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House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was businesses.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the fundamental importance of small businesses in fueling the Canadian economy. In fact, small businesses are the largest employer in our economy and they create the most jobs. That is why we have been focusing on helping small businesses. The introduction of this credit builds upon our government's strong support for small businesses since 2006.

Let me just name a few of the things that we have done for small businesses. We froze EI premiums to provide certainty and flexibility for small businesses. We cut red tape by eliminating over 800,000 payroll deduction remittances to the CRA. We reduced the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%. The results are clear. In total, small businesses have seen their taxes reduced by over 34% since 2006. This is good for small businesses, good for the economy and good for job creation.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, the EI premium debate we are having hits home for me, being from Prince Edward Island where there are more than 20,000 who rely on the EI program. On the benefit side of the equation, the government has gutted EI. That has drastically affected small business operators, particularly in the tourism sector in my province.

I heard the member speak glowingly about the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. This would be the same Canadian Federation of Independent Business that this morning said, “Love the [Liberal Party] plan to exempt small biz from EI premiums for new hires over 2 years. Lots of job potential”.

Does the member still align with the position of the Canadian Federal of Independent Business, and will he be supporting the motion?

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is quite galling that the member opposite, a member of the Liberal Party, would get up and talk about the EI fund. They were the ones that basically gutted the fund of nearly $60 billion when they were in office. They used it as a political slush fund for their own purposes, so he does not have the certitude to stand up and to criticize us for what we have done for small businesses.

It is also the party that supports a 45-day work year that would drastically increase EI premiums by 35% and cost over $4 billion to implement.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I remember clearly one of the Conservative administration's big efforts on job creation. In fact, the then minister of finance referred to the Canadian corporate sector as the job creators and made the leap of believing that if we were to cut corporate taxes to far lower than any other country in the OECD, in fact to half the corporate tax rate of the United States, the job creators, the large corporations, would plow that money back into job creation.

We then had the former governor of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney, call it dead money; $600 billion piled up in the coffers of these corporations. It is not working for Canadians. It is not creating jobs. A staggering 32% of GDP is not creating jobs.

I wonder if the Conservative administration is now rethinking the idea that shovelling money toward corporate Canada will automatically result in jobs? It has not. They are sitting on it. It is dead money. Is it not time to get it to stand up and walk?

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to explain to my hon. colleague some of the benefits that have happened for Canada and the Canadian economy as a result of lower taxes for small businesses. For example, let us take Tim Hortons. Tim Hortons moved its head office back to Canada from the United States after years of being away, specifically because the taxes in Canada are lower than those in the United States.

Let us hear what others are saying. Bloomberg, for example, says that Canada is the second-best place in the world to do business, second only to Hong Kong. Why is that? It is because of our low-tax regime for small businesses.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley Nova Scotia

Conservative

Scott Armstrong ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear from the beginning that I do not think Canadian businesses are so selfish that they would fire employees just so they could continue to be eligible to receive the small business tax credit.

My family has been in small business for over 100 years in Truro, Nova Scotia. To say that small businessmen like my father, grandfather and great-grandfather would lay people off just to stay underneath the limit to get this credit is absolutely ludicrous. They are more interested in hiring good employees, training those employees and keeping those good employees in place so they can be more productive and the business can run better. That is what small businesses do. They grow the economy. They hire people. They build the employment structure in this country. That is what the small business people are all about, not firing people or laying people off to get underneath some limit to get a credit. That is not what small businesses typically do.

All businesses would rather put their efforts into making their enterprises grow, and hire new workers and expand their business. I do not understand why our colleagues across the way are opposed to the small business tax credit, which the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said will create over 25,000 new jobs for Canadians. This measure is the next step in the government's economic action plan, which has made Canada the envy of the world. Job creation and economic growth are the top priorities for our government, unlike the Liberal Party, which would tax businesses and treat the EI fund like a slush fund to pay for reckless investment schemes.

Now let us start with the EI changes that were introduced under the connecting Canadians with available jobs initiative. This helps Canadians get back to work more quickly. The changes were not about restricting access and benefits, but they were about giving unemployed Canadians the information and tools they need to get back to work. We have heard success stories from employers who have said those changes have helped them to find available workers. We have also heard success stories from workers who have been able to connect themselves to jobs that are available.

This was the case, for instance, in a company in Quebec that included 1,500 employees. Now this company, Regroupement des employeurs du secteur bioalimentaire, was able to connect and hire new Canadians because of the connecting Canadians to available jobs program.

As part of the EI changes, we have enhanced our jobs alert system, which has so far sent out 165 million job alerts to over 354,000 subscribers since January of last year.

These changes are just one part of the government's broader agenda to equip Canadians with the skills and training they need to help create jobs. While this country has weathered the global recession better than most, the recovery has varied across regions and across different parts of our economy. By connecting Canadians with jobs that are available and putting our priority on skills and training, we are ensuring that continued economic growth, job creation and long-term prosperity remain the priority of the government.

The measures we are taking fit into Canada's economic picture right now. We have recently completed free trade deals with the European Union and South Korea, giving us access to over 550 million consumers. Over half of the global GDP is now available to Canadian businesses to export their goods to. Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Canada enjoys free trade with a total of 44 countries. This will have a tremendous impact on the economy and create tens of thousands of new jobs. It is a win-win.

It means growth opportunities for Canadian firms and also more jobs for Canadian workers with the right skills. This is especially true in the extraction and resource industry where hundreds of major projects are scheduled to come on stream over the next decade. For these sectors, projects like this hold much opportunity for prosperity, but they also carry real challenges.

As Canada's population ages, so does our workforce. The pipefitters, engineers, draftsmen and technicians will soon be in short supply because of the retiring baby boomer generation. This is particularly the case in the construction sector, the mining industry and the petroleum sector. At the same time, there will be 550,000 unskilled workers who will not be able to find work by 2016, according the Chamber of Commerce. That number could be well over a million by 2021.

How are we going to meet these challenges? We are going to meet them by moving towards a better way to match skills and training with in-demand and about to be in-demand jobs.

One of the elements of our plan is the Canada job grant, an innovative, employer-driven approach to help Canadians gain the skills and training to fill new and available jobs. Agreements have now been signed with all the provinces and territories to implement the grant. It is a critical step to ensuring that Canadians are equipped and prepared for the jobs that are going to be out there.

At the same time, we are providing incentives for young people to consider studying a career in the in-demand skilled trades. Since 2007, we have provided Canadians with nearly $700 million in apprenticeship grants. Through economic action plan 2014, we are creating the Canada apprenticeship loan to give apprentices interest-free loans of up to $4,000 during their training. It is estimated that starting in January 2015 at least 2,600 apprentices a year will benefit from this loan.

The government is also working to ensure the well-being of under-represented groups, such as Canadians with disabilities, aboriginal people, and new Canadians. The late finance minister had a special eye on helping those who are less fortunate, by creating the registered disability savings plan. These qualified people are too often sitting on the sidelines without jobs to go to every morning when they are perfectly able to work. For example, there are currently 800,000 working-age Canadians with disabilities who are not working, but whose disability will not prevent them from doing a job. Almost half of these, 340,000, have post-secondary education. That situation needs to change. To this end, we are providing $220 million each year through our labour market development agreements for programs and services, helping Canadians with disabilities to join the labour force.

Recently our government also reformed the temporary foreign worker program, to ensure that Canadians would always come first when it comes to the hiring of new Canadians in available jobs.We have introduced tough measures so that the program remains a last and limited resort when employers cannot find Canadians to do these jobs. Our government recognizes the fundamental importance of small business in fuelling this Canadian economy. That is why our government has announced the introduction of a small business tax credit.

It is estimated that this will result in savings of approximately $550 million for small businesses over the next two years. The introduction of this credit builds on our government's strong support of small businesses since 2006. We froze EI premiums to provide certainty and flexibility for small businesses; we reduced the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%, and we increased the small business limit to $500,000. The results are clear: a typical small business with $500,000 in taxable income is seeing a savings of approximately $28,600. In total, small businesses have seen their tax rate reduced by 34% since 2006, and the list goes on.

I think I have made the point. Our government is wholly committed to helping Canadians find good jobs, and Canadian small businesses are creating these jobs to support our families and communities. Therefore, there is no need for the measure that the Liberals are now promoting. For that reason, I urge my fellow members to join us in saying no to this motion.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question about the first thing my hon. colleague mentioned, which essentially was that the incentive in the Liberal plan would not make small businesses behave differently. If one makes a graph of the number of small businesses as a function of their taxable income reported to the government when they file their tax returns, one can see historically that there has been a spike in the number of businesses just under the small business tax deduction income limit. Then, when that limit has been moved in the past by governments, miraculously the spike in the number of businesses just below the limit has also moved.

It is a good thing that businesses are trying to manage their taxes and trying to be tax efficient, but that shows that incentives do matter and that the incentive being proposed in the Liberal plan will matter. It makes a difference at the margins, and, as we know, people make economic decisions at the margins.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, we encourage small businessmen and women across the country to hire new Canadians. We expect them to take a look at their own business to see what their tax thresholds are and to do what is appropriate for their business. That is why we are giving them an incentive with the small business tax credit to hire more Canadians. This is all about hiring those one or two additional people so we can continue to get young Canadians in particular to work in small business, which is the economic driver of our economy.

Since the pit of the economic recession in July of 2009, 1.1 million Canadians have had a telephone call from an employer, many of them small businessmen and women, who have told them they have a job. We want to continue to support small businesses with incentives to hire more people. That is what this is all about.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was the Liberals who raided the EI fund by $50 billion. It is the current government which legalized it. Now we are seeing Conservatives wanting to raid the EI funds even more. If Canadians want someone who can do EI reforms, it is the NDP leader and New Democrats who can do that. We will sit down with the stakeholders and workers and employers to make sure it is done right.

The NDP has tabled a bill that would ensure that never again could the Conservatives or the Liberals raid the employment insurance coffers. Will the member support the NDP's bill and protect his constituents from premiums, as opposed to raiding the pot?

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, imagine if the NDP were in government and in charge of the EI fund and what they would do with it. This is the creator of a 45-day work year. How would that help small businesses? How would that help larger corporations in Canada find the employees they need to do the jobs?

As I said, over the next decade there are hundreds of thousands of jobs that are going to be available in the skilled trades and natural resource industries. There are many projects that are going to be started up across Canada. A 45-day work year that is promoted by the NDP would be devastating for the overall labour force. Those companies would not be able to find the employees they need. Quite frankly, if they do not have the trained labour force in place, they are not going to engage in those operations. They are not going to start new mines, the new hydroelectric projects. They are not going to be able to build pipelines to get our natural resource projects to the international market.

This is what we want. We want to make sure we have an employment insurance system that is there for people when they truly need it, but that also removes any incentives for people not to go to work.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start on the tail end of that conversation. There is something that is starting to annoy me as a representative of many constituents who are in this situation, as well as others, and that is the concept of this disincentive created by a 45-day work year. Keep in mind that the 45-day work year as it is proposed would put benefits into the employment insurance system that allow people with seasonal work, for example, to bridge into the next season.

Essentially what the members are saying is that the 45-day work year is a disincentive. We have to make the basic assumption that these people are absolutely lazy; we have to assume that all of them are. That is a very broad sweeping generalization that is not true.

Of all the seasonal workers in my riding, the vast majority of them want to work for more than 45 days per year. The rest of the year, they are only making 55% of their total wages. Certainly many of them want to make a full salary and to enjoy a standard of living for both them and their families.

Putting that aside for a moment, I want to get into the motion we have today. To take an excerpt from it, I believe it would create the incentive by which we would be able to hire new people. Certainly it would create the incentive to hire young people.

When the people in my riding get to the age of employment, whether they are educated or not, many of them drift further west to seek higher wages. Many of them go around the world seeking higher wages. Many of them who receive higher wages do not actually have trades skills, but because the incentive is there to make the big bucks very quickly, they go about doing that. That drains the pool of employees who are available for small businesses in my area. The perverse thing about it is that even though the demand for their goods and small business in the riding is high, the disincentive is there.

Let us be honest: most of these small businesses cannot compete with the wages being supplied by the industries in western Canada. I do not mean to isolate just that one area of Canada, but what I am isolating is the oil and gas sector. I use that as an example. The wage rates of these places are incredibly high. Small businesses cannot compete.

However, there are those who want to receive an education to have lifelong high wages because of the talents they possess, rather than filling a gap here or there. People want to have work in their own areas. To do that, we have to create incentives. They may be small, but at least they would create some incentive to allow people, especially young people, to be hired into areas where they can reduce their premiums such that it makes it more feasible.

In addition to premiums, we had a discussion last week about the minimum wage. Of course, we have to talk about the minimum wage in the sense that it is a provincial jurisdiction, but it has an effect. We would love to pay people a higher minimum wage, but it has an effect on small business.

I would like to point out, and I am honoured to do so, that I will be sharing my time with the prestigious member for Winnipeg North. He will be able to provide us with some great explanations of why we should be voting yes for this today. I, like all other members, am eagerly awaiting the words he will bring to us today and his experiences in his riding of Winnipeg North.

However, going back to the situation at hand, I would like to talk about the incentive we would be providing here. One of the things I like is that we are not just saying we would downgrade a particular measure that was brought forward by the government. We would provide an answer and another part of a suite of programs that would allow us to create incentives for smaller business.

The Conservatives recently announced the creation of the small business job credit, which many economists have called a disincentive for companies to grow. This counterproposal we are bringing today would provide this holiday, which we believe is a far more flexible situation for small businesses.

Over the years, we have seen evidence of this. We did this as government back in the 1990s. The new hires program serves as a good example.

However, the Conservatives' small business tax credit has a design flaw that discourages job creation and economic growth. Under the Conservatives, only businesses with EI payroll taxes below $15,000 get any money back. This creates a perverse incentive for businesses to fire workers in order to get below the $15,000 threshold.

My hon. colleague from Nova Scotia pointed out that really small businesses would not do that just to take advantage of a small credit. However, if people have a marginal small business, there are certain things they will do to look after their bottom line. It may seem small, but they will certainly take advantage of it.

I believe this plan could provide a disincentive. It may started out with the greatest of intentions, but certainly it has morphed into something that may create disincentive, which we need to address.

Therefore, what we are proposing today is certainly a greater alternative. It was endorsed earlier by the CFIB. In a Tweet from Dan Kelly, the president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, he said that he the loved the Liberal Party of Canada plan to exempt small businesses from EI premiums for new hires over two years and that it had lots of job potential. Indeed, there is a lot of job potential.

However, the Conservative plan offers up to $2,234 for firing a worker and only up to $190 for hiring a worker. Again, it may have started out with the best of intentions, but unfortunately we can see the discrepancy in dollars. This tells us that the plan we are proposing today would certainly be a better spearhead toward creating more employment, especially when it comes to new hires.

Over the past year, Canada has experienced little job growth. From August 2013 to August 2014, the entire country created net jobs of 81,300, with 15,000 of them full-time. By contrast, the United Kingdom created 775,000 jobs over 12 months and the United States 2.2 million jobs.

On September 11, the current Minister of Finance announced the creation of this plan. For small businesses, we are looking at an estimated cost of $550 million over the next two years, or $225 million per year. The minister said, “We believe it will encourage growth and employment opportunities”.

Any business that pays less than $15,000 in EI premiums in 2015 or 2016 will receive a refund when it files its tax returns for those years. However, $15,000 in premiums represents a total payroll of about $567,000, assuming no employee makes more than the EI contribution maximum, which in 2015 will be set at a $49,500 yearly salary.

The employer EI premium rate is $2.63 per $100 of paid salary. The rate for companies that qualify for the credit will be $2.24, which means the rebate is essentially 14.9% of the EI premiums that businesses pay.

Therefore, the maximum benefit for a company that pays just under $15,000 in EI premiums would be $2,234. However, a company that pays one dollar more than that would receive zero. Economists have pointed out that this could result in companies holding back on pay increases, reducing hours, or in the worst case scenario, actually laying people off.

Stephen Gordon from the University of Laval said:

Reducing payroll taxes is usually a clear win-win situation, resulting in increased employment and higher wages. The Conservatives have passed up this opportunity by creating yet another targeted boutique tax credit.

Mike Moffatt, assistant professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business, had this to say:

—it is clear that firms under the $15,000 EI threshold have a big incentive to keep wage increases to a minimum so they do not lose their tax credits. Conversely, firms that are just over the $15,000 EI threshold have an incentive to cut the pay of their staff in order to gain the tax credit.

The Liberal plan could reward companies up to $1,280 for each new job they create. Now that is a decent incentive.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Etobicoke North accused me of playing political games, when in fact I am playing mathematical games.

I am asking this question for the third Liberal MP and I am certainly hoping to get an answer this time.

The Liberal proposal would give an exemption in EI premiums to businesses for each new hiring. They expect that this measure would create 176,000 net new jobs. When we talk about net jobs, we have to look at the total number of jobs created, but there are some job losses in this though. It is estimated that to get 176,000 net new jobs, 1.5 million would actually need to be created. If we look at an average of $1,000 in EI exemption for each of these new hires, the plan would cost over $1.5 billion.

I would like to know how the Liberal proposal can be estimated at only $220 million because it could cost over five times more than what they have said. It does not make sense to me.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure which voodoo economic world this is a part of. The numbers state for themselves exactly what they are. I get the feeling that the member does not like this program whatsoever. I want to address his point.

I see my colleague from Manitoulin Island also wants to get up on this, so I hope she will address this as well.

We will introduce a job creation tax credit that will provide up to $4,500 per new hire. Employers will receive a one-year rebate on the employer contributions for employment insurance premiums for each new employee hired. Where did I get that? That is from the 2011 election platform of the New Democratic Party of Canada. Does that party like it or does it not?

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to see if I understand exactly the contrast between the Liberal plan and the Conservative plan.

If a small business is just below the $15,000 threshold and it wants to keep its doors open for a couple of more hours, would there not be a disincentive to keep its employees working for a couple of more hours and go over the $15,000 limit?

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Yes, it would be, Mr. Speaker, because a business would start playing with that because it would suddenly find itself saving a few thousand dollars just by doing that one thing. Hopefully a business would not lay off people to get around this, but a reduction in hours would have to be looked at. The potential to cut down on people and their income would need to be looked at also. A business could lose an employee quickly because it needs to save that money. A marginal business like this needs to do these things to survive.

Let us put it in context with provincial rules and regulations. Let us say there is an increase in the minimum wage. A business has to get around that too in addition to all of the other. This may seem small to them, but to someone who is in small business, these are the types of measures that have to be taken.

Granted, as I said earlier, I do not have experience in small business, but I do listen to people in my area and others as well as other members in the House who have a lot of experience in small business. They are saying the same things. They are saying that small business has to adapt.

What we are proposing today would provide a measure that could be easily adapted to and would be far more flexible for small business to create employment and to get young people hired.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise today to speak to what I believe is a very important issue, an issue that affects all Canadians, no matter where we live in Canada. It is ultimately an issue to which Canadians can relate. For the first time, they see a political party that actually has an idea to create jobs.

The New Democrats can wish all they want where they might be on this position, but the Conservatives might want to reflect on their idea, and I would encourage them to do so. I will provide some comments on their idea and how that could be improved upon.

The Liberal caucus and our leader are very much focused on the middle class. We recognize that if we want to assist the middle class, we need to work on job creation. Jobs are very important. We get that message in the Liberal caucus. However, we do not understand why the Conservative government has missed the mark so badly.

To give an example, since May 2013, there has been a net loss of full-time jobs to the Canadian economy. Everyone here should be concerned about that. At least one party wants to see direct action taken by the government that would have a positive impact on the creation of full-time jobs. This debate is all about that.

We come to the table with experience on the issue. As has been already pointed out, back in 1993 the unemployment rate in Canada was at 14%. I remember the commercials and I remember former prime minister Kim Campbell saying that we would have to settle for double digit unemployment rates into the future.

Back then, Jean Chrétien of the Liberal Party said that we did not have to settle for that. At the end of the day, the Liberal Party of Canada was able to bring down that double digit unemployment rate of 14% under the Progressive Conservatives to 6.5% when Paul Martin left office in 2006.

Not only did we bring down the unemployment rate to 6.5% nationwide, we handed the Conservative government a multi-billion surplus as well as a multi-billion trade surplus. The Conservative government had a wonderful opportunity to really develop our economy, to provide the jobs that were important to Canadians, to ensure that there were full-time jobs for those individual Canadians who wanted full-time work and it blew that opportunity.

In the last couple of weeks we have seen a great example of government incompetence, the inability of the government to recognize that it made a mistake. All the Conservatives have to do is look at the small business jobs grant. The program is flawed. An honourable government, a strong leader in the Prime Minister's Office, would recognize that it blew it. It is time the Conservatives changed the program, and I have an idea for them.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I thought I would give everybody's ears a break.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. The Chair would remind all hon. members, including ministers, that points of order are to be taken seriously and not abused. I would encourage all members of the House on both sides to refrain from yelling at one another so we can all hear the debate.

The hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I trust and hope I will get an additional two minutes added to my time because of that point of order.

Having said that, I am very passionate about this issue. I recognize what Canadians want us to be talking about. They want us to be talking about full-time jobs. They want their members of Parliament to be talking about ideas that are going to have a positive impact on that particular front. Canadians believe that is the number one issue, because if we can create the jobs that are necessary, we will be able to improve the circumstances of the middle class and in fact of all Canadians, no matter where they live in our country from coast to coast to coast.

I want to get back to that flawed small business job credit program that the current government introduced earlier this month. If the Prime Minister had the political courage to recognize that his ministers have actually made a mistake here, we could improve this program so that more full-time jobs would be created.

Some of the quotes I saw in our media are interesting. In Maclean's.ca, I thought this was interesting on September 11. Referring to the government's program, it said:

...the government has set up a tax credit that can only be claimed by small businesses whose EI contributions are less than $15,000 a year.... As Kevin Milligan noted on Twitter, this sets up yet another “kink” in the tax schedule: small businesses will lose this tax credit if they grow too large.

The article goes on:

For firms that are just under the $15,000 threshold, hiring a new worker would mean crossing the line and losing the tax credit entirely. For firms that are just over the threshold, the incentives are even more perverse: firms may choose to actually reduce employment in order to be eligible for the tax credit.

That means losing jobs. It means jobs being lost because of this federal program. It is not creating the jobs that it could be creating, and that is why we are saying that they are losing an opportunity to do something good.

The Liberal Party has brought forward what I believe is a reasonable opposition day motion that would do something that the current government has not been able to do with regard to EI premiums, which is to clearly demonstrate that it will create full-time jobs across our country. We believe that if the government opened its mind somewhat, it would recognize the value of providing an EI premium exemption for every new hire to fill a new job in 2015 and 2016, because that particular program has been cited as being able to generate in excess of 150,000 jobs. Compared to what the Conservatives are creating, whereby there will even be some losses of jobs among certain employers, it is night and day.

We call on and challenge the government to recognize that, because those 150,000 jobs that I just referred to are not going to cost any more than what the Conservatives are proposing in their plan.

My colleague made reference to NDP voodoo economics, and I do not know where they get their numbers. What we do know is that the Liberal proposal would cost no more than the Conservative proposal, yet it would exceed by 100,000 new jobs what the Conservatives have on the table today.

Therefore, the question that I have for the government is this: why not? Why not allow for the Liberal plan to become a part of the government policy? There is no additional cost to it, and at the end of the day we would have 150,000-plus Canadians with full-time or part-time employment.

In the last 12-plus months, we have seen a net loss of full-time jobs. We have before us a resolution that would create jobs. This is an opportunity for the government of the day to recognize that it has made a mistake and adopt an idea that has been well spoken of even outside the Liberal caucus.

It is time that we move forward and look toward the future, one in which we can generate the types of jobs that are important to Canadians, full-time jobs, and ensure that opportunities will exist well into the future. That is what we in the Liberal Party—

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. The time for government orders has expired. Questions and comments for the hon. member for Winnipeg North will take place after question period.

Statements by members, the hon. member for Kildonan—St. Paul.

Canadian Museum for Human RightsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week Canadians celebrated the opening of the first Canadian national museum built outside of Ottawa, in the centre of Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It is a tribute to all who suffered in the Holocaust, the Holodomor, and other unspeakable atrocities down through history. It is a tribute to the survivors who lived to tell the world what happened to them and to demand that it never happen again. It is a symbol of hope to those suffering today in the modern-day slave trade known as human trafficking, right here in Canada and worldwide.

The museum stands tall for all to see, for all to experience, for all to learn, and for all to be inspired to build a better world. Many thanks to our Prime Minister for his vision to have a national museum outside Ottawa to make our history more accessible to all Canadians. Our thanks go to Izzy Asper for his vision and to the Asper family and friends of the museum for making Izzy's vision become a reality.

This is the Canadian way.

Gilles LatulippeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to a great comedian, humorist and theatre producer who passed away today.

Gilles Latulippe loved to make people laugh. He was the man responsible for much of my laughter as a child, but he was a comedian to more than just one generation. He shaped Québécois humour and was one of the last performers who was influenced by burlesque. Above all, he was funny.

Respected by all, the comedian behind Symphorien Laperle worked alongside Quebec's finest actors. Everyone saw him for the great theatre personality he was—someone who had a unique comic style that reflected this era of change. People knew him as much for his jokes as for his respect for the profession, but they also recognized the special place he made in his projects for up-and-coming comedians.

Right up until the end of his life, Gilles Latulippe was recognized by his peers. This summer, the Just for Laughs Festival paid tribute to him and his 55-year career.

He lived in Longueuil for more than 30 years. It was in Montreal in 1967, at the corner of Mont-Royal and Papineau, that he created his legendary Théâtre des Variétés, which is now named after him. Welcome to La Tulipe.

In his honour, I would like to conclude with his now-famous line “Une fois, c'tun gars...”, “There was this guy...”. We owe him a great debt of thanks.

CN Rail National Training CentreStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Toet Conservative Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, recently I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of the new CN Rail National Training Centre, located in my riding of Elmwood—Transcona.

Winnipeg is the hub of CN Rail's transcontinental network, and this major investment is great news for jobs and our local economy in Winnipeg. This state-of-the-art training centre features a revamped company-wide training program for both its current and future employees. The 100,000-square-foot training centre is located at the well-known Transcona Shops and will be able to accommodate more than 350 CN students from across Canada every week.

Significant investments such as these create opportunity for greater innovation, skills, productivity, and global competitiveness, all of which are vital to our long-term economic growth here in Canada.

CN has been at the heart of Transcona for over 100 years, and this investment celebrates that long-standing and proud connection. I wish to thank CN Rail for its remarkable investments in our community and I look forward to many more years of CN innovation and achievement in Elmwood—Transcona.

Clarenville High Robotics TeamStatements By Members

September 23rd, 2014 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Clarenville High robotics team on its outstanding achievements at the remotely operated vehicle international competition held in Michigan.

Clarenville High was one of 60 teams chosen from 600 entries worldwide to compete in this prestigious event. The team was entered in the ranger category, in which it was named the overall champion. It placed first in the intermediate category and won the award for innovative design. Mackenzie Dove, a member of the team, was recognized with the engineering evaluation MVP award.

Under the guidance of dedicated mentors Michael Spurrell, Bert Roberts, Chris Clarke, Steven Butt, and Nolan Porter, the 12-member team of Christopher Barnes, Michaela Barnes, Gregory Brockerville, Courtney Clarke, Kyle Clarke, Mackenzie Dove, Patrick Dove, Kyle Evans, Ian King, Claire Sawler, Amy Short, and Brooke Snow competed against high school and university teams from 18 states and 13 countries.

I ask all members to join me in congratulating the remarkable youth and mentors of the Clarenville High robotics team.

MPP for Ottawa—OrléansStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently had the pleasure of attending my first working meeting with Marie-France Lalonde, the new MPP for Ottawa—Orléans, her executive assistant, Anick Tremblay, and mine, Bryan Michaud.

Ms. Lalonde, a political newcomer, was elected by the people of Orléans last June.

Ms. Lalonde's election to Queen's Park is welcome and marks the start of a new era in federal-provincial-municipal relations in Ottawa—Orléans.

Of course, there is no shortage of work to be done when it comes to ensuring that Orléans continues to be a good place to live, work and play. One of our joint priorities is cleaning up the Ottawa River so that the people of Orléans and the entire region can enjoy our “jewel”—Petrie Island—to the fullest.

I have assured Marie-France Lalonde that my door is always open, and she made the same pledge.