Certainly, Madam Speaker. I try not to say his name as much as possible, so I certainly apologize to the member on the other side of the House.
The Liberals have said that they have a plan, but unfortunately, all they have is a plan to have a plan. It is so good, so big, and so fantastic, it is imaginary and does not exist.
A plan to have a plan does not create a single job. A plan to have a plan does not put food on a single Canadian table, except the minister's, of course, and a plan to have a plan does not pay extremely high Ontario Hydro bills. A plan to have a plan does not help unemployed oil and gas workers get back to work. A plan to have a plan does not spur confidence or hope in the opportunities that exist in this country.
I am sure the minister wants to know why. It is because while he is taking two years to come up with a plan, people are actually hurting. People are wondering how they will pay for food this week, their mortgage next week, their rent the month after, their kids' sports, their parents' medical bills, their anniversary dinner, and their gas to get to work.
Canadians do not have two years to wait. Some do not have two weeks to wait, yet the only response to the downgraded economic outlook by the Bank of Canada and the International Monetary Fund is silence. “Wait,” the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development would say, “we have a plan and a committee of innovation leaders to prove it. We appointed 10 innovation leaders to ask people out there and to teach us how to make Canada more competitive”.
For the record, if the government wants to know how to innovate, then ask the most innovative leaders in Canada and maybe start with the Canadian Council of Innovators, 50 of the country's top tech and advanced manufacturing CEOs in Canada. In fact, we do not even have to go out to find them. They actually came here last week, the same day the Prime Minister was meeting with their top competitors from outside of Canada.
I decided to meet with them and listen to their ideas. They told me that the committee of successful bureaucrats, university and college professors, and venture capitalists from the innovation leaders committee had not interviewed a single one of the top 50 tech CEOs in the country. The committee whose sole purpose is to discover how to harness the power of innovation has not consulted the top innovators in Canada.
These government folks love the photo ops, love committees, and love talking, especially about plans, but when it comes to delivering real results, identifying real opportunities, with real innovators, real change went to Amazon.
I can see it now. My Liberal colleagues will say that they do not need to move bills in the House of Commons to be effective in government. They can spend money, or as governments always say, invest.
First, I would ask why we do not spend money on a plan that would help Canadian employers become more competitive. That is only half the problem. The real problem is that governments of all stripes can just spend our money and then pat themselves on the back for doing it.
Government members will stand up in this House bragging that they have given tax dollars to this company and that company. It is wrong. I do not want the government to measure its success by the amount of money it is spending recklessly to race to the bottom of the well known as the Canadian taxpayer. We want the government to measure its success by how successful it is, not by how much money it can spend and how fast it can do it.
I want to focus on the practical plans the government should engage in. Number one, do no harm. Keep taxes low and red tape minimal and allow entrepreneurs to do what is best for their businesses and their workers.
Be responsive. When 50 of the country's best and brightest come all the way to Ottawa, show up.
Streamline programs, making it easier for companies to respond to and be successful in their applications, as it has become so onerous and slow that companies do not bother to respond and miss opportunities to create jobs.
Recognize why these problems exists and reform them as necessary. Too often, programming is designed to make it easier for the government to do the business of government rather than for business to do business.
Be proactive. Pick up the phone. Mandate ministry-wide quotas on client outreach to find ways to support entrepreneurs creating jobs.
Set measurable targets, as it has with the bill. Whether it is the level of technology, the number of successful companies, market share, or productivity, replace the platitudes of politicians and spending with measurable targets.
Reform the CanExport program so that companies can effectively enter and expand in target marketplaces instead of penalizing companies that have fostered a footprint in a marketplace already.
Recognize that there is a brain drain to the United States and focus resources on creating conditions that keep our talent at home in Canada, and target international talent to make Canada their home.
Ensure that our technical standards are adopted, especially where we are industry leaders and where it will benefit our industries to maintain excellence and a competitive edge for our entrepreneurs.
Finally, follow-through on a commitment to give employers who hire young people, both male and female, a 12-month break on employment insurance premiums.
Instead of enacting these types of practical approaches to maintain jobs, or help the private sector create jobs, the government is treading water.
I support the use of good data to support good decision-making. I know that the bill would encourage the collection of data, and outline the participation level of different demographics on boards of directors, but this measure by itself is not going to deliver a single job to a single person, male or female.
It is also ironic that the government is finding the knowledge and capacity to project measurable standards on the private sector corporations, but has not outlined a single, measurable economic target for itself in its full year in office.
I guess my expectations from our government is this: that it would bring forward practical solutions to help people dealing with a slumping economy; that it would prioritize the citizens of our country who are hurting as job losses mount month after month, with the only exception being the public sector.
I do not want the government to focus on new ways to get information from businesses and accountants, and call it a strategy to grow the number of jobs for women in this country. I want the government to present a plan that would create conditions for Canadian workers, regardless of gender to do what they do best, provide for their families and build their future.
Is it a noble cause to require big corporations to be transparent with the make-up of their board? Yes, it is. But as I have said, this does not put a single person to work, put food on a single table, or help a single Canadian who is struggling to make ends meet.
Canadians expect more out of their government, more than photo ops and selfies, more than non-stop spending, more than new lines on tax forms, and more than more taxes and less jobs. Canadians demand the vision to plan and the gumption to act.
We know the government can see what is happening. It gets the same information we do from the Bank of Canada, Statistics Canada, and the International Monetary Fund, yet it is failing to act.
In the words of Helen Keller, the most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.
Today, I will finish with my favourite proverb from the Book of Proverbs, “Where there is no vision, the people perish...”
The government has no vision for our economy, and Canadian jobs are perishing daily in the private sector.