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House of Commons Hansard #149 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economy.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is pointing to a key issue here for so many Canadian families. We have 319,000 more Canadians unemployed today than before the last recession, and we have lost 500,000 manufacturing jobs.

However, one thing we know is that when people lose decent-paying manufacturing jobs, jobs that have supported them and their families and provided benefits for them and their families, the jobs that they get to replace them does not always pay them very well. We often find people in temporary and part-time jobs. Therefore, unemployment is up, which is why so many Canadian families are struggling.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

A quick, 30 second question from the member for Winnipeg North.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, that will be tough.

Whether it was prime ministers Trudeau, Martin, or Chrétien, we believed in the importance of first ministerial meetings. That is how we have accomplished great things like the health-care accord.

My question to the member from the official opposition is this. Does she not see inconsistencies in terms of her own leadership from within the NDP when we have the leader of the official opposition taking shots at western Canada and then refusing to meet with premiers? There is an inconsistency there. Does she not believe that the leader of the NDP is wrong not to apologize to western Canadians and to premiers for ignoring the concerns they wanted to express?

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about inconsistencies. One of the biggest inconsistencies we have seen of late is the government signing the Kyoto accord and then using it as a public relations measure and allowing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions to significantly rise in the country and put us in a position where we could not meet our international obligations. That is a massive inconsistency that frankly Canadians are very embarrassed about.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, congratulations. It is good to see you in the chair.

I am very pleased to be speaking to this motion by the Leader of the Opposition because it is very important that we have the opportunity to highlight the impact of the job losses in Canada's manufacturing sector. The figures from Statistics Canada are staggering. Canada has lost nearly 400,000 manufacturing jobs since the Conservative government took office in 2006. We have lost over 40,000 manufacturing jobs this year alone.

We are currently at a historic low in terms of manufacturing jobs going back to when these statistics were first gathered in 1976. I would like to note that this low is quite significant because both our labour force and population have grown significantly over this same period. In other words, there are fewer manufacturing jobs in Canada now than there were in 1976.

Of particular note, the textiles and clothing sector, which, according to Statistics Canada, has long been one of the largest manufacturing employers in the country, was the hardest hit among manufacturing industries. From 2004 to 2008, manufacturers and textile product mills saw almost half of their jobs disappear. Another particularly hard hit sector is the automotive industry and members will know about this. Statistics Canada reports that automotive parts manufacturing lost more than one-quarter of its employees from 2004 to 2008, while motor vehicle manufacturing lost one-fifth. That is 15,900 jobs. Those who earned their living and supported families and our communities from the automotive sector saw their job numbers go from 139,300 to 98,700. This effectively cancelled all the strong economic growth that we experienced from 1998 to 2004.

In my community of London, there has been a steady, long-term erosion of jobs and it has been particularly hard hit by the most recent closing of manufacturing plants. Tragically, the city's manufacturing sector has been shrinking at a rapid rate and auto sector jobs have all but disappeared. These lost jobs were the good-paying jobs needed to support families and communities.

Just this year, more than 700 jobs were lost at Electro-Motive Diesel in London. Air Canada Jazz cut 200 maintenance jobs at London International Airport and Diamond Aircraft has been reduced to a fraction of the workforce compared to a year ago. People may recall the problems faced by Diamond in the development of a new jet. Unfortunately for London, the federal government declined to assist the company in its efforts and jobs have been lost. In the neighbouring community of Talbotville, after the Ford assembly plant was shut down in 2011, a total of 1200 jobs were eliminated. Now Timken will close, leaving 150 more people out of work.

It is not just manufacturing. We have seen 36 jobs cut at Service Canada in London. This loss of front-line workers creates tremendous hardships for the people in the London region who need help with their employment insurance, CPP concerns, GIS problems, and CPP disability benefits. These Service Canada workers were highly skilled and very professional in their effective delivery of services to my constituents, services they need and deserve.

There has also been the elimination of all support staff at Wolseley Barracks. The important work done by that staff with regard to the efficient functioning of the base leaves members of the Canadian Forces without the supports they need to do their jobs, and compels CF personnel to do jobs for which they are not trained and takes them away from the jobs for which they have been trained. We have seen the end of front-line service at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. There are no days of the week when the office is open to the public in London. For all those individuals who are required to contact CIC, this closure is an unforgivable hardship.

The jobs lost in London were good paying jobs. They were jobs that supported the infrastructure of our community. They were critical to the future economic health of London. These were good jobs with pensions.

Now the retirement savings of those hard-working people are at risk and so are their pensions. Their ability to pay into CPP no longer exists. Some workers in London are still looking for the pension benefits they spent years paying into. There are many hundreds of them. Nortel pensioners and Beta Brands pensioners are still waiting for benefits years after their employers left the city. These are not only lost jobs. These are lost pensions, lost hopes, lost security.

Sadly, where there has been job growth it has been concentrated in the service sector and part-time work, where pension benefits are limited or do not even exist. That is what too many Canadians face, and it is unconscionable.

This economic downturn is being used as an opportunity to attack retirement security in Canada. More and more companies are opting out of defined benefit pension plans. With a defined benefit pension plan, employees receive a set monthly amount once they reach retirement. It is an amount they can depend on because it is based on the participant's salary and length of employment. With this plan the employer is responsible to provide specified sufficient funds to secure the future retirement of an employee. An employee can therefore retire knowing, to the penny, the kind of resources available and the lifestyle he or she will be able to maintain.

More companies are attempting to make the switch to a defined contribution plan, where the employer defines the amount that will be contributed to the employee's pension plan on a regular basis. The amount contributed is then invested by the employer in a selection of investment options within the plan. The amount the employee will receive upon retirement will vary based on the amount contributed and the performance of the investment. In a defined contribution pension plan all of the investment risk is placed on the employee and there is no way at all to predict what the retirement income will be.

According to Stats Canada, the number of people who are members of defined benefit plans dropped by over 100,000 between 2007 and 2011. According to the Globe and Mail, a survey of Canadian plan sponsors earlier this year found that only 42% of publicly traded companies with defined benefit plans still had them open to all employees, while 39% had closed their plans to new hires and 17% had closed them to all employees. I would also like to note that Stats Canada states the number of members with a defined contribution plan has risen by just under 100,000 between 2007 and 2011.

In the private sector, employees in Canada are also in pension jeopardy. There has been an increase of more than 100,000 individuals who do not earn any pension at all. That is 100,000 fewer people with a pension plan than in 2006. That means 100,000 more people may need to rely on the GIS to make ends meet when they do retire.

Retirement security in Canada is changing, and this shift is not for the better. With losses and cuts to private sector pensions and threats to public sector pensions, Canadians will have less money upon retirement.

Young people today are facing high unemployment rates and a delayed entrance into the workforce. Young families today are earning less money than their parents did. Now, due to the government's recent changes to the OAS and GIS, workers will have to wait two more years before they are eligible to collect benefits.

The writing is on the wall. There will be a retirement crisis for the post-boomer generation unless we make some drastic changes, and to be clear, changes such as cuts to the OAS are not the type of changes that I am speaking about. We need to strengthen all three tiers of our pension system and in particular, we need to see a doubling of the CPP.

We live in a very rich and privileged country. We are experiencing an economic downturn. However, investing in job creation will have a far better outcome for our communities than corporate tax cuts and billion dollar jets that are made abroad.

The benefits are immense and will last well into the future. Only with job security can we have retirement security.

Canadians deserve nothing less.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I sat and listened carefully to the member for doom and gloom on the other side of the House during her presentation. I find it ironic that we get preached at by Ontario New Democrats who probably remember, like I do, the four and a half years when the leader of the Liberal Party was the NDP premier of the Province of Ontario. He created the worst economic recession in the history of any province in the country. Ontario is still trying to recover from the years when the leader of the Liberal Party was the Ontario NDP premier.

Given the fact that my friend on the other side and her colleagues campaigned in the 2011 election to bring forward a $21 billion carbon tax that would completely cripple Canada's economy, how can she stand in the House today and cite doom and gloom on an economy that is doing better every day under the leadership of this government?

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would appreciate it very much if the member would understand that I am the member for London—Fanshawe and I am here to serve my constituents. I will do it with every effort, unlike the members opposite who have basically taken a strong economy and put it into the ditch.

In terms of the recession of 20 years ago, I would like to remind the House, and the member, that at the time we were elected in Ontario we were in the fifth quarter of an economic downturn. The Conservative government of the time's response to that was to cut transfers and shift the burden of unemployment from the feds to the provinces. It created a very difficult time.

Also, the member needs to be very careful about what he says. He is getting his facts mixed up. We support cap and trade. I wish that they would understand that.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party is going to be supporting the motion. The reason we are supporting the motion is that we recognize the valuable role that first ministers conferences play in trying to build the support and consensus that is necessary to assist all Canadians to prosper and to have a sense that the governments are working together.

On the one hand we have the Conservatives who do not see the benefit. That is the reason we have the motion before us today. We want them to understand the importance of having first minister types of meetings take place. An excellent example of that would have been the health accord, which was achieved because of first ministers conferences.

Does the member not see that the NDP needs to apologize? There is a great deal of hypocrisy there, when the NDP will not even meet with premiers to talk about bizarre statements from the leader of the NDP who went on a verbal attack of the western provinces and pit region against region. Does she not see the merit of her leader apologizing to Canadians for that?

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very appreciative of the support from the Liberal caucus. It is absolutely essential that there be co-operation.

If the Liberals had read the NDP platform, like the Conservatives apparently have, they would have noted that in every case there is a very clear direction that whatever we do as a federal government we will do in consultation with the provinces and the territories.

As a member of the party of Tommy Douglas, the father of medicare, I am very concerned about what the latest budget has done in reducing health budgets by $31 billion across the country. That is going to be very difficult for health care.

As to his final statement, my leader made it very clear that unless we have co-operation, unless we talk about the fact that our economic activity has a consequence, in every part of the country, we are not going to be able to protect either the economy or the environment of the future.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am really delighted to rise in my place today to speak to the NDP motion.

On May 2 of last year, Canadian voters chose to elect a strong, stable, national Conservative majority government. It was a great day for Canada. That evening, on my election win, I was reminded of a movie that I saw, and some of us in the room will probably remember it, called The Candidate with Robert Redford. At the end of the movie, Redford, who was a democratic senatorial candidate who was not supposed to win the election, ended up winning. He looked across the room at his campaign consultant and he mouthed, “What do we do now?”

We on this side of the House knew exactly what to do. We had a plan called the economic action plan. The voters of Canada voted in favour of it and gave us a strong, stable, national majority government because we had a road map and we knew what we were doing. I know a lot of people on the other side were mouthing, “What do we do now?” and they still do not know what they are doing.

The NDP policies are rooted in failure. The NDP has a proven track record in Ontario. It and other provinces, and countries around the world, including Greece, are the jurisdictions the NDP is asking us to follow and take lessons from.

When my father came to this country in 1947 as the only survivor from his family, he came with three things. He came with a number on his arm, the shirt on his back, but most importantly, he came with hope in his heart. When I go to citizenship swearing in ceremonies, new immigrants to this country all come with hope in their hearts. They come with hope in their hearts because Canada is a land of opportunity where they can find a job. A job for new immigrants and for Canadians is not a disease. It is hope. It is hope because we have this great country called Canada and our government is on the right track.

The number one priority for Canadians and what really matters to them is the economy, job creation and long-term prosperity. At a time when the global economic recovery remains fragile, especially in the United States and Europe, our government is focused on creating jobs, economic growth and securing long-term prosperity for future generations of Canadians.

This is something our government has been focused on for some time. Faced with the deepest global economic recession since the 1930s, the government took the necessary action to protect the economy, Canadian jobs and Canadian families. It is because of the decisive action by this government that Canada finds itself in a position of relative strength among the industrialized world.

Contrary to what the NDP would have us believe with the non-stop bashing of our Canadian economy and our country, we are in a very envious position. Many of us will also remember the show, Dragnet. Sergeant Friday would say “Just the facts, ma'am”. Let us consider the facts. Since July 2009 nearly 770,000 net new jobs have been created, nearly 90% of them are full-time positions.

This is the strongest growth among G7 countries over the course of the recovery. In addition, both the IMF and OECD project Canada to be among the fastest growing G7 economies over the near term. The three credit-rating agencies, Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor's, have all reaffirmed our triple-A credit rating. In fact, it was Fitch that recently praised Canada's economic and fiscal leadership by saying:

Years of fiscal responsibility and a strong institutional setting created the conditions for an effective fiscal policy response to the global financial crisis. An early commitment to balance the budget over the medium term placed Canada's fiscal credibility ahead of many peers.

Simply put, Canada's fiscal fundamentals are solid and sustainable, but solid government finances are meaningless words to the NDP and its failed 1970s socialist mindset of big government, big bureaucracies and big deficits.

Nevertheless, we are focused on protecting and growing Canada's economy and building on our relative advantage compared to our G7 partners. However, to truly understand the strength behind this performance, we have to consider the hard work that took place long before.

I am talking about the actions our government has been taking to pay down debt, lower taxes, reduce red tape, and promote free trade and innovation. To start, our government paid down significant amounts of debt when times were good, and kept our debt-to-GDP ratio well below that of our G7 counterparts. As a result, when the economic downturn hit Canada, we had the fiscal capacity necessary to respond and to hold onto our G7 leading record as other nations began to pile vast amounts of unaffordable new debt onto old.

The NDP leader clearly does not value the initiatives our government has taken to keep Canada's economic record strong. For evidence of this we need to look no further than the NDP voting record. When Canada was facing the worst of the global economic recession, the NDP responded by voting against Canada's economic action plan. The NDP voted against tax relief for families and businesses. The NDP voted against investments in infrastructure, R and D, and skills training. The NDP voted against support for manufacturers, forestry, the unemployed and more.

Unfortunately, rather than support initiatives that would help Canada's economy, the NDP would rather support initiatives that would harm Canada's economy. What harmful economic schemes are the NDP pushing? Our Conservative government is focused on what matters to Canadians, such as creating jobs, promoting economic growth and ensuring long-term prosperity, while the NDP wants to attack growing sectors of our economy and impose $10 billion in higher taxes on businesses. The NDP advocates that we close off Canada from the rest of the world and do not trade.

Canadian taxpayers should hold onto their wallets because, unfortunately, there is more. The NDP leader supports a job-killing carbon tax. This would increase the price of everything including purchases such as gas--

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, it is incumbent upon members of the House to actually speak the truth. The member is making up facts. He should apologize.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

That is a point of debate.

The hon. member for York Centre.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, the NDP carbon tax would increase the price of everything, including purchases such as gasoline, groceries and electricity. That would mean less money in the pockets of Canadian families and less money to pay their bills. According to the NDP's election platform, it plans to take $21 billion out of the pockets of Canadian families to pay for its carbon tax scheme. To me, this sounds like a costly and unnecessary burden on Canadian families, Canadian businesses and the entire Canadian economy. That is certainly not what my constituents want to see.

While our Conservative government is talking about job creation, the opposition is focused on job destruction. That is why in these uncertain economic times Canadians continue to trust our Conservative government to keep Canada's economy on the right track. Even as we speak global economic headwinds from outside the country threaten Canada. Many are rightly concerned about the impact of the situation in Europe, and Canada is no exception. However, while others fail to address their challenges, Canada has chosen to lead by example.

Given that Canada has fared better than most countries, it is worth highlighting some of the measures our government has taken to ensure that Canada's economy remains strong.

One key component of our government's strategy is the expanding of our trade opportunities and creating the conditions necessary for our homegrown businesses to compete in the global marketplace. The pursuit of free trade is key to our growth agenda. Through structural reforms like trade liberalization, Canadian businesses and their workers will be able to compete in the global marketplace.

Our government's trade agenda has already made Canada one of the most open and globally engaged economies in the world, something which the protectionists and isolationists in the NDP adamantly oppose with their anti-trade agenda.

In six years we have signed free trade agreements with nine countries and are in negotiations with many more. We have also concluded foreign investment promotion and protection agreements with 11 countries and are in active negotiations with 14 others.

By the end of this year, we hope to conclude negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union. On this front, a few weeks ago the Prime Minister met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Ottawa to strengthen dialogue on this key initiative. In fact, during her visit, Chancellor Merkel remarked on how initiatives taken by Canada during the global economic recession helped Canada sit in a position of strength. She said, “Canada is an example for how one can actually emerge from a crisis in a robust way.”

Adding to this trade agenda, Canada is also joining the trans-Pacific partnership negotiations. We are actively pursuing new trade and investment opportunities in large, dynamic and fast-growing economies such as China, India and Japan. This reflects our belief that freer and more open trade is a key stimulus for global economic recovery.

Combined with our free trade commitment is our continued tariff relief to enhance the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers and importers. In all, our government has eliminated more than 1,800 tariff items and provided more than $435 million in annual tariff relief to Canadian businesses. As a result, Canada is now the first tariff-free manufacturing zone in the G20.

These measures build on our proven record of support for entrepreneurship, investment and growth.

Since 2006 our Conservative government has been making a concerted effort to promote investment and reduce regulatory burdens that only serve to impede business growth.

In 2011 Forbes magazine ranked Canada as the number one country in the world for doing business and cited our strong economic recovery and competitive tax system.

Yet, those who wish to invest in Canada's resources have been facing an increasingly complicated web of rules and bureaucratic reviews that have grown over time, adding costs and delays that can deter investors and undermine the economic viability of major projects. This approach is not economically sound, nor is it environmentally beneficial.

Our government responded by introducing system-wide improvements to streamline the environmental assessment review process for major economic projects that would put in place a one project, one review system in a clearly defined time period. These measures will make project reviews more predictable and timely, reduce duplication and regulatory burdens, and enhance consultations with aboriginal peoples, while protecting the environment.

Along with promoting investment and our support for free and open trade, the government continues to support a low tax environment required to create jobs and growth.

In 2007, prior to the global crisis, Canada passed a bold tax reduction plan designed to make Canada a low tax destination for business investment.

Canada's competitive tax system plays a crucial role in supporting economic growth. These tax reductions will leave more money for the private sector to reinvest in machinery, equipment, information technology and other physical capital that will further boost productivity in businesses across Canada. Furthermore, they will allow businesses to hire additional workers and offer higher wages as they expand production and take on the world.

Our government also continues to create the right conditions to enable Canadians and Canadian business to feel confident to invest, create jobs, participate in the global marketplace and grow our economy. One of these conditions includes a sound and stable financial system. Even as global economic conditions worsened during the crisis, Canada's finance system was stable and well capitalized with one of the most effective regulatory frameworks in the world. As a result, Canada did not suffer one single bank bailout nor failure.

Canada's enviable financial system did not lessen the government's resolve to act when it was under threat by outside forces. Make no mistake: the threats were real. As credit markets around the world began to freeze, the prospect of total financial economic breakdown became a realistic concern. Even in Canada, businesses were finding it difficult to get the basic financing they needed for everything from inventories to payrolls. The seriousness of this threat meant that traditional approaches just would not work.

In Canada we understood there was a critical need for our government to take steps to ensure the financial system could get secure access to the funding it required so that consumers and businesses would be able to access this much needed financing.

Today Canada has the world's soundest banking system for the fifth year in a row, as affirmed earlier this month by the World Economic Forum. In addition, the Financial Stability Board's peer review praised Canada for the government's response to the global financial crisis and highlighted the resilience of Canada's financial system, calling it a model for other countries.

The strength and resiliency of the Canadian financial system has served us well during the recent global economic and financial crisis and will continue to do so as we face a global economic situation that remains fragile and uncertain.

Unfortunately, NDP members would rather that we tinker with Canada's financial system. They feel that a time of economic uncertainty is the right time to test risky economic schemes like another tax, this time a financial transactions tax on everyday financial transactions. Fortunately, our Conservative government is adamantly opposed to the NDP's tax schemes.

With one of the most successful economies in the world today, Canada offers many advantages as an investment destination and partner for global business. Canada's competitiveness, excellence, depth of talent, innovation and creativity offer a great environment to potential investors from around the globe. That being said, there is still a lot of work to be done and our government recognizes that Canada cannot become complacent with its past successes.

It is pretty clear that when it comes to creating jobs for Canadians, the last place the government is looking for ideas is the NDP. As outlined during my speech, when it comes to creating the kind of economic growth that will mean a greater future for Canadians and their families, this side of the House knows the best route to getting there.

In fact, the NDP's grand plan to help the economy is to hold meetings months down the road. It is simply outrageous. The simple fact of the matter remains that when it comes to initiatives that will help Canadians, the only thing the NDP seems capable of doing is voting against them and finding ways to tax everything Canadians do.

Unlike the NDP, our Conservative government has a plan to support job creation and economic growth through Canada's economic action plan 2012. Therefore, I urge all members to join with me in opposing the motion and the NDP's risky economic high tax schemes which would only jeopardize Canada's fragile economic recovery.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have two questions for the hon. member for York Centre.

First, we agree, on both sides of the House, that you need sound facts and strong evidence before you develop economic policies. When the Conservatives came to power in 2006, they inherited a budget surplus of about $13 billion. In a year and a half, even before the recovery program and the recession, that surplus had been used up, largely because the GST was reduced by 2%. We are talking about a loss in revenue of $8 billion to $10 billion a year. If we look at the Department of Finance's own figures in terms of the benefit of reducing the GST for economic growth, we see that, for every dollar lost in revenue, only 30 cents of additional revenue in gross domestic product was actually created.

If they had really wanted to spend the $13 billion on something other than paying down debt, they could have taken a more efficient approach. For instance, they could have developed an infrastructure program that would generate economic spinoffs to the tune of $1.50 for every dollar invested.

Could the hon. member for York Centre comment on the seemingly unwise budget choices of the Conservative government? Also, since he says that the NDP lives in a fantasy world when it comes to policies, could he tell me if he agrees with the polluter pay principle that the NDP has put forward for the whole country?

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member said he had two questions and I did not detect even one.

However, we on this side of the House know what is meaningful to Canadians. They want policies that will create jobs, long-term growth and economic prosperity and that is exactly what our economic action plan is doing—not regressive taxation and higher taxes. We have created a low-tax environment and been praised by all the international organizations, from the OECD to the World Economic Forum and Forbes.

The only black sheep in all of this is the NDP members. They are the only negative naysayers. They have to sit down and wonder if maybe we are doing something right.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will highlight a specific issue and relate it to why first ministers' discussions are important.

Manitoba has a wonderful pork industry, providing hundreds of jobs for our province, everything from the barns to the slaughterhouses. It is an area of economic opportunity for the province of Manitoba, and there could be other provinces that also look at the pork industry as one with good potential. There is something happening internationally in regard to Korea, a great consumer of pork products. I suggest that the federal government has a role in that.

Indeed, both the Province of Manitoba and the federal government need to play a role. Other provinces could also play a role. One reason we need to have first ministers' conferences is to deal with issues of that nature and others. In this case it could be just be agriculture ministers. In other cases it could be—

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please.

The hon. member for York Centre.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find it passing strange that a member of the Liberal Party would speak about pork. If anyone would know about pork it would be a member of the Liberal Party.

It was the Government of Manitoba that during the past provincial election said it would not raise taxes. It increased taxes by over $18 million.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

An hon. member

An NDP government.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Yes, an NDP government is damaging the pork industry in Manitoba, particularly in Brandon, Manitoba, the city my wife hails from, so I know it well. It is a great city.

We are on the right track. We have a plan to reduce the deficit in the medium term. We have a plan that Canadians chose overwhelmingly last May to endorse, and we have a plan that is recognized by all kinds of worldwide economic organizations, which give us the credit that is due because we have the best Minister of Finance in the world, under the leadership of the best Prime Minister in the world under our economic action plan.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2012 / 12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Conservative Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if my colleague, the member for York Centre, is aware that the respected economist Jack Mintz predicted that the NDP's proposed $21 billion carbon tax in its 2011 campaign platform could increase gasoline prices for the Canadian consumer by 10¢ a litre. What does the member for York Centre think about that and the NDP's campaign promise to introduce a carbon tax?

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is passing strange that the only people who do not remember the carbon tax proposed by the NDP are the NDP members. Everyone else knows that a carbon tax would be devastating. The NDP members think it is better that government controls Canadians' money, rather than the people. We on this side of the House feel, as do most Canadians, that Canadians should be in charge of their money and that Canadians know the best way to spend their hard-earned money, not the government, as the NDP is proposing.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Independent

Bruce Hyer Independent Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, various members on the opposition side today have brought forth worrisome facts, including the largest budget deficit in Canadian history; soaring youth unemployment, from a base of 8% to almost 15%; cuts in vital services in northwestern Ontario and rural Canada and all of Canada.

The Conservatives claim that theirs is the party of trade but the TD Bank has publicly been worrying about the $50 billion trade deficit, the biggest trade deficit in 41 years.

Is it not time now to change the name of that economic syndrome from the Dutch disease to the Conservative Canadian disease?

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that it is time for the New Democratic Party to change its name to the “Old Democratic Party”, because these are the same old principles and story we are hearing from them that we heard in the 1960s to 1970s. It is time to renew. It is time for its members get with the program. It is time to join with the rest of Canadians, all the international organizations and the other G8 countries in recognizing that Canada is the number one performing economy, the best place to do business and the best place for people to get a job.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is surprising to see the enthusiasm opposite for the proposition that the Prime Minister ought not to meet with the premiers of the country in an economic summit at their request. I cannot understand why there is so much enthusiasm opposite to vote against meeting with the premiers to talk about the future of our country.

This is the new kind of government. The new program the member opposite wants everyone to get with is that Ottawa will go it alone, that the Prime Minister knows everything and that the government does not want to hear from the provinces.

Is this indeed the new program that the member wants all Canadians to accept, that the Prime Minister knows everything and the premiers have no say?