Motion No. 56
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 253.
Motion No. 57
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 254.
Motion No. 58
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 255.
Motion No. 59
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 256.
Motion No. 60
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 257.
Motion No. 61
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 258.
Motion No. 62
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 259.
Motion No. 63
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 260.
Motion No. 64
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 313.
Motion No. 65
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 378.
Motion No. 66
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 379.
Motion No. 67
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 380.
Motion No. 68
That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 381.
Mr. Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleagues for their speeches on the amendments. Since this latest omnibus bill is over 460 pages long, we hoped to improve even a small part of this very complex and problematic bill.
Since getting their majority in the House, the Conservatives have introduced close to 2,200 pages of omnibus budgets, but they have agreed to just one single amendment proposed by the opposition. That is incredible.
This omnibus bill alone will amend a huge number of Canadian laws. The incredible thing is that this omnibus bill will fix a problem created by the last omnibus bill, which fixed a problem created by the omnibus bill before that. That is the kind of government the Conservatives are now running. It is bad for our economy and our country.
In this 460-page omnibus bill, there are many corrections to the previous massive omnibus bill, which fixed previous omnibus bills, because the Conservatives got it wrong and accepted no amendments. The Conservatives think this is a good way to manage the Canadian economy and to govern Canada.
This is a process that has failed Canadians. We see it creating conflict and uncertainty. We see it creating bad economic conditions that I will go into in a minute. It is a problem because it is using the power that a majority government has completely irresponsibly. There are a myriad of quotes from Conservatives who are now in cabinet who used to decry the Liberals when they used this exact same technique, ramming together all sorts of different laws that had nothing whatsoever to do with the budget into one package, one Trojan Horse bill. That is also true in this case.
The Conservatives called it anti-democratic and unfair. For once, they were right. However, if it was right in opposition, then it must be even more right when forming government, because the power that a majority government has to affect our country and our laws is a power that must be used responsibly, as opposed to the abuse of power that we see again with this bill, Bill C-43.
To put this into context, which is important with any budget implementation act, under the Conservatives' watch more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in this country. Consumer debt is at an historic high for Canadians. Canadians owe more money now than they ever have in our history. We have seen a persistently high youth unemployment rate in this country, usually double that of the unemployment rate broadly.
We have also seen consistency of long-term unemployment, which refers to Canadians who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. It is at the same level as its worst level during the recession. There were Canadians who were finding it harder and harder to get back to work during the worst times of the last global recession, and the same is true now. Twenty per cent of the jobless in Canada are made up of the long-term unemployed. I will leave talking about the unemployed until later. It is something that Conservatives are often chagrined to hear.
In this bill, their feature item is oil. In the midst of global uncertainty and with oil prices falling below $70 a barrel, dropping almost 40% this year alone, we see no plan B from the government. Plan A is oil, plan B is oil, and plan C is oil. When oil drops below $70, federal and provincial government revenues go off, but any hope for job creation also goes off because that is the only plan the Conservatives seem to know and have.
It was in previous omnibus bills that the Conservatives tried to put truth to the idea of what the Prime Minister said back in 2006, which was that Canada would become an energy superpower. They would bulldoze their way through the countryside, laying pipeline down everywhere and exporting all that oil to market. They made changes in Canadian law through these omnibus bills to attempt to achieve that goal.
What have we seen but uncertainty and conflict? When pushed against the wall and forced to accept something without debate or input or any decent consultation, Canadians resist. They say they want fairness. They want their government to play an equal role in the economy and not favour one side over another.
Canadians want to see the $1.3 billion subsidy to the oil sands, a direct subsidy to some of the richest companies on the planet, come to an end. They want to see an alternative. They want to see some options. They want to see plan B. They want to know we can have a green economy. Despite a complete lack of effort from the federal government and another failed opportunity in this budget implementation act, we see the clean tech sector growing by leaps and bounds. It is up 37% in just a few years, and $25 billion has gone into the green energy sector in the last five years. That is greater than what has gone into the oil sands in northern Alberta.
Do members ever hear the Conservatives talk about that? Do members ever hear them talk about the great success of the green energy movement in Canada, the clean technology industry's high-paying and high-quality jobs? No. They blow all their capital on one industry alone. It is always wise to have a little diversity in an ecosystem and also in an economy. With Conservatives, we have seen all the eggs put into one basket, with no plan B.
As China's economy weakens, as Europe remains fragile and some European countries enter a recession, as some American indicators are showing weakness even as America rebounds, the Governor of the Bank of Canada said we may have a 0% or near flat recovery in the jobs sector, and in the midst of all that uncertainty and in the face of all that difficulty, the Conservatives bring forward an omnibus bill. In 460 pages, their one economic initiative to help Canadians get back to work is an EI jobs scheme that does not work. It is a $550 million raid on the employment insurance fund, which even Conservatives admit does not belong to the government. More than half a billion dollars is ripped out of the EI fund in this omnibus bill.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer, who has done the only credible analysis of this scheme, says it will create an astounding 800 jobs. He said each job created by this EI raid will cost upwards of $550,000.
I have had a number of constituents write me. They want to know where they can apply for these $500-million-per-year jobs. They wonder why the government is promoting such a program.
We know that far too high a number of Canadians who fall out of work cannot even access employment insurance. That is the worst kind of insurance there is. It is something one pays into but can never draw from. The reason they cannot access it is that the Conservatives, and the Liberals before them, kept rigging and changing the rules so that fewer people, particularly women and low-income Canadians, could actually access employment insurance. It is a scam, a scheme, and that is why it is put forward in this bill rather than as a stand-alone piece of legislation that members could actually debate here in this House.
When we asked the government for its analysis of its scheme, its $550 million EI raid, we heard that the government had done no analysis at all. We asked the finance officials and the minister himself, who came before the committee. We said he was about to rip off the EI fund for $550 million to create these jobs, but had he done an analysis? He said they had not. They had outsourced it to a lobby group, the CFIB.
However, even the CFIB has said time and again that this employment scheme will not necessarily create the jobs the government hopes for. We see this as a failure of process and a failure of integrity.
Just today in the stock market, the TSX is quoted as saying:
The Toronto stock market deepened its decline on Monday as concerns about the Chinese economy, and discouraging signs from early U.S. holiday sales.... ...the mining and metals sector fell, while energy stocks tumbled.
In the face of all this, we would expect the government, with the powers of a majority government, to take the opportunity here in the House of Commons to do something about our weakened economy, to do something to help the green energy sector, to do something to help Canadians get back to work. We wonder when Conservatives are actually going to do something, drop the ideology, pay attention, and face reality in our economy.
We need to help Canadians get back to work. We need to restore those well-paying manufacturing jobs. We need to do more than what is in this bill.
We have attempted, through our amendments, to make something good out of something bad. My concern, my suspicion, my reality is that Conservatives will do what they have always done, which is ignore the evidence in front of them. They will take an ideological stance and say that they know best. However, the numbers tell the truth. They do not.
Conservatives are failing Canadians and they are failing the Canadian economy.