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House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was yea.

Topics

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member is an economist and knows a bit about finance. He sits on the finance committee and is the former finance critic.

The government always boasts about being able to introduce certain tax reductions. All it has done to boost productivity, as the member's speech was focused on productivity, was to extend the accelerated capital cost allowance. However, companies have been asking for it to be extended it for longer periods of time, because the purchase of large machinery and equipment requires a four- or five-year commitment down the line. I wonder if the member is in agreement with this.

As well, the government is boastful about reducing taxes, but what we have actually seen is an increase in unemployment premiums, an increase in income tax rates in the first years of this government and increases in all kinds of other hidden taxes. I am wondering if that adds anything to productivity.

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with my colleague that the government keeps talking about cutting taxes and has cut a few, but it never tells us when it raises taxes.

I remember that the government raised the income tax rate back in 2006, but claimed that it had actually cut it. The income tax form that every Canadian filled out made it abundantly clear that the rate had gone up, not down. The government did not seem to know the difference between up and down.

I think the EI premium hike that started at the beginning of the year was $600 million, if I remember the figure correctly, and EI premiums, as we all know, are a tax on jobs. The government chose to increase the tax on jobs to the tune of $600 million. All of the experts agreed that premiums should be raised far more gradually, over a longer period of time, and not increased at this time of what the Prime Minister calls a “fragile economy”.

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise on this particular issue.

For the most part, the government has been fairly negligent in dealing with an industry that is critically important to all Canadians. When I talk about industry, I am referring to small and medium-sized businesses, the entrepreneurs who, ultimately, many would argue, are the backbone of our economy. The amount of contributions to future potential job growth that is within those small and medium-sized businesses is phenomenal. When the government does not take this industry responsibly as an issue, we lose opportunities.

I want to focus on that because we had a report that the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates brought forward. The hon. member for Markham—Unionville is quite familiar with that report as he is one of the co-chairs of the committee. The report details the importance of procurement. The Government of Canada spends billions of dollars every year on procurement and on a number of contracts. There is a very vital and important role for small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs to be engaged in those procurement contracts.

We want to emphasize just how important that is to the government. We, in the Liberal Party, have acknowledged it. Years ago, we set up frameworks to ensure that small businesses would have the opportunity to get engaged in those procurement contracts. We look forward to seeing a more progressive government that will ultimately see small and medium-sized businesses more engaged.

I will cite a couple of specific examples. I could talk about the F-35 and military procurement and the manner in which the government has made a mess of the whole procurement process. For example, why was there no tendering process for the F-35? To what degree could we have ensured there would have been bundled small contracts incorporated into these larger contracts when government issues billions of taxpayers' dollars on one procurement?

Those are the types of things we need to look at and give good and detailed diligence to. There is a great deal of merit to breaking up these larger contracts that are bundled into one.

There are industries across Canada. I have had the opportunity to tour a couple of facilities in Winnipeg where mobile military tracks built are built. These are very small components. Those are bundled into a larger contract. These are good quality jobs. Those are the types of things that we need to be very much cognizant of.

That is why even in government expenditures, the amount of dollars we spend every year on these procurements, there is a vital and important role these small and medium-sized businesses play. We in the Liberal Party have acknowledged that role. We want to encourage the government to review the budget process it has been entering into over the last number of years, which has denied many of these small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to legitimately participate, thereby losing millions of dollars or potential contracts, which prevents jobs from being created. The government needs to approach it in a much more open-minded way.

I think of Winnipeg's garment industry. I had a wonderful tour of Peerless Garments Limited. Peerless has been one of many different businesses in Winnipeg that has used government procurement contracts to sustain good quality jobs in the city of Winnipeg. It has done that and it has been very effective.

I could talk about Peerless, StandardAero or the aerospace industry as a whole. We can see that in the relatively smaller communities like Winnipeg, compared to Toronto, Mississauga, Montreal, Vancouver or Calgary, and then we have many of the medium-sized cities such as Edmonton, Halifax and St. John's, but all of these communities should have the ability to compete for some of those government contracts.

There has been some progress. For years the Martin and Chrétien government talked about how important the Internet was. I can recall having discussions with the former president of the Treasury Board, Reg Alcock, on how important he thought it was for procurement contracts to be done on the Internet because that technology would be better able to provide opportunities for all small and medium-sized businesses to participate in government contracts.

At the end of the day, the more aggressive and committed the Government of Canada is at widening the field and ensuring that these small and medium-sized businesses are in a position to compete for those tendered contracts, the better for the taxpayer and the better for the economy itself.

We need to look at the technology that is there. It is very real today and the opportunity is greater today than it ever has been because of that technology. However, we need to go beyond that. There are many different minority groups, whether they be professional women running businesses or the many different ethnic minority groups that may not be as familiar with the government contract process. What can we do to enhance and encourage their involvement in the process?

One of the things I would suggest is to have seminars. We see some of that happening today through the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises, and that is a great thing to see, but we can never see enough of that because, at the end of the day, if we can get more people interested in participating in the process and get more businesses interested and aware of the number of contracts that are on the Internet the better we will be.

A great Internet site is buyandsell.ca. When I click into that site I can see how many hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars of potential contracts are there. We need to ensure t there is a very strong educational component that engages small and medium-sized businesses. We need to challenge our chambers of commerce from coast to coast to coast to come up with ideas to ensure those community businesses are aware of the types of contracts that the Government of Canada is engaged in and encourage their participation.

If we do that, then I believe at the end of the day there will be more jobs created for Canada, more opportunities and better quality products. We believe that the government needs to work with the stakeholders to engage both small and medium-sized businesses. I think that is critically important to our economy and all of us would do well to give more attention to that issue.

Having said that, I move:

That the House do now adjourn.

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

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

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

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

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

All those opposed will please say nay.

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

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 negatived on the following division:)

Vote #283

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

I declare the motion defeated.

There are now five minutes of questions and comments for the hon. member for Winnipeg North.

The hon. member for Vancouver—Quadra.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, could we stop the clock until people have cleared the room?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Could all hon. members who are leaving the chamber please do so, so that we might continue and move the agenda forward expeditiously.

The hon. member for Vancouver Quadra.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the comments of my colleague from Winnipeg North, who clearly has a lot of experience in supporting small- and medium-size enterprises in his community and province. He is passionate on the subject.

I note that a recent study by the Procurement Ombudsman revealed that while some data are being collected about government procurement, there is a lot of missing data and that the data that are collected are not being used.

Measurement and data collection are key to being able to improve a system and to wider participation in government procurement. Businesses have been asking the government to address the issue for more than six years, saying that there is not proper measurement and not proper evaluation of procurement. Both are key to participation by small- and medium-size business.

Could my colleague tell us how this lack of data and measurement might impact small and medium businesses in the new Canadian community?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Vancouver Quadra demonstrates, just as I indicated in my speech, that the government has dropped the ball in not recognizing the important role it can play in government procurement. Information is gold and we must have the information there in order to make the types of decisions necessary. Whether it is the role of an ombudsman or an opposition member, at the end of the day we want the information to be in the right hands so that more small- and medium-size businesses will be engaged in the whole area of government procurement.

As I tried to illustrate before, having more small- and medium-size businesses engaged in the procurement process equates to more jobs and better quality products. Every Canadian will win in that situation. That is the type of support we want to see and Liberal Party is encouraging the government to take action on that.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Conservative Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend for Winnipeg North indicated his alleged support for small business. There is significant support for small- and medium-size businesses in the next phase of the government's economic action plan. For example, there is the doubling of resources for IRAP, which will have a significantly positive impact on high-tech companies in my riding of Kitchener—Waterloo, and there is $400 million for a venture capital fund, again providing capital for companies with high-growth potential.

Earlier my colleague from Etobicoke—Lakeshore clearly indicated that the Canadian innovation and commercialization program would be made permanent despite the intervention of our colleague across the floor. Now that we know that the CICP will be made permanent, will the Liberal Party vote in favour of our budget this evening?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting for a Conservative to say that we in the Liberal Party only have alleged concern for small- and medium-size businesses when in fact it was the Liberal Party of Canada that led the charge to ensure that small- and medium-size businesses were a part of the government agenda. It was the Liberal Party of Canada last fall that said this was about jobs, jobs, jobs, and we recognized the important role that small- and medium-size businesses play in ensuring that those jobs will be there. Instead, we saw the government bring in a budget document that I would argue does not deliver what is necessary for those small- and medium-size businesses to prosper and to be able to generate the—

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, order.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I realize and recognize that a member is supposed to bring a point of order to the floor of the chamber at the moment he or she realizes there could be an infraction or something of that nature. During the vote, a serious issue was brought to my attention and there needs to be some clarification by the Speaker and possibly the clerks for the simple reason that I am anticipating that we could be going into a series of important votes. Here, all members of the House recognize the importance of being fully engaged in voting.

I feel that this is the most appropriate time for me to raise this issue, for the simple reason that we need to get guidance from the Clerk.

There are two components to it. The first one is with regard to the process or procedure for an individual member of Parliament when there is, let us say, a series of four or five votes. What is the proper procedure for a member to exit and possibly have to miss one vote in order to be able to—

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please.

The hon. member has risen on a point of order, but rather than raising a point of order he is asking for clarification of the rules. I would suggest that the rules, the Standing Orders of the House, are available here at the table. If members would like to refresh themselves on the rules related to votes, these are available to all members and obviously will be applied appropriately by the Chair.

The hon. member for Toronto Centre on the same point of order?

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

June 13th, 2012 / 4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a different point of order that I would like to raise.

Since question period, I have had an opportunity to reflect on an exchange that took place between the Minister of National Defence and the member for St. John's East. Since the minister is here, perhaps he could comment on this.

In the course of his answer to the member for St. John's East, he accused the member for St. John's East of something called “mendaciousness”. I am a very up-to-date guy, having now had an opportunity to look up the word “mendacious”. I want people to know that mendacious, according to the dictionary, means “lying, untruthful, false, untrue”, and it goes on and on. Going through the dictionary there are many other examples in which it is very clear that mendacious means “given to lying, as in a mendacious child”; “untruthful”; “intentionally untrue”; and that a “mendacious statement” means “false, not in accordance with the fact or reality, as in giving false testimony under oath”.

My point is that the Minister of National Defence, in using a somewhat fancier word than perhaps we are used to hearing in the House, and certainly from that side of the House, in any event—

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

He had to look it up, not us.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

I had to look it up. I am not ashamed of having to look it up.

I say to the hon. member, my good friend from Chatham, that he should look a few things up from time to time. It might do him some good.

The minister is standing up, Mr. Speaker, but I have not yet concluded my remarks. I know the minister has a habit of standing up long before—

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. The hon. member for Toronto Centre has risen on a point of order and he is correct that he can make that point, but it is not up to individual members to determine when their time on the floor is completed. That is for the Chair to determine.

If the member for Toronto Centre could quickly summarize his point, I believe the Minister of National Defence is prepared to respond to that.