- MPconDec 09, 2013 8:20 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, while I appreciate that, I do not agree with the member. I do believe there is a break.
We heard from experts. We did a study on organized crime some two years ago in the justice committee. We heard from experts who said it was very difficult to indeed prove the fundamentals of organized crime. It is very difficult to get convictions in court. It is very difficult to prove the facts. Indeed, it costs a lot of money for taxpayers to be able to prove this.
I do not believe that at all. In fact, I would like to answer the question that the member first put to me in relation to the group and why three or more. The statistics are startling in relation to when three or more people are involved in a crime. They are usually much more violent crimes.
I think it takes more planning. It takes more people getting together for a longer period of time. It is a complicated situation, usually. It leads to more violent behaviour. As a result, victims are frankly left out in the cold. I have seen situations where three or more people have been involved in a simple assault and a person has died. If that was a one-on-one person crime, the likelihood of that happening is very minimal. Indeed, the statistics bear my argument out.
- MPconDec 09, 2013 8:15 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, I am open to possible amendments in that particular section of the bill.
I do understand some members have come forward, in particular on our side of the House when I briefed them, with some issues relating to that and muddying the waters or confusing the issues. I do not believe it does, just on the basis of my experience in court. I know the member has had some experience in court as well.
I do believe, however, that the three or more provision is a catch-all. I believe that fills a gap and would, in essence, make it much easier for crown prosecutors to prove their case, and if they cannot prove their case, much easier for crown prosecutors to make a reasonable plea bargain that would see that the accused and convicted would receive a more serious crime based on the facts of the particular case.
I look forward to the member's questions during committee. I certainly look forward to her experience being brought forward, to get a better bill, ultimately, which is why we are here.
- MPconDec 09, 2013 8:00 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
moved that Bill C-526, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker, I thank all my colleagues who appreciate this government's stance on taking care of business as far as criminals go. I have seen more criminal laws come into place over the last 10 years, I think, than the previous 20 years. It shows the importance to this government of ensuring that we crack down on crime and protect Canadians.
I am very pleased to stand today in support of the bill. It comes about as a result of my own practice in law. I spent most of the 1990s practising criminal law and other forms of litigation in northern Alberta. During that time, I saw some very horrendous crimes that I felt did not have proper punishment, as a result of the inability of judges to, in essence, throw the book at people who are involved in more serious crimes. When I say that, I talk about crimes that I find particularly repugnant; those crimes that include more than two people, for instance, three or more people. Those people usually start with low-level crimes, where they are organized and they talk about it. Then they move on to higher-level crimes, if indeed they get away with them or the judicial system has no ability to crack down on them.
In particular, Bill C-526 would strengthen the Criminal Code's response to organized crime and terrorism. I know that terrorism does not happen very often in this country, thank goodness. However, we do have a situation where criminal organizations are very active in this country. Make no mistake, criminal organizations account for a very large amount of crime, more particularly the very serious nature of the crimes themselves, such as murders, arsons or things like that. Most serious crimes that include violence are more likely gang related and related to organized crime. This government has been committed to taking steps to ensure these crimes are treated as among the most serious in the Criminal Code.
I intend, today, through this bill, to allow judges more discretion at the final disposition of sentence and also to enable crown prosecutors to do what they do a lot of, which is plea bargaining, to get a situation that they may not receive a conviction on but that allows the judge to, in essence, throw the book at them at the time of sentencing.
This proposal is to amend the Criminal Code sentencing provision that sets out factors which should be considered to be aggravating or mitigating, in essence, aggravating factors. If they are involved in the crime themselves and the facts have been proven, the person would be found to be more liable and could receive a larger sentence. This means, as well, that the judge would increase or decrease sentence as a result of those factors that arose during the commission of the offence.
It proposes to amend the list of aggravating factors in two ways.
First, it would create a new aggravating factor for sentencing where there is evidence that an offence was connected in any way to a group of three or more persons who had a common purpose of facilitating or committing an offence under the Criminal Code or any act of Parliament.
Second, the bill proposes to create a new category of serious aggravating factors, which would include evidence that the offence was committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal organization, or there was evidence that the offence was a terrorism offence, which is very serious indeed.
This last amendment aims to send a very important message of public policy from our government and from all future governments; that is, that organized crime and terrorism offences are among the most serious offences in the Criminal Code and that the courts should not tolerate them. They should consider them to be even more serious aggravating factors, as specified in the Criminal Code.
These factors play an important role in the judicial process of determining an appropriate sentence for a convicted offender.
The Criminal Code actually enumerates some specific factors that Parliament considers to be aggravating or mitigating. This list is not exhaustive, but it would certainly give judges and the judiciary a specific direction as to how public policy should be placed on these people and how they should treat them when convicted. Factors in this provision must be taken into consideration by a judge. They are actually asked to consider them under this legislation.
However, a judge can also consider other aggravating or mitigating factors that arise in those particular cases. It would give judges the discretion, and it would clearly enumerate that this government, and, I, in particular, have faith in the judiciary. If given the proper tools, they will throw the book at these criminals who participate in such despicable behaviour.
There are strong public policy reasons to treat offences that are committed by three or more people with greater severity than offences committed by one individual. I do not think I need to go into detail on that. Most Canadians would agree that three or more people who are involved in an offence, who would commit some criminal behaviour, should be treated differently than those who are singularly involved. It shows more complexity and more of a desire to be involved in this type of element.
The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics released a report in November of this year, entitled “Co-offending in Canada, 2011”, which examined co-offending trends in Canada. It defined co-offending as being crimes involving two or more accused people, and group crimes as being crimes involving three or more accused people.
Group crimes are what I am interested in with the first amendment. Group crimes only account for 3% of criminal incidents in Canada. Most people would say that is not a lot, but the truth is that for a number of reasons we should give more attention to these crimes. They are more serious in nature. As I mentioned before, when three or more people are involved in an offence, the offence usually involves more serious repercussions to individuals and victims. For instance, first, the offences are more likely to involve a firearm or another weapon. Second, when a violent crime is committed by a group, the chance that the victim will be injured or killed is much higher. Third, hate crimes, which are so despicable in this country, tend to involve groups or other individuals more than non-hate crimes. These statistics, although small in number, show that the repercussions and the impact on victims are much more serious than if they are incidents committed by a single offender.
These recent statistics also reveal that co-offending and group crimes are a trend that is more likely to be among young people, or youthful offenders. That is also a difficulty because these crimes, for youth, set the trend for them for future years. Judges need to be able to stop them at that age. The crimes that youth are involved in include breaking and entering, arson, robbery, possession of stolen property and theft. Indeed, there is no victimless crime in these types of incidents. There is also a connection between group crimes and co-offending and the eventual formation of more structured criminal enterprises for youth and others.
I have been told startling statistics, such as that it is 8% of crimes that are ever solved. If youth commit crimes with three or more people, they get away with them and are enriched by that behaviour, those people are more likely to continue to commit crimes. We need to give the tools to the judiciary to be able to stop them in their tracks so they change their ways.
There is also a connection in other ways to more serious crimes, and that would be involvement with organized crime. That is why I believe there has been a gap in the Criminal Code legislation for crimes committed by groups of three or more people and being able to punish them adequately to reflect the crime the offenders have been involved in. Although judges can already recognize the seriousness of the commission of a crime by a group at sentencing, Bill C-526 would specify that in every situation where three or more offenders are involved in an offence, this factor shall be taken into consideration. It would give less leeway in a way, but it instructs, on a public policy basis, that judges should take this more seriously and actually throw the book at these people.
Some may question how the aggravating factor differs from the existing aggravating factor for criminal organization offences. In order for a criminal group to fall within the definition of a criminal organization, the commission of the offence must also be motivated by a material benefit for the group. I am not going to go into it in great detail, but let us just say that the changes to the criminal organization offences have not been very effective.
I have worked in the trenches and I have seen what has taken place in criminal courts. I know how plea bargaining and crown prosecutors work, and I know how defence counsels work. Bluntly speaking, it is very difficult to prove that a person is a member of a criminal organization, that the criminal organization was involved, and that indeed the criminal organization is a criminal organization. I have been told, and we have heard it from a particular report, that it takes up to a week or two weeks to prove these particular offence traits and facts. Then they have to do that with every co-accused person, and every new person who belongs to a particular gang or criminal organization, for instance. It is very difficult to prove.
Although the facts are there, and it shows the factors in the Criminal Code relating to criminal organizations and how crown prosecutors can prove it, et cetera, the truth is that very few people were convicted under this provision over the last period of years that it has been in force.
The proposed new aggravating factor in Bill C-526 does not require an element of material benefit. The new aggravating factor would simply include situations where there is evidence that the offence was connected in any way to a group of three or more persons with the common purpose of facilitating or committing an offence under the Criminal Code or any act of Parliament.
While the existing aggravating factor of organized crime may overlap somewhat, and it is agreed it may somewhat overlap, the proposed new aggravating factor, the new factor that I have proposed, is less stringent and captures a broader range of offences. They are more simple to prove, as I mentioned. For example, this new aggravating factor could also apply to a number of different scenarios, such as breaking into a home or business to commit a theft; a sexual assault; offences, as I mentioned, that are motivated by hate, and drug trafficking and auto theft, to name just a few. That is provided, of course, that the offence is committed by a group of three or more persons.
The new aggravating factor would strengthen the Criminal Code because it would capture group crimes that do not meet the definition of organized crime. As I said, it is very difficult to prove. Group crimes may still be very serious, even absent the motive of material benefit. In fact, most Canadians would not understand why they have to prove material benefit under an organized crime scenario, such as in a sexual assault or hate crime. However, from my perspective, it is quite shocking that it is not included in the Criminal Code as such, and I believe there has been a gap that we can fill with this legislation.
While I have spoken at length about the benefits of the new proposed aggravating factor to address group crimes, I must also take a moment to discuss the second proposal. The objective of this new category is to send a message to the courts that these crimes are extremely serious and to give judges further discretion in relation to these types of crimes. I think most Canadians would agree that people who are involved in organized crimes or terrorism offences should have the book thrown at them. We do not want them in Canada. We do not want to encourage those people to be involved in these offences in Canada. We do not want them to do this at all.
When we find these people, we should be able to easily prove that they are those people. For instance, I think members would be surprised to find out that because it is so difficult to prove these offences and the facts of these cases, crown prosecutors have to plea bargain because they do not want these people to get off completely. Plea bargaining in essence means that prosecutors do not get everything they want. They are not going to be able to go to trial and find people guilty of every offence.
Crown prosecutors are going to ask how easy or difficult it will be to prove these three offences. If it is difficult to prove these three offences in criminal organizations, with the group crimes that I have proposed there is a gap that will not allow them to suggest it is going to take two weeks to go to trial, that it will take time and it will be very difficult prove someone is part of a criminal organization. What would happen now is that the crown prosecutor can say he or she does not need to worry about that criminal organization and to prove that fact. The prosecutor would only need to prove to the judge or justice that there were three or more people involved in the crime. Then the judge can give a more serious penalty, and in fact the judge has to take that into consideration.
I am open to possible amendments from the government or the opposition. I encourage all members to participate in the study of this particular bill. It is a great bill, and I cannot imagine anybody standing against it. However, of course there is always the chance that somebody might feel he or she could do a better job with some particular part of the bill. I am open to that.
I would urge the members of the House, in all parties, to support this bill at second reading so it can be referred to committee for further study. As we know, the ultimate goal of stiffer sentences being imposed on offenders who form a common intent to commit crimes is worthy of support. In many situations, the amendment would apply to gangs that may not meet the criteria to be considered for a criminal organization.
In closing, I consider this to be a very responsible approach to current crime trends and an important message to group crime and organized crime offenders. We will stand up for Canadians on this side of the House, and I believe in this particular case that all members of the House will do the same.
- MPconDec 05, 2013 1:55 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member across the way for complimenting this government on some of the great initiatives we have done, such as setting aside a record amount of land for national parks and taking many steps toward environmental stewardship. I want to confirm with the member that we did consult extensively. In some areas, there was additional consultation because of some concerns stakeholders brought up relating to some of the specific concerns with locals.
Would the member talk a bit about some of the positive things the bill would do, such as increasing existing fines and establishing administrative monetary penalties under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Northwest Territories Waters Act and taking steps to protect the environment in both of these cases? Would she also like to comment in particular on these new enforcement measures and if they would improve compliance? That is what our stakeholders have told us clearly in consultation. Would she like to provide additional and complimentary comments in relation to this government's move on those two fronts?
- MPconNov 27, 2013 11:10 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, today I recognize one of the most impressive Canadians I have ever met, someone who loves northern Alberta and Fort McMurray, a true pioneer and early entrepreneur, a great Canadian.
With her husband, she owned and operated many successful businesses over 50 years in Fort McMurray, including Fort McMurray's first newspaper, the McMurray Courier, where she acted as reporter, writer, editor, and publisher.
She has volunteered literally thousands of hours on countless non-profit boards. She has also volunteered thousands of hours for Canadian democracy and to uphold conservative economic principles. As a woman, she has had to fight many times for her voice to be heard and became, as a result, one of the first female members of the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce. On her 80th birthday, she launched her own written book, More Than Oil: Trappers, Traders and Settlers of Northern Alberta.
She is a trailblazer, a historian, a world traveller, a master cook and baker, continues to work more than 50 hours a week, and is the most honest person I know. She also works tirelessly to serve her family, her community, and Canada.
I thank Mrs. Frances Kathaleen Jean: my hero, my friend, my mother.
- MPconNov 07, 2013 11:00 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Premier Alison Redford and Premier Christy Clark for their hard work and dedication to Canada's economy, especially to our northern gateway pipeline.
Our energy industry provides Canada with continued job growth and a very reliable economy. Over the next 30 years, this pipeline is expected to create 261,000 jobs and a labour income of $23.8 billion.
The northern gateway pipeline will dramatically increase jobs and revenue all across our great country in all communities, as would Kitimat Clean, David Black's green refinery process.
Let us imagine the impact on Canada's economy if we focus our energy on upgrading and increasing our oil refining capacity.
Our Conservative government is concentrating on Canada's economy.
- MPconNov 06, 2013 12:00 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, the oil sands creates hundreds of thousands of job in communities right across Canada. We notice the Conservatives clap for that because our government knows that Canadians benefit from resource development. We have been clear that the Keystone XL project will create fantastic jobs for Canadians and tremendous growth in our economy.
Could the parliamentary secretary please update the House on the work the minister is doing to support Canadian jobs and add to the quality of life for Canadians?
- MPconJun 06, 2013 8:55 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I always find it interesting to hear the Liberals talk about the environment, especially given their track record of inconsistencies.
However, I notice the member is passionate about the environment and I respect that very much.
We heard earlier that the NDP members wanted to have parks so nobody could see them, enjoy them or step foot on them.
Does the member not see the opportunities for Canadians to share with the world the great ecological steps that we have taken to protect huge swaths of land in our country and does she not see there can be a true balance in the best interests of Canadians and wildlife and the general economic and ecological environment of the country?
- MPconJun 06, 2013 8:05 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, a pit bull on a bone: I have never thought of the member in those conditions before, but it is quite vivid indeed.
I appreciate the member's complimenting this government on Nahanni and Sable Island park. The Prime Minister has set aside more land for parks in this country than any prime minister in our history, I believe.
I appreciated all of the speeches I heard tonight. It became apparent that the NDP has a real lack of trust in relation to this issue. All I heard in their speeches was, “Congratulations, great job, but we do not trust you”. The Liberals said that they would have done it if they had just had another 13 or 14 years, and of course the Green Party member mentioned that we will not get it right no matter what we do.
I do appreciate all of the members' speeches and the fact that they have complimented this government on yet another great initiative.
After hearing the speech by the member opposite, I can tell for certain that there is nothing else to be said that has not already been said. I am wondering if the member would try to persuade other members of his caucus to allow this matter to go to committee as soon as possible, and possibly agree to do so in a timely fashion so that we could go to sleep sometime before midnight tonight, or at least have it passed before today's hour passes.
- MPconJun 06, 2013 3:20 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to be here tonight to talk about the first bill I have ever had a hand in drafting. The mover of the bill said that some year and a half to two years ago he talked to me about the bill because of my past experience with criminal law and we generally drafted it out. Today, we draw the conclusion that it is a great bill and does exactly what this government has been doing since the beginning, and that is standing up for victims.
We have a criminal justice system in our country that puts straight laws out there and people either obey them or disobey them. If they disobey them, the police will arrest them and then the court will deal with them. However, victims have fallen through the cracks since 1892, when the first Criminal Code was enacted in Canada. Victims of crime have been left aside for too long. I am glad to see the member has recognized that and is standing up for victims, as is our government.
I have seen some very deplorable situations. In Fort McMurray, where I practised criminal law, I saw a situation where a father abused three of his daughters. He did not just abuse them as they grew up into their teens. He continued to abuse them for some 20 years thereafter even though there was no true physical contact. The abuse continued by way of being reminded of that crime forever. When people live only several blocks away from where they have grown up in a community, they are continuously put in front of that crime time and time again. I know this is something victims complain of often.
We need to ensure that those victims are protected forever, especially in cases of sexual assault, which is why this bill is good. However, as a past criminal lawyer, people who commit sexual assaults against children need to be monitored forever under strict and specific conditions, such as wearing an anklet or an electronic monitoring device and never out of sight of the authorities. I say that for a number of reasons. Many people would say that I am wrong in my assumption that these people cannot be cured. As a result of my experience, I do not believe the people who commit these violent, often unnecessary and quite horrid crimes can be cured. From my experience in the courts, it usually passes on from generation to generation and the victims continue to mount.
Our Conservative government will take more positions to support victims because that is the third pillar that was not properly dealt with. However, seeing all of the members in the House come together on a bill like this is very important. It sends a clear message to Canadians that we, as their representatives, will stand up for the weak and the needy when necessary.
I have known the member of Parliament for nine years. He has a very strong passion for his community and constituents and a lot of loyalty for our government, our Prime Minister and our country. I compliment him on this bill. He has done tremendous work on it. I know he would appreciate me saying more wonderful things about him. However, I can say for sure that, based on my criminal law experience, the bill goes a long way in protecting the victims who have been forgotten for too long. It falls fully in line with our government's commitment to keep our streets and communities safe.
I did mention that there were three pillars. The first is the police, the second is the courts and the third is the victims. In the bill, members will clearly see that it is mandatory for judges to impose conditions on these offenders that would keep them away from the victims and, as a result, incur less expense on the criminal justice system.
We do have criminal compensation in most provinces and services that are provided are psychological and mental health services. These are tremendously expensive. If we do not take steps to deal with victims of crime and the ability to keep them away from those continuous reminders of what took place and making them victims time and time again, it will also cost our system a lot of money.
I appreciate the opportunity to speak today. I would like to go over it again very briefly that on this side of the House we are standing up for victims. I am glad to see the other members of the House are doing the same thing and joining the Conservative government and the member for Langley to push this forward to committee and to get it passed at all stages.
- MPconJun 06, 2013 10:15 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the member. I find them kind of fanciful right now. She did spend considerable time with the previous Liberal government when they were in power. In 13 years, they settled somewhere around 8 treaties.
This government has settled over 80 treaties since 2006. It certainly says something about the focus of our government. Something else that says it clearly is that since 2006, we have built over 30 new schools for aboriginals, renovated over 200 schools, built over 10,000 homes and renovated thousands more. We have invested in safe drinking water. The Liberals left around 300 reserves without safe drinking water when we took over in 2006. We have increased funding for child and family services by 25%. We have delivered on our promise for accountability and transparency in reserves. We have invested in over 700 projects that are linked to aboriginals and spent over $10 billion per year in 34 departments.
Very clearly, the Liberals did absolutely zero during their time in office. They did zip. They did nada. I wonder what excuse she is using to suggest that we need to do more, even though we have done ten times more as far as treaty claims go, and in half the time.
- MPconJun 05, 2013 12:35 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-526, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing).
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce my private member's bill, an act to amend the Criminal Code, also entitled the “cracking down on organized crime and terrorism act”.
It has been identified by this Parliament, the RCMP and criminal law experts that organized crime is a serious problem in Canada and around the world. Currently, offences connected with organized crime and terrorism are considered aggravating factors during sentencing.
Bill C-526 would protect Canadians further by creating a new subcategory of serious aggravating factors and, secondly, providing greater direction and additional tools to judges to identify and punish gang members, organized criminals and terrorists.
The purpose of the bill is to ensure that those committing a criminal offence in collusion with others, and those committing acts of terrorism, are severely punished.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
- MPconJun 05, 2013 11:10 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, the oil sands are the economic engine of this country, providing 334,000 jobs in Canada today and $2.1 trillion toward our GDP—yes, that is trillion with a t—and one million jobs by 2035.
The approval of the Keystone XL pipeline would not only create economic stability for all of Canada, it would also provide the United States with $172 billion—that is billion with b—toward the U.S. GDP by 2035, with $99 million in local government revenues, $486 million in state government revenues, and 1.8 million person-years of employment in the next 22 years. Wow. I am no doctor, but Keystone XL sounds like a perfect prescription to begin to cure an ailing U.S. economy.
As usual, the NDP opposes this Canadian pipeline and all Canadian jobs, but I would argue that a strong Canada-U.S. economic partnership could only mean success for all citizens of our great countries.
- MPconMay 30, 2013 9:10 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, we always work with our partners, because there is only one taxpayer, and that taxpayer funds all of the services we provide with their money. That is the difference in philosophy. We bring in these laws because we know that we can make people safer. We do not do it with the chequebook as the only barrier to entry.
To get to the point that member raised, the Attorney General of Saskatchewan said this:
These changes will help strengthen our criminal justice system by providing greater protection for witnesses. We support the proposed improvements to the Witness Protection Program Act as yet another step in making our communities safer.
If members do not believe me, they can believe him. Clearly, this is a situation where the facts speak for themselves.
This is going to be a great piece of legislation to keep witnesses safe, which will ultimately get the information to the courts to convict and send the people to jail who deserve it.
- MPconMay 30, 2013 9:05 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I was segueing, because as I mentioned, I was a defence attorney in Fort McMurray and I was talking about some of the people I worked with while I was a defence attorney and the fact that the NDP would vote against the jobs those people worked in when I was a defence attorney and dealt with cases such as this in the past.
I know they might not want to hear it and they might want to shut down debate on critical issues such as this. I know they do not want their constituents to find out they went down to Washington and joined in with some people down there to, frankly, protest Canadian jobs. I know they do not want us to talk about that.
However, as a result of the oil sands and what we are producing there, in a very environmentally sustainable way, we have accomplished the best banking system in the world. We have the best economy in the G8 and the G20. We are looking great as a country right now, not only because our laws are fantastic. The Conservative government has brought in some great laws that are tough on criminals, that do not stand up for victims, as does the NDP. I was on the justice committee for a long period of time and I saw time and time again that the NDP members would stand up and vote against our legislation to be tough on criminals.
The NDP uses the excuse that there is not enough money, but we have heard differently. I read two quotes today from a very reputable person with the RCMP that it does not need any more money. They talked a bit about and criticized the admissibility part and that there were not enough people being admitted. Well, we dealt with that in the legislation.
The truth is that the NDP members want to change the channel from what is happening: the NDP speaking against the economy and costing Canadians jobs. We are going to keep Canadians safe, as we would with this legislation, and we are going to continue to make sure the economy grows strong and stays strong.
- MPconMay 30, 2013 8:55 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk about this legislation. It is an interesting scenario indeed when a person can talk about what is important to people, and that, of course, is their life.
Some people have called this legislation different things but I broke it down. It is about someone seeing something, wanting to tell the truth about what was seen, but worrying about one's life or the life of a family member being taken as a result of the truth being told. Often these people are members of criminal organizations and they do not have the greatest character.
When we looked at the necessary amendments, we realized, as the NDP has said, that the Liberals did not get it right. Hopefully we are going to get it right. We had to make some changes to legislation that was not too bad. It was a good first step, but it obviously would not do the job.
I am glad to hear that the NDP and the Liberals both support this particular piece of legislation, but they cannot support anything without voting against it first. I would be surprised if the NDP actually do vote for it. That party cannot support anything without criticizing and I find that rather negative. It is not constructive, especially with respect to this particular piece of legislation.
I certainly think that protecting witnesses With respect to terrorism offences, we must make sure that we protect witnesses so they can speak without worrying about their safety. This is the time the NDP should come forward and say this is a great piece of legislation, but it might have a suggestion. The Speaker would not stand up and criticize something if he did not have a suggestion, but the NDP did. It is hard to believe that those members criticized today on three different points, but they never suggested one amendment to the legislation. The first time the bill came to the House there was not one suggestion. When it went through committee, there were no suggestions, not one amendment.
The NDP has suggested that there is not enough money. To be clear, I am not an expert on it. I was a criminal attorney for some period of time and I had the opportunity to work with people who were involved in situations such as this, although not in an in-depth nature. Police officers will tell us what is on their minds, and they will tell us the truth.
My colleagues keep repeating the same two bits of testimony from experts who came to committee, the first being “With the changes this bill brings about, the RCMP is comfortable that we have the resources within our existing resources to run an effective witness protection program”. Assistant Commissioner Todd G. Shean said, “It's not a question of resources; it's a question of the assessment that's done”.
The House should not take my word for these statements. These experts said there is enough money. Assistant Commissioner Todd G. Shean, federal and international operations, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, is a respected, well-renowned police officer and an expert in international and federal operations. He would know whether there is enough money involved.
When the NDP members come forward and say things like that, they lose credibility. Those members should maybe think about that in the future when they criticize government legislation without having substantive proof of what they are claiming.
That is probably why the NDP is the best at standing against government legislation. That party is against all of our economic action plan bills. It is against the 950,000 net new jobs we have created since the recession. Believe it or not, those members voted against every single action that we have taken as a government because they want to criticize us. They do not want to work as team players. They do not want to work with us to improve Canada's economic condition.
In fact, I am very proud to represent about 150,000 people, 80,000 of whom are directly or indirectly employed by the oil sands. I have seen the oil sands grow over the last 40 to 44 years from a barrel a day to where it is today at over a million barrels. We are looking at somewhere between 3 million and 5 million barrels a day being produced out of that area. Twenty per cent of Canada's exports right now are oil.
The NDP says we need more money, but what does it come up with for suggestions, recommendations or amendments to our legislation? It comes up with zip, zero, nada. New Democrats do that because all they can do is criticize and vote against things.
Speaking of voting against and criticizing, I want to continue on with my story, and it is a true story. Members might not believe it because it does sound like some sort of a fairy tale. Some of the NDP members went down to the United States and protested against the people working in my riding. They protested against Canadian jobs. It is unbelievable. In a time of economic downturn they voted against the people who I work beside, who I represent.
What shocks me the most is that they voted against the jobs of people from their own ridings. We have seen the oil sands produce a large number of jobs for people who work in the forklift manufacturing industry and for a bus manufacturer that is right in the middle of Quebec, for instance, in an NDP riding. They voted against those jobs.
Why did they do so? They did so because they believed, based upon voodoo magic, in my opinion, that somehow oil sands oil creates more GHGs than other forms of oil. That is not the case. When we look at it from start to finish, it is comparable to any other oil in the world, and frankly, it has lower emissions than Venezuelan crude and Californian crude.
- MPconMay 30, 2013 9:35 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to the member's speech. He mentioned one of the changes, which was to move from 90 days to 180 days, and he suggested it was a good change.
Since he is on the committee and heard from these expert witnesses, does he see any other changes that would be beneficial to these people and would be necessary to ensure that they are protected and kept safe in particular instances involving organized crime, et cetera? Would he suggest anything further we could do to keep them safe?
- MPconMay 23, 2013 8:05 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member asked that question. What type of material is incorporated by reference? Federal, provincial or foreign legislation. This includes standards developed as part of Canada's national standards system, including those of the Canadian Standards Association, the CSA. There are currently over 400 references to these types of standards in federal regulations.
International standards, such as the standards written by the International Organization for Standardization, ISO, most people see that. Members will see we are taking care of business.
- MPconMay 23, 2013 8:00 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I was here then and I do not remember them voting against that.
I do remember them voting against Canada's economic action plan. I remember them voting against the first $33 billion. I remember them voting against $12 billion in infrastructure stimulus. I remember them voting against just about everything we have put forward.
I judge by results, and I think that is what most Canadians judge by. They judge by whether they have a job or not. We have created over 900,000 new jobs.
We see that the member across the way voted against $241 million to improve on-reserve income assistance programs. He voted against $5 million to expand facilities at Cape Breton University for the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies throughout Canada. He voted against $10 million to inspire and help young aboriginal people all across the country. What he voted against most of all, and every time in the House, is the opportunity to train aboriginal Canadians to have jobs in colleges, universities and trade schools right across the country.
That is what we are doing as a government. We are making sure that we stand up not only for the youth of the country, who have one of the highest unemployment rates of any group and sector in the country, but also for the aboriginal and needy people right across the country.
It is not about a handout; it is about a hand up, so that people can feel good about themselves, take pride in what they do and feel good about being Canadian.
- MPconMay 23, 2013 7:50 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I would first like to say that I have been looking forward to speaking to this particular issue for some period of time, actually. Indeed, if we really look at it, we will see many important aspects of the incorporation by reference in regulations act. In fact, it speaks about the future, about being prepared for the future and about making sure that we are able as a government to adapt to what is new.
I speak particularly of change relating to, for instance, the world economic crisis. Our government responded in a very positive way, much like we would with changes to regulations to respond to international or domestic treaties. I would say that we responded by way of an infrastructure rollout such as this country has never seen before. I speak particularly of Canada's economic action plan and the investments in roads, street lights, security for airports, and water and waste water infrastructure. I speak of many recreational facilities across this country that have benefited Canadians. I also speak about the thousands upon thousands of jobs that Canada's economic action plan created, especially in provinces that do not have the economic activity of my province. I speak specifically of Quebec, where I have seen an increase in the quality of life through roadways, water and waste water infrastructure and a cleanup of the environment. All of these things were brought in as a result of change, and the need to change, by our Conservative government.
I know, Mr. Speaker, that this is going to come as somewhat of a surprise to you. Not only has Canada been the most successful country in the world with respect to the economy, but there was one party in the House that voted against each and every one of those economic activities. It is true. Even my colleagues cannot believe it. There were members in the House who voted against Canada's economic action plan, the plan that has been raved about by the G8 and G20 and that has identified Canada as having the best banking system in the world and one of the most successful recoveries, with over 900,000 net new jobs. That party was the New Democratic Party in the House. I witnessed it with my own eyes when New Democrats voted against job recovery. They are applauding now, because they remember what they did. They remember that they stood against this government as we created what can only be said is the best recovery in the world from a deep world economic crisis.
The Liberal Party supported us in some of those bills. I would have to give it credit. Of course, Canadians looked at it a little differently, and that is why they returned the Liberal Party with the fewest number of members in its history. I think that had something to do with the $25 billion it stripped from provincial transfers back in the 1990s. Speaking of changes in statutory instruments, Liberals changed the way the law worked. They changed how provinces and the federal government are supposed to work.
We know, for instance, about the relationship we have built up as a Conservative government with all of the provinces and territories, with every level of government, including, of course, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which today identified this Conservative federal government as a government that is prepared to act in the best interests of Canadians by coming forward with a new infrastructure plan, which it was very satisfied with.
We have done a lot that has been asked of us and we have done that because of the need for change. Change comes in many ways. This bill talks about drafting techniques that offer many advantages because for example, reducing needless duplication or repetition of materials such as provincial legislation when there are current federal and provincial legislative regimes that need to be harmonized.
That is what this government does. Our job is to represent Canadians in the best way we possibly can in saving them money that is unnecessarily spent, by standing up, as the NDP now knows it should have, to support our government when we brought forward $45 billion of economic activity in partnership with provinces, territories and municipalities.
In 2004, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities identified $123 billion in an infrastructure deficit across this country. As a result of 13 years of the Liberals ignoring provincial and territorial governments and stripping $25 billion from their transfers, we had no choice but to react immediately and come up with a plan, a one-page application, a simple process that we have had tremendous reviews about. We work with provincial governments to bring one third, municipal governments bring in one third and we invest one third of Canadian taxpayers' money back into roads and bridges. The NDP voted against it.
There might be some repetition in tonight's speeches because I am very passionate about the opportunity to speak. Some parties in this place, in my mind, do not represent Canadians as they should, especially when we are faced with an economic crisis like the world has never seen before. That is the time when all of the members in House elected by Canadians should stand with the government to protect our economy and our jobs.
We have seen an amazing thing happen over the last 20 years; first the Liberals ignoring Canadians and stripping the $25 billion in transfers and then the New Democratic Party not standing up for Canadians. It is rather shameful and I understand their passion in relation to that.
I would like to answer a couple of questions regarding the incorporation by reference in regulations act because it is very important. Obviously, this government does make changes as necessary and we are doing it in this case as well. One might ask what is incorporation by reference. It is a legislative drafting technique most often used in regulations and it consistently allows the reference documents to form part of the regulations without actually being reproduced. That means that as a result of laying down proper ground rules we do not need to cut down a lot more trees. In fact it not only saves the trees, but it is more economically viable for the country. There is no sense in wasting taxpayers' money. They work hard for it.
In my riding most people work 12 hours a day and then they travel about two hours back and forth to go to work, about 30 kilometres. They enjoy one of the best qualities of life in the world and certainly one of the best qualities of life in Canada. The Clearwater River Valley, only about three blocks from my home, is one of the most beautiful places in the world to fish. I have posted on Facebook a picture of my fishing boat. I think it is time for a change, just like the change necessary for incorporation by reference in regulations act. That change is my opportunity to return to my constituency, go two blocks down to the Clearwater River Valley and to go fishing with my constituents and supporters for some period of time this summer. That is the change that I am looking forward to.
It is unfortunate that I am running out time. The types of regulations that use incorporation by reference would be shipping and marine safety acts, energy efficiency acts and hazardous products. I would hate to see the NDP stand in the way of all the safety products and marine products that need to be brought in as well by this legislation.
I see my time is up. I would just like to say in closing that I really hope the NDP supports this government in the future and sees how important it is that we make these changes in the best interests of Canadians.
- MPconMay 21, 2013 3:10 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
With regard to Order Paper questions: (a) for questions Q-819 through Q-1259, what is the estimated cost of the government's response to each question; and (b) what is the estimated cost of the government's response to this question?
- MPconMay 03, 2013 11:05 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I have been listening intently and I have find it very interesting that we are going to set up a sodium control mechanism by registering the amount of sodium that goes into food. I wonder if the next thing is we will have trigger locks on all of our salt shakers on the table.
The NDP members want to have a sodium registry, but they want to decriminalize marijuana. They talk about health issues with sodium, but have they thought about the other issues that they bring forward? It seems they are sucking and blowing at the same time in relation to many of the policies they are behind.
It just does not seem to fit. In fact, I am wondering what is going to happen next after they control the amount of sodium that goes into products instead of just providing information and education. Maybe they are going to throw people in jail for testing too high on salt. Maybe we are going to have lineups of people being tested for salt. I am not sure. I just do not know where this ends.
The control mechanism those members want to force on consumers clearly indicates the disrespect they have for taxpayers and Canadians alike, thinking they cannot make their own decisions based on proper information.
We know for instance that on processed foods it is required to list the amount of sodium that is contained within those products. Therefore, consumers can go along, pick up a can when they are buying their groceries and see how much sodium it has. Then if they have a sodium issue, they can control the amount of sodium they take by being educated. As we know, just about all Canadians have the ability to read the labels.
The NDP wants to set up this mechanism, this highly regulated and expensive Canadian government registry that will have all of these products on the list and the amount of sodium in them. What are people going to do? Every time they want to go out to get a processed product, such as a bag of chips from the grocery store, will they have to run home and check the computer or take the information with them? Are the New Democrats trying to create more money for large cellphone companies? I am really not sure where they are coming from. I clearly think this is a disrespectful model to follow. It is wasteful, ineffective and will simply not work.
I would like to begin by reiterating the work the government is doing to address sodium intake in Canada because it is a serious concern. However, the NDP members say that it will lower health costs and yet they want to decriminalize something like smoking marijuana that would have such a high health cost to consumers. Their position just does not make sense.
I would like to talk about what the Canadian government is doing.
First, the sodium working group that my friend talked about recommended the government take a voluntary multi-stakeholder approach to reducing the amount of sodium found in foods in the Canadian market. I agree because Canadians are smart. They can feel their health. They see their doctors. We have a good medical system in our country. It does need some work, like most things, but one thing that does not need more work is a sodium registry. Clearly, this would not be good for Canadians and, as I said, I think it disrespects Canadians. It certainly disrespects the independent working group that was set up to find some solutions to the issue.
The government recognized the need for this comprehensive approach by setting up the group. It acknowledged the roles of industry, government and Canadians in working together to reduce sodium consumption. However, we must not do so through some draconian methodology that will, frankly, be very expensive and accomplish nothing except to penalize companies and consumers.
In particular, I would like to talk about the 90-day coming into force program. I know many people in this place have not been commercial printers, but I can promise them that a 90-day coming into force regime would not even enable companies to change the labelling fast enough if they were to reduce the amount of sodium. It would not allow them to change the product. These are products they have spent many years on in putting the perfect ingredients in, as they see it and consumers demand, and sodium is used as a preservative for some of these products.
What are we going to have with a 90-day coming into force? If the NDP had its way and if it were in government, it would have its way, we would find there would be nothing on the shelves. That is what it wants to do. It wants to control the lives of consumers, drive up taxpaying costs and disrespecting Canadians through this.
We have established a voluntary approach. It focuses on three main pillars. The first is awareness and education for consumers. It is clear that the Conservative government respects Canadians and respects the ability of Canadians to make proper choices.
The second pillar is the provision of guidance to the industry to reduce sodium in processed foods. This is a voluntary approach, but at the same time one that will make changes. We have seen this work in other areas, including the transportation industry, consumer groups and food safety issues. It does work and it works in such a way that industry members have an opportunity to do so in a consumer-minded and commercial-minded approach that makes sense and does not shut them down and take all of these processed foods off the store shelves.
The third pillar is proper research. This government has done a lot of investment in research and development, not just in the aerospace industry, not just in the transportation industry, not just in the criminal situation where we need to make sure we have proper laws that are not too draconian, but send criminals to jail because they have done wrong things and the public needs protection. Research is very important, especially in food safety and looking at consumers and consumers' patterns of eating, especially Canadians because we are a little different.
We have the far north and some other areas that frankly need to be more careful in relation to the amount of food they eat and what types of food they have. I highly recommend fresh fruits and vegetables and proper foods like that, regularly going to a marketplace and having the food come in every two or three days. Many European nations and other nations do this. They do not buy in large bulk like Canadians do and like we had to do as a result of our heritage. They buy regularly every day and that is why they have sometimes a much better source of food than we do in Canada.
Focusing on these three areas, we are clearly working to respect Canadians' views, but also to lower Canadians' sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day by 2016. This is an ambitious target, but by educating consumers and Canadians we can do that.
This is an approach that is already showing progress. We have had success in this area in meeting its target. As a result of that, in the small amount of time we have taken to do this, it shows that this government's approach is clearly working. Data recently collected from samples of breads, breakfast cereals and canned soups show that sodium levels have been reduced by about 10% overall in these products.
I find very interesting that the NDP members vote against, for instance, infrastructure projects and all the economic action plans that the Conservative government brought forward. They vote against jobs. They sent a delegation to Washington to shut down the oil sands industry, to shut down the jobs that Canadians are working in, to shut down the manufacturing industry in Ontario and Quebec that supplies somewhere in the neighbourhood of 40% to 50% of the jobs outside of Alberta that are working in the oil sands. It is shocking that they would try to shut down Canadian jobs, that they would vote against action plans to create employment and infrastructure and a higher quality of life in Canada, yet they want to control the amount of salt that Canadians eat. Quite frankly, it is ridiculous.
Bill C-460 unfortunately does not acknowledge the work that has already been done and the positive changes that are coming out. It just criticizes. I would like to focus today on the costs especially.
I know I do not have a lot of time because I have a lot to say about the bill because of the ludicrous nature of it. This would be a significant cost to taxpayers and how do we maintain that? Well, the government has to maintain it. The government has to maintain it on a continuous basis and keep it up-to-date. I think it would be underutilized, if at all utilized, by Canadians and would cost a lot of money. The only people who would actually know what is on the website, because those would be the only people able to use it, are government people who are inputting the data. I just do not think it makes sense.
By mandating the levels of sodium in food products, manufacturers would also be forced to reformulate their product in a very quick fashion. That is not how it works. Frankly, as I said before, they would end up pulling the product off the shelf until they could conform properly because it is an issue of food safety as well. They would be changing the products that go into their food because they would have to, as a result of the NDP bill. It would mean so many disruptions to Canadians' lives and accomplish absolutely nothing.
It is clear that Canadians made a choice in the last election. They voted for a Conservative government so that we can continue to operate as they want us to do, continue to respect Canadians, continue to allow them to make their own educated choices, but to make sure at the same time that they have the ability to understand what they are consuming and be able to understand what choices they are making.
- MPconMay 03, 2013 9:55 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, we know that our economy is doing very well. We have heard from world leaders, the OECD, and the IMF about how well our economy is doing as a result of the $45-billion economic action plan and the infrastructure stimulus fund this government put in place. We have seen jobs created as a result of new bridges, new roads and new community centres right across the country—in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.
Mr. Speaker, you and I know, but many Canadians do not know, that the NDP voted against the economic action plan and every single dollar that went into Ontario, Quebec and across the country.
What would have happened had the NDP had its way? What would have happened if we had not had the economic action plan and had not created the 900,000 net new jobs we have as a Conservative government? What would have happened to our economy?
- MPconMay 03, 2013 8:55 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, our incredibly hard-working Minister of Foreign Affairs is in Montreal today to lead the defence against Qatar's hostile attempt to relocate the International Civil Aviation Organization.
As members know, our government has worked in good faith to complete an agreement to extend ICAO's stay in that world-class beautiful city for 20 years, from 2016 onward. The ICAO council actually endorsed the agreement and gave the secretary general the authority to sign it.
Can the parliamentary secretary today please tell us what the Minister of Foreign Affairs is doing in Montreal?
- MPconMay 01, 2013 2:25 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I find that troubling. The PBO did correct that particular statement that the individual brought forward, and indicated clearly that those jobs would not have naturally occurred without the government investing in Canada. It just simply makes sense.
I would like to talk about a few other things that have happened that I am very proud of as well. They include an investment of $1.25 billion for affordable housing that we are bringing forward in this budget. In fact, in the homeless partnership strategy of $600 million, the investment there is to help people move from the streets to shelters, with jobs or with mental health treatment.
Those are things the government is doing. We are making sure that Canadians are going to do better, no matter whether they are on the streets and have health or mental issues that we need to resolve, or whether they need jobs somewhere else in the country. We are going to make sure, no matter where they are from, they are treated fairly and equally. Canadians are the number one priority of government.
- MPconMay 01, 2013 2:15 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to talk a little bit about what I think is a great budget, economic action plan 2013.
Clearly, we can see the difference between the political parties in this House. On this side of the House are the Conservatives, who stand up for the Canadian economy, which ultimately means more and better jobs for Canadians.
On the other side, they stand up for banks, Chinese manufacturers of bikes and other manufacturers from other countries. Instead of supporting local manufacturing, they stand up to support Chinese manufacturers. It seems absolutely absurd, and frankly, Canadians will punish them at the next opportunity they have.
Let us talk about the positive things in the budget that we are bringing in to promote a stronger economy and to make sure that Canadians have a far stronger and better quality of life.
First, in my part of the country, Fort McMurray—Athabasca, we have problems filling jobs. We cannot find enough people to do the jobs we have. It does not matter whether it is in a car wash sector, a Tim Hortons or even lawyers or doctors; we cannot find enough people to fill the jobs, and we have the highest household income in the country. That is right: $185,000 is the average household income in my city of Fort McMurray.
One of the things I really like is the Canada job grant. This is to help align individual skills with high-demand jobs. It is a $15,000 amount in a tripartite fashion, with the provinces, the federal government and employers working together to find people to fill the jobs. What could be more important than that? This is a very positive initiative. It makes sure we do not just give a handout but a hand up, and we do so in a way whereby every level of government is working together with employers to do exactly that.
Another thing I really like is directing the gas tax fund payments to build a job-creating infrastructure throughout Canada. This is very important. When we came to office, as I am sure we heard from many people and as we have seen in the streets of our country, we had a $123 billion deficit in infrastructure. It takes time to catch up, so in our budget we brought in one of the largest infrastructure investments in Canada's history, $33 billion.
We heard clearly from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and right across the country that these were great initiatives for ensuring that Canada's quality of life continued to be the greatest in the world by ensuring that potholes were filled, by ensuring we had new roads and less congestion on our roadways, by ensuring we had water and waste water infrastructure. We are doing exactly that in this budget. We are doing so in collaboration with other parties: with the provinces, with the territories, with municipalities and now with employers.
We are also amending the temporary foreign workers program. On one side we cannot get enough employees in Fort McMurray for many of the jobs there, especially in the service sector. Those people in the service sector make a better quality of life for the people in the higher-paying jobs with that $185,000 average household income. However, clearly everybody in the House would agree that there has been some form of misuse of the program. That cannot be put up with. Clearly, our Prime Minister has laid out a plan, a strategy, to ensure that employers cannot do that any more.
There is always a need for tweaks. There is always a need for some changes in legislation to make sure that it would be unacceptable for people, companies or employers to take advantage of the system to the detriment of the Canadian economy and Canadians as a whole.
In this particular case, I have heard from union and non-union members throughout my constituency that they clearly want some changes to the temporary foreign worker program. We are here for Canadians, and Canadians should have first crack at any job they want, no matter what part of the country they are from.
We have also extended the accelerated capital cost allowance for two years to create new investments for Canadian manufacturers. This means that companies will buy equipment, and we hope it will be Canadian equipment. Somebody will then need to make sure the equipment works, so we will have to train people. Those will be Canadian jobs. Then employers will have to make sure they have people to operate the machinery.
This is a kick-start to employers to encourage them to go out and buy new machinery. It is a tax advantage for them, in that it defers tax a bit, and it is clearly a financial advantage for them to do so.
All the way down the assembly line of that manufacturing company will be Canadians working for Canadian output. That is an advantage for all Canadian manufacturers. It is an advantage for southwestern Ontario, for Quebec and for other places where the manufacturing sector has been hit. This Conservative government stands up for, and will continue to stand up for, the manufacturing sector in this country.
We are also doing some other interesting things. We are providing $165 million in support for Genome Canada. I know this is a very popular thing in some parts of the country and not so popular in others, because those areas do not know what the company does. This company makes sure that Canadians are on the forefront of research and development. In whatever field, Genome Canada is going to be the first in the world. We heard clearly in the finance committee that Genome Canada is at the forefront of the field, and this government will continue to support that to ensure Canadians have the best jobs through research and development.
We are also worried about youth. Although we have a low unemployment rate, we have a high youth unemployment rate. Compared to the rest of the world, though, it is very low, and we are going to work on youth because we need to fill those jobs. We are going to invest $8 million in the Canadian Youth Business Foundation to provide advice for young entrepreneurs.
As the father of three children in their twenties, I know it is difficult for them to find jobs in some areas, especially in the lower service sector. This will provide advice for people who want to start up new businesses, for people who want to start on an opportunity that they would not have otherwise or would not know how to fulfill. This government sees today's youth as tomorrow's future. We are going to concentrate on the future of Canada through youth, through quality of life and through a strong economy.
We are also providing $5 million in 2013-14 to Indspire, which supports scholarships and bursaries for first nation and Inuit post-secondary education. This program is important in all parts of Canada, but it is especially important for our economy. That is because we have heard in the finance committee that there is a clear correlation between success in aboriginal communities and the resource sector.
That is right. The resource sector is usually found in remote places in northern Canada. Aboriginal communities are usually in the same places. Here is an opportunity to make sure that those people who are the captains of industry are people from those communities, and they should be. Not only should they have first crack at a job, but they should be the people leading this country in that particular area of development.
In the oil sands in Fort McMurray, aboriginal communities are, for the most part, highly successful. They have integrated very well with the industry to create successful aboriginal stories and successful community stories. Fort McKay would be a perfect example. I would suggest it is one of the best success stories in the country as far as aboriginal communities are concerned.
We are also renovating the Investment Canada Act to further clarify foreign state investments in Canada and national security reviews. I have heard that clearly from constituents too. They are concerned about foreign investment. They are concerned about Chinese investment and other countries investing in the oil sands, for instance, or in key industries such as uranium or potash. Canadians want those industries to be owned by Canadians, to be run by Canadians and to have Canadian employees. Canadians are worried about that. They trust us to make sure we do what is best for them.
I do not have a lot of time left, but I want to talk briefly about something that is near and dear to me.
Our government has set record levels on infrastructure investment in this country. I mentioned $33 billion, but that amount is actually $45 billion over that period of time. That is the highest investment by any Canadian government in our history.
People might ask what this does for them. The answer is that it employs them. As well, it makes sure that they have more and better highways and better bridges, and other infrastructure such as social infrastructure. It gives them a better quality of life.
Some of those things include $32.2 billion in the community improvement fund, which will provide stable funding for community infrastructure projects. We have heard from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and from mayors and provinces right across the country that they need to have stable, predictable, long-term funding so they know where they are going to spend money in the future. They need to know when they are going to get it, just as any business does. If we just tell them that every year they are going to get a certain amount and it is a surprise to them, how can they do any long-term planning? It is impossible.
This government is going to make a variety of other infrastructure investments to build on our economic action plan. We are going to make sure we place Canadians first, for Canadians, for the Canadian economy and for the future of Canada.
- MPconMay 01, 2013 1:55 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's proposal. I am not sure if he read the budget and looked at what we are doing in relation to Canada's skills grants, in relation to the accelerated capital cost allowance for Canadian manufacturers and in regard to the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. We are investing $8 million in youth to make sure they receive proper advice for their start-ups and inspiration for the future. In addition, Indspire is receiving $5 million from 2013-14 for first nation and Inuit post-secondary education.
I am not sure if he heard that or read that in the budget, but I would encourage him to do so to see exactly what this government is doing and how we are helping Canadians and not sticking up for the banks, as the Liberal Party usually does. In this particular case, it is credit unions. The reality is that we all have to pay our fair share, credit unions as well.
I am wondering if this is actually a move by the Liberals to deflect from the tremendous amount of investment in infrastructure this government has made over the past six years and the tremendous amount of infrastructure in which we are investing in the current budget. Of course, they cut $25 billion in social transfers to the provinces. Is that what this is really all about? Is it about changing the channel from the cuts by the Liberal government in the nineties?
- MPconApr 26, 2013 8:10 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to honour one of Alberta's own. Yesterday, Dave Rutherford announced that he was signing off radio for the very last time. For over 20 years, Dave Rutherford has been the voice of Albertan people, speaking to the people directly on the issues that matter to them the most.
I know we are unlikely to see another radio show like his any time soon. Whether he was hosting the Prime Minister of Canada, or taking questions from listeners, Rutherford always had an uncanny tendency to know exactly what Albertans were thinking.
Hundreds of thousands of regular listeners will miss the pointed questions he asked and the information that he provided. The uniqueness of his talk show, which focused on issues instead of the long political rants that sometimes take place, can solely be credited to the thoughtfulness of this great man.
Even though he is gone from radio, we hope to continue to hear from him in one way or another for many years. We will miss him.
- MPconApr 23, 2013 11:05 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, Canada and the United States are best friends. Our countries share the largest trade relationship in the world, a 9,000 kilometre border, three oceans, $1.8 billion in trade every day and $600 billion in trade exports and imports last year. Of 50 states, 35 count Canada as their number one export market. As well, there are over 4,500 Canadian-owned businesses in 17,000 U.S. locations.
We are best friends, with family connections in every state, province and territory. Today I thank Canada's best friend, the United States of America, its Congress, its Senate and President Obama for our great and enduring friendship. May the key to our future friendship continue to be the stone solid economic link between our countries.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 10:30 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I clearly heard my friend talk about where he was parked for nine years and that he was parked in Fort McMurray, so I thought it would be necessary to talk about parks.
We have done a great amount of work on parks, and green energy in particular. In fact, $4 million in 2013 will be spent to better protect against invasive species and water regulations. We are doing a lot to keep Canadians safe, making sure jobs happen, making sure that this economy continues and Canada has the best quality of life possible.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 10:15 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to budget 2013. In fact, going on from what my colleague said, we are the first government in Canadian history to actually lower greenhouse gas emissions. That clearly indicates to me that the more the Conservatives are elected and sent to this place, the less hot air there would be going around Canada.
However, I do believe that for the most part this is going to be an incredible budget for my constituency of Fort McMurray—Athabasca. When we go up there to see how much job unemployment there is, quite frankly there is none. There are so many jobs that we cannot fill them. It is a sad state of affairs when we have a situation where there are jobs in this country and there people who are jobless, and we cannot fill those jobs. People do not much better psychologically, mentally, physically, emotionally when they have a job and they know the future is bright.
Canada has tremendous opportunities to provide those jobs. However, up until 2006, there was no movement by any federal government to move forward with a situation in the country where people could take jobs, receive training, and either move on a temporary or a permanent basis to have jobs in their particular sectors.
In fact, that is why this government has continued to provide support to the manufacturing industry, whether it be the automobile manufacturing sector in Ontario or the machinery manufacturing sector in Ontario and Quebec, or whether it be one of many others. Again, this particular budget would invest in manufacturing, in jobs and job creation, and in skills.
Some may wonder what that is all about. The truth is that we have continued to do that since 2006, since we were first elected. What we have seen as a result of the election, and then the successive moves by this Prime Minister, this cabinet and this government, is the voting in of some good economic action plans and other budgets that have created jobs and successes.
We have heard from many speakers that we have had over 900,000 net new jobs created in this country. We have also been ranked as one of the strongest economies in the G7 year after year. We have the strongest banking sector in the world right now, bar none. For the past two or three years, we have had an incredible opportunity to create jobs, to fill voids in our sector, in our economy generally across the board, and that has worked out to be tremendously successful.
However, these are about past successes. I want to talk about tomorrow's successes. That is why I want the opportunity to talk about budget 2013.
There are tremendous positive attributes of this budget, particularly, as I said, in job creation, job growth and stimulating economic development. However, we would also note, and members have probably heard this a couple of times before, this Conservative Government of Canada, since 2006, has invested more money in quality of life, in particular infrastructure, than any government in our history. Going forward, this is the plan by this government. We are going to invest in solid community infrastructure that would give Canadians the quality of life they deserve. They deserve a high quality of life, the best quality of life of anyone in the world.
We are going to build and construct roads, bridges, subways, public infrastructure, all in collaboration with provinces and territories and also with our partners in the municipalities. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, in 2005, identified that we had a $123-billion deficit on our infrastructure across the country. As a result, we saw economic action plans that brought forward somewhere in the neighbourhood of $33 billion in 2008, and a total of about $45 billion up to today's budget.
Now we are going forward with even more. There is $53 billion in infrastructure funding for the next 10 years, which I will state again is the largest and longest federal infrastructure plan ever in Canadian history. This would include job creation in that infrastructure investment. That would mean more jobs for Canadians all across the country.
The one thing we are doing differently from the previous Liberal government is actually investing on an equitable basis, a fair basis, all across Canada. Whether it be in each and every province based upon population, or in the territories, we are investing fairly so Canadians would get their fair share no matter where they are in the country. That is something different. We can see that clearly in the funding model we have come forward with today. For instance, $32 billion over the next 10 years of building community infrastructure would include over $10 billion in federal public infrastructure. It will be over $14 billion toward major economic infrastructure, which would include major infrastructure, such as the Windsor-Detroit bridge, and other infrastructure investments across this country.
These things will increase the quality of life for Canadians. That is ultimately what I am doing here and what I was elected to do by the 150,000 or so people in northern Alberta, to give them a better quality of life and to be accountable with the money. There are no slush funds here or $40 million missing. We will find proper investments, proper accountability and make sure that Canadians get value for money. That is why I am here. There is why I was elected and that is why I will continue to represent my constituents and give them exactly that.
There is $1.25 billion for creating more efficient infrastructure through public private partnerships. I like public private partnerships because overall they come in for less than budget and faster in time than public infrastructure. That is correct. We can give more money, more quality of life for Canadians, through this type of model. This government has been very good and very aggressive at setting this up and we are seeing the benefits of that. The benefits go straight back to my constituents, and all Canadians.
We are also doing other things, such as $600 million in improving shelters and stable housing for the homeless with mental health and addiction issues. This is a big issue. These people should not be in prisons. They should be taken care of by the government through some form of alternative measures. We are moving forward with that so we will have stable shelters and housing for those people. Finally, there is over $1.25 billion in renewing our investment in affordable housing.
Opposition members talk about how mean and nasty the Conservatives are, but this budget does not say that. This budget says we clearly care about all Canadians and that we are going to make sure there is an equitable division of the tax dollars that belong to them. We are going to make sure that every part of Canada receives what it needs. There are many priorities out there, but those priorities should be done on a fair and equitable basis. That is what we are going to do.
Along with infrastructure, I mentioned earlier that we are worried about Canada's manufacturing sector. Non-renewable resources, such as oil sands, gas, gold, platinum or uranium do not renew themselves. We need to make sure we have an economy going forward for the next thousand years. That is what we are doing. We are making sure we give tax relief for new manufacturing of machinery and equipment of $1.4 billion. We are making sure we give new investments in our aerospace industry. I think we are the third or fourth largest in the world, and that is something to be proud of. We easily fight above our weight on the international stage in the aerospace industry and we need to make sure those jobs continue to happen into the future.
We also are looking at large-scale technology projects. Not only did our knowledge infrastructure program invest in all the universities and colleges across this country that provided tremendous opportunities for my children, other people's children and the next generation, on public infrastructure buildings, but we are also investing in training and trades. We are going forward even in a time of austerity. The world is looking pretty glum, but Canada is looking great and we are investing in new technology.
I want to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart, and that is the Canada jobs grant: $15,000 for eligible participates. However, that $15,000 to train new people is not just given to people; it is given to people under certain conditions. Those conditions include participation by the province. Certainly it is provincial jurisdiction to create jobs and to keep that going, but we are working together with our partners, not just municipalities, but provinces and the employers. That is right. Employers have to buy into this program as well. That means that the employers and employees do not get free money. They have to abide by certain regulations and conditions to get the money. However, the money will be there. The employers have to train people. This is not a handout; this is a hand-up scenario.
I am very proud of that. We believe we will have at least 130,000 Canadians who will have access to training and eligible institutions like colleges and training centres that will take advantage of this money.
I also want to talk about new investments. It is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20% of my constituency who are aboriginal. I am proud to see there is $241 million to improve on-reserve income assistance programs to help guarantee first nations youth access to job skills and training. One of the largest issues we have in this country is aboriginal youth who are unemployed. That is a large percentage. There is $5 million to expand the facilities of Cape Breton University's Purdy Crawford Chair, in aboriginal studies throughout Canada. It goes on and on.
This is a government that cares about the people of Canada, that is equitable in the decisions it makes and that makes sure every part of the country receives a fair share. However, it is about jobs. Jobs are the future of this country and we need to take care of the people who cannot take care of themselves. We need to make sure we do the job properly in the best interests of Canadians.
- MPconMar 20, 2013 11:10 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, the NDP leader's statement in Washington that the Keystone XL pipeline would mean a 40,000-person job loss for Canadians is ridiculous and false.
This pipeline is a key instrument to ensuring strong Canada-U.S. relations, future economic growth and jobs on both sides of the border. In Canada alone, the Keystone and other pipeline projects will mean at least 905,000 new jobs by 2035. It also means $1.3 trillion of economic output and $281 billion in tax revenue. That is a lot of schools, a lot of hospitals and a lot of roads in Canada.
Not only does the NDP want to discourage one of the biggest economic projects in Canada's history, it also wants to replace it with a $21 billion job-killing carbon tax that would cost thousands of Canadian jobs. Truly, the NDP is not fit to govern.
- MPconFeb 05, 2013 4:15 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I commend the member for the bill. It seems very useful indeed. There are hundreds of millions of dollars going in unwarranted profits to people who would prey on the most vulnerable Canadians. I applaud her. I will be supporting the bill and I hope all members will as well.
Why specifically did she not set out a maximum fee in relation to the contingency fee charged? I know in Alberta there was talk of this for some period of time in relation to solicitor fees and that was capped at 30%, about 12 years ago, from an unregulated industry. I know that was met with much applause in the industry in Alberta. Did she do much research on this and why she did not set a particular maximum fee?
- MPconJan 31, 2013 1:35 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to be here since 2004. I remember the Liberals being in power at that time and talking a lot and going through the motions of settlements and land claims, etcetera.
During that period of time when they were in majority governments, for most of that time, the Liberals settled very few claims. In fact I think it was somewhere around 10 or 12 claims in 13 years, in essence one a year or possibly a little more.
I wonder if the member knows that we have actually settled more than 80 land claims in the six years the government has been in power, more than 80 land claims that are permanent settlements. One in particular in my riding, the Bigstone Cree Nation, the second largest nation in Canada, is one of the largest claims in history. That was done about three years ago.
I would invite the member to come up to my riding in northern Alberta to see the success of first nations that have the economic conditions to change their lives and change their futures. It is a wonderful thing to see. I have many family members in that area. Their success is true and real. They are successful and very happy people.
- MPconDec 11, 2012 10:00 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I have listened, but again and again I hear the same misrepresentation of the facts. Indeed, I think all members here would agree that 81 out of the 88 recommendations made by Chief Justice Lamer have been accepted by the government, and have been implemented or are on their way to being implemented.
The member and others from the NDP have stood up consistently and said, “They do not deserve criminal record” or “They should not have a criminal record” or “The criminal record follows them”. It is not about “them”. If they have committed a crime, they should be identified with a criminal record. Canadians should have the ability to have someone supervise them for a period of time. Criminals should pay a price as a consequence of their actions.
Is the member suggesting that these people, if they commit a crime, should not have a criminal record and that Canadians should not be protected through some form of supervision on an ongoing basis? That is what he seems to be saying.
The member continuously brings forward the disappointment that the NDP members have in relation to their amendments not being adopted by the government, so the NDP members are going to take their baseball and bat and go home. I know the member is disappointed, but he is not in government.
Is the member suggesting that people should not receive a criminal record if they do a crime? That is what he seems to be saying.
- MPconDec 11, 2012 9:45 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, this is the third time I have listened to members from the NDP bring forward what I would characterize as misinformation. That is the only way I can characterize it.
We do, indeed, have the facts. The only fact we seem to agree on in this particular case is that former Chief Justice Lamer made 88 recommendations in his 2003 report. That should lend a lot of credence to this. It is independent from political purview, from a person who has a great legal track record and actually made recommendations. Eighty-one of those recommendations were accepted by this government. That is clear from all the information, if we look at it. Twenty-nine have been implemented already through legislation, regulation or policy changes; 36 are contained in Bill C-15; and the remainder that have been accepted by the government are pending implementation through regulation or are under study to find out the best way to implement them.
That is very clear. We know that. Why do the opposition NDP members continuously suggest that is not the case? They are misrepresenting the facts on how many have been accepted by the government and how many have actually been implemented.
- MPconDec 11, 2012 9:30 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, having had the opportunity to listen to the member, I want to make a couple of comments.
First, the former Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Brian Dickson actually examined the summary trial system, which the hon. member has an issue with, and stated:
The requirement for military efficiency and discipline entails the need for summary procedures. This suggests that investigation of offences and their disposition should be done quickly and at the unit level.
The Supreme Court of Canada and the previous Chief Justice have agreed that the summary procedure is necessary and appropriate in this case. Indeed, Chief Justice Dickson at the time and Justice Lesage confirmed that the summary trial system was constitutionally valid and would withstand anything. Hence, I am wondering why the hon. member would bring that forward.
The hon. member said as well that the summary trial was not reviewable. To the contrary, it specifically is reviewable. The offender is informed at the time of sentencing that he or she has the right to have the finding or sentence reviewed. Moreover, an assisting officer is assigned to the offender, and if the offender is sentenced to detention, that detention is actually suspended until it is reviewed.
Therefore, what the hon. member is suggesting is in fact not the case, and I wish she would comment on that and get the facts straight.
- MPconDec 11, 2012 8:45 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I have been having some problems listening and it is not because my ears do not hear. I understand the member might have difficulty counting. My understanding is that he claims only 29 of the recommendations made by the late Chief Justice Lamer have been implemented by the government.
The facts speak differently. I wonder if the member could comment on that. Specifically, there were 88 recommendations made from the 2003 report, but 81 of these recommendations were accepted by the government. In fact, 29 have been implemented already, either through other legislation, regulation or policy changes. I understand that 36 are currently contained in Bill C-15.
What the member is saying is obviously an accounting error. I know the NDP, as a rule, make a lot of accounting errors because they spend much more money than is actually available through taxes from Canadians. Could the member just stick to the facts and comment on the fact that of the 88 recommendations made, 81 have actually been implemented in some way, either through legislation, regulation or are in other bills? Could the member comment on that in particular?
- MPconDec 10, 2012 12:15 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of the residents of Fort McMurray—Athabasca and in particular the residents of Big Lakes, High Prairie.
The petitioners ask the government to construct a federal penitentiary in the municipal district of Big Lakes. Although the oil sands are doing great, not all of Alberta or all of the country is doing great. As such they ask for assistance to help with their employment needs in that area.
- MPconDec 10, 2012 11:05 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, it is almost Christmas, a time when our thoughts naturally turn to family, friends and gift giving.
This Christmas the NDP members are behaving more like Scrooge than Santa. They want to give Canadians the gift of a carbon tax. This is no gift, but a money grab, a lump of coal that would create hardships all across Canada for hardworking families.
The oil sands fuel the economy and create jobs in all parts of Canada. Every day, workers fly out of northern Alberta, my home, taking their well-earned good wages back to their families in Newfoundland, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and all of Canada.
A carbon tax like the NDP is proposing would critically hurt Canadian families. Our government has lowered taxes for all Canadians, promoted trade, increased exports and kept our economy stable.
I ask all Canadians during the holidays to raise their voice and say no to the NDP lump of coal, no to the NDP carbon tax.
- MPconDec 10, 2012 9:10 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, first, I want to apologize for laughing at the member when he said responsible government and NDP in the same sentence because, of course, the NDP members were the people who voted against Canada's economic action plan that actually has kept us above and beyond all the other countries in the world as far as economic performance goes.
I want to ask the member if he now regrets the decision to vote against all of the roads, the bridges, the recreation centres, the hockey rinks and all the other things that created a positive economic atmosphere and so many jobs in Canada.
I also want to know if this is the same NDP that is suggesting we stop tanker traffic on the west coast. That is what I have heard from it time and time again, that it would stop all tanker traffic on the west coast. Indeed, that tanker traffic brings oil and gas to many small communities across the west coast. It creates many jobs there. These are the same NDP members who want to shut down the oil sands, where I come from, that created 500,000 jobs across the country and is going to create another 300,000 in the next few years. Therefore, is that what he means by responsible government?
My last question is: Does he support refining and upgrading capacity in Canada and more jobs in Canada, or does he not?
- MPconNov 26, 2012 10:40 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of questions for the member.
First, obviously the movement of Bill C-47 and the agreement for this legislation to go forward and to be voted on in this place is very important to the north, but important to Canada as well. What is the member's opinion and the reaction of the people in the north to a couple of investments our government has made, in particular $71 million to the Mayo B, which was done in the Yukon? I know there was a tremendous reaction from the premier of the Yukon at the time and others, because it takes five communities off dependence on diesel. It is all about clean infrastructure being built and green infrastructure being built out of the green infrastructure fund. Another thing that has happened in the north is the northwest transmission line in northern British Columbia, $141 million. Again, it is green infrastructure going into place to create more green infrastructure and green energy for the people of the north.
Finally, in relation to the gun registry itself and the destruction of the data, we promised to do that for so long. How important is that to the northern people, getting green infrastructure, ensuring we make these plans so we have the green, clean energy that goes into the north instead of polluting diesel? How important are these things, along with the gun registry data destruction, to the people in the north whom the member represents?
- MPconNov 26, 2012 10:10 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively to the Liberal position on this, as I did with the NDP position.
I am from northern Alberta. I feel I know northerners. I have a trap line. I have trapped for some period of time. I am an avid hunter. I know one thing aboriginals have spoken loudly about in northern Alberta and in the Northwest Territories is the ability to carry guns in an environment that is not like downtown Toronto or Vancouver. Certainly they have dangers that pose real risks to them on a daily basis in their backyards, as much as Fort McMurray was with bears coming into the backyards. It is just a different type of lifestyle.
Indeed, the only people who seem to stand up for aboriginal Canadians across the country in regard to the different lifestyle that they have as a result of where they live, and specifically with the gun registry, is the Conservative government. We saw the NDP vote en masse to keep the gun registry and the promise to bring it back. The Liberals brought the gun registry in the first place, in essence wasting $2 billion of taxpayer money.
Could the member comment on her position, as to where she lives, and why she and her party have for so long ignored the rights of aboriginal Canadians to have the opportunity to carry guns in a different environment and to have that ability to have long guns as needed to protect themselves and for their aboriginal lifestyle to continue?
- MPconNov 20, 2012 9:50 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, this member and other members bring forward arguments relating to why they think this is not good legislation. I am curious, because I come from northern Alberta. I have many relatives in first nations bands, treaty and status Indians. Even some past chiefs are related to me up in northern Alberta. I worked as a lawyer there, too. I saw first nations' plights first-hand. I saw how chiefs used moneys for their own benefit instead of for members. In particular, I even heard of cases where they would take band money, gamble with it and lose it, for their own gain or loss, as the case may be.
I heard some other arguments the hon. member has made. I have heard questions in the House from him before. Quite frankly, some of them seemed reasonable in the past. Even some of his comments now seem slightly reasonable in some respects.
Does the hon. member not see that this, in particular, is a first step for accountability in first nations, where chiefs and band leaders will be accountable to the members, and ultimately they will get better services? Band members will be treated with respect, while right now many of them have no respect. If they are not related or in some way connected to the chief, they have no rights. They have to leave the band under divorce cases or other things. Does he not see that this accountability, this step, would be the best thing for the people of Canada, the best thing for all members of all bands across the country? Does he not see that?
- MPconNov 19, 2012 12:15 pm | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
With regard to questions Q-513 through Q-818 on the Order Paper: (a) what is the estimated cost of the government's response to each question; and (b) what is the estimated cost of the government's response to this question?
- MPconNov 06, 2012 11:15 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, this week our Prime Minister is in Asia telling the Canadian economic success story to the world. That story is one of the best job growth in the G7, the best fiscal position in the G7 and a beacon of economic light to the world. Under our Prime Minister's great leadership, Canada has become the economic model to the world. Canada is a better place for it. The world is a better place for it.
While the NDP advances a $21 billion job-killing carbon tax, also known as the NDP economic pain, our government will advance our Conservative economic plan, the economic plan that is the model for the world and will ensure a great quality of life for Canadians for generations to come.
- MPconOct 25, 2012 10:10 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I thought the points made by the member who just spoke were very well made. In fact, it is very important to see as a macro vision what we are doing as a government and how we are concentrating on jobs, the economy and the strength of the Canadian economy in the future, which of course is very important to Canadians and most important when we do not have it.
I would like to talk a bit about the future goals of the budget bill and what I see as our overreaching goals. That, of course, is to make sure we have better safety and security, more efficiency, the removal of red tape and, ultimately, a better quality of life. That is what this is all about and why I am in this place, to make a better quality of life for the people in my constituency of Fort McMurray—Athabasca and every part of this great country.
Since the Conservative government has promoted Canada's economic action plan, we have seen tremendous growth and development in this country, even while the rest of the world is suffering from an economic decline and people are wondering how they are going to build jobs in the future. Our country is doing tremendously well, and the people of Canada are doing very well overall. There are pockets of unemployment, of course, and we are addressing that with some changes through our economic action plan, as the member said earlier, in employment earnings legislation specifically, and I believe those changes will be efficient enough to move forward with our economy, because that is ultimately what it is about.
Speaking of records, our economy has expanded in nine out of the last ten quarters. That is right; it is very unusual in today's economic climate, but out of the last ten quarters, nine of them have seen economic growth and expansion. As well, 810,000 net jobs have been created since June of 2009. That is no small feat, especially given the size of our economy and workforce. That is a tremendous thing to brag about. The rest of the economies in the world, the G7 and the G20 all recognize that Canada is the leader as far as jobs and growth go and are envious of our position.
Our nation also holds the strongest fiscal position in the G7. We hear that all the time, but it is the truth and something to be proud of and brag about, because we are in such great condition today compared to most of the world. We do not sit on our laurels, though, and we feel we must continue to secure more jobs and have more growth and long-term prosperity because, as I said, that is what Canadians expect of their federal government and that is what we are going to deliver.
With that, we will specifically focus on supporting entrepreneurs, on innovation and research, and on business investment, strategically encouraging businesses and private enterprises to invest the money they have stockpiled during this recession and hire more workers. That is why things like the small business hiring credit and other initiatives from our government are so popular in the small business community. Businesses know, when we put forward a plan like this tax credit, we will follow through with legislation, unlike what happened in previous Liberal governments, especially regarding climate change and other environmental initiatives. The Liberals talked about it but never acted on it.
That is the difference with this government. The Conservative Party puts forward policies based on its economic platform. People can find it on the website, conservative.ca. We have clearly indicated all the initiatives we are going to have over time, that we are going to concentrate on jobs and growth for the economy, remove red tape and get rid of duplication of services so that Canadians know that, when they contact their federal government, they are going to get good service in a reasonable amount of time and just and satisfactory decisions. Clearly, that is what interests me.
Efficient productivity is vital for this country. Productivity moves up and down, and we can make changes today that we will not see on the productivity index for some period of time. I think, bluntly, that the changes we have made over the last six years are tremendous and we will see positive repercussions on the productivity of our nation for decades as a result. We are going to see an increase in manufacturing jobs, a stronger, more robust economy for manufacturers, and workers who are employed and feel job security, instead of what happened over the past decade or two, such as the insecurity of auto workers' jobs, in particular.
I have friends who work in the auto sector. For years and years they wondered whether they were going to have a job in two or three months. We are going to add substance, long-term planning and predictability for companies and corporations such as the auto sector, so they know they will not have to worry about bailouts, that they will have a good, robust agenda for trade and workers and that their jobs will be good for many centuries to come.
Since 2006, our government has also moved forward in the most aggressive manner on lowering corporate taxes to the lowest level of any industrialized nation, 15%. Even the President of the United States recognized this. The challenger to the President of the United States recognized what Canada has done with the economy, how robust our economy is, because we have lowered taxes for corporations.
Even though we have lowered our corporate taxes to 15%, corporate revenues have actually risen to the highest record ever. It is obvious that this strategy by the Conservative government and this Prime Minister is working, is effective and is working well for Canadians. Canadians can count on their federal government to continue that.
We have also provided $500 million to support venture capitalist activities. This is important, because during times of economic slowdown everyone holds onto their wallet tightly and they are not prepared to invest or take risks. As a government, we have to help them move forward on some of these ventures to make sure the economy keeps going, to make sure jobs keep growing and there are new jobs.
We have also extended the domestic powers of Export Development Canada to continue to provide financial support for both manufacturers and exporters, because if we do not trade with the world we are going to lose; our competition is the rest of the world. We need to make sure we open those markets. Unlike what the NDP has been doing for years, and that is working against any trade objective with any country around the world, we are going to move forward aggressively, as we have done and will continue to do, and sign agreements with other trading nations to bring the rule of law, to bring human rights and the acknowledgement of what Canadians hold dear, but also to create jobs right here at home. We are going to continue to do that.
The $14 million to expand the industrial research and development internship program is very important for our future. Of course, so is the $110 million to the industrial research assistance program in support of manufacturers and exporters.
In terms of the environment, I want to talk about a lot of things. There is not enough time obviously for me today, but the environment is very important to me and I see some of the initiatives we have moved forward with as a government, especially in northern Alberta. We have moved forward with initiatives in co-operation and partnership with the Province of Alberta to have cleaner air monitoring services, to make sure the air that my constituents and my family breathe is cleaner at all times. It is the same for water. I applaud those two initiatives by the federal government. My constituents applaud the Prime Minister for those particular initiatives, because we want to make sure we have significant funding strategies in place to keep the health and welfare of Canadians as our predominant concern.
We have also had other initiatives, and I am going to mention some of the success stories: the ecoenergy for homes program; over $140 million toward creating a national urban park in Rouge Valley, Ontario. That park is one of the largest in North America as far as urban parks go. It is a great success story for our government as well, because we do not want to industrialize every part of the country; we do not even want to industrialize most of it. We want to make sure that in urban areas there are places for people to enjoy and have a good quality of life, as we do in rural Canada.
There is $71 million in funding upgrades to the Mayo B hydro facility in the Yukon. This is a transmission line that will increase clean energy and reduce greenhouse gases from energy production by 50%. It took a $71 million investment by the federal government with about an eight-year payback. Those are good business strategic investments by the government for a return on investment for taxpayers that is reasonable and very good.
We also invested heavily in green energy generation, carbon transmission infrastructure, clean energy research and regulatory activities to address climate change. These are only a few provisions.
I want to talk about the navigable waters changes and how important those are, but I see I do not have a lot of time for that. The changes we are making to the navigable waters will protect navigation. That is what it is for and that is important. I am a canoeist. I spend a lot of time outdoors, and I want to make sure this government protects my right and that of other Canadians and future generations to continue to be able to navigate.
Other pieces of legislation, such as the Marine Transportation Security Act, the Fisheries Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, should deal with the environment and with fish. Let navigation deal with the navigation and let those acts deal with what is important for them. If we streamline those things, we can make sure Canadians get the proper return on investment for their tax dollars and we eliminate the need for duplication and bureaucracy that does not accomplish anything. That is what it is about for our government, building jobs, having productivity and efficiency to ultimately give us all a better quality of life.
- MPconOct 25, 2012 10:05 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the member's speech very much and the concentration on productivity, the economy and on jobs of course.
However, could she comment somewhat about what the Liberal Party did in the 1990s in clawing back $25 billion from social transfers to the provinces that hampered our schools, our medical system, et cetera? Could she comment on whether that is this government's agenda, whether we will claw back $25 billion in social services to the provinces?
- MPconOct 23, 2012 11:00 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the time to thank the 30 members of Parliament who accompanied me on a two-day educational tour of Fort McMurray and the oil sands this summer. They were given the opportunity to see the economic engine of Canada at work.
I would also like to take the time to thank CAPP, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Syncrude Canada, Suncor Energy Inc. and the Fort McMurray regional airport, which together worked very closely with Health Partners International of Canada to raise enough money to send one million dollars' worth of Canadian medicine to the world's most needy, including countries such as Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
The oil sands industry is taking steps like this to invest in the most important capital project in the world: the health of its citizens. I thank the people of the oil sands and oil sands corporations for taking time to help heal the world.
- MPconOct 16, 2012 9:50 am | Alberta, Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the debate intently. I wonder if the minister could comment, in particular, about all the notice that the Liberal Party and the NDP had regarding the contents of the budget.
Of course, I am referring specifically to the Conservative policy and platforms that we put forward for the last 10 or 12 years that contained almost all, if not all, of the provisions contained within the budget.
Indeed, they have seen that. They could visit our website to see exactly what we stand for because, at least on this side of the House, when we put forward laws, we actually put that forward to our committee members, have them vote on it and then put forward policy.
I wonder if the minister could comment specifically on that. I am a member of the finance committee and I cannot imagine sitting for any more time in any committee than we did in the last budget, in particular, the time we spent listening to witnesses.
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