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House of Commons Hansard #247 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sports.

Topics

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech with great interest. I would acknowledge that, yes, there are some positives in the budget, but I do need to ask a question considering his emphasis on small business, his background in small business and his claim that this budget is about making small businesses stronger.

Could he please explain how taking $2.3 billion out of the pockets of small business owners over five years through changes to the dividend tax credit is actually going to make those businesses stronger?

Clearly, the facts would suggest that there is $2.3 billion less that those owners can utilize to invest in technology and growth for their enterprises.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, again I would emphasize that the best thing we can do for small businesses is lower their taxes. We have done that. We have repeated that process.

The other thing that is so important, as we often forget, is that as important as lowering taxes is, we need markets for our businesses. This government is actively engaged in opening new markets. We have a great standing relationship with the United States and Mexico. We have expanded that and we are looking at other countries in the western hemisphere, but now the most exciting thing that has happened since the North American Free Trade Agreement will be the European free trade agreement. We are very close to doing that. Just think of the possibilities that our businesses and small businesses will have when they are able to reap the benefits of a trade deal that has expanded to a huge market like that.

That is where the answer lies for success for our small businesses.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity contribute to the debate on Bill C-60, which is a budget implementation bill, and to provide my comments.

It is difficult, really, in the time available to do justice to a bill like this, because once again we have a bill that has a huge variety of measures. Some of them are new policy measures and some of them are not even in the budget speech. To actually do justice is very difficult.

What I would like to do is think about how this bill contributes to a sustainable future for our country and the opportunities and freedoms that we enjoy today. How does this bill help our children and their children in the future to enjoy those same kinds of opportunities and freedoms?

I want to start by saying that one of the things that is important for the health and well-being of society over time is transparency and honesty in government policy and government measures. One of the reasons the Liberals will not be supporting this bill is the tax increases, but beyond that, it is because of the lack of transparency in terms of these tax increases.

We call them “stealth tax increases” because the government continues to deny that it is increasing taxes, while it is absolutely clear that with this budget implementation bill the government is actually increasing net taxes over the coming five years.

In fact, in each and every year, the net impact on middle-class Canadians would be higher taxes. By the end of five years, $3.3 billion more would be coming out of Canadians' pockets through this net increase in taxes. We cannot support a budget that would do that.

I want to focus initially on the impact on small business. Like the speaker before me, I am from a small business background. In fact, I spent 25 years building a business into another category, as a mid-sized business. I know the challenges of small business, especially in securing capital for their growth and in securing investment to upgrade and update their equipment.

What small businesses do is utilize the retained earnings of that business itself, and in many cases they utilize the paycheques or savings of the business owners. That is why this dividend tax credit was so important to small business owners: they could use those funds to help grow their businesses when the market was not available as it is to public corporations.

That is why it is so mystifying to me that a government that claims to be pro-business and that claims it wants to make a healthier economy is side-swiping the very people—small business owners and their employees—who are so critical to achieving that goal.

This change to the dividend tax credit for small business is only one of many ways in which small businesses are paying for some of the Conservative government's mismanagement of budgets and unaccountable spending.

It is also surprising to me that large corporations have enjoyed an approximately 7% reduction in their corporate taxes under the current government, yet the small business rate has only dropped one percentage point in that time. In the meantime, $600 million a year, each and every year for the past three years and going forward, is loaded onto businesses for an EI payroll tax increase.

Small businesses account for 42% of private sector GDP. That is an enormous part of our economy, yet we are undermining those enterprises' ability to invest and grow their businesses.

Between 2001 and 2005, Canada's small and medium-sized enterprises created 467,708 jobs. That is almost half a million jobs.

What is the comparable figure under the current Conservative government? Between 2006 and 2010, under the Conservatives, the overall net number of jobs created by small and medium enterprises was negative 10,831. We are seeing a government that is failing the small and medium business community.

Here is a snapshot. In 2005, Liberals helped small businesses create almost 40,000 net jobs. In 2011, small businesses created 21,000 net jobs.

It is the government that has been failing small businesses, and this particular bill, Bill C-60, this budget, is a huge extra hit on small businesses. Certainly, that is not something we can possibly support.

Let us take a look at some of the other impacts of this bill on sustainability.

However, before I do that, I do want to acknowledge that there are elements of the bill that I think are positive and that I support, and certainly the Liberals support.

With respect to social sustainability, we support enhanced allocations for our veterans by putting an end to the deduction of disability payments, and we are indexing the gas tax fund by 2% a year.

Indexing the gas tax would certainly be helpful in my community of Vancouver and my riding of Vancouver Quadra.

As for economic sustainability, I support the measures to fight tax evasion, because no one likes cheaters. It is important to have measures in place to stop people from cheating.

Furthermore, the tax credits for mineral exploration will be very important to my province, British Columbia. As for the environment, the bill includes a $20 million investment in the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

That $20 million to Nature Conservancy of Canada is one small amount of funds. It is so woefully small.

In terms of sustainability, that is $20 million to one organization, when the government has cut hundreds of millions from Environment Canada, Parks Canada and climate change. The Experimental Lakes Area is just one example of so many program cuts. This is a government that, unfortunately, is untruly claiming that it is at a certain level of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, whereas it is on track to actually having higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions than in 2005, while the Conservatives' target is 17% below.

I think everyone should take notice of what the Keeling curve is telling us today. Now, the Keeling curve is the world's longest unbroken record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. This record, which is from a facility operated at the Mauna Loa Observatory near the top of a volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, shows that carbon dioxide has been increasing steadily from values around 317 parts per million, when Dr. Charles D. Keeling began measurements in 1958, to nearly 400 parts per million today. That means that we are coming close to the level that this world saw in the Pleistocene era, at a time when the Arctic was 10° hotter than it is today and the rest of Canada was 6° to 8°.

We have an emergency with respect to climate warming, and the government is not only ignoring that, not only not funding anything to deal with that, but is in fact pretending it is accomplishing advances that it simply is not.

In conclusion, some of the important elements of social, democratic and environmental sustainability, as well as business sustainability, that I would like to see are not in the bill. In fact, the key measure that jumps out from the bill is a woeful attack on small businesses through a massive increase in their costs. That is money taken out of their pockets that they need to expand and update their enterprises.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Conservative

Lois Brown ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech and, frankly, it was a speech about what the Liberals did not get done under their agenda.

First, when she talks about climate change, we know that after they signed the Kyoto accord, the Liberals allowed emissions to increase by 33%. Our government is getting it done. We have lowered emissions. We have a plan and we are working toward it.

For most of my adult life, I have created my own job. I am a small business owner, so I know what it means to create jobs for other people. I look at what the budget is doing. It is strengthening the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, providing tax relief for new manufacturing machinery and equipment and investing in world-class research and innovation.

When she talks about putting problems in place for small businesses, my question for my colleague is this. Why is it that the Liberals stole $52 million out of the EI fund, which put a tax on small businesses?

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, my response to the parliamentary secretary opposite is to ask why the government continued to put those funds into general revenue if it felt so strongly about it. It did exactly the same thing.

I would like to point out to the parliamentary secretary that in her department there has been a massive 39% cut to CIDA by 2014-15. Therefore, in terms of democratic sustainability, our very organization for development assistance overseas, which ties into Canada's reputation as a member of the international community—or used to—has had a 39% cut. Also, now that organization has essentially been swallowed into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to simply be another arm of the government's attempts to improve trade. We are not seeing the results yet and we have a massive trade deficit, so whatever the government is doing on the trade file is not working.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree that the Liberals had 13 years to get the job done at a time when they had a big surplus but still did not get the job done.

Let us look at the Conservative side now. The Conservatives like to crow about their record on job creation, but there are still almost 1.4 million Canadians out of work. There are still 240,000 more young people unemployed today than before the recession, and the only job creation measure in Bill C-60 is for more cabinet members.

I bring this up because the two members on the Conservative side who just spoke said that they are small business people, and my colleague talked about the fact that she is a small business person. I will talk about the small business people on Manitoulin Island and the fact that the Conservative government did not do the job of making sure that the ports were in order, and now that whole economy is about to fall apart. We are talking about anywhere between $25 million and $35 million that the government is willing to see go down the pipe.

Maybe my colleague could speak to the fact that small businesses are about to fold if the Chi-Cheemaun ferry does not continue. Does she think this will increase jobs and the government's stand on the economy, or does she think this will be detrimental and there will be a higher rate of unemployed people and people on welfare?

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I agree completely with my hon. colleague that the Conservative government has been a failure in terms of job creation. There are still hundreds of thousands fewer jobs than there were when the Conservatives came into office. Youth unemployment is far worse than it was five years ago. In my constituency of Vancouver Quadra, where we have the world-class University of British Columbia, that hits young people coming out of university who cannot find a first job.

Another aspect of the problems with job creation is the tourism industry. The Conservative government has made cuts to the tourism marketing arm. There has been a 41% plunge over the last decade that has led to Canada slipping from 7th to 18th in international arrivals over the last 10 years. There are many fronts on which the government is failing and is, in fact, exacerbating the problem. It is making it harder for young people to get jobs.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy and proud to stand today as the elected member for the riding of Mississauga East—Cooksville and speak to Bill C-60, which is designed to implement the measures in the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act, 2013.

Economic action plan 2013 is focused toward Canadians. Speaking to my constituents, I consistently hear time and time again that their top priorities for our government are jobs and economic growth. I truly believe the same holds true for all Canadians.

Our government has earned international praise and recognition for its economic results. Canada has the strongest record for job creation among the G7 countries, with more than 950,000 new jobs created since the depth of the global recession. Our government is delivering what we promised Canadians, careful and competent stewardship to improve our employment rates and strengthen our economy to benefit all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

As strong as our economy is, there are many external factors that we cannot control and that may pose a threat to the global economy. We are not immune. It may affect us as well.

I would like to talk about some important measures that are included in economic action plan 2013 that focus strongly toward increasing and aiding employment possibilities by building support toward Canadians jobs and growth.

Building from 2006, the 2013 economic action plan has introduced many important initiatives to help boost job growth, create jobs and build toward an even greater Canadian economy. Our government is committed to helping job growth, but we are also trying to make sure Canadians are able to connect with the available jobs by ensuring they have the correct skills and expertise to obtain high quality and well paying jobs by means of initiatives such as the Canada job grant, which is expected to help about 130,000 Canadians access the training they need to fill available jobs.

The government will create opportunities for apprentices by investing financial resources, introduce measures that would support the use of apprentices in projects receiving federal funding and reduce barriers to apprenticeship accreditation.

While recognizing the contributions persons with disabilities make to our economy, economic action plan 2013 announces the government's intention to bring forward a new era of labour market agreements for persons with disabilities by 2014.

The government will invest $222 million per year, and Canadians will find their government providing extensive agreements that will positively meet the needs of Canadian businesses and meet the employment needs throughout the nation, therefore contributing positively to the economy while providing greater opportunities for persons with disabilities. For both sides, it is a simple win-win situation.

The government will also continue supporting the opportunities fund for persons with disabilities and provide additional funding of $40 million a year for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Canadians with disabilities have great skills, and we are fully committed to improving their employment possibilities.

Economic action plan 2013 aims to reform and employ tact by modifying Canada's temporary workers program. The purpose of the program is to allow employers to temporarily utilize foreign workers in sectors where there are labour shortages. New reforms assist the Canadian job market and in turn the Canadian economy by ensuring citizens of this country are given priority for available jobs and employment opportunities. Significantly, the proposed reforms would ensure the program is being operated appropriately and in the way in which it was intended.

Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provide stricter regulations, as they sanction authorities to revoke permits issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The amendments also allow authorities to suspend and revoke labour market opinions provided by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada if an employer is found to be exploiting a program.

Moreover, the Government of Canada will introduce user fees for employers applying to hire temporary foreign workers through the labour market opinion process. Existing regulatory authority under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act will introduce a user fee for potential employers wishing to request a labour market opinion. The government's aim is to ensure employers are accountable to authorities, and in addition, ensuring employers are accountable to the Canadian economy and our taxpayers.

I am very proud to serve on the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. Canada has a very strong sense of respect and love for the men and women who make up a significant aspect of our society, men and women who served our country, the veterans. In keeping with this notion, the war veterans allowance program is available to provide assistance to the veterans of low income, and survivors of the Second World War and the Korean War. Also, it is very important to mention that the proposed changes will find that the determination of eligibility and calculation of benefits no longer take the disability pension into account during the calculation of eligibility and benefits provided under the war veterans allowance.

Economic action plan 2013 also proposes to simplify and enhance the funeral and burial program that is delivered by the Last Post Fund corporation on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada. It will amount to about $65 million over two years and will double the reimbursement rate, from $3,600 to $7,376.

Our government is working hard to maintain low taxes for Canadian families and individuals. Since 2006, the government has successfully provided significant tax relief. The average family of four in Canada now receives $3,200 in extra tax savings as a result of this hard work. Our government's long-term agenda sheds light on many positive aspects that will help provide relief to Canadian families as well as individuals. Here are some examples.

First, the government has fulfilled its commitment to reduce the GST by 2%, seeing it fall from 7% to 6% to 5% in order to benefit all Canadians. Second, we have successfully introduced the tax-free savings account, a flexible, registered and general purpose means of savings which is available to allow Canadians all across the nation to earn tax-free investment income in order to meet their lifetime savings needs.

Our government recognizes the difficulties that Canadians face, while trying to achieve peace of mind by ensuring their loved ones are taken care of. Therefore, the registered disability savings plan is another great initiative presented by the government to help secure a better future for those with severe disabilities. This tax-assisted savings account allows individuals as well as families to save for the long-term financial security of those with a severe disability. Since it became available in 2008, over 65,000 Canadians have chosen to open a RDSP either for themselves or for those in their care.

With Bill C-60, we are taking further steps forward for the constituency I represent, for the constituencies each of us represent, and for all Canadians. Therefore, I urge all parties and all members to support the bill.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that my colleague spoke about creating opportunities and creating jobs. He talked about the positive economic impact on both sides and that it would be a win-win situation.

I would like to bring back the issue of the Chi-Cheemaun ferry on Manitoulin Island. We have a government that is wasting millions of tax dollars doing partisan advertising while the future of small businesses on Manitoulin Island are hanging by a thread. Does the member believe that the government's refusal to put in $300,000 for the fenders and the dredging of the port in Manitoulin Island will have a positive or a negative impact on the economy and on jobs?

I can tell him that people are quite concerned. The students and full-time and part-time employees are extremely concerned that they are about to lose their jobs for the summer.

Can he talk about that?

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, what the member is referring to is a very important issue, but it is also a very difficult issue. It is an issue of low water levels in the Great Lakes.

The hon. member probably knows that a study was just completed. There are some solutions that are available, and our government together with the local and provincial governments are willing to work together to address the problem of low water levels in the Great Lakes. It does not only affect Manitoulin Island; it affects all the people on the Great Lakes.

It is a difficult issue. The hon. member mentioned that dredging is available in some instances and not others, but we should all work together to help the businesses—

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague speaks a lot about reducing taxes in certain areas, and everybody is in favour of reducing taxes, particularly when the economy is in a good state and we are in a surplus.

However, when we reduce taxes in a deficit situation, there is a downside to doing that. We are currently aiming for over $150 billion of added debt in 2015 due to this government.

I would like to hear what the member or the government have in mind in terms of taking care of this massive debt, for which interest payments are going to continue to increase over time.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the member expresses that view.

We have a very competitive market and we are working very hard to bring businesses to Canada, not to export them out. Therefore, one of the measures to attract businesses is to lower taxes.

I do not believe, and our government does not believe, that increasing taxes actually increases revenue. Increased taxes might actually result in decreased revenue for the country and for the government.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we heard from the NDP and we heard from the Liberal member.

The NDP member, of course, tried to fire off blame instead of saying how she is rolling up her sleeves and working with the residents there. The CFDC is using a whole plethora of federal agencies that are designed to work with the member of Parliament to excite the community and get the community ready to work. She failed to state that the Government of Ontario has indicated a willingness to make the necessary repairs to the ferry, which is a provincial jurisdiction.

To the hon. Liberal member, perhaps he would comment on what the government did before the last recession, paying down our debt and positioning the government so it could weather the economic storm.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member very well knows because he was in the House, the government took very quick action to address the issue of the economic downturn and invested heavily in our economy and our businesses. We have achieved results because we saw that this was the right way to approach the issue. We have had positive results for all Canadians and for the Canadian economy.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Before I recognize the hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London, I see that as more members join in today's debate there is a great deal of interest and comments. We can get more members participating if members and respondents keep their interventions to just under the one-minute mark. I will be watching for that closely.

We are now resuming debate. The hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am here to speak about, and in favour of, Bill C-60, the economic action plan 2013 act, no. 1.

I would first like to discuss Elgin—Middlesex—London and southern Ontario. I will be sharing how this budget relates to and assists the people of Elgin—Middlesex—London.

The area of southern Ontario in which I live is very unique, very beautiful and a very hard-working part of this country. It includes 80 miles of Canada's south coast, the shore of Lake Erie, only 50 miles across to where Cleveland sits, and miles and miles of great farmland. The 401 Highway, the most travelled transportation route through southern Ontario, cuts through the riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London. Large manufacturers cluster along this highway, as goods come and go, into the United States and from the United States. In our area, almost everything we make, almost everything we service, almost everything we assemble, is either sold to a United States customer or shipped there for further processing.

It has certainly meant that since the United States has slowed, its economy sputtering, our area has also felt the decline, not the demise but a decline. The decline in manufacturing in our area has led to even more innovation, more entrepreneurship, more vision and more desire to succeed.

Let me share some of the great ideas that have happened. First of all, we have seen the gathering of Canadian businesses. As I shared, most of our economy in that area of southern Ontario used to have a real north-south edge to it. The economy was southern Ontario to the United States, and the United States to southern Ontario. Since the decline in the United States, we have had to go looking for other customers. We found them right here in Canada. Western Canada is flourishing, for those members across the way who have not noticed.

Recently, and thanks to the member for Edmonton—Leduc—I wish he was here so I could thank him in person—we had a large group of Canadian oil producers from the west come to southern Ontario, into small communities in southern Ontario like St. Thomas, put together by the economic development officers in southern Ontario and the oil producers from the west.

They came looking for stuff; gaskets, gauges, pipe, steel. Just about everything we make in southern Ontario that used to be made for the auto industry fits perfectly in the oil industry too. They brought their order books, and they came to southern Ontario. We matched Canadian company with Canadian company, and we are moving forward with this process and continue to do so. It is entrepreneurism at its best.

We have other auto-related companies in southern Ontario that are currently converting or have converted through the recession to products that are not always auto-related. Some are now making solar panels or brackets for solar panels. Some are making blades for windmills or parts for the wind energy industry. This is the innovation of the manufacturing community of southern Ontario.

What else do we do? We have food. We are great farmers. We have a fantastic growing area in southern Ontario. What else have we done from an innovative point of view? We have started to process the stuff we grow, right there at home. It is phenomenal. We have great producers of corn and dairy and whatever else we can grow in Canada.

Dr. Oetker is building a very large frozen pizza factory right there in the south part of London in the riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London. It is under construction right now, but will be opening soon. The company will buy wheat for flour cheese made out of dairy from our farmers and produce for toppings on those pizzas, all grown right there in southern Ontario. That is the productivity of the farmers and the food distribution piece.

We continue to look at food distribution. Most of the food grown in southern Ontario gets shipped to Toronto where it is sent to the food terminal, bought by people in southern Ontario and brought back. That does not make sense to most people, so why not put a food terminal right there in southern Ontario? That is what we are working on.

I think I spoke about this House. It is very unique. Right there, enclosed in farmland in southern Middlesex County is a tilapia farm. Aquaculture right there in southern Ontario, not on the lake but inland. A great entrepreneur realized there was millions of dollars of tilapia being sold in the Toronto market from the United States, and said that we could do that in Canada, right there in southern Ontario.

What else have we asked for?

We have heard speeches in the House this morning about tourism in southern Ontario and how it is thriving and newer than it used to be. We knew we lived in a beautiful place, and now we are telling other people about it. We are okay if tourists come to visit and take up some of our space. The 80 miles of Lake Erie shoreline, ports and beaches are fantastic.

If one goes to the beach at Port Burwell along Lake Erie, one will now find a 300-foot submarine. The HMCS Ojibwa has been landed and will open on the long weekend in May for tourists. I have been through it, so anyone can fit. This is the type of entrepreneurship that is happening in tourism in southern Ontario.

Here is another piece we are doing that was never thought of before. Rural Canada has always had the issue of its youth, after high school, having to go somewhere else for post-secondary education. They always went someplace bigger—not always better, just someplace bigger. However, we now have a branch of Algoma University right here in St. Thomas, Ontario, teaching undergraduate studies in what used to be a historic old schoolhouse. Also, Fanshawe College, a community college branch in St. Thomas, is there to teach skilled trades in the new skills program. It teaches people the skilled trades that will be needed to move Canada forward. We will keep our youth at home. Not only will our youth stay at home to go to school; others will come. We are attracting dollars into our community by people coming here for post-secondary education.

We cannot talk about entrepreneurs without talking about those in southern Ontario. Sure, it has had its troubles in manufacturing, but to many who would see a problem, thousands have seen opportunities from an entrepreneurial point of view; they have seen this as a time to move forward and open a small business.

With John and his people at the Elgin Business Resource Centre and their business incubator program, the community futures program and the mentorship programs they are developing, we are returning jobs to southern Ontario. It may be two, three, five, ten or twenty jobs at a time, but they are returning to southern Ontario. The great economic development teams of Elgin County, Middlesex County and the City of St. Thomas are all doing the same thing and attracting small and medium-sized businesses.

How does the budget help all this?

Each of the things I have mentioned has a piece in the budget that has helped move these things forward. I am sure I will not have a chance to cover them all unless the Speaker forgets what the clock looks like, but I will talk about some.

How about creating the Canada jobs grant for training skills for the needs of youth and employers?

As both a small business person, and my business is small, and volunteer president of the Youth Employment Counselling Centre for some 10 years before politics, I have recognized the need to ensure that youth are available and trained for the jobs of today and tomorrow. It seems like a no-brainer, but including employers in that mix of the Canada jobs grant program means that employers will be sharing their needs, and not just today's needs but tomorrow's needs too, so that the training programs for youth will be there and will be the right ones to create the jobs.

For years, we have talked about apprenticeships as an area of concern, certainly in southern Ontario's manufacturing belt, and the skilled trades workers. I remember having a conversation with a principal of a community college some 15 years ago. I asked him how many millwrights would be trained this year. He said that there would be 41. I said, “Wow, that's fantastic. How did you come up with that number? Did you talk to the local manufacturing association? Did you talk to the schools to see how many people were graduating?” He said, “No, that's how many seats there are in the classroom.”

That is how we used to determine how many skilled tradespeople we used to train. How about getting out and talking to employers about their needs? How about getting out and talking to the schools and finding the youth who want to move into those careers? We can merge the two and make it so that employers have enough people to hire.

Also, there are opportunities for those with disabilities. My friend, the member for Brant, has a great private member's motion coming up that will help move forward opportunities for people with disabilities.

I wish I had a great deal more time to talk about other things such as options and what we are doing for infrastructure. I am sure during questions I will be able to talk about some of those.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Paulina Ayala NDP Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, as MPs, we have to do a good job and we have to take our work very seriously

The government presented a notice of motion to the Standing Committee on Finance requiring it to complete, in just five meetings, its study of Bill C-60, which contains 18 sections and 233 clauses. If we take these clauses and divide them by five, that is 40 clauses per meeting.

Does my colleague believe that five meetings of the Standing Committee on Finance is enough to properly study the bill?

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

1 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my time here I continue to be told the opposite. When I am at home for weekend events, I share with people what work happens in the House. Someone asked, “Are you still discussing the budget? How many days does it take? Does everyone not agree it is a great idea?“ The answer is yes, there is always a need for debate in this House and that is what we are doing today. We debated last week and we will do it this week. As far as debate goes, I say fill your boots, get the stuff you want to talk about out and let us talk about it, but let us not go on forever trying to just talk out the clock rather than talk out ideas.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

1 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I can assure the hon. member my boots are full.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is a lot to talk about in regard to the budget. Many, including myself and the leader of the Liberal Party, have said this is really an assault on our middle class. Hundreds of millions of dollars in tax increases are what we have witnessed by the government and we need to emphasize that. Millions and millions of dollars of tax increases. That is what the Conservative government has done over the years, attack the middle class.

My question is very specific and it relates to ads for the economic action plan which makes Canadians irate. How much money does it cost to have one of those ads televised during NHL playoff games?

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

1 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Winnipeg North. I apologize for not quoting him in my speech; I believe I quoted him in my last speech. First of all, I love the opportunity to speak about the Leafs and I will take every opportunity to say that I am happy to have them back. I remember the last time they won the Stanley Cup, the game was in black and white, if I remember right, and I was my father's remote.

We have cut taxes for business in this country time after time. As a small business person and an entrepreneur, I am thankful that there is a government like this that is willing to take care of cutting taxes for small business and for business in Canada.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

May 6th, 2013 / 1 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member to expand on his entrepreneurial comments and the fact that he headed up an organization and what he has seen over the years. He described what is happening in southern Ontario. When we look at what the budget is providing in trying to match the skill sets to the jobs available, could he expand on what entrepreneurial small and medium-sized businesses' needs are?

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

1 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to. Spending many years as the president of a youth employment counselling centre and the moving of youth between school and employment and skills training was very near and dear to my heart. We have continued to move forward from an apprenticeship point of view to the skilled trades piece for 20 years. As far back as I can remember, being in business as an entrepreneur, I mentored some of those youth as they moved into small businesses of their own. When somebody would go out and get a skilled trade as a plumber, but was not trained on the business side, I used to do the mentoring for those types of businesses.

It is important to fill that gap, to make sure that what the employer needs is available when he or she needs it, so skills training is out there and we are spending the right dollars to make sure that happens and skilled trades are there for students and the unemployed as they need a new skill, if they are looking for something to move to. The training must be there and matched to provinces, businesses, employers and employees; they all have to work together to make this work right. If we do not talk to each other, we will not do it properly.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1Government Orders

1 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I compliment all hon. members in keeping their interventions right on time. We had time for three questions and comments in that round.

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.