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue, National Defence.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Madam Speaker, it is indeed my pleasure today to be standing here in this great place to talk about the implementation of our sixth budget, Bill C-38, which is about jobs, growth and prosperity in the long term.

It is an interesting time. As I listen to the questions that come about in this House, basically, it is the same questions all the time. However, this is about trying to understand what this budget is about.

I am going to talk a little differently from some of the other speakers because, actually, budget 2012 is a building block that started with the foundation of Canada's economic action plan back in 2007.

The residents in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex understand what the balancing of a budget means. They understand what it means to move forward. They understand what it is to build on top of a great foundation.

Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, which is in southwestern Ontario, is an area that has incredibly robust agriculture. It is an area made up of small and medium-sized businesses that have a vision and a goal to become more successful and to build on great plans. It is a constituency that is made up of families that respect accountability and decisive action.

And so, when we go out as the Conservative Party of Canada to talk to not only the people across the country but specifically the people in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, they want to know how we got to where we are, in terms of the strength of this economy and the strength of Canada in relationship to the rest of the world. That always gives me the opportunity to talk about where we were, where we came from and how we are going to get there.

I think I am one of the most fortunate MPs in this House because I represent the people of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex. They understand the significance that, when we create a deficit, we actually have to pay it down.

When we got elected in 2006, because we had to take over and fix up some of the stuff that had been done by the previous government, we actually had an economy that was moving along and we paid down over $37 billion off the deficit, off the debt.

Actually, in 2008, things went bad.

In 2007 our party could see things around the world that were not conducive to growth. So we took action. Actually, that is when we introduced the economic action plan.

I do not know if there has ever been a budget process that has started with a vision as to how we are going to come into a problem, how we are going to work our way through it and then, at the end of the day, how we are going to continue to grow and build this country not only to be the great country it is now but to continue to sustain itself, not just for the short time but also for the long time.

We believe that if we give businesses of any size in this country the opportunity to grow and we give them the opportunity to be successful, most of them would take that chance. However, we have to give them some tools.

We believe that Canada was an overtaxed country, not only in terms of people but in terms of businesses.

We believe that governments are only the stewards of taxpayers' money. We do not create the jobs, but we have an obligation to create the environment so that businesses and organizations can create the jobs.

We believe that a low-tax system and structure is one of the key elements that would allow businesses to become successful.

It would allow people to be successful and to leave money in their pockets so they can hire people. That is the whole objective of success in the economy: people have a business; they have a product that people want; if they are successful and actually make a profit, they will hire people, generating jobs, and they will pay more taxes because they have generated a larger revenue.

It is a bit of an anomaly that the people on the other side are struggling to understand. It is the complete opposite of what they believe in terms of taxes. They believe we have to tax to death. We believe in taxing to give the ability to be successful.

One of the great things in my riding is agriculture. I do not have a large urban area. My largest urban area is 14,000 people, and the next one is about 13,000. I have 65 other small hamlets and villages in between. Agriculture fills in all those gaps. Agriculture is so important, not only to Lambton—Kent—Middlesex and the people in my riding, because of the diversity of my riding, but it is important to Canada. It is important to the economic stimulus and the ability we have in Canada to be successful.

For agriculture we have opened free trade agreements. That affects not only agriculture but obviously businesses, small businesses. Whatever they are making or producing or whatever technology they have, they understand the importance of our helping them in the research and innovation part of it, so they can stay on the cutting edge, and our giving them the opportunity to open their markets, not only domestically but internationally, which is key to their growth and success.

We have done that. Canada is a unique country in that in agriculture we have wide-open free markets. The grain and livestock sectors are free markets. In Canada we also have a uniqueness that is respected and appreciated by many around the world, and that is supply management. That has been able to build the strength and the confidence of our producers across this country.

From time to time we have heard that we will lose supply management because of our free trade agreements. We have nine trade agreements signed. We are on the verge of signing another one with the EU. We have had discussions with Japan. These are incredible opportunities, not only for agriculture but also for our small businesses. I can tell members that supply management is solid in this country.

One of the things that is important is our young people. I want to tell the House about Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, Olympic champions, world champion skaters. What do they do? They set a goal. They work hard every day. They practise. When they reach a goal, they continue with a vision, so that they never hang up their skates. They continue to be persistent.

This budget is a bit like that. We have spent hours planning ahead, as we did with the economic action plan. We have set our goals. We have created a vision for Canada that will continue to move us not only from yesterday to today but into the future.

Once we reach those goals, we do not want to be stagnant. We will continue to move on to the next step, so we will continue to be stronger.

Folks, the implementation bill, Bill C-38 is about jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. This is a bill that needs to be supported, and it needs to be brought to the bridges right now. It is a fair and progressive budget. We should all get behind it.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

May 8th, 2012 / 4:45 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to tell the member that I am very happy to have this opportunity to ask him a question and that I miss him very much at committee meetings.

That being said, how dare he suggest that the people in his riding who voted Conservative know what balancing the budget is all about, whereas those who voted for another party have no idea what a budget is? He is denigrating the intelligence of Canadians. This is not the place to do that. I am sorry, but every member of Parliament was elected by Canadians.

I would like the member to tell us, right here and now, that not one of his constituents has been to see him to voice opposition to the Conservative budget and the decision to raise the age of eligibility for old age security to 67.

Can the member confirm, right here and now, that all of his constituents agree with this policy?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Madam Speaker, I am still on the committee; the member left, and I miss that.

Quite honestly, I do not ask my constituents to come to me; I go to them. We hold round tables and have meetings. That is what I enjoy most about my good rural riding.

No one gets 100% of the electorate's vote, but we received enough to form a majority government. I received enough to get elected, and I thank my constituents of Lambton--Kent--Middlesex for doing that.

I talk to my constituents and I am not afraid to ask them. I get good feedback about the direction the country is going. I ask them if they agree; not everyone does, but we work on the best advice that we have, and I thank them for giving me that opportunity.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for one thing he said and to also ask him a question.

At one point in his speech, he said that governments do not create jobs, but that governments try to create an environment where businesses create jobs. He should communicate that point to the Prime Minister and the various ministers, who every day in question period get up and say that the government created 600,000 or 700,000 jobs. As the member properly said, governments do not create jobs. Perhaps he could tell the Prime Minister that.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Madam Speaker, the member for Markham—Unionville has been here for many years.

What was meant was that governments actually do not create many jobs that create economic growth. That is what businesses do, but we give them all the tools they need. What they ask is that we give them the tools by which they can provide economic growth for businesses in Canada. That is our key point. The government has to give them the tools.

We also have the option of taking the tools away. The last Liberal government jacked EI premiums so high that it became difficult for businesses to survive. Then when that party had put the premiums so high, it borrowed money out of the EI fund and forgot to pay it back. That is not what governments should do in terms of building a credibility relationship with businesses.

We have done a great job in giving the tools to our businesses. That is why Canada is in the strong economic shape that it is in today.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise here today to share my views on Bill C-38.

This is a very important bill, but unfortunately, not in a positive sense. On the contrary, several elements of this bill are bad for Canadians and for the environment.

This bill is not a generous bill. It is not generous towards immigrants, towards small and medium-sized businesses, towards older people who want to retire, or towards the environment and our fish stocks.

I would like to focus on three main elements in my speech. First of all, Bill C-38 takes us in a direction and down a path that is undemocratic, which is reflected in the process and the content of the bill.

Second, this bill will have a devastating effect on the environment in the long term. This is very worrisome to me and to all Canadians. This bill will damage not only the environment, but also biodiversity, our fish stocks and the health and safety of Canadians who are counting on a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems for the long term. Passing this bill entails several risks.

Third, this bill should create hope, provide opportunities and be generous, since Canada is recovering from a serious recession. Instead, this bill does not help Canadians. On the contrary, this bill contains elements that are bad for small and medium-sized businesses and for Canadians employed by these businesses.

I will now address the first element in greater detail for my hon. colleagues.

While I am confident that there are some positive elements in this budget implementation bill, as there will be in any bill, unfortunately they are completely outweighed by the negative aspects of the bill. The complexity of a 420-page bill that amends some 70 other pieces of legislation makes it difficult to even assess and paint a picture of the things that concern us.

I know my colleagues in the New Democratic Party have been calling it a Trojan Horse bill, but I have a different name for it: I would call it the “infected blanket bill”. This is an infected blanket budget. I use that term very specifically because in the 1700s there are accounts that suggest that gifts by the British government to first nations in North America were knowingly infected with the smallpox virus, which then spread out in those communities and did damage.

Perhaps not immediately, but over time it was very detrimental to those populations, and this is that kind of bill. While the bill is presented as a gift to Canadians and as something positive, in fact some of the provisions, such as the changes to old age security, will inevitably fall most strongly and negatively on the poorest of Canadians, on disabled Canadians and on single elderly low-income women, with who knows what kinds of repercussions. In some case disabled persons report that they are waiting to turn 65 so that they can be lifted out of poverty by old age security and GIS. Those are the Canadians who will lose $30,000 a year with the government's changes. That is the kind of negative gift that will keep on giving.

This infected blanket budget bill will cost our environmental protection incrementally over the long term. We have developed, over perhaps 30 or 40 years, a framework of environmental protection whereby economic development can proceed in a way that mitigates environmental damage. As populations increase and our economy continues to grow based on the development of resources, those good things need to be accompanied by a strong environmental safety net for the health and safety of Canadians and for the long term of an ecosystem that can provide Canadians the services that assist our well-being.

Down the road, if the air poisons us or we have oceans without biodiversity that cannot feed some of our aboriginal communities or we have failing seafood industries that cannot feed Canadians and our export industries, it is going to be negative for Canadians. Over the long term, by gutting these environmental regulations and taking the protection of fish habitat out of the Fisheries Act, we may well see the demise of the salmon stocks on the west coast comparable to what we saw with the cod on the east coast, although I certainly hope not.

We have had the experience of ignoring conservation and environmental sustainability as a principle that must be embedded in the way we develop our economy and our day-to-day lives, and we have seen the cost of ignoring that. That is why we have environmental assessment regulations. That is why we have the species at risk law. That is why we have a Fisheries Act that protects fish habitat and fish. Those are the very things that are being undermined in this bill, which provides an override to the government for political reasons or reasons of industrial pressure. That will cost our fish, wildlife, sea life and the very fundamental importance of them to Canadians in the future.

That is why this budget is of such concern. It is not just that the future destruction is hidden in a budget implementation bill. It is not just that there is no opportunity to duly and properly give justice to these massive changes to our environmental safety net. It is not just that 300,000 people have staked their lives and futures on their hopes and dreams of coming to Canada, a group of people who have paid money, responded to requests for information and put their lives on hold to come to Canada and who are being told, “Sorry; you are history”. It is not just the content of the bill, but the fact that the government is hiding the very contentious things it is trying to in a way that is anti-democratic and takes us down a road toward dictatorship. That is not too strong an image. We are going in a direction away from accountability, away from transparency and away from long-term responsibility for the resource base that must nourish our lives and well-being into the future.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, in her speech the member mentioned that some lower income Canadians would be out $30,000 per year. I wonder where the member could find that figure for me because, as I read it right now, a maximum annual income for OAS is $6,481 and the maximum for GIS is $8,788. I wonder if the member could tell me where she got that $30,000 from, please.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for that correction. In my enthusiasm, I did intend to say “over the two year period”. However, the fact remains that removing $30,000 from the available income for the necessities of life for people who are disabled or who have no other source of income is a huge injustice that will only further increase income inequality in Canada.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

NDP

Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her contribution to this debate.

Earlier this afternoon, in her speech about the budget, the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke said that there were to be no cuts to health or education. I believe I heard her correctly. I made notes about those comments.

However, we know that the budgets for health programs provided by certain organizations, such as the Assembly of First Nations and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, or ITK, have been slashed by 40%. The Métis National Council and the Native Women's Association of Canada have both lost 100% of the funding for their health programs.

Can the member tell us how these measures will affect the health of first nations people in Canada who are already coping with very difficult conditions?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, the member is right. There are some very ideological cuts to a great number of organizations, including organizations that provide important services to aboriginal health, but also including environmental organizations like the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy that is pointing at some of the impacts of climate change on the north and on the Inuit people and their way of life.

There has been a choice of where to cut and where to spend. The kinds of things that this budget provides more funds for are not ones that address the needs of the lowest income Canadians or people who are seeking opportunities, such small businesses and medium-sized businesses. There are cuts to the very programs that were creating the conditions for success for small business, such as the Canadian Tourism Commission and the Regional Economic Development agencies, while adding an EI tax increase. Those small and medium entrepreneurs in small communities and the aboriginal entrepreneurs get nothing from this budget and will only suffer from the cuts. That is why I call it an ungenerous budget for the people the member was talking about and for many others.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Madam Speaker, I have a question for my hon. colleague, as a former minister herself, regarding the environment.

With all the regulations throughout this legislation that would be amended, they take up basically one-third of a very large document in what the Conservatives are doing here. Obviously, the rhetoric is that they want to make it easier for business and economic growth. However, all of these regulations have been built up over decades, or even longer in the case of protecting habitats. I would like my hon. colleague to comment on that, please.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, yes, there are always ways to make environmental regulations and laws more efficient, effective and simplified for people and for businesses without undermining the protection of the environment but this does exactly the opposite. The government's approach undermines that environmental safety net and will be costing us in the long term. It did not need to be this way. We could have made improvements. This is a deleterious approach to the environment and the fisheries.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise today in this place in support of the budget implementation act and on behalf of my constituents in Calgary Northeast.

In Calgary Northeast, we come from many backgrounds. We have hard-working and highly skilled workers, students, families, entrepreneurs and seniors from all around the world. We have residents who were born here in Canada, as well as large communities from India, Pakistan, the Philippines, China and many other countries. We have doctors, taxi drivers, engineers, restaurant owners, food industry, furniture builders, IT and many more.

We have hard-working seniors and long-time community volunteers; people like Merlin and Mary Bergeron. When not fishing, Merlin still works as a carpenter and Mary as a bookkeeper. Down the street is their place of worship, the St. Thomas More Catholic parish. A few blocks over is the Don Hartman sports complex where Canadians of all ages and backgrounds love watching and playing Canada's favourite sport, hockey.

Across McKnight Boulevard and west is the sprawling Baitan Nur mosque, North America's largest, built by the blood, sweat and tears of the local Ahmadiyya community. Our current Prime Minister was there to speak at the inauguration in 2008.

Further west lies Calgary northeast's beautiful Croatian Canadian Cultural Centre opened by former Prime Minister Mulroney in July 1984.

Northeast from there, we will find the Dashmesh Culture Centre, the place of worship for thousands in Calgary's Sikh community. It is also the main organizer of Calgary's Vaisakhi parade coming up this weekend.

Of course, just as special days like Vaisakhi and Christmas are celebrated by those of many different faiths, so is Diwali. Speaking of Diwali, if we head over a little southwest we will find my family's home congregation and chief organizer of many Calgary Diwali celebrations, the Hindu Society of Calgary.

Across the street is Byblos Bakery, since 1975, producing some of Canada's finest Greek pitas, bagels, nans and baklava, and also providing jobs to many hard-working individuals.

I will now talk about the airport in my riding. Headquarters of WestJet and Canada's third busiest airport, Calgary International Airport is in the midst of a massive expansion to add an international terminal and a longer runway, complete with a tunnel beneath for future east access.

Why am I telling the House all of this? It is because I am very proud of Calgary Northeast and I am humbled to have been elected to represent residents there for a second term. Besides being the most diverse federal riding in Alberta, I believe Calgary Northeast is also the hardest working riding in all of Canada, and I proudly stand today in the House on behalf of my constituents and declare it.

Now I come to my main point. Because of the incredible hard-working spirit of my constituents, there are certain ties that bind them all together. Regardless of background, no one likes to pay higher taxes and yet my hon. colleagues across the way continue to somehow believe that money is like some sort of magical fairy dust and that Canadian workers and companies have a never-ending magical supply.

Unfortunately, the NDP and Liberals continue pushing for higher taxes, followed by higher spending, followed by higher taxes, followed by higher spending. That is clearly a recipe for disaster.

I will share what the former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, said. She said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money”.

Last May, my constituents in Calgary Northeast and constituents in a majority of ridings across Canada stood up against Liberal and NDP desires for higher taxes. Canadians want the government to focus on jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity while keeping taxes low. That is exactly what our Conservative government has been focused on and that is why Canadians elected a strong, stable, national Conservative majority government.

Unlike the NDP and the Liberals, our Conservative government believes in low taxes. When we leave more money where it belongs, in the pockets of hard-working Canadian families and job-creating businesses, we have done what is right. It is not our money. It is Canadians' money.

That is why our Conservative government has cut taxes over 140 times since 2006, reducing the overall tax burden to its lowest level in nearly 50 years.

Despite all the opposition and false allegations from the other parties, our Conservatives government has removed over one million low-income families, individuals and seniors from the tax rolls altogether.

Furthermore, we have cut taxes in every way government collects them: personal taxes, consumption taxes, business taxes, excise taxes and much more. This includes cutting the lowest personal income tax rate to 15%; increasing the amount Canadians can earn tax free; providing seniors with pension income splitting; reducing the GST from 7% to 5%, putting nearly $1,000 back in the pockets of an average family; introducing the children's fitness tax credit and children's art tax credit; bringing the landmark tax free savings account, the most important personal saving vehicle since RRSPs; reducing the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%; and lowering business taxes to 15% as passed in Parliament in 2007.

Our Conservative government's low tax record has provided tax savings for a typical Canadian family totalling over $3,100 per year. Why would the opposition fight this? That equals nearly $260 of tax savings per month. The good news is that our Conservative government's tax savings are for all Canadians from coast to coast to coast, even when Liberal and NDP MPs vote against the very measures that make these tax savings possible.

When it comes to lowering taxes, here is the really good news. We are not done yet. Economic action plan 2012 builds on our Conservative government's low tax record, including extending the hiring credit for small businesses for an additional year, providing businesses with a credit of up to $1,000 against a small firm's increase in its 2012 employment insurance premiums over those paid in 2011. This new credit will help up to 536,000 employers with additional hiring, reducing small business' 2012 payroll costs by about $205 million.

Our government is making Improvements to registered disability savings plans to make it easier for disabled Canadians to save for their future. We are increasing the travel exemption on the value of goods Canadians can bring in duty free and tax free from $50 to $400 after a 24-hour trip, and from $400 to $800 after a 48-hour trip beginning June 2012.

Standing against the efforts of the Liberals and the NDP to raise taxes, our Conservative low tax approach has in part led Forbes magazine to rank Canada number one in the world for business to grow and create jobs.

We all know that the Leader of the Opposition does not support the exploration of our resource sector and cannot recognize the economic spin-off. The opposition wants to raise taxes on job-creating businesses. When the businesses grow, jobs are created for Canadians.

While Canada has created almost 700,000 net new jobs since July 2009, global economic turbulence remains and too many Canadians are still looking for work. Economic action plan 2012 takes responsible action to support the economy now and over the long term, while keeping taxes low and returning to balanced budgets. We also want to ensure that our social programs remain available today and for our future generations.

Even if the opposition wants to raise taxes on Canadians and on Canadian job creators, the fact is simple: When businesses grow, jobs are created and Canadians benefit. Likewise, if businesses are choked and starved with higher taxes, jobs go down and unemployment goes up.

Therefore, my hon. opposition colleagues across the way can choose either to stand up for higher taxes and fewer jobs or they can stand up for their constituents by agreeing that their constituents deserve lower taxes, jobs, growth and prosperity. That is why I am standing up in support of our Conservative government's budget implementation act, the plan for--

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. member may be able to add some comments during questions and comments.

The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Madam Speaker, I liked it when the member referred to Margaret Thatcher and what the socialists had done.

The member just has to look at the world right now to see which way people are going. The people to the right, not the socialists but the capitalists, were in charge when we went through the economic crisis.

It is nice to just say “Well, let's not pay taxes”, but who will pay for our hospitals, our education, our roads and streets? Let us bring down the taxes, let put it in the pockets of the people and let us have bad roads, let us close down hospitals and some schools. In some places in the country we see the fight about the education of our children.

That is the agenda of the Conservative Party, and it is surely not the agenda of the NDP. We have to look at what is happening in the world right now to see how people are upset because the government is giving tax breaks to big banks which are making $20 billion surpluses and paying themselves bonuses of $11 billion. Those are the friends of the Conservative Party.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from across the way for his passionate comments. However, I believe he missed the point I made during my speech, and that was the Conservative government believed in creating all the things he talked about, while keeping taxes low. It is possible. That is what the record shows. Since 2006, we have created 700,000 net new jobs, while reducing the taxes.