House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was businesses.

Topics

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow on the last question, because it seems to me that the current Conservative government has rejected what would be a very good improvement, and that is to replace its plan for EI tax credits with a plan that would actually give an incentive to businesses to create jobs.

It is one thing to give businesses money, which they may or may not invest. It is another thing to say that, if they create a new job, they will get a credit. They would get this incentive.

Economic choices are made at the margins. This is basic economics. I really would like the member to answer the question that was previously posed, and also to tell the Canadian people why we do not give businesses an incentive to create new jobs instead of just a simple transfer of cash.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure what he is talking about regarding the government giving cash to businesses instead of incentives. Maybe he forgot, but one of the great incentives is the hiring tax credit. That is given to businesses to hire new people. That is an incentive. This is an incentive for the businesses to grow. Therefore, we do not have a policy to throw money at businesses. Yes, our policy is to give all kinds of incentives for businesses, to help them grow, not to burden them with higher taxes.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Before we resume debate, it is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Malpeque, the Canadian Wheat Board; the hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, Aboriginal Affairs.

Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Conservative

Lois Brown ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Mr. Speaker, I am proud today to speak on behalf of my constituents in Newmarket—Aurora on the second implementation bill of economic action plan 2014.

This is a tremendous piece of legislation that would benefit residents in Newmarket—Aurora and indeed all Canadians. It responds to the priorities of my constituents by putting tax dollars back into their pockets, increasing transparency in government, supporting Canadian families, and helping to create jobs and opportunity.

Newmarket—Aurora is home to thousands of families, residents who work hard to raise their children and contribute to their community. Every day in my riding, thousands of children and youth participate in a myriad of sports and fitness sessions that include soccer, hockey, dance, baseball, gymnastics, swimming, and martial arts, just to name a few.

The benefits of fitness activity in children are well known. In addition to the physical health benefits, participation in sports can help build self-esteem and confidence, motivate children to excel academically, and build valuable social skills. That is why, in order to help parents afford the cost of enrolling their children in organized sports activities, economic action plan 2014 proposes to double the children's fitness tax credit from $500 to $1,000. This credit would also become refundable, increasing its benefit to low-income families claiming the credit.

I remind Canadians that since 2006, our Conservative government has reduced federal taxes to the average Canadian family of four by over $3,400 each and every year. Indeed, the overall federal tax burden is now at its lowest level in 50 years.

How did we do this? We reduced the GST by nearly 30%, a measure that benefits all Canadians whether or not they pay taxes. We also increased the basic personal amount, the amount that all Canadians can earn without paying federal income tax. We reduced the lowest personal income tax rate and we introduced the tax-free savings account. Doubling the children's fitness tax credit and making it refundable is just one more way that our government is putting more money back into the pockets of families.

Canada is ranked as one of the world's most attractive countries for business. Bloomberg rankings recently saw Canada leap into second place, behind only Hong Kong. This did not happen by itself; it is a direct result of our government's strong, continued focus on jobs and economic growth.

Economic action plan 2014 continues this focus through the introduction of the new small business job credit. The small business job credit will cut EI payroll taxes by 15%, saving small businesses more than $550 million over the next two years, money that can be reinvested into hiring or into upgrading equipment and increasing productivity.

This is yet another action by our government to grow the economy and help create jobs. Indeed, through this government's focus on jobs and economic growth, over 1.1 million net new jobs have been created, 82% of them full-time jobs, with 78% in the private sector and 67% in high-wage industries. Almost 90% of businesses in Canada, about 780,000 in total, will directly benefit from the credit.

We know that small businesses like those in my riding of Newmarket—Aurora are the backbone of the economy and the economic engines of our communities. In Canada, they employ approximately 70% of the total labour force in the private sector.

This credit builds upon our government's strong support of small business since 2006, which has included measures to cut red tape, freeze EI premiums, and reduce the small business tax rate.

Economic action plan 2014 and, more specifically, this second budget implementation bill continue to empower Canadian consumers. For example, it would improve competition in the telecommunications market and end pay-to-pay billing practices by telecommunications service providers whereby subscribers are charged to receive bills in paper form.

Bill C-43 also proposes to reduce the administrative burden on charities by allowing them to use modern electronic tools to raise funds and for other purposes. This is great news for the many charities in Newmarket and Aurora. Currently, registered charities must file annual information returns with the Canada Revenue Agency. Unlike other groups, however, charities do not have the option of filing their information returns electronically. This poses a significant administrative burden for volunteers and staff of some 86,000 registered charities across Canada. To address this concern and to reduce the administrative burden on charities, funding will be provided to the Canada Revenue Agency to modernize its information technology, thereby enabling charities to apply for registration and file their annual information returns electronically for the first time.

To encourage Canadians to donate to registered charities, the Government of Canada provides individuals and businesses with tax incentives that have been described as among the most generous in the world. In fact, federal tax assistance for the charitable sector amounts to approximately $3 billion annually. This new measure would further assist charities to focus more on raising funds to support the great work that they do and less on administration.

My constituents are also pleased that Bill C-43 would end pay-to-pay billing practices by telecommunications service providers whereby subscribers are charged to receive bills in paper form. The practice of broadcasting companies charging subscribers for providing them with a paper bill is an irritating and costly one. I have had numerous complaints from my constituents regarding this practice.

We do not believe that Canadians should pay more to receive a paper copy of their telephone or wireless bill. That is why, as we set out in the 2013 Speech from the Throne, we are committed to ending this unfair practice once and for all. Bill C-43 sets out the legislation to do so.

I can assure my constituents and all Canadians that our government will continue to promote policies that support Canadian consumers and put more money back in the pockets of hard-working Canadian families.

I have spoken in the House and in committee in the past about our government's concrete action to address the tragic issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women. Economic action plan 2014 contains significant actions to further address this issue. Some $25 million would be allocated over five years to continue our efforts in directly addressing the issue, and over $8 million would be used to support a national DNA-based missing persons index. These two initiatives, together with other federal support for shelters, family violence prevention, and increased economic and leadership opportunities for aboriginal women, will result in a total investment by the Government of Canada of nearly $200 million over five years.

This investment builds on previous actions that include the passing of historic legislation that gave aboriginal women living on first nations reserves the same matrimonial rights as all Canadians, including access to emergency protection orders in violent situations. We have also passed over 30 justice and public safety measures, including tougher sentencing for murder, sexual assault, and kidnapping.

I will go back to some of the things that the economic action plan would do. It would make key investments to ensure that today's youth have the skills that they need to get the jobs of tomorrow. We want to see all young people have the opportunity.

I urge my colleagues on both sides of the House to support the bill's speedy passage so that we can begin to see the results and the benefits.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the speech she gave.

Clearly, the speech was filled with the same bravado we are used to hearing from the Conservative benches. It is rather disappointing. I find it unfortunate that my colleague brought up the question of support for small businesses, yet she ignored the fact that the Conservatives' plans have so far been quite ineffective for small business.

In reality, when we look at the past 20 years, big business has benefited from major tax cuts—their taxes have been practically cut in half—while small businesses have had their tax rates cut by only one percentage point, from 12% to 11%.

The NDP believes in restoring the corporate fiscal balance by lowering small business tax rates to 9% and cancelling certain cuts that were granted to big business.

I would like to ask my colleague why she did not encourage her government to move in that direction, which would have been far more productive than tax credits that will create almost no jobs in the long run.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a small business owner and as someone who has worked in that space for quite a number of years, I have, except for four years, created my own paycheque all my adult life. I know that any time we give a tax break to a small business, it will look at reinvesting it into the business, create more services, and create more job opportunities. Any time a small business gets any sort of tax break, that money goes back into the economy. It generates more opportunities in the community.

I attended, over the Thanksgiving break week, the business awards dinner that was held by our Chamber of Commerce. Person after person from small businesses came up to me to compliment us on the proposals for EI and to tell me that they are going to create more jobs in Newmarket, meaning great opportunities for young people in my community.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question about the first item that my hon. colleague addressed, which is the children's fitness tax credit.

The question is about whether the changes to the tax credit measure are really about children's fitness. The way to decide that is to ask the government, I believe, if it has any intention of measuring what the change in children's fitness or fitness activity is as a result of the tax credit.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have worked in the area of wellness promotion. I have been involved for many years. In fact, when I was running for the nomination in 2004, I put on record that I would introduce a private member's bill to create a tax credit for people who had gym memberships.

I am absolutely delighted that the Conservative government is going to put in place a tax credit for children's fitness. Not only would it help families that are trying to give their young ones the opportunity to learn sports and to benefit from the social recreation and leadership skills that sports develops, but it would also create a new generation of healthy young people who would have less need to call upon our health care system.

I see the tax credit as an incredible asset to young families. Doubling it would mean more money in their pockets.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague just started to explain the benefits of the increased tax credit for children, but I would like her to briefly highlight the aspect of not only doubling it but making it refundable. That is a key point for low-income Canadians.

I wonder if she would expand on that aspect for 30 seconds.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, indeed this measure would be of real benefit to low-income families, families that may not have been able to access any of the benefits of the tax credit. This would directly put money back into their pockets and give low-income families the opportunity to see their children participate in some of those recreational programs that perhaps they have not had the opportunity to participate in.

What is most important is that we would be creating a new generation of healthy young people, young people who are going to focus for the long term on their own activity and their own fitness levels and be encouraged to participate for the long run in what wellness can provide to them and in a healthy lifestyle.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to stand for a few moments to talk about Bill C-43.

I indicate that I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for Beauport—Limoilou.

I have to say that I speak to the bill with a feeling of frustration and disappointment in this process. We have a bill that implements a budget to fund an organization that spends over $200 billion a year. It is a budget implementation act that consists of 460 pages. It affects dozens of pieces of legislation, things such as, for example, a scheme that the government has come up with to use workers' and employers' money, though mainly workers' money, to fund a supposed job creation plan that the Parliamentary Budget Officer said is going to cost over $500,000 per job. It has those kinds of provisions in it, yet members are being provided four days to debate the bill.

Four days sounds like a paltry amount, but let us take a look at how many hours that is. One of those days is Friday, when we will have two hours in which to debate Bill C-43. Because of the fact there will be a joint session to hear from the President of France, Monday will be considered a Wednesday, so we will have another two hours. If we stretch it out, we might get a total of 12 hours to discuss the bill.

Some of the Conservatives often say I am wasting my time. It is my time and I will use it the best way I know how. I am talking about the concerns of my constituents. Not only is the process a sham, but how could anyone possibly analyze a document of this size and this complexity in 12 hours?

Let us look for a second at what the government actually does with its budget. I talked about the fact that the budget of this country is over $200 billion. We found out just yesterday that more than $18 billion in spending that had been budgeted for programs, infrastructure and capital spending lapsed. In other words, it was not spent on what it was intended for. For example, close to $1 billion that had been budgeted for the Department of National Defence was not spent.

What does that mean? That means that the men and women who protect our country, who go on training and operations here and around the world, do not have the equipment they need in order to conduct their activities. It means that bases such as Shearwater in Nova Scotia have to shut down their arenas, pools and chapels because they do not have the money to repair the infrastructure. That is what it means when we say money lapsed that had been budgeted to be spent in areas and operations that were deemed required by someone in order to make sure those particular services were appropriate. Bridges and roads have gone without the funds necessary to properly operate.

Here we are talking about legislation to implement a budget that is frankly fanciful to begin with to a large extent. The government does not have a clue what it is doing. It does not have a clue. Member after member on the government side stands and says that they are a small business person so they know how to run things and manage money.

If small business owners managed their businesses in this fashion, they would not be doing it very long because they would not have a roof over their business, they would not have stock because they would not be able to transport stock, and they would not have employees because they would not be able to ensure employees in the workplace were safe. What I am talking about is the responsible management of the resources of the people of this country.

The Prime Minister is out this afternoon making announcements. How can we believe those? It is like the plan that was announced in 2007 to build between six and eight Arctic offshore patrol vessels. In fact, they were going to cut steel and the first one was going to be started in 2013. That was last year. That is what the government promised. Conservatives went through at least two elections with the big promotions behind that, but it has become increasingly clear that the money is not going to be there. They are not going to be able to build six to eight Arctic offshore patrol vessels. They will be able to build maybe four and if they keep delaying things they way they have been, it is going to be three.

Why is that important? It is important because we went through a process that we supported and one of the places that was awarded to build those ships was in Nova Scotia. There are hundreds and thousands of men and women around that region who are depending on those jobs. They are now travelling out west to find work. They are counting on that investment that was promised to them by the government, by the Prime Minister, and as every single day goes by it becomes increasingly apparent it is not going to come to fruition.

We will not know about it probably until after the next election, because somewhere, somehow, the Conservatives will get a welder and a blow torch and cut some steel somewhere and say, “this is what you are going to get if you elect us”, when in fact they know that the money is not there. The Minister of Public Works knows. It is just like the F-35s. It is just like the replacement helicopters for the Sea Kings. Conservatives just cannot seem to get it right. They cannot get the equipment into the hands of the men and women who serve this country and that is shameful.

That is what we are here to talk about. We should be talking under Bill C-43 about whether or not we can believe anything that is in this document of 460 pages that talks about implementing the budget, a budget that frankly proves time after time to be fanciful. That is the concern that my constituents have, that the government is not able to produce the goods.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

October 30th, 2014 / 4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans is rising on a point of order?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, yes, I am. I would like to advise my friend that I am trying to be attentive to what he says and he says that he is talking about something, but really he is yelling about it. I wonder if you could advise him that his microphone is working and he does not have to scream.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I do not think that is a point of order, but we will allow the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour to continue. He has a little under a minute left in his remarks.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to apologize for being passionate about what the Conservative government is doing to constituents in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. I will never be quiet when the Conservatives are making decisions that are having such an impact on people in my constituency and people across this country. If that offends the sensibilities of the member opposite, then he can go somewhere else, because this is my time.

My time has been chewed up by an irrelevant question but nonetheless I want to take this opportunity to say that this process is shameful. It does not serve the interests of Canadians and it certainly does not serve the interests of the people of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, and that is how I plan to vote on Bill C-43.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the issue of housing, which my colleague from Toronto made reference to and which members have talked about to a certain degree in this budget debate. There is a desperate need for stronger leadership from Ottawa to deal with the housing issue in virtually every region of the country. There is a genuine need for low-cost housing, low-income housing in particular, but also within the middle class, people are finding it challenging to own a home nowadays.

The government has not included anything in this budget that would make it easier for people to own homes or to even look at retrofit programs that would be better for the environment. The whole housing file seems to be completely missing from the budget.

I wonder if the member could comment on the importance of having a more proactive approach in dealing with housing, non-profit housing in particular.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member for Winnipeg North because what has been happening with the cost of housing, particularly the cost of affordable housing in this country, is serious. That began to happen back in the late nineties when the Liberal government pulled out in a big way from supporting affordable housing strategies across this country. It was a shameful process to watch and it has continued under the Conservative government to the point now where it is estimated that there are 250,000 homeless families in this country. We simply have to do better.

The federal government has a responsibility to partner with the provinces to make sure that we not only fix the stock from the seventies and eighties that is falling apart but that we find other ways to provide new stock in our communities to make sure that affordable housing is available to Canadians.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Conservative

Bernard Trottier ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I find it ironic that for more than a day we have heard the NDP talking about the size of the omnibus budget bill, that it is an overly large bill, but rather than talk about what is in the budget bill that member has been talking about things that are not in it. He talked about the national shipping strategy and Arctic offshore patrol ships. Apparently there is not enough content in the budget bill for those members to criticize so they have to go fishing for other topics to talk about.

It is because of our strong fiscal position that we are able to invest in our armed forces and in military equipment, and invest in the Coast Guard.

If the member wants to talk about that topic, even though it is not specifically addressed in this budget bill, why do we not talk about our fiscal capacity and the fact that it is because of the strong fiscal measures that we have taken that we have the room to invest in our military and get it back on track?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, a few veterans and a few members of the Canadian Forces live in Dartmouth who would love to have a little chat with my friend opposite about what his government is doing to support the women and men who serve this country through the Canadian Forces. It is despicable in far too many cases.

I talked to a constituent the other day whose brother committed suicide after having served within the armed forces for 23 years. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The government did not heed his cry for help and he ended up taking his life. That is what happens when, for example, $1 billion is left unspent in the Department of National Defence. Members opposite have to understand what this is about. This is real. This is not funny. These are not games. Real people, real families are being affected, and that is who I am talking about here today in my remarks.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for sharing his precious speaking time with me. Given that this is a mammoth, monstrous bill, 10 minutes is nowhere near enough time to comment on certain aspects. I want to sincerely thank him for sharing his time so that I can speak to certain aspects of the budget that are of particular interest to the people of Beauport—Limoilou.

Before I begin, I cannot help but pick up on the parliamentary secretary's comments. I would like to ask him where the replacement fighter jets are. Where are the ships that are supposed to maintain the operational capabilities of our armed forces and the coast guard? While we are at it, I could even ask where, at the bottom of the river, the paintbrush for repainting the Quebec Bridge has wound up. I could do as my Conservative colleagues have done and list all of this government's failures, but it would take too long and I would not be able to address the sensitive issues that are of particular concern to the people of Beauport—Limoilou.

We have amply highlighted the omnibus nature of this bill, which is more than 450 pages long and contains more than 400 clauses. It is terrible and completely disrespectful of Canadians. That is not to mention the time allocation motion, which severely limits our debates, in addition to the farce we can expect in the committee hearings. This budget implementation bill is meant to go to the Standing Committee on Finance. However, the Conservatives will continue to show contempt toward all Canadians in studying the bill by making it impossible to amend various parts, including, no doubt, at the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, of which I am very proud to be a member.

Let us move on from the Conservatives' shameful behaviour and focus instead on the part in division 16 of the bill on the amendments to the Canada Marine Act. Hon. members are aware of the issue affecting the people of my riding, Beauport—Limoilou, namely the high level of contamination by a mix of dust, including nickel dust, from the Port of Québec, due to the operations of the Quebec Stevedoring company.

Obviously, like everyone else, I took up reading this immense bill under unspeakable conditions. After looking at the summary, I decided to focus on this division. There are a number of changes that open the door quite wide. It makes us wonder about the government's intentions and deeper motives. When it changes aspects and sections of our statutes, it does not just make minor changes, without intending to have these sections apply more broadly. Once the door is open it is impossible to close it again without a very strong will. I will raise a number of questions related to that.

I will start with clause 228:

228. Section 46 of the Canada Marine Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2.1):

(2.11) A port authority may acquire federal real property or federal immovables, if supplementary letters patent have been issued.

That property will become “real property or immovables other than federal real property or federal immovables”.

That will already have serious consequences. Hon. members likely know that a Canadian port authority cannot transfer, dispose of, or borrow against federal real property or federal immovables.

Clearly, once the door is open we can imagine what will happen. Furthermore, the government is taking a piecemeal approach because, depending on the port authority, it will issue letters patent tailored to certain circumstances on a case-by-case basis. It is our understanding that these amendments were intended to resolve a particular case in one part of Canada, or that they represented a concession in that particular case. Nevertheless, this could have many negative, even dangerous, repercussions for the people living near a port or a major Canadian port authority.

I would like to mention that all major Canadian cities have a port authority. Thus, very large populations could be affected by these changes. Potentially, these changes could ultimately result in complete or piece-by-piece privatization. We have absolutely no idea where this will stop, so why not?

I will now talk about clause 231 of the same bill. This clause adds quite a number of elements to section 64 of the Canada Marine Act. How this is done is quite surprising. This affects undertakings situated in a port, and the Governor in Council will have the authority to:

...make regulations respecting any undertaking...that is situated or proposed to be situated in a port, including regulations respecting the development, use and environmental protection of the port as it relates to the undertaking or class of undertakings.

When we look at all the details, we realize that once again, the government, in an underhanded and secretive way, can, through regulation, introduce individual rules tailored to the needs or even the whims of businesses working in our major Canadian ports.

Since the contaminated dust issue blew up two years ago—the government is still valiantly trying to keep that out of the spotlight—Quebec Stevedoring has always tried to shirk its responsibility and take advantage of a system that lets the company get away with it. Unfortunately, if I understand the logic of these new provisions, that system might be obligingly provided by a government that received nearly $20,000 in donations from the company's senior executives, including the founding president of Quebec Stevedoring.

It is scary to see the door wide open like that and the red carpet rolled out for a select group of friends, so of course we have legitimate questions. Unfortunately, we are looking at this as part of a huge omnibus bill. We will have no choice but to exercise our right to vote on the bill as a whole. Obviously, we are going to vote against the bill because it contains too many unacceptable measures.

Then government representatives will be able to drone on, squawk and get all offended about how we voted for this or that measure, and they will generally behave in a way not befitting adults. I will not call it childish, because that would be disrespectful to children. As it turns out, children behave better than many adults.

I will end there, because I could go on for another 10 minutes, but I cannot fault my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for wanting 10 minutes to stand up for his constituents.

If it ever passes, section 64.93, which is part of clause 231, indicates that:

No civil proceeding may be brought, no order may be made and no fine or monetary penalty may be imposed against Her Majesty in right of Canada or a port authority, in relation to an undertaking that is situated in a port, under regulations made under subsection 64.1(1), based on any right or interest held by Her Majesty or the port authority in that port.

We will have to see what the scope will be, but this clause raises a lot of questions and does not answer the concerns we might have.

In conclusion, what is really disappointing and what we need to strongly condemn is the fact that the government will try send this division to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities for review.

Unfortunately, though, we will not be able to examine it in depth or propose any amendments. Nothing will be done right, and the Conservatives will likely take the opportunity to do some nice things for their friends.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou.

I do not know if my colleague paid attention to whether he mentioned the budget, but I can tell him that he did not. Was he out of order? Not at all. That is what is so ridiculous about these mammoth bills. He kept his comments relevant to the bill, but he did not even talk about the budget.

How is that possible? Everything he talked about deserved to be in a separate bill. Moreover, there are dozens more examples like that.

One thing that worried me in my colleague's speech was the regulatory process that seems to be emerging. The government appears to be creating a framework, but no one knows how it will work. All we know is that it will be through a regulatory process. One day we will find out; we do not know when. Maybe we will find out when there is some kind of abuse.

Could my colleague speak to that?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Louis-Hébert for his question and his comments, which are particularly pertinent. This brings me to something else that I did not have time to address in my speech.

When we talk about the regulatory process, this unfortunately leads to behaviour that can have serious consequences. I would draw my colleague's attention to the fact that under clause 231, subsection 64.4 will be added to the Canada Marine Act. It reads as follows:

64.4 Regulations made under subsection 64.1(1) prevail over any by-laws, practices and procedures or other similar instruments, and land-use plans, made by a port authority....

Mechanisms already exist that could allow a community to take into account or assess the actions of a port authority. However, the government could go about things in an entirely underhanded way, completely in secret, and present the public with a done deal. Canadians would then be hostage to decisions made in backrooms in Ottawa, and it would be very hard to keep an eye on things and, more importantly, gauge the consequences once those decisions take effect.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member did not really talk about the budget but rather about the content of the budget implementation bill.

There is another way of looking at it. There are many things that could have or should have been incorporated into the budget implementation bill. I will take the specific example of what I believe is one of the most important everyday issues Canadians are genuinely concerned about, which is, of course, our health care system.

In 2014, the health care accord expired. It is something the provinces and the federal government signed off on at the time to guarantee funding for 10 consecutive years. That has expired, yet within the budget document we have before us today, there is not a word about the importance of that ongoing financial support through another health care accord.

The member might want to comment on how important it is to work with provinces to achieve a future health care accord.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Winnipeg North for the question.

This allows me to point out that while the opposition is doing most of the debating here, we see our Conservative colleagues just sitting there, even though we have a monster bill with over 400 clauses that need to be examined and studied. It is absolutely unbelievable.

Clearly, as my colleague pointed out, the Conservative government imposed a transfer framework on the provinces in a positively shameful way. In fact, it was appalling that the federal government would impose its will on the provincial governments. It is unconscionable.

I would like to remind the member that the initial framework for the health transfers, which dates back some 50 years, stipulated that the federal government was to pay half the costs. Unfortunately, successive Liberal governments, under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, successfully negotiated a much more inequitable cost-sharing scheme, and this put additional pressure on the provinces. It is really appalling.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Before we carry on with resuming debate, just a notice to hon. members that we have crossed that point in the debate where we are five hours past the first round of speeches on the question. Therefore, from this point onward all of the interventions are limited to a 10-minute speech and 5 minutes for questions and comments.

Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works.