- MPconMay 10, 2013 8:25 am | British Columbia, Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
Mr. Speaker, we are very proud to talk about budget 2013 and all that it contains for Canadians. I know my good friend the chair of the finance committee, the member for Edmonton—Leduc, is one of the finest committee chairs that our country has ever seen.
In budget 2013, we have the manufacturing fund. We have the Canada jobs grant. We lowered taxes on Canadians. We create jobs in every region of the country. Budget 2013 is something that we are proud to celebrate at committee, in the House and across the country. Let us talk about it as much as we can.
- MPconMay 07, 2013 12:05 pm | Ontario, Whitby—Oshawa
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Mississauga East—Cooksville for the question. I also ask why the NDP and Liberal MPs plan to vote against Bill C-60, the first step in implementing the economic action plan, 2013.
I am deeply disappointed that they would oppose job-creating measures to help manufacturers while denying support for vulnerable Canadians in the form of palliative care, veterans disability benefits and library services for the blind. I call on the NDP and Liberal members to—
- MPconApr 30, 2013 11:40 am | Ontario, Parry Sound—Muskoka
Mr. Speaker, the budget and the Budget Implementation Act are quite clear in that part of our role is to improve the financial viability of crown corporations, including their compensation levels. We said that because we are on the side of the taxpayer. We want to make sure that crown corporations, like other government agencies, actually respect the taxpayer, and that includes within collective bargaining.
We know that we are on the side of the taxpayer, but which side are they on?
- MPconApr 30, 2013 11:25 am | Alberta, La Peltrie
Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the leader of the Liberal Party understands the issue of tariffs.
Let me be clear. The position of the government has been that we have progressively reduced a wide range of tariffs for all Canadians. Canadians have benefited from that to the tune of over half a billion dollars a year.
At the same time, we do not think it is appropriate to have special tariff reductions only for companies from countries like China. The Liberal Party apparently thinks that is appropriate. That is the wrong policy.
The right policy is lower tariffs for Canadians and to ensure that Chinese companies pay their fair share.
- MPlibApr 30, 2013 11:20 am | Quebec, Papineau
Mr. Speaker, following the line of reasoning of the government, if low tariffs are a form of international development assistance, then the largest recipient of Canadian foreign aid is actually the United States of America. It makes no sense.
We Liberals know that stalled middle-class incomes are the defining issue facing Canadians today. Is the government satisfied with the low level of growth in median household income in Canada? If not, why did it make no reference to this crucial challenge in its latest budget?
- MPconMar 28, 2013 8:45 am | Alberta, Macleod
Mr. Speaker, economic action plan 2013 is about jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. I am not sure how many times we have to repeat this for the opposition members to actually understand that. They seem to vote against every initiative that is put forward, whether it is helping the knowledge infrastructure, which was referenced in the previous question, that helps rebuild universities, the infrastructure that is needed, the infrastructure in all of our communities. This will impact every Canadian through improved infrastructure, the strongest and largest infrastructure program in Canadian history.
- MPndpMar 27, 2013 2:45 pm | Ontario, Windsor—Tecumseh
All those opposed will please say nay.
- MPndpMar 27, 2013 2:35 pm | Ontario, Windsor—Tecumseh
I am sorry, we are out of time.
Resuming debate. The hon. member for LaSalle—Émard.
- MPndpMar 27, 2013 2:30 pm | Alberta, Edmonton—Strathcona
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her first speech on the federal budget.
When I hear about the commitment of the government to the environment and to a clean energy future, I practically choke. It has come to my attention just this week that even the Alberta minister of the environment had to go to the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and beg the federal government not to downgrade the standards for coal-fired power plants.
As the member is from Calgary she well knows that the oil and gas sector has spoken out very loudly in favour of the federal government coming on board with a Canadian energy strategy. The premier of our province has called for the support of the federal government to the Canadian energy strategy. We see nothing in this budget even recognizing the fact that Canadians want that and nothing for the program that all Canadians have asked to come back, as the member claimed that she was consulting her constituents, on the eco-energy home retrofit program.
I am wondering if the member could again stand up and defend the great commitment of the government to the desire of Canadians for a clean energy future.
- MPconMar 27, 2013 2:20 pm | Ontario, Simcoe North
We have reached the end of the time provided for questions and comments in this particular round.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Calgary Centre.
- MPlibMar 27, 2013 2:05 pm | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie
Mr. Speaker, listening to my hon. colleague, everything is sweetness and light and everything is exactly what all Canadians want.
However, there is always a price to pay for these things. Since the government came into power in 2006, by this summer it will have added close $160 billion to the debt. The debt is something that, unfortunately, we cannot hide. It is not going to go away. It is going to have to be paid back at some point.
What does my hon. colleague think a government should do with respect to addressing the debt that will be passed on to our children and our grandchildren and that now exceeds $600 billion?
- MPconMar 27, 2013 2:05 pm | British Columbia, Nanaimo—Alberni
Mr. Speaker, as I started my remarks, I talked about how we paid down $39 billion on the debt. Many of the members of the opposition have said that we squandered a surplus. We cannot pay down debt until we balance the budget.
What we are doing through the great work of the Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Finance and consulting with Canadians across the country is moving toward balanced budgets by maintaining the transfers to the people who depend upon them, the provinces for the social programs they require, for health care, and they are being increased as promised. We are also maintaining transfers to individuals and we are moving toward a balanced budget on target for 2015 through these very prudent measures that are included in budget 2013.
- MPconMar 27, 2013 2:05 pm | Ontario, Simcoe North
Order, please. Other members still need to pose questions.
Questions and comments, the hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.
- MPconMar 27, 2013 2:00 pm | British Columbia, Nanaimo—Alberni
Mr. Speaker, this is not the first infrastructure program we have rolled out for the provinces. In fact, in 2007 we had the largest infrastructure program in Canadian history, $33 billion over seven years, which is now being replaced by a $53-billion program over 10 years.
We are used to working with our partners, the provinces, the territories and the municipalities, in determining their priorities. From Ottawa, we cannot tell people where the best investments are.
The gas tax fund in British Columbia, by the way, is managed by the UBCM, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. It collectively manages that fund. It gets together and talk about how that money will be invested in communities across the area, the municipalities appeal for those funds and they come up with great solutions that help in our area.
I will read a quote for the member's benefit. I think she would be very pleased to hear this:
The Canadian Urban Transit Association...today applauded the federal government's Building Canada Plan as a major step for planning and developing public transit in Canadian communities....We're really pleased to see this kind of commitment for public transit infrastructure...Never before has a federal government invested so much in public transit...This budget provides a solid—
- MPconMar 27, 2013 1:50 pm | British Columbia, Nanaimo—Alberni
Mr. Speaker, it is a real pleasure to enter the debate on budget 2013, our economic action plan.
Before I begin, I would like to congratulate the member for Prince Albert for his excellent speech. Also, since a few moments ago members paid tribute to the outgoing leader of the Liberal Party, I would like to acknowledge the member for Toronto Centre for his tremendous contributions in the House and for his affable ways. He is a great retail politician. I think we all give him credit for that.
Speaking to this issue, I want to back up and provide some background. Budget 2013, of course, builds on the measures in the previous two budgets. We have to reflect on what happened in 2008, when we were hammered by an economic tsunami: a global economic crisis, une crise mondiale, as some would call it, beginning with the subprime mortgage meltdown and the economic collapse in the United States. The government was compelled to come up with a strategy to respond quickly to provide unprecedented economic stimulus and support for displaced workers and unemployed and underemployed Canadians and to stabilize our economic institutions. The plan worked. This economic action plan is following up on those measures. They were the right measures for the right time in a troubled period.
Since the peak of the recession, in July 2009, these measures have created more than 950,000 net new jobs, and 90% of those are private sector jobs. Canada was late, shall I say, later than our economic partners, going into the recession, and we were the first, as predicted, to come out of the recession.
Let me remind members that before the economic tsunami hit us in 2008, our Conservative government had paid down some $39 billion on our national debt. That was important. It was a wise and responsible decision. It prepositioned us to absorb the body slam, if I can mix my metaphors, of an economic tsunami, but it prepositioned us to take that better than many nations did. The outcome of our economic action plan has put Canada in the enviable position of doing much better than most developed western economies.
The evidence is that Canada's economy has expanded for six consecutive quarters. Canada's unemployment rate is well below that of the United States, the strongest showing in more than three decades. The World Economic Forum has ranked Canada's banking and monetary system the most stable in the world for the fifth consecutive year. Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest in the G7 nations by far, at about, if I have the correct figures, 35.8%. The next closest would be Germany, at 58.4%.The average in the G7 is 80.4%. Our net debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest of the G7, by far, and is the envy of most other nations. Finally, all the major rating agencies—Fitch, Moody's, Standard and Poor's—confirm our solid AAA financial rating.
In budget 2013, our commitment is to continue to pursue jobs, employment and economic prosperity. On the job front, the Canada job grant is up to $15,000 per person. It is $5,000 federally, matched with provincial and territorial partners and with the employer. That is to match the unemployed and the underemployed with high-demand jobs in our country. It is striking that in the past year, some 250,000 job opportunities were not filled because of a lack of skilled labour in the right place at the right time. That is a real drag on our economy. It is a missed opportunity for unemployed and underemployed people, because they lack the skills training. This budget has very targeted initiatives to create opportunities for Canadians to get the skills they need to engage in high-demand jobs. This program is expected to benefit some 130,000 Canadians.
The budget is focused squarely on creating jobs, growth and economic prosperity. In broad terms, the EAP 2013 would have numerous programs to create jobs. It would renew the building Canada fund and would lay out the largest infrastructure funding program in Canadian history, at about $53 billion over 10 years. It would provide measures to promote our competitiveness, science and technology research, genome research, and innovation, through the Canada Foundation for Innovation, with some $225 million. That would benefit our university communities and our research communities.
For forestry there would be some $92 million for innovation in forestry. That would be very important for the coastal forest industry in British Columbia.
This budget would keep us on course for a balanced budget by 2015-2016, with diminishing deficits year by year.
There would be opportunities for apprentices. The budget would create the opportunity for apprentices to get involved in government-funded projects. For example, we would put some $258 million per year into affordable housing, and there would be incentives to encourage the hiring of apprentices so that they could advance their skill level through the journeyman level and participate in meeting the need for those skilled trades. There would be measures to match graduates with job experience, with some $70 million for internship programs.
There would also be training programs for aboriginal students on reserve and for post-secondary education. AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo has laid out an ambitious goal for education for first nations students. One of his targets is education and economic opportunities. We want to support him in helping first nations young people gain the skills to participate in the economy of tomorrow. It is the key to a better future. Some $240 million would be set aside to help first nations youth in B.C. and across Canada access the skills and training they need to participate in large economic projects, such as those in the resource sector, that in many cases are happening right in their own neighbourhoods.
The commitment to long-term, stable infrastructure is extremely important to our communities. Just in the last couple of months, we have had many announcements in my own communities. Small communities have benefited from a program called the community infrastructure improvement fund. Under that program, there were projects like one in Oceanside Place in the Regional District of Nanaimo. Replacing all the lighting in that skating arena with high-intensity lights to lower electrical use and emissions and provide better lighting at the same time.
Through the same program we had announcements in Parksville about replacing the community sports field and upgrades to improve accessibility. The Lions Club put in an outdoor adult gymnasium. Our Parksville Lions Club members are tremendous community citizens. They have run a Lions venture park there for years for children, and now they are expanding outdoor exercise opportunities for adults. I am very pleased that the infrastructure program is there to help them with that project.
Out in Ucluelet, we had announcements for the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce through the community infrastructure fund.
The gas tax fund is important to our communities. We have had major water upgrades across Vancouver Island. I note many announcements in the Nanaimo and Parksville areas and at Qualicum Beach, with major water storage enhancement, over the last number of years.
This budget would implement pooled registered pension plans. Our colleague, the minister of state, was out in my riding and did a great job introducing that. B.C. brought in legislation to advance pooled registered pension plans.
I note that one of the members opposite talked about the previous Liberal government starting a $1 billion gas tax fund. We appreciate giving the Liberals credit for that. We raised that to $2 billion, and now we would index it to help communities come up with the infrastructure they need.
I would be remiss if I did not draw attention to the Pacific Salmon Foundation getting the $6 Pacific salmon stamp. That is all going back into community projects for the salmon enhancement project, “bringing them back, stream by stream”, working with local volunteers. The PSF has tremendous local support. I go to fundraisers for it every year. This would give it nearly $1 million more in funding for those great projects in my community.
- MPconMar 27, 2013 1:50 pm | Saskatchewan, Prince Albert
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his excellent question, because it is very true.
All members of the Conservative government did pre-budget consultations. When I did, I talked with the business community. One thing they wanted and required was more skilled workers. They asked for assistance in getting an unskilled worker to become a skilled worker. This program is one way to do that. It would provide financial assistance for both the employee and the employer to get the worker to that next level to get a higher-paid skilled job that will take him or her through to retirement.
- MPconMar 27, 2013 1:45 pm | Ontario, Ottawa West—Nepean
He's a good premier.
- MPlibMar 27, 2013 1:45 pm | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie
Mr. Speaker, I notice that my hon. colleague talked about the importance of infrastructure, and I agree with him. In fact, it was Paul Martin who started to take money from the excise tax on gasoline to devote to infrastructure, which was a good thing.
Why is it that we are going to have to wait a couple of more years? If infrastructure is so pressing, why is the amount of money put toward it so light for the next couple of years? This reminds me of when the Conservative government, in 2011, during the last election, promised that it was going to double the tax-free savings allowance from $5,000 to $10,000 once the budget was balanced, some time in the future. Conservatives did the same thing with income splitting in families for income tax purposes. Once again, that was going to be done after the budget was balanced.
If everything is so urgent, why is it that on infrastructure, the amount of money for the next two years is so little?
- MPconMar 27, 2013 1:45 pm | Saskatchewan, Prince Albert
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her speech. It is unfortunate that she would not vote for what was in the budget to actually provide the GST tax dollars to the municipalities. If I look at the NDP record, when it came to putting this in place, the members actually voted against it.
When it comes to aboriginal communities and safe drinking water, I think we all agree that it needs to be improved upon. Unfortunately, I cannot control what was done before me. I cannot control what the Liberal government did. However, we are making strides to make it better. We are working with the aboriginal communities. We are making it better and stronger. We recognize that there are needs for improvements, and we are taking steps to address those needs.
- MPndpMar 27, 2013 1:45 pm | Alberta, Edmonton—Strathcona
Mr. Speaker, I listened with great attention to the member's speech. The member spoke of the government's increase in the gas tax and indexing, as requested for quite some time by the NDP. We appreciate that Conservatives finally listened to that, as requested by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
However, he also spoke about the priority being to build infrastructure for Canadian exports. I wonder if the member could speak to the years of waiting by more than 100 aboriginal communities for access to safe drinking water. Given the dollars allocated in the budget, could the member speak to how many more years many of those 100 first nations will still have to wait for safe drinking water for their families?
- MPconMar 27, 2013 1:35 pm | Saskatchewan, Prince Albert
Mr. Speaker, it is great to be here today. It has been a busy afternoon in the House of Commons, so it is nice to get on with the debate and the country's business.
I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Nanaimo—Alberni.
The people of B.C. are just as excited about this budget as the people of Saskatchewan, because there are so many good things in it for our constituents and Canadians right across Canada.
Canada has been doing very well throughout the global crisis. The World Economic Forum ranked Canada's banking system as the safest in the world. We have a good, solid banking system, so our constituents can take comfort in knowing that their deposits are safe and secure. Another thing to point out is that Canada has a AAA credit rating, the best credit rating in the world. Canada has been doing very well in light of the financial crisis that has been going on around us.
One of the other things we should talk about is job creation. While other countries are losing jobs and suffering massive unemployment, we are creating new jobs here in Canada. We have created 950,000 net new jobs since the start of the 2008 global crisis. That is amazing if we look at what is going on around the world.
Saskatchewan is in a unique situation when it comes to jobs. The unemployment rate in Saskatchewan is sitting right at 3.7%. That is basically telling me that anybody who wants a job in Saskatchewan can get a job.
When I go back to my riding and talk to business owners about what they require in order to see more expansion and growth, the common theme is the lack of employees. They are looking for ways to get not just new employees but skilled employees. They need plumbers and electricians. They need people with their journeyman status.
Canada's economic action plan 2013 addresses those needs. The first action our government took was to bring in the Canada job grant. This program would allow a maximum benefit of up to $5,000. The federal government will put in $5,000, the business will put in $5,000 and the provincial government will put in $5,000 for skills training.
When I talk to people like some of the ag machinery dealerships in my riding, they tell me that they need more heavy-duty mechanics. They can embrace a program like this and take advantage of it. With the free skills training, they can create heavy-duty mechanics out of a common employee. Those are the kinds of things that businesses require, and they are there in economic action plan 2013.
Another thing people in Saskatchewan are looking for is a way to get their journeyman status more quickly. This has been addressed in economic action plan 2013. We need more journeymen mechanics, plumbers and electricians in Saskatchewan. I am looking at remodelling a house, and I have to wait up to four months just to get a plumber. I have to wait up to three months for someone to put in a furnace. The skills shortage in my riding of Prince Albert is extreme, and this action plan will hopefully help to alleviate some of those concerns.
I want to point out some things that are unique to my riding of Prince Albert.
Aboriginal youth come to Prince Alberta from northern ridings looking for work. These are the people we need to get into the skills training program, and we have set up funding to do that. We are going to see more of that going forward. More aboriginal people are going to be participating in the economy. When we talk to chiefs with James Smith Cree Nation and Muskoday First Nation, this is something that they want. They want to participate in the economic boom going on in Saskatchewan, and this plan will allow their band members to do that. This is going to be great for Canada as a whole.
Another thing in the budget is the new building Canada plan. When I talk to my mayors, councillors and reeves, they tell me they want to see some sort of bankable method of payment from the federal government. The community improvement fund is a consistent fund of $32.2 billion over 10 years. Municipalities will be receiving funds they can bank on. They can use the money for a variety of different projects. They can use it for water or sewer, as may be done up in Nipawin, or they may want to use it for road construction in Kinistino. These are indexed funds that they can count on going into their coffers year after year. They are bankable and predictable, so municipalities can budget around them and plan on them and use them according to their needs.
The nice thing about this fund is that it is fairly wide open with respect to utilization. Municipalities can use it for a variety of projects. As I said, it can be used for a water project or to build a road or pave a street; those options are there. That is the nice thing about this fund.
I was talking to a couple of reeves over the weekend, who were very excited because these funds are bankable and predictable. It is something they asked for, and we actually gave it to them.
Then there is $14 billion for the new building Canada fund. One thing we have to recognize is that Canada is an exporting nation, but we need to keep building infrastructure. We need to take advantage of the resources we have, but in order to do that, we have to build infrastructure. We have to build roads. We have to put in infrastructure to get to the mines. We have to put in infrastructure to get the product to market. These are things that will be addressed by the $14 billion fund. Canadians recognize it as an important need and as something that will help our economy grow for a long time into the future.
We have the $1.25 billion renewal of the P3 Canada fund. The Province of Saskatchewan is embracing that fund. I know other provinces have embraced it. Here is a practical way to get projects built in a way that allows both the private sector and the public sector to participate, and the benefit is for the taxpayer, without a doubt.
Of course we have $6 billion under the current infrastructure programs for the provinces, territories and municipalities from 2014-15.
When we look at the new building Canada plan, there is over $53 billion over 10 years for infrastructure. That is a substantial amount of money, and it is probably the longest period of time that any money has been consistently given to the provinces and municipalities for infrastructure needs. It has never been done in the history of Canada for this length of a period of time.
Saskatchewan is an agricultural province that has gone from agriculture to mining. It has lots of resources, but it also has great world-class research. Genome Prairie is a good example, and it is nice to see core funding of $165 million going to the Genome projects that will be spread across Canada. That is groundbreaking research from which we will see benefits for years and years to come, and I am happy to see it in the budget.
We are also supporting and helping businesses to invest in innovation, thus making them more competitive and creating more high-paying jobs here in Canada.
Those are the items in the budget that will provide long-term growth and prosperity, not just for members sitting here but for our kids and our grandkids.
We cannot forget families. The family structure is such an important structure. We have to look at the variety of ways we can help families.
One of the things in the budget that is really great and unique is enhanced tax relief for families that are adopting children or those using home care services. That is important. That is actually something that families and taxpayers can use. They can look at it and say they have a government that appreciates their needs and requirements. It is in the budget, so I cannot see how members would ever vote against something like that.
I am a hockey player, and many of us have hockey kids. If parents can get baby clothes tariff-free and get cheaper, tariff-free hockey equipment, that again is supporting the family structure and is very positive.
We have $1.9 billion over five years going for homelessness and housing. The $1.9 billion is a substantial amount going into something that is drastically needed.
I wish I had a lot more time, because I could go on for 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes, but I am going to speed up on some of the things I also see happening here that are important to highlight.
Last year I did the Nijmegen march. I went to Groesbeek Cemetery in Holland. Not a blade of grass was out of place. Every tombstone was correct. The respect the people from the Netherlands give to our soldiers is amazing. With the increase and doubling of the funeral service reimbursement, we can do that here in Canada for our veterans also. That is very important. Taking it from $3,600 to $7,300 is something that our vets deserve, and it is nice to see it in the budget.
In closing, I would highlight something that is very important to me because I come from Saskatchewan. It is the fact that we are going to get to a balanced budget. What other country in the world is going to talk about getting to a balanced budget after going through a global recession since 2008? In 2015-16, we are going to have a balanced budget.
In Saskatchewan we have had a balanced budget. The premier has done a great job in making sure spending is kept under control--
- MPconMar 27, 2013 11:45 am | Quebec, Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Mr. Speaker, I have spoken with a number of municipal representatives in Quebec in the past few hours about the new infrastructure plan, and that is not how they are interpreting things. People see this as the largest plan Canada has ever seen.
As far as investment in infrastructure is concerned, the current building Canada program will come to an end on March 31, 2014, and the new plan will be ready on April 1, 2014. We hope that every province will sign on as soon as possible.
- MPlibMar 27, 2013 11:45 am | Ontario, Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere
Mr. Speaker, I will give the minister another chance to explain to people why the government will be spending $200 million under budget 2013-14, when it spent $1.7 billion last year.
The minister must recognize that having less money in this year's budget than in last year's is a problem. In our opinion, that is what is wrong with the government's plan.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 3:00 pm | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle
I declare the amendment defeated.
- MPndpMar 26, 2013 2:15 pm | Ontario, Windsor—Tecumseh
All those in favour of the amendment will please say yea.
- MPlibMar 26, 2013 2:10 pm | Ontario, Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.
As far as the labour-sponsored funds are concerned, again, this series of proposals in the budget is a clear attack on the venture capital that exists in the province of Quebec. The labour-sponsored funds do important work, especially in the regions of Quebec. There is no alternative. The government is in the process of eliminating something without offering an alternative, which, I must say, shows a serious lack of sensitivity toward Quebec, toward Quebec's entrepreneurs and toward those who want to save money by contributing to labour-sponsored funds. I was a bit surprised that the government made this decision.
The same goes for professional training. That is a shared federal-provincial jurisdiction. The federal government has a role to play, but acting unilaterally is not the solution.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 2:10 pm | British Columbia, Fleetwood—Port Kells
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to participate in the debate on budget 2013, a plan for job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity.
Canada's economic action plan 2013 is a comprehensive agenda to bolster Canada's long-term economic strengths and promote job growth. It is a plan not just for the next twelve months or three years, but it is a plan for the next generation.
Our government is proposing measures that would ensure long-term prosperity and growth. It is about putting the country on track for success both now and going forward. Economic action plan 2013 would ensure we are focused on enabling and sustaining Canada's long-term economic growth. Let us be clear. The global recovery remains fragile, especially in Europe and the United States. Too many Canadians are still looking for work. That is why this budget would move ahead to secure jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canada.
Obviously, in an over-400 page budget document the initiatives are many and let us consider just a few of our proposals. Economic action plan 2013 includes key measures that would strengthen Canada's economy, such as increased skills and training support including the new $15,000 Canada job grant to help more Canadians find high-quality well-paying jobs. Once fully implemented, this grant would help nearly 130,000 Canadians access training each year.
It includes tax breaks for manufacturers who buy new machinery and equipment to stay competitive and an extended hiring credit for small businesses that create jobs. The tax break for purchasing new machinery and equipment would provide B.C. manufacturing and processing businesses with approximately $129 million in tax relief to grow their companies and to create jobs.
It includes a record $70 billion in federal investment in infrastructure including money for jobs, roads, bridges, subways, rail lines and ports. This includes a new building Canada fund, the community improvement fund, the P3 Canada fund and specific funding for rail passenger service. Surrey and other B.C. municipalities would benefit from stable and predictable funding to support the community and infrastructure projects.
- MPlibMar 26, 2013 2:05 pm | Ontario, Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere
Mr. Speaker, perhaps there will be another opportunity for the hon. member to express himself. In the self-congratulatory exchange he had with the member for Peterborough, he seemed to be saying that the reduction of tariffs would be a boon for the Canadian economy.
I pointed out in my speech that this is not a budget that would reduce tariffs. It is actually a budget that would dramatically increase tariffs.
At the same time, the hon. member has to understand that we are in the middle of free trade negotiations with the Europeans. We are in the middle of free trade discussions with all the countries of the Asia-Pacific. I think one has to look at these increases as temporary cash grabs by the finance department that run in total contradiction to the overall position and direction of Canadian public policy.
- MPlibMar 26, 2013 2:05 pm | Quebec, Laval-des-Rapides
Mr. Speaker, unlike the member for Gatineau, I can say that there was a day when she was tempted to come back to the Liberals.
I will talk about the budget because that is more important, especially since it affects things that are important to Quebec. Unlike other budgets that were meant to unify the country, this budget, once again, divides the federation. I would like my colleague, the leader of the Liberal Party, to say a few words about skills training and the fact that this budget has a negative impact on small investors in Quebec who wanted to invest in the labour-sponsored funds, whether at the CSN or the FTQ. I would like to hear what he has to say about that.
- MPlibMar 26, 2013 2:00 pm | Ontario, Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere
Mr. Speaker, we had first ministers' meetings.
I am glad to see the member for Peterborough up on his feet again in the House. He has been a retiring, shy flower the last few weeks, and I am very glad to see him up. If the member would like to be, metaphorically, a fly on the wall, I will tell him.
We met regularly with Brian Mulroney. We met regularly with Jean Chrétien. Did we always agree? Was there enthusiastic embrace of the fact that there were cuts? Of course not. Of course they were tough discussions, but we had the discussions. We had the discussions and the debates, and around that table everybody knew what was at stake.
Yes, collectively, we did make some very tough decisions. We collectively decided and determined that Canada was going to turn the corner in 1993-1994. None of us liked the consequences for each one of us, and some of us would have liked to have seen it done in a slightly different way. However, I have to say that when all things are considered, this country began to turn some very important corners as we were facing the crisis we were facing in the early 1990s, and I am very proud of the fact that the premiers did it together, with the Prime Minister of Canada.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 2:00 pm | Ontario, Peterborough
Mr. Speaker, you mentioned that the hon. leader of the Liberal Party has tenure. He has served in public office for some time. Indeed, at one point he served as the premier of Ontario.
He talked about first ministers' meetings. I wonder if he would let us in the room and allow us to understand how the Liberal Party handled it when it determined that it was going to cut transfers to the provinces by $26 billion.
He was upset that our finance minister went in with good news, the good news that we would be increasing education transfers and health transfers to record levels and that each and every year we would not touch transfers. In fact, we guarantee them for 10 years.
However, when he was premier of Ontario, the then Liberal government cut the knees right out from under him. I would love for him to let us inside the walls of that first ministers' meeting.
- MPlibMar 26, 2013 1:55 pm | Ontario, Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere
Mr. Speaker, one forgets after years of experience. It happens.
The point is that it is very clear that they know how to orchestrate and they know how to sell.
This weekend, the advertising started. I would defy any journalist or any analyst of those ads to tell me the information that is being conveyed. What are the facts that are being conveyed? These are not facts. This is not information. They are pure and simple travelogues, pictures of people putting things together, waterfalls falling down, ships going down a river, blah, blah, blah. It has got nothing to do with information or with facts. It is propaganda in its most classic form, and it is sell, sell, sell.
That is what the Conservatives have. They have a very tiny product to sell. It is not very good. If we actually look at it, it is less than what it appears to be. The infrastructure money is actually down, not up. Sure, they can announce it for 10 years. They say that it is a stable announcement for 10 years. They must think they are going to be in government for 10 years, but they are not. What kind of arrogance is this?
If they want to make the program sound bigger, why not make it a 20-year program or a 40-year program? Why would they be such pikers and say it is the biggest investment ever announced? Anyone can announce something and then go and take out ads for it, but what has this got to do with a real program?
It does not have much to do with a real program. There is less on infrastructure. When it comes to skills formation, the Conservatives are actually spending less. They are taking the money out of 2007 and extrapolating it into the years ahead. They say there is a crisis, and then they say that in two or three years, they will have the program in place. That is a real crisis. The crisis was so great that the Prime Minister could go and see the pandas, but he could not go and see the premiers.
We have a Prime Minister who is not too busy to go and see two pandas that are not even allowed out of quarantine, but he is too busy to see 12 premiers. He is a Prime Minister who is too preoccupied with the health of the economy to sit down and talk about it with the first ministers of the country, but he has time to visit and to welcome two pandas coming to the country.
Rather than pandering, it is time for real discussion. This is actually not a serious budget. It is not a budget that really addresses the state we are in. It is not a budget that tells the truth about how wrong the government has been about our current economic state. It is not a budget that talks about where we really are on inequality, on health care, on poverty, or on the condition of the people. It is a budget that is about selling something. It is about orchestrating something rather than doing something.
That is the reason the Liberal Party will be voting against the budget.
- MPndpMar 26, 2013 1:55 pm | Ontario, Windsor—Tecumseh
The member for Toronto Centre is a very experienced parliamentarian. He would know that it is improper to refer to a member not being present.
- MPlibMar 26, 2013 1:40 pm | Ontario, Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak in the debate. I certainly was listening carefully to the comments of the previous speakers and I have some comments to make about what has been said.
Last week I said in a scrum that if the Minister of Finance was William Tell, I am very glad that I did not have an apple on my head.
I would like to document the gross inaccuracy of the predictions that have been made by the minister before the members opposite start congratulating themselves too much on their alleged record of economic management. Let us have a look at that record.
In 2006, in his first budget, the Minister of Finance predicted 3% growth. The actual growth was 2.8%. In 2007 he predicted 2.3%. He missed that target as well. In 2008 he predicted 1.7% growth and actual growth was 0.7%. In 2009 the minister had to admit that there was going to be a contraction in the economy of 0.8%. The actual contraction was 2.8%. In 2011 he predicted 2.9% growth and the actual growth was 2.5%. Last year he predicted 2.1% growth and the actual was roughly 1.8%.
If the annual real GDP growth experienced under every prime minister were averaged, only one prime minister in the living memory of some members, R.B. Bennett, had a worse economic growth record than that of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister's average annual growth during the time of his prime ministership has been 1.4% over his seven years.
When the Minister of Finance announced the economic action plan in budget 2009, he promised a temporary deficit that would be eliminated in 2013-14, which by the way, begins six days from now. Instead, we have an $18.7-billion deficit predicted for 2013-14. Based on his previous record, that is not going to be an easy target to reach.
I want to go back over the ground because members keep saying “Let's pretend we don't have a memory of any of these things”. The problem is we do have a memory and we do have a record.
In 2008 the minister predicted a surplus of $2.3 billion. That became a deficit of $5.8 billion, an $8.1-billion difference. In 2009 he predicted a deficit of $33.7 billion, which became a deficit of $55.6 billion, a $21.9-billion difference. In 2012 he predicted a deficit of $21.1 billion, which has become a deficit of $25.9 billion, a $4.8 billion-difference.
Perhaps the most famous inaccuracy of the Minister of Finance, and the bow and arrow is looking a bit shaky in his hands right now, was the 2008 fall economic update, which is perhaps his most infamous economic prediction. We all remember that because it was the one where he predicted no recession for Canada, a series of future budget balances that came in at a $0.1-billion surplus and the balance would be achieved from the future sale of government assets.
It is worth recalling that we reached our lowest point in terms of our debt at $458 billion six years ago. This budget predicts that by the end of this fiscal year it will be $627 billion, an increase of $169 billion.
This is the same Minister of Finance who, as he is delivering his budget speech, stands up and waxes full of pieties saying governments cannot spend their way out of a recession and then, looking meaningfully over at the opposition, says some people might disagree with this statement, but nevertheless the government is standing by its record of economic management and fiscal prudence. A $170-billion increase in the national debt and the government has the nerve to say that it is some kind of an example of fiscal prudence. It is preposterous.
It is also preposterous to say that it is a government that has somehow embraced restraint. Program spending has gone from $175 billion in 2005-06 to $253 billion today, which is a 45% increase. That is far greater than the rate of inflation and the rate of growth in the real economy.
Let us look at the fact that Canada is a federation. One cannot just take the federal programs and the federal approach in isolation. What I would like to see in this budget is not only a statement of the federal government's plans and hopes for the future, which is allegedly what we had in the budget statement. I, and I think most Canadians, would like to see how the federation is doing. How are Canadians doing? Where is the unemployment rate? Where is the job-creation rate? How indebted are Canadians? Have they fallen behind or are they moving ahead? How are the provinces doing? How are the municipalities doing?
Let us look at simple facts. Since 2007-08, the provincial debt, the debt of all the provinces, has gone from $321 billion to $534 billion, which is a $230-billion increase. This year, 2012-13, only Saskatchewan and the three territories that are largely supported by the federal government are now expected to run a surplus. Therefore, when we look at the actual condition of the federation, it is far more serious than the government is prepared to tell us. It is far more problematic than the government is prepared to admit.
However, we have a government that nevertheless is eager to pat itself on the back. I heard this in the statements of my colleagues for Leeds—Grenville and Okanagan—Coquihalla, who said that this was such a wonderful budget because for the first time in 40 years the government had identified the skills challenge as a problem facing Canada. What?
This is not the first time in 40 years that a problem with job training has been identified. There is obviously a problem. Everyone is well aware of this and recognizes the problem. However, acknowledging that there is a problem and proposing a solution are two completely different things.
Let us take a moment to talk about job training. Six years ago, the government signed a number of agreements with the provinces whereby it handed over complete authority for training to the provinces. The government gave them money and told them to do their best to solve the job training problem.
It seems that the Prime Minister became angry recently when he learned that there was a problem. He was the last to notice and to realize what was happening.
The Prime Minister went slightly overboard six years ago. Now he is getting back to work and is saying that he has a solution. He has announced that the government will allow young students and workers to receive $15,000. The government will take care of all the advertising for this wonderful program and will take back responsibility for training.
The Prime Minister said that his government would solve this problem that no one else had addressed before. What an exaggeration, what arrogance on the part of the federal government and the Conservative Party.
The provinces had actually started working on it. Not everyone wanted the government to create a $15,000 program because the Prime Minister would then announce that everyone—including the federal and provincial governments and the private sector—would have to contribute $5,000.
Today, the Prime Minister is saying that he is prepared to sit down and to negotiate with the provinces. It is not a good idea to announce a program before you have conducted negotiations. In fact, that is contrary to what should be done. Better yet, the government should say that it has things to discuss with the provinces and that it wants to do that.
They had an opportunity. Just six months ago, the premiers made an unprecedented decision to tell the Prime Minister that they would like to have a meeting to discuss the economy. They wanted to have a chance to discuss the issues that concern them and concern the government, because running a modern economy or running a federation is not the exclusive property of the Government of Canada. It is not the exclusive jurisdiction of the Conservative Party. It is a concern of every political party, a concern of every region, and a concern of every government.
The Prime Minister declined. The Prime Minister of Canada refused to attend. If we compare Canada to every other federation in the world, no other federation would be in a situation in which the leader of its federal government would refuse to sit down with the premiers who had specifically asked for a meeting to discuss the economy. It is unbelievable.
After the last 48 hours, I have a suggestion for the premiers: they should rent themselves panda costumes and get together and tell the Prime Minister there is going to be a fantastic photo opportunity. They will not even be behind glass. They will be out in public and willing to sit down. That is the only way I think we can get this Prime Minister to sit down and talk to the premiers.
Instead of having a meeting and a serious discussion, what does the Government of Canada do? On health care, the Minister of Finance walked into a luncheon meeting of the ministers of finance and said, “I am too busy to have lunch. By the way, I want to tell you what the transfers for health care are going to be for the next 10 years.”
The member for Peterborough is saying “Hear, hear”. Maybe that goes down well where he comes from, but having sat at a premiers' table and at a ministers of finance table, I can say it is ridiculous to have a federal government walk in and in five minutes describe what the program for transfers is going to be.
There has to be a discussion. The government cannot have a take it or leave it approach. The take it or leave it approach is even being rejected by the members of the Conservative Party opposite.
Even now, even at this late hour in the life of the government, we are beginning to see signs of life, signs of people wanting to speak up, signs of members of the blue army chorus saying they want to wear something different and come out today and have a voice of their own. However, even that is being stamped down by the leadership of the Conservative Party.
This budget does so much less than what it pretends to do. In the dialogue between the member for Okanagan—Coquihalla and the member for Peterborough, the member for Peterborough was saying, “Isn't it a wonderful thing? We have discovered that if you reduce tariffs, it is going to have a positive effect on the economy.”
The Conservatives raised tariff revenues for the federal government in this budget by $300 million, but the two items upon which they reduced them magically leaped out—magically.
John Ivison from the National Post magically picked the items out of all the possibilities of items that the government would either reduce or increase, and he said that the reporters from The Globe and Mail had the same magic information. How did that happen? How would they have suddenly landed on baby clothes and hockey equipment? Of all the items that are there, those are the items they picked.
I do not think so. I do not think it was a lucky guess. I know my friends in the New Democratic Party have written to the RCMP and are going to launch an investigation. I wish the investigators well in their search for this difficult piece of information.
The government has raised tariffs by $300 million. I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to the Minister of Finance talking to our Asian friends and saying, “We really want to lower tariffs and we really want to engage with you in the Pacific negotiations, but by the way, we are taking a $300-million cash grab before we sit down and have a serious discussion about tariffs.”
It is ridiculous. The range of things the government is doing, not to improve the budget but to simply sell the budget, is unbelievable to me.
I have to hand it to the government. It knows how to orchestrate leaks. It knows how to feed little pieces of gruel to the press the week before and say, "Here is a little item. You might want to nibble on this. You might want to nibble on that." Suddenly and magically, the press knew that skills training and infrastructure were going to be the focus of the budget. Every single speech given by a member opposite, dutifully prepared by the Prime Minister's Office, expressed it.
That is what we know. We know the Conservatives know how to orchestrate. We know that after they have orchestrated, as the member for Cape Breton—Canso would have said, they also know how to sell.
He is not even here to listen to what I have to say. This is what happens to an interim leader. He says to mention his riding, but when I go to the length and trouble of bringing him into the story, he walks out. I cannot understand it.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 1:40 pm | Ontario, Peterborough
Mr. Speaker, since the member was elected to this place, he has made considerable contributions. One thing he did was to seek to take down tariffs and allow for wine produced in British Columbia to be sold in places such as Ontario and elsewhere in the country. The government has further picked up on that and reduced tariffs on things such as sports equipment and clothing for infants.
Can the member speak about the importance of bringing down tariffs and making products more affordable for Canadians?
- MPndpMar 26, 2013 1:25 pm | Ontario, Windsor—Tecumseh
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 Edmonton—Strathcona, Government Contracts; the hon. member for Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, Foreign Affairs; the hon. member for Ahuntsic, Public Safety.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 1:25 pm | Ontario, Peterborough
Mr. Speaker, this member referred to the eastern Ontario development program. I know this member has been very strong in his support for that and community futures. Could he talk about the importance of this program to his community and communities throughout eastern Ontario?
- MPlibMar 26, 2013 12:50 pm | Quebec, Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member from the island of Montreal. I listened to her speech, and I have a fairly easy question for her.
We have read the budget. I think she has read it, too. The Conservative members talk about how they obtained this or that measure for their constituency or region.
As the member from east Montreal, I would like to know if there is anything in the budget for my region and for the city of Montreal. I did not see anything.
Is this something the Conservatives made up or is it because we do not know how to read? Are the journalists and all the members of the National Assembly of Quebec mistaken? Is it because we do not really know what is going on or is there really nothing for Quebec, the city of Montreal and east Montreal?
- MPndpMar 26, 2013 12:50 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her presentation and also for her hard work on housing. It is a crisis in this country, and I am so glad we have members like her here raising that issue.
In 2005 something extraordinary happened. In this House, the NDP was able to negotiate a deal with the government of the day to get $4.5 billion that was just going to be thrown into corporate tax cuts, going God knows where, into things like housing. The money stayed for 2006-07. The government actually cut ribbons and made big announcements about using that very money that it voted against.
What we see now is a government that does not seem to have a plan when it comes to national housing. It has announcements, but we do not know how much money is really going to get to people.
My question to my colleague is this: how can we have any faith in the government when it does not come forward with a national housing strategy? All other G7 countries that we work with have national housing strategies. They invest in housing for people and get results.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 12:20 pm | Ontario, Brant
Mr. Speaker, provinces already have resources established for training. When we talk about the principle of a shared program, of one-third, one-third and one-third—in this case the federal government, provincial government and the actual employer having what I will call skin in the game—it is a model that has worked excellently across the country in ventures other than training. We are taking a very successful model that has been working when P3 partnerships happen. This means that everyone's interest is there. Provinces would have to redirect perhaps some of the funding they currently are using in other areas into what would be a more efficient, more effective way to get people into jobs where their skill set fits.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 12:15 pm | Ontario, Brant
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows what the numbers are in terms of the actual results since the middle of the recession, our government having created 950,000 net new jobs in this economy. He asked a question about projections into the future. The budget outlines the structural framework for us to connect the people who are interested in having jobs to develop their skill sets with up to $15,000 for the new Canada job action plan.
From the position of listening to employers in my riding and knowing many employers, particularly in the construction industry where I spent the majority of my working life, I know this is exactly what they need in terms of targeted assistance to be sure that the people they hire have the skill set, get the skill set and earn the kind of income they so richly deserve once they get that skill set.
- MPndpMar 26, 2013 12:15 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's comments on the budget, and one of the challenges we have had with this budget is that there is not enough detail. Looking back to budget 2012, we still have not got the facts. In fact, Kevin Page was just in court trying to get that.
I want to get the member's answer precisely on the numbers when it comes to job training. I would like him to share with us exactly when this job training program would take effect in Ontario and specific dates, and I want to know exactly how much money in this budget would go to Ontario for job training and when that would take effect.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 12:05 pm | Ontario, Brant
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley.
Economic action plan 2013 is great news for my riding of Brant, for southern Ontario and indeed for all of Canada. It is a plan that keeps Canada well positioned for long-term, stable economic growth and balanced budgets. It includes a variety of exciting common sense proposals that would make government more productive and efficient and create jobs in southern Ontario.
Economic growth in my riding of Brant is largely driven by small and medium-sized businesses that are innovating and gaining a leading edge in the 21st century economy, and I will provide an example of a company. GreenMantra Technologies recently opened up as a new start-up company. As a government we were able to help it through our southern economic development agency, FedDev, to get the funding to produce new, innovative and patentable technologies creating wax products for commercial use. This is a very exciting development and one which would create hundreds of jobs in our community down the road.
Our government continues to build on the unprecedented support for businesses that are innovating and transforming southern Ontario's economy. In particular, we are providing record support for manufacturers and processors. Since 2006, our government has assisted manufacturers by lowering taxes, making Canada the first tariff-free zone for manufacturers in the G20, reducing unnecessary red tape and improving conditions for business investment.
In economic action plan 2013, we are taking further action to support Canada's manufacturers. We are providing tax relief for manufacturing equipment through the extension of the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance. This measure would allow manufacturers to invest in new machinery and equipment to help them compete. We are also continuing our support for innovative businesses like GreenMantra Technologies, which I referred to earlier, by renewing the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario with new funding of $920 million. FedDev has been a critical agency. It has helped provide much needed support in my riding by boosting businesses that are showing leadership with transformative projects, which in turn would allow them to capitalize on new world market opportunities and compete in the 21st century economy.
I would like to refer to another company in my riding called Systems Logic. Systems Logic produces software and hardware for the warehousing industry. It has recently expanded its market base extensively into the United States with new and innovative products. This is another great example of new jobs being created in the 21st century right in my community as a result of our budget initiatives.
Through economic action plan 2013, FedDev Ontario would offer businesses in Brant new support through the exciting new $200 million advanced manufacturing fund, which is aimed at helping our region's manufacturing industry to further innovate and become more competitive.
The good news for Brant does not stop there. There is a burgeoning entrepreneurial spirit that is emerging in my community. Businesses are seeing the opportunities and investing in my community, which has a skilled labour force made up of people from all walks of life who are ready and willing to go to work and take advantage of the new economic opportunities.
Our government understands the tangible benefits that such an entrepreneurial spirit can deliver for our communities and knows that southern Ontario's long-term economic competitiveness needs to be driven by globally competitive, high-growth businesses that take risks, innovate and create high-quality jobs. That is why economic action plan 2013 continues building on our government's support for entrepreneurs and risk takers in my riding.
Economic action plan 2012 announced resources to support Canada's venture capital industry, including $400 million to help increase private-sector investments and early-stage risk capital and to support the creation of large-scale venture capital funds led by the private sector. Shortly after, our Prime Minister announced a comprehensive venture capital action plan, which will improve access to venture capital financing by high-growth companies. The plan will promote a vibrant capital environment in Canada, rooted in a strong entrepreneurial culture and well-established networks that link investors to innovative companies.
Budget 2013 would advance the venture capital action plan by offering $60 million to help outstanding and high-potential incubator and accelerator organizations expand their services to entrepreneurs, as well as $100 million through the Business Development Bank of Canada to invest in firms graduating from business accelerators. We would also provide funding specifically designated for young risk-taking entrepreneurs who are working to create the jobs of tomorrow through the Canada Youth Business Foundation. All of this is great news for entrepreneurs, not only in Canada but in my specific riding of Brant.
We know that businesses and workers alike in my riding would benefit from the tremendous new support that the economic action plan offers in terms of skills training and connecting workers with jobs. We would increase skills and training support with the new Canada job grant to help more workers get high-quality, well-paying jobs. Under the new grant, Canadians would be able to qualify for up to $15,000 per person to get the skills and training they most importantly need. Training and skill development would be focused on jobs that are in demand. In fact, the grant would directly connect employers looking for skilled workers with Canadians who want to fill those jobs.
Meanwhile, our budget would create opportunities for apprenticeships that would allow young people to learn a skilled trade while gaining paid, on-the-job work experience. Also, we would offer even more targeted support to promote labour market participation and a more inclusive workforce.
Residents of the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation in my riding would benefit from an investment of $241 million to improve the on-reserve income assistance program to help ensure aboriginal youth can access the skills training they need to secure employment and better outcomes for their futures.
Among a series of new proposals that are garnering excitement among disability advocates and experts from across the country, our budget calls for $222 million per year to improve employment prospects for persons with disabilities. Canadians with disabilities represent a significant untapped pool of talented people who are ready, willing and able to work. In fact, there are more than 800,000 Canadians whose disabilities do not prevent them from working. We know about the enormous opportunities for social and economic inclusion that gainful employment can provide these people.
In my riding, we have several fine examples of entrepreneurial companies that have hired people with disabilities. One is Brantford Volkswagen, and someone from this company will be coming to Parliament to tell the human resources committee about how positive the experience has been and how much of a business case there is for taking on people with disabilities.
I am thrilled to see that we would move forward to help those who want to get work—those who are willing and able—move in the directions that employers and entrepreneurs and businesses need.
- MPndpMar 26, 2013 11:30 am | Ontario, Parkdale—High Park
Mr. Speaker, even if we do not manufacture the same things in Canada, it does not make sense. The fact is the Conservatives are increasing the tariffs of over $300 million and even callously raising taxes on hospital parking. This budget is a tax shell game and it is hitting Canadians right in the pocketbook.
The Minister of Finance has admitted he does not know what the costs will be to consumers, so why are Conservatives playing games with Canadians? Why are they pretending to lower tariffs and then turning around and raising them by over $300 million?
- MPconMar 26, 2013 11:30 am | Alberta, Macleod
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is talking about millions of dollars, but from what I hear from the NDP, its carbon tax alone would increase the cost of everything by $21 billion.
I know the only way we could ever get the NDP to support this budget is if we had tax increases in it, but no one will find tax increases in this. We are trying to help Canadians grow jobs and we are worried about their long-term prosperity.
- MPndpMar 26, 2013 11:25 am | Ontario, Parkdale—High Park
Mr. Speaker, for the Conservatives it is not enough to tax the hospital parking fees we pay when visiting a sick family member. The Conservatives have also increased customs tariffs, which will increase the cost of almost everything. This $300 billion increase contained in the budget will have an immediate impact on Canadians' grocery bills.
Why are the Conservatives refusing to be honest? Why are they shamelessly picking Canadians' pockets?
- MPlibMar 26, 2013 11:25 am | Ontario, Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere
Mr. Speaker, the control freak nature of the government is really extraordinary. Conservatives announce a program without negotiating it with anybody, then they start advertising the program without discussing it with anybody and they are actually spending less than they were spending in 2008-09.
I would like to ask the Prime Minister this. Is this why his members from Vegreville—Wainwright, Langley and from other ridings are now coming into the House and expressing concern that they are not allowed to speak their minds? He will not let the provinces speak their minds. Why will he not let his own members speak their minds?
- MPconMar 26, 2013 11:25 am | Alberta, Macleod
Mr. Speaker, as we all know, preferential tariffs were actually about 40 years old and it was a program that was used as an official aid.
What we are trying to do is provide a level playing field for our Canadian companies and Canadian businesses so they are able to compete. For some of the other countries that are also wanting to export, it provides a level playing field for them as well.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 11:25 am | Alberta, La Peltrie
Mr. Speaker, one of the biggest economic problems we have in our country is not simply that there are not jobs for people, but in many cases there are not people for jobs that could be filled. This is something this government has heard in talking to Canadians all across the country. It is a matter that we are determined to address.
Obviously we are planning to sit down and discuss this with the provinces, the private sector and our partners. We do want to see a partnership on that. However, it is absolutely important that we move ahead and ensure that our funds are used to get people into jobs where they actually can work and support their families.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 11:20 am | Alberta, Macleod
Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. member that budget 2013 is about jobs, growing the economy and the long-term prosperity of the country. All the measures in this budget are aimed toward that.
We hear the NDP members are going to vote against that. That means they are going to vote against businesses. We are helping small businesses. It means they are going to be voting against Canadians who want to retrain. There is a plan in this budget to help Canadians retrain for jobs that are available for them. We think that is very important and we would encourage the NDP to support that.
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