House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was businesses.


Second ReadingEconomic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2Government Orders

1:40 p.m.


LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question about women in the trades. I would suggest that hon. member also have a look at his television one of these days and watch how the economic action plan shows women in the trades. It shows them driving trucks. It shows them learning how to be welders. It shows Canadians that women can be part of the trades. Our government works toward helping those women get into the trades because they have the skills and the desire, and they can be great tradespeople right across this country.

Second ReadingEconomic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, several times my hon. colleague mentioned a record to brag about. I want to ask him whether he feels the following is something to brag about. Under the current government, we have added about $160 billion to the national debt. It was very difficult to add to the debt the first two years because the Conservative government inherited massive surpluses from the competent Liberal administration that preceded it.

However, since that time, the Conservatives have added $160 billion to the debt. That works out to about $30 billion every year, which means $1,000 of debt for every Canadian every year has been added to the national debt. I wonder if the member feels that is something to brag about and something that his children will be happy to inherit.

Second ReadingEconomic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is a very interesting question indeed. In fact, if we start thinking about the deficit, I would like to think first about where that deficit was created. It was created by the Liberal government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

The opposition members tend not to recognize that there has been a global recession. In times of global recession, our government went forward, made the steps, and we are the best in the G7. We have created well over one million jobs. No other country in the G7 has done that. We are continuing to build our economic platform and continuing to do that with the new EU trade agreement. That is going to create more jobs, more opportunities for our government, and more opportunities for our farmers right across this country. There is not a province that will not benefit from that.

Second ReadingEconomic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, my colleague accurately pointed out the tariff relief measures that economic action plan 2013 proposes. Of course, he did not mention that it is $76 million worth of tariff relief, which is exceptional. He talked about the baby clothing and sports equipment that would be subject to tariff relief. However, we would also enhance the adoption expense tax credit and we would expand tax relief for home care service workers, which is fantastic.

Would my hon. colleague talk about how those kinds of tariff reliefs would improve the conditions of people living and working in his riding?

Second ReadingEconomic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is great to know that I have a colleague here who is supporting us in terms of tax and tariff reduction. Do members know what that means for Canadians? It means money in Canadians' pockets and in families' pockets. Do members know who spends that money better? It is better spent by the families, the mothers and the fathers.

We think about the old days when the Liberals were in power. Somewhere along the line there was $40 million missing and we have never gotten it back. If the Liberals would return that $40 million, we could certainly help many more Canadians.

Second ReadingEconomic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, to begin, I would like to say that I have the honour and privilege of sharing my time with the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan.

As the member for LaSalle—Émard, I spent the summer talking with my constituents when I met them at various events or at their homes when I went door to door. They told me they were concerned about our democracy and the fact that they feel that members of the official opposition are having an increasingly difficult time having their voices heard in Ottawa. We can see that here today with yet another time allocation motion on an omnibus bill that is more than 400 pages long. It is a bit like the movie Groundhog Day. We have seen this before and we see it over and over again when we come back to the House of Commons.

I do not want to spend too much time on that unfortunate situation, despite the fact that it upsets me greatly. It prevents me, and every other member sitting in the House of Commons, from truly representing our constituents, and it prevents us from reading and studying this omnibus bill in detail.

My constituents told me they are concerned especially about the services that are customarily provided to Canadians. They are being eroded. I am thinking about those provided by Service Canada, those involving employment insurance and old age pensions, and Immigration Canada's services.

In addition, I can attest that in my constituency office, specifically, we see a lot of constituents who are upset that front-line services to Canadians are increasingly threatened. These are services that Canadians deserve but can no longer use—or they are being cut. Service Canada offices are being closed. Programs of all kinds are being closed. My constituents are really worried about this.

Moreover, it is becoming obvious that every time these omnibus bills are introduced—and these are actually budget bills—they contain mistakes. These bills are hastily put together. A lot of them could not be thoroughly studied and considered for lack of time. This has long-term consequences.

It is well known that this government is reluctant to rely on evidence and statistics and to conduct truly scientific studies to determine the impact of the bills introduced in the House. The government really has a strong dislike for what we know as evidence- and fact-based policy.

We see how this government has gutted Statistics Canada and how it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain an accurate picture of the economic health of our country and our communities. Canada is a vast and beautiful country made up of both great cities and small communities scattered from coast to coast. It will become more and more difficult to find out exactly what is happening all over this great country, as the government has deprived Statistics Canada of the tools it needs to build an accurate and realistic portrait that could help us, as parliamentarians, to make fair and informed decisions.

It is also becoming increasingly obvious that the hastiness in preparing these omnibus bills and massive budgets creates errors that have huge consequences. I will just talk about one of them.

A major mistake slipped into the last budget that more than doubled the tax rate on caisses populaires and credit unions. Again, this government has completely destroyed the program for credit unions, the Co-operatives Secretariat, as well as a program that was greatly appreciated by co-operatives across Canada, the co-operative development initiative.

We want small businesses to start up and become medium and large businesses. We have programs to help those small businesses. Why not do the same thing for co-operatives? No, after two or three years, the government decided just to eliminate the co-operative development initiative, which helped new co-operatives start up and become larger co-operatives.

This kind of decision did not take into account the realities facing existing co-operatives across Canada. The co-operative system is part of our heritage and our economic system. This government did not take that into account whatsoever. It does not realize how much co-operatives contribute to the Canadian economy. They create jobs, they participate in local economic development and, what is more, they are able to weather the ups and downs of our current economy.

On top of all that, they are 100% Canadian. They are never going to decide one day to pack up and relocate. They are well established here and are part of our lives.

Caisses populaires and credit unions are financial institutions that are established in communities across Canada. Unlike banks, they stay because they meet the needs of the communities.

The last budget ended up more than doubling the tax rate on caisses populaires and credit unions. This would have had disastrous consequences for those institutions.

That is what happens when the government introduces a mammoth budget bill that disregards what MPs and committees can bring to the table when they get a chance to study these bills in detail.

When the last budget bill was introduced, we asked that the bill be split up so that it could be studied in detail at the appropriate committees. The government refused, of course. It is the same thing this time around. We see that there is a lot in this bill, but nothing is really taken into account.

I would once again like to talk about the contributions made by co-operatives, because since my appointment as the NDP critic for co-operatives, I have had the opportunity to meet with many associations, whether here in Ottawa, in Saskatchewan or in Quebec, and I will continue to consult such groups. Co-operatives are businesses that work in a number of sectors in Canada. As I mentioned, they make an important contribution to the Canadian economy.

In closing, I would like to remind the government that the co-operative sector is part of our economy and it deserves its fair share of support from the federal government.

The federal government can be an active partner in developing co-operatives and can act as a lever in partnership with the provinces and the co-operative sector.

This is not the last time I will be speaking about the co-operative sector, nor is it the last time I will criticize the attitude of this government, which is depriving all of us of the ability to thoroughly examine an omnibus bill that will have a tremendous impact on the lives of all Canadians.

Second ReadingEconomic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2Government Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The time provided for government orders has now expired. We will continue with questions and comments after oral question period.

Support for Small BusinessesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate Small Business Week, small business owners remain the backbone of our national economy, as the government keeps taxes down while ensuring job growth and a future full of opportunity for our children.

We know that these are hard measures to provide for in the midst of global economic uncertainty, but we also know the best way for a small business to hire more employees is to see its business grow, and the best way to grow a business is through increased trading opportunities.

Job growth and economic growth go hand in hand, thus the Canada-Europe trade agreement announced last week is a major win for Canadian small businesses.

I note that in 2010, small business accounted for over 50% of all Canadian exports to the EU. In Sarnia—Lambton, we have small business operators who will now be able to expand their trade into the EU due to the removal of tariffs, simplified border procedures and guaranteed temporary entry without a work permit. These measures will ensure further economic growth for Canadian small businesses, especially in Sarnia—Lambton.

National Summit on Advanced Skills, Demographics and Impact of TechnologyStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw to the attention of the House the need for skilled labour in Canada.

This week, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges held the National Summit on Advanced Skills, Demographics and Impact of Technology, which was attended by leaders from Canada's education and economic sectors. The resulting discussions and undertakings just how important a role our colleges play in developing tomorrow's workforce.

Canada has a workforce. Our job is to develop this workforce and help Canadians match their skills to prevailing labour needs. This requires greater collaboration with and support for the provinces and educational institutions, as well as entrepreneurs.

Therefore, I invite my colleagues to congratulate and encourage the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. Together, we will build the skilled workforce needed to tackle the challenges that await Canada in the 21st century.

Reform Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago, 52 Reform MPs stormed Ottawa to change things. We called for balancing budgets. We promoted lower taxes for families and business. We fought for rebalancing the justice system to protect society and to give victims rights in the process. We pushed for more accountability for taxpayers' dollars. We have delivered in all of these areas.

We also promoted democratic reforms, and our government has tried to pass legislation to elect senators with terms limits; no more senators for life or senators until age 75. There is still work to be done in this area of democratic reform, but we will keep at it.

This group of 52 MPs, backed by tens of thousands of members and millions of supporters, were mocked and rejected by the national media and the establishment. However, as members know, these Reformers have made a real difference over the past 20 years and will continue into the future, and Canada is truly better for it.

Support for Small BusinessStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is Small Business Week and on behalf of the Liberal caucus I rise to pay tribute to the thousands of middle-class Canadians who work each day to build and expand their small business.

Small businesses employ 90% of the private sector workforce and account for 40% of the GDP. Despite this, yesterday I received a call from Wanita, a constituent who operates a clothing business from her home. Wanita needs help to grow, but unless she incorporates, a very expensive thing to do, the current government has slammed the door on her.

The Conservative government crows about increasing the GDP, but this so-called success is not being felt around the nation's kitchen tables. Saying one has a plan for small business is not a plan.

The government needs to start focusing on the needs of smaller business. Entrepreneurs expect better as we mark Small Business Week. I call upon the government to take these expectations seriously. Big business is not the only business.

PolioStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, October 24 each year is World Polio Day, a day when people around the world organize activities to shine a spotlight on the importance of global polio eradication.

As a proud Rotarian, I stand with thousands of others in Canada to thank the Rotary, the Gates Foundation and our government for co-funding a major international effort to vaccinate our fellow world citizens to prevent this terrible disease.

The eradication of polio is on target, thanks to an unrelenting global effort, an effort in which Canada was at the forefront as the first country to donate to the global polio eradication initiative. Canada has been and remains a staunch ally in the global effort to immunize millions of children against the disease.

Earlier today, members of my home club, the Mississauga-Meadowvale Rotary Club, were at the Meadowvale GO station handing out pamphlets and seeking continued donations for polio treatment.

Let us continue to make the pledge that we will all work together to eradicate polio from our planet once and for all.

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Every day in Canada, 65 people are diagnosed with breast cancer, the most common form of cancer in women over the age of 20. While the survival rate is improving, this is still the second-deadliest form of cancer in the country.

In recent weeks, thousands of Canadians from one end of the country to the other have participated in various activities to increase awareness and raise money for research. I would like to thank them for their efforts and their dedication.

Thanks to you, your dedication and your work, the battle against cancer will soon be won.

York Region Women's ShelterStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, last weekend I attended Hope in Purple Heels, a community fundraiser held at Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket in support of Belinda's Place.

It was a tremendous event that raised over $150,000 toward the building of York region's first-ever shelter for homeless women.

Upon opening its doors in 2015, Belinda's Place will give women without a home an opportunity to rebuild their lives and start anew. The driving force behind this cause has been a team of community leaders and local philanthropists led by Debora Kelly.

I invite all members today to join me in saluting Deb Kelly, the Belinda's Place community team and the individuals and businesses in York region and beyond who have helped turned this vision of hope into a reality.

Bill ThakeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to recognize the passing of Bill Thake who, until his death at age 77 on June 26 of this year, was the longest serving municipal politician in Ontario.

He was first elected to Westport village council in 1961 and became mayor in 1969. He retained that position until his untimely death.

Bill, as he was known to everyone, was the kind of hard-working, honest man whom everyone wants to represent them. Frugal in his own life, he treated taxpayers' dollars with the greatest of respect. The advice that he gave everyone was, “Never make a promise you can't keep and always tell the truth”.

As well as mayor, he served four terms as warden of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville and sat on many other boards and committees.

Bill is survived by his wife, Marlene; his daughter, Cindy; his son-in-law, Chris; and two grandsons.

He was a good friend to me and he will be missed by many.

Killer WhalesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, time is running out to save the southern resident killer whales. These most magnificent creatures not only hold an iconic place in first nations culture; they also drive our tourism industry. Most importantly, orcas are a key indicator of ecosystem health. That is why I am tabling today a motion calling for an action plan to protect this endangered species under the Species at Risk Act.

Over the past year, I have met with local stakeholders to develop an action plan with broad-based local support that will address key threats the orcas are facing. This motion calls for research and monitoring funding from the federal government, implementing programs to decrease chemical pollution in the Salish Sea and improving chinook enhancement programs plus measures to reduce noise levels and other disturbances orcas face on a daily basis.

We have waited for the federal government to act since 2003, when the southern resident killer whales were first listed as endangered. Since then, their numbers have dropped to just 81. We must act now to save these whales, which not only inspire us with their beauty but remind us all of the fragility of the ecosystem that sustains life in and around the Salish Sea.

Elections CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadian values of decency and fairness require each of us to be accountable for our debts. Strangely, failed Liberal leadership candidates do not believe that this principle applies to them.

Recently, a lawyer for a failed Liberal leadership candidate, the former MP Ken Dryden, bragged that Dryden will not even attempt to pay back the money he owes.

What is more, Elections Canada knows and openly admits that it knows that this loan is unlikely ever to be repaid. Elections Canada said that it lacks the power to investigate these loans of the failed Liberal leadership candidates.

The current law gives the power to the Commissioner of Elections Canada to investigate whether anyone has used loans to circumvent donation limits. A full-scale investigation is required to determine if Liberals used loans to wilfully exceed legal donation limits.

What is preventing Elections Canada from doing its job? I call on Elections Canada to get to the bottom of this for all Canadians.

Electoral BoundariesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the original proposal for riding boundaries was released, northern NDP MPs recognized instantly they were not in the best interest of northern Ontario. Sticking to rigid population formulas in our vast region undermined effective representation and, oh boy, did northerners respond. They knew it was their fight, too. On their own, over 70 municipalities passed resolutions to keep the 10 ridings. Thousands of faxes, letters and emails poured in to keep their ridings as they were.

It is to the credit of northerners for speaking up for fair and democratic representation. Together, we fought successfully to keep communities of interest and language intact. That is democracy. That is appropriate representation by our MPs. Strangely, Conservative MPs sat on the sidelines rather than represent their constituents.

The commission says that we need a law to protect our 10 ridings. We stand with the north on this. Why will northern Conservative MPs not do the same and support my bill?

World Polio DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Dan Albas Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is World Polio Day, and Canada was recently commended for delivering on its commitments in regard to transparent and accountable development assistance by the respected efficacy group “Publish What You Fund”. I am pleased to report that Canada ranked in the top 10 in the world, as our government continues to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of development assistance to those around the world who need this development assistance that Canada can provide.

I mention this as, unfortunately, Canada often missed its targets under the Liberals, and we all know the NDP has voted against every effort our government brings forward to assist people.

Our government will continue to ensure that Canadians can all take pride in our global leadership development assistance focused on delivering concrete results at the front line for those who really need it.

United Nations DayStatements By Members

October 24th, 2013 / 2:10 p.m.


Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate United Nations Day. This important day marks the anniversary of the entry into force of the UN charter in 1945.

The United Nations is committed to maintaining international peace and security, refugee protection, disaster relief, counterterrorism, the advancement of women and children, to name a few. There were 193 countries that came together in pursuit of these honourable goals. This international organization reaches every corner of the globe and this year alone the UN has come together on armed conflict, human rights and the environment.

With these facts, Canadians are understandably alarmed about why the Prime Minister consistently demonstrates such contempt for the UN when he goes to New York, but refuses to speak to the assembly. Under his watch, Canada lost its seat at the Security Council. He openly disrespects the organization and has obstructed climate change negotiations.

Canada works best when it is a leader among nations. Our country must restore its reputation and work with other countries and institutions such as the United Nations.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Costas Menegakis Conservative Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government remains on track and committed to meeting our goals in reuniting families faster, despite the Liberal legacy of massive immigration backlogs. Under the Liberals, families were waiting up to eight years to be reunited. That is unacceptable and our government has worked hard to fix the Liberal backlog. In fact, under our government, wait times are down and on track to be cut in half.

The facts speak for themselves. On average, 80% of spousal and dependent cases are completed within 10 months. Parent and grandparent sponsorship applications are completed within 59 months. In 2012 and 2013, we have admitted the highest level of parents and grandparents in 20 years. That is 40% more than under the Liberals.

On this side of the House, we recognize the importance of reuniting families faster.

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister put on a quite a show yesterday. He played the victim. Poor thing. Too bad his antics do not hold water.

He personally hired Nigel Wright, Ray Novak, Chris Woodcock and all the other amateur wheeler-dealers. He personally chose Mike Duffy after a selection process that was less rigorous than what Canadians do to vet a babysitter. But apparently, he is the victim.

Conservative members know that the Prime Minister's henchmen were involved in this scheming and that he is too much of a control freak to be unaware. The Conservatives like to look tough but they are too wimpy to stand up to the Prime Minister's Office, except of course, for the hon. member from Edmonton—St. Albert.

Is there someone else, anyone else, who has enough of a spine to tell us what happened behind closed doors in the Langevin building?

Today is my hon. leader's birthday and I have a gift suggestion for the Conservatives: they can stop appointing fraudster senators. No, wait, they can stop appointing any senators, period.

International TradeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is focusing on what is important to Canadians: job creation and economic growth.

Last week, the Prime Minister scored for Canadians by signing a historic trade agreement with the European Union.

Today, the Minister of International Trade and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness are in Montreal to talk to Quebeckers about the benefits of this agreement.

Key Quebec economic sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, metal products and minerals, as well as agricultural products, are being given a chance to benefit from access to a market of 500 million wealthy consumers.

Unfortunately, the NDP and its anti-trade allies, such as the Council of Canadians, are misleading Canadians about this important agreement. They maintain that it will hinder our ability to create jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our government will continue to protect the interests of Canadian workers by opening new markets for Canadian businesses.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec


Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the scandal, the Prime Minister said that Nigel Wright was an honourable man. He sang his praises until he found out that the $90,000 cheque was illegal. Then, the Conservatives showed Nigel Wright the door, saying that he was the only one who was aware of the cheque. No one else in the Prime Minister's Office knew about it. That is what the Prime Minister told us on June 5.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister told a completely different story. He admitted that many people in his entourage knew about the cheque.

Why did he say one thing on June 5 and just the opposite yesterday? Why did the Prime Minister once again change his version of the facts?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta


Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is completely incorrect. Mr. Wright admitted that what he did was wrong. He took responsibility for his actions. Obviously, he informed very few people. The reality is that Mr. Wright did those things with his own money. He took responsibility for his actions and that is what we expect from people.