- MPconTue 12:55 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I loved the member's presentation. It did not make any sense, but I loved it.
This concurrence motion is a discussion of a report on skills shortages in Canada. This government, through the economic action plan, has put forward a number of opportunities, through skills development for aboriginals, for those with disabilities, for students who need employment. I heard that the opposition has some other ideas in the minority report.
Are there things we are doing that members of the Liberal Party approve of that they would like to see happen and are they going to support us in moving forward on the area of work in terms of skills development, or are they opposed because they did not come up with the idea?
- MPconMay 09, 2013 7:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present this morning.
The first is signed by a group from my riding. They state that recently they were appalled by the CBC program This Hour Has 22 Minutes in which the most sacred sacrament of the Holy Communion was the object of an offensive and most disrespectful attack on the very core of our faith, the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, they ask the House of Commons to stop the federal funding of CBC, which is financed by our tax dollars.
- MPconMay 02, 2013 3:55 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to Motion No. 430 this evening. I want to congratulate the member for Brant for bringing this forward.
I was listening to the speech, and I think the important part of today's motion is that we are endorsing and supporting the panel on labour market opportunities for persons with disabilities. We do require the private sector to come to the table to help with these individuals and their opportunities.
I have had a number of opportunities in my day, but one of them was to work for Easter Seals Ontario, which is a charitable organization that helps disabled youth up to the age of 18. My wife works for them now as a development officer, raising money for their needs. I completely agree with the mover of this motion that we need to help these young people find opportunities. As an employee there, I met many young people and their families. I continue to meet these young people, not just in my riding but across Ontario.
There is huge potential for success, if we can get not just the government but the private sector on board in terms of recognizing the opportunity, not just for the individual who has the disability but also for the business. We have seen statistics about rates of people not showing up for work. The disabled do a much better job of coming to work every single day over others.
This is a great opportunity for business to take advantage of. It is an opportunity for those young people. I support this motion wholeheartedly.
- MPconMay 02, 2013 3:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, one of the items talks about youth and the need for youth employment for those with disabilities, under the youth employment strategy.
Could the member share why it is important to focus in on youth with disabilities?
- MPconMay 02, 2013 2:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, the question tells a story. Not only is the leader of the Liberal Party over his head, but the whole Liberal Party, at least the political arm, is over its head. This country would drown with them in charge, if they ever came back.
They talk about fairness. How is it fair for companies in China and India to get an advantage over our Canadian companies? We are moving forward. We are making it fair for our companies to compete.
- MPconMay 02, 2013 2:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand and talk about Bill C-60, the first BIA. There is normally one in the spring and one in the fall.
I want to say a couple of words before I begin on the actual substance of the bill. We are hearing from the opposition about the length of the bill. That is a legitimate concern. Therefore, I looked at it. It is 115 pages, in English and in French. It is not 115 in English and 115 in French. It is a total of 115 pages.
I am absolutely positive that my colleague from Hamilton Mountain can read 50 pages and understand what it is in it. The argument that this is some sort of big bill that is unmanageable is completely false. If the opposition cannot read 50 pages, then we have something to really worry about.
Let us be fair. This is a 50-page bill, 115 pages in both languages. If members are talented enough, which I am not, to read it in both languages, it is 115 pages. It is not that long.
I want to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance for hosting the overview of the bill on Monday night. There was a decent crowd there of members of Parliament and staff.
Every section was reviewed, not by the political staff but by members of the finance department. They went clause by clause, division by division, and answered questions from the floor from all parties on what was in this implementation bill, Bill C-60. They gave non-partisan answers to what was in the bill.
I would encourage all members of Parliament who are interested in the financial aspects of the budget and the implementation bill to take advantage of the opportunity that the government is providing to all members of the House. The briefings that took place on Monday night of this week made a significant difference in the understanding of what was in these clauses before us today.
Let me go to some of the points I think are very important to my riding, to me personally, to my constituents and to the country as a whole. I will see how much time I have and how far I can go on these.
Let us talk about the adoption expense tax credit that the opposition will vote against. With this tax credit for adoptive parents, we are adding to what they can deduct in their quest as a family to adopt a child or baby. It is an opportunity. We understand, on this side of the House, that there are costs and effort for young families to adopt a child.
We are using the tax credit system to say that we understand what they are trying to do, that they are doing a good thing for their family, that they are doing a good thing for the country and we are providing some assistance in the adoption expense tax credit.
We are also offering a first-time donor's super credit. For people who have not donated before, we are adding an extra 25% to that first-time donation that they make to an organization, if they and their spouse have not donated since 2007. We are encouraging Canadians to support charities.
Where did we get this from? We have done consultations as individual members and the finance committee heard people from across the country. These are the kinds of support for which the not-for-profit charity sector asked. That is what is being delivered. It is in the budget, which is a policy document. The implementation bill is what takes parts of that budget and puts them into law. It implements those changes. I am very supportive of that change.
Another important change we are making has to do with more of a technical issue. We are providing assistance to the registered disability savings plan for adult beneficiaries.
I am very proud of this government for developing the registered disability savings plan that did not exist before we took office. We heard that at the finance committee. In the field we talked to different individuals and organizations about what is needed for disabled adults and disabled children and parents who were concerned about their financial well-being after they had passed.
We developed this registered disability plan, and that plan came back for a review. In my riding there was a meeting to discuss changes that could be made, and one of the issues was somebody being able to take out a registered disability savings plan for another adult who was unable to do it at that time because of physical or mental issues, just not being able to do it. The change we are implementing in this bill will make that happen. I am very proud of this.
In my riding, 50% to 60% of people are over age 55, which is relatively senior. I am not quite there yet, but I am getting closer by the day. In this bill we are adding some services such as bathing, feeding, assistance in dressing, taking medication and so on to the GST-HST exemption for health care services for seniors. This is a very positive piece of relief for those who require those services from publicly funded organizations. In the past and up until this bill passes, they had to pay HST in Ontario, and this bill would remove that. I cannot believe the opposition members are voting against it.
We often hear in the news about how much influence a member of Parliament can have. On tariff relief for Canadian consumers, I have an organization in my riding called Source For Sports, and a gentleman named Randy Hooper, who is now retired from that organization, said to me a few years ago that they were big importers of hockey equipment and they were not competitive with U.S. counterparts because of the tariff on hockey equipment. People in Burlington can easily go to the border, one hour away, cross into Buffalo and buy hockey equipment. I took that issue up and wrote a letter and spoke directly to the finance minister. It did not happen right away, but it did happen eventually. I am thankful that I had the opportunity as a member of Parliament to represent my constituent, represent my constituent business and make the point that we need to look at this issue. I may have had a small influence on making that happen, and that is what a member of Parliament should do. I am very proud of that and I want to make sure, even though Mr. Hooper is retired, that he gets credit for bringing that to my attention.
Another area I would like to talk about, as I said, is that we have a fairly large senior population in my riding, and we also have a fairly large veterans group in my riding. Many of them are naval veterans. For some reason the navy did a very good job of recruiting in Burlington. We have one of the nicest naval monuments in the country in Burlington on our waterfront. I am very proud that the Minister of Veterans Affairs recognized the issue of the disability payment being deducted as income from recipients before they received the rest of the allowance. We are removing that so they can keep the full amount. It is excellent that it is in the budget and we are implementing it. It will have a major impact on many veterans in my riding.
Finally, we are obviously looking at the gas tax. The member who spoke before me talked about the importance of infrastructure. I hear it all the time from my municipality. I hear it from FCM. I have an open-door policy with my local council group. We have a very good relationship, and they talk about infrastructure all the time. We are indexing the gas tax. We are providing support for infrastructure. That is another area that will have a direct impact on my riding.
I appreciate the time I have had to speak to Bill C-60. I hope everyone in the House will support it.
- MPconMay 01, 2013 12:10 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the following joint reports of the Canada-China Legislative Assembly and the Canada-Japan Interparliamentary Group respecting their participation at the 33rd general assembly of the ASEAN Inter Parliamentary Assembly in Lombok, Indonesia, September 16 to 22, 2012, and the 21st annual meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, January 27 to 31, 2013.
- MPconApr 24, 2013 12:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 23rd report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-444, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (personating peace officer or public officer).
The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.
- MPconApr 18, 2013 7:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill S-209, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (prize fights).
The committee has considered the bill and has agreed to report the bill back to the House without amendment.
- MPconMar 28, 2013 9:50 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 21st report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-394, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the National Defence Act (criminal organization recruitment).
The committee has studied the bill and has agreed to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
- MPconMar 26, 2013 9:15 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member for Kingston and the Islands said in a previous question that on that side they only believe that jobs can be created by lowering taxes.
My question for the parliamentary secretary is this: what do higher taxes do to job creation in this country?
- MPconMar 26, 2013 8:30 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, in the parliamentary secretary's area and in my area, there are a lot of young people just graduating from university and college who do not have a sense of what they would like to do. We are putting in this budget $70 million to support an additional 5,000 paid internships for post-secondary graduates in Ontario and across Canada.
What does the member believe that would do for her riding?
- MPconMar 21, 2013 11:00 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada, I rise in the House today to bring attention to National Caregiver Day on April 5.
As the Canadian population ages, more of us are becoming caregivers. We care for those close to us with devotion, patience and love as they live their final days with a life-limiting or terminal illness, as my uncle recently demonstrated in caring for my Aunt Linda.
A 2007 study estimates that annually, 23% of Canadians care for a family member or a close friend with a serious a health problem. Current estimates for replacement costs for unpaid care given in Canada indicate a significant economic contribution by caregivers. The estimates are in the billions of dollars.
Let us stand together and thank all caregivers for their contribution to Canadian society and their devotion to assuring quality end-of-life care for their loved ones.
- MPconMar 19, 2013 7:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions I would like to present this morning.
The first petition deals with the House of Commons and Parliament assembled to vote on Bill C-279 and to base future public policy decisions on that.
The second petition from my constituency also deals with Bill C-279.
- MPconMar 07, 2013 2:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, on the speech by the hon. member, as the member of Parliament for Burlington I was not sent here just to make repetitive speeches in the House and say the same thing over and over again. I was sent here to vote and move legislation forward.
If the previous speaker and the hon. member's party are serious about moving this forward, and everyone in the House is supportive, why are we not voting on it? Is it not hypocritical that we could be voting on it and moving on to other legislation? Instead, the opposition put up speaker after speaker. Is that not hypocritical?
- MPconMar 07, 2013 1:50 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, based on the member's comments, I would like to know if her party would support unanimous consent to pass the bill now and we would move on to the next item?
- MPconMar 07, 2013 7:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 20th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Criminal Code. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.
Mr. Speaker, while I am on my feet, I move:
That the House do now proceed to the orders of the day.
- MPconMar 04, 2013 10:15 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, my experience around here is that when a government bill is put forward and the opposition brings forward amendments, often not legal amendments in that they would change the scope of the bill once it has passed second reading, if the amendment is accepted, the opposition uses it as an opportunity to bash the government, to say that the government did not know what it was doing. It becomes a negative instead of a positive.
Would the member agree that is really what happens with politics and that it is not necessarily a good use of our time and proper legislation overview?
- MPconFeb 28, 2013 7:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-273, an act to amend the Criminal Code (cyberbullying).
The committee has studied the bill and has recommended to the House not to proceed further with the bill.
- MPconFeb 26, 2013 1:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague across the way for his dissertation, but I do not agree with much of what he said.
An interesting point he made is that the Liberal Party is taking credit for things we are doing on this side of the House. I would point out that in 2011 Canadian voters decided we were doing the right thing and believed in what we were doing. They put the Liberal Party in the third party status in the House believing in what it was saying. Clearly, voters have decided who was moving the country in the right direction.
My simple question is this. The Liberal member was talking about a long-term infrastructure plan. Infrastructure plans cost billions of dollars, not millions but billions and billions of dollars. There are three ways to pay for infrastructure, in my view: raise taxes, raise debt or reduce services in other areas.
- MPconFeb 25, 2013 12:10 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, in relation to Bill S-9, an act to amend the Criminal Code.
The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.
- MPconFeb 25, 2013 11:55 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of a tragic train derailment in Burlington, Ontario. Our thoughts remain with the families of the victims of that accident.
Our government continues to take strong action to ensure that the travelling public is safe and that Canada has one of the safest transportation systems in the world. In fact, since 2007 train accidents have decreased by 23%.
Can the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities update the House on the actions taken following this accident?
- MPconFeb 07, 2013 1:35 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of the member opposite. I do not agree with most of what he said.
A colleague from the Liberal Party who spoke earlier did say that governments do, from time to time, make mistakes. That individual acknowledged that, which was great.
My question to the member opposite is: Was it a mistake of the previous Liberal government not to have put in place a Parliamentary Budget Officer? Was that a mistake by the Liberal Party, yes or no?
- MPconFeb 07, 2013 12:45 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue, for her work in this area.
I appreciate the review of the budget process, but people need to understand that the budget is a policy document. In actual fact, to look at the budgets that we have produced, and not just our government but all governments, there are a lot of numbers in there. It is the policy of what we will do from a financial perspective as a government. Out of that comes implementation bills, which put money to those projects.
Does the member feel that it is the role of the Parliamentary Budget Officer to comment on the policy aspects and policy direction of the current government, or any government, now or in the future?
- MPconFeb 07, 2013 11:45 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, restoring the confidence of Canadians in our criminal justice system has been, and continues to be, an ongoing priority for this government.
Since being first elected in 2006, we have passed over 30 measures aimed at keeping our streets and our communities safe. These include ending early parole for murderers, tougher penalties on impaired driving, raising the age of consent and eliminating the use of house arrest for serious crimes such as sexual assault and kidnapping.
Could the Minister of Justice please update the House on what is next for our government on our justice agenda?
- MPconFeb 07, 2013 9:35 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, there is one thing I would like the member to comment on while we are talking about accountability. During the 2006 election the Conservative Party under the leadership of the current Prime Minister committed to bringing in an accountability act, to bringing in the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
Why is it important that a party, which says it will do something during an election, actually puts that in place after it gets elected?
- MPconFeb 07, 2013 8:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his speech on today's opposition motion.
Just a reminder, we both got elected in 2006. The Accountability Act was one of our first pieces of legislation, and rightfully so, as illustrated by the member. It was in reaction to 13 years of Liberal mismanagement of the public finances at the government level. We did that under a minority government.
Why was it important for us to follow through on the promise we made to the people in the 2006 election?
- MPconFeb 07, 2013 7:50 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I want to follow up the parliamentary secretary's point that it was the Conservative Party of Canada that committed to having a Parliamentary Budget Officer and our government that created the position.
Would he care to explain why the Liberal Party of Canada or the New Democratic Party of Canada never brought forward the concept of implementing a budgetary officer to review the finances of the Government of Canada when the former was in power?
- MPconFeb 04, 2013 11:45 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, Canadians remain concerned about crime. Ever since we were first elected, our government has made restoring the confidence of Canadians in our justice system a priority. This government has introduced and passed over 30 measures aimed at keeping our streets and communities safe. While significant progress has been made, there is still much work to be done.
Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice please provide an update to the House on the government's justice agenda for 2013?
- MPconDec 12, 2012 12:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present today signed by constituents in my riding of Burlington. The petitioners ask the House of Commons not to condone the discrimination against girls through sex selection abortion.
- MPconDec 10, 2012 2:50 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the answers from the parliamentary secretary and her presentation today was excellent.
I know she talked a lot about the energy piece, but looking at the bigger picture, I think it is surprising to most Canadians, and these statistics from Statistics Canada, that Canada has an incoming foreign investment of almost $608 billion, yet Canadians invest abroad at a rate of $684 billion.
Could the parliamentary secretary tell the House why foreign investment by Canadians is important to the development of all sectors of our economy?
- MPconDec 10, 2012 2:10 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the speech from the member opposite. I am somewhat confused by what he has to say. First of all, he is a economist on the NDP benches, which has to be confusing to start with.
I am going to start with his last comment on energy security. In my own riding, in our own area, where I and the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale are from, they are looking at turning the pipeline around in terms of the flow. The oil flow now goes from Montreal to Sarnia, for refining. They are looking at turning it around and having oil going in at Sarnia and flowing towards Montreal to be refined there and used.
We are getting push-back from a number of organizations, including our provincial NDP friends. I think they need to get that message out, that we do want energy security. There is opportunity for us here. We all should be on board for that.
My question to the member is this. I know he was not part of the Government of Canada at the time. He had not been elected yet. We had a choice at the industry committee: we could look at the long form census or we could look at the Investment Canada Act. The opposition chose—
- MPconDec 10, 2012 1:05 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague across the way. I want to clarify a couple of his statements to make sure the next time he comes to the House he does the homework. On the Stelco deal with U.S. Steel, it did not meet its obligations and the Government of Canada, this government, took it to court and sued it. We came to an out-of-court agreement to resolve those issues; so we do take action when they do not make it.
Members should do their homework first, before they say things that are not actually true.
Second, I was on the industry committee when the minister of industry at the time—a different minister from the one we have presently—sent us a letter asking us to please study this before there are any issues, saying we needed to not look at the law when there is a crisis or an issue but look at it in an intellectual, systematic approach to see what we can do better. However, the NDP, the Liberals and the Bloc got together and said we could not do that.
The last piece, which I need to explain to my colleague, was on the P3 issue we are dealing with around intellectual property. Under section 3 of the criteria, it says that the effect of investment on productivity, industrial efficacy and technological development and product innovation, which is what we are talking about, is covered under these—
- MPconDec 10, 2012 10:55 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I sit with my colleague on a government committee and I appreciate the work she does.
I would like to read out one of the six criteria outlined now on the website with the net benefit test. I would like to know the NDP's position, what word changes it is looking for and what thoughts it has put into the changes it would like to see. Let us take the example of the effect of the investment on competition within industries within Canada. What would the NDP do to change that criteria?
- MPconDec 10, 2012 10:25 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I find the discussion from my Liberal colleague very interesting. The act came into effect in 1985 under a Conservative government. Unfortunately for Canada, I do not recall the Liberal Party ever turning down a deal when it was in government.
The Liberals talk about transparency. Exactly what the Investment Canada Act is and what it stands for can be found on the Industry Canada website.
When we were a minority during the last Parliament, the Minister of Industry sent a letter to the industry committee asking it to review the Investment Canada Act on the criteria of net benefit. The Liberals had four or five seats on the committee, and with the Bloc and the NDP, they turned down reviewing that issue. In retrospect, do they think that was a mistake?
- MPconDec 10, 2012 9:45 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, the people of Canada elected a majority Conservative government because they knew we would deal with issues and policies in a responsible and effective manner, which would not happen under an NDP government.
The fact is that the criteria is laid out clearly in writing and in the act for net benefit, including the criteria for net benefit for foreign-owned enterprises. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Industry reviewed those issues as the law stands today and they came to the conclusion that there was a net benefit to Canada based on the criteria outlined and on the submission by that organization.
The Prime Minister, in a very responsible way, clearly indicated that there were only 15 companies in total operating the oil sands resource. Also, as a government, we needed to take a strong position that in future no foreign-owned companies would be able to take a stronger position in the oil sands.
- MPconDec 10, 2012 9:30 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to the opposition day motion. I am honoured to share my time with the terrific member for Ajax—Pickering.
Foreign investment plays an important role in the Canadian economy. Foreign investors bring with them knowledge, capabilities and technology, which can increase the productivity, efficiency and competitiveness of Canadian firms. These investments frequently help Canadian-based companies to expand and create jobs for Canadians. Recognizing the importance of investment flows into the country, Canada has a broad framework in place to promote trade and investment, while at the same time protecting Canadian interests.
It is important to note that investment flows both into and out of Canada. In fact, in the past several years Canadian companies have invested more abroad than foreign companies have invested in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, the stock of foreign investments into Canada reached $607.5 billion in 2011, while Canadian investments abroad reached $684.5 billion. The Investment Canada Act provides a mechanism to review significant acquisitions of Canadian enterprises by non-Canadian companies to determine if they are likely to be of net benefit to Canada. It also provides a mechanism to review investments that could be injurious to our national security.
I will take this opportunity to describe for members how the Investment Canada Act works and how decisions are taken by the Minister of Industry.
The administration of the act is shared between two ministers and their respective departments. The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages is responsible for the review of investments involving cultural businesses and the Minister of Industry is responsible for the review of all other investments. The Minister of Industry is also responsible for all other aspects of the administration of the act, including initiating enforcement measures. My comments today will focus only on those investments that are the responsibility of the Minister of Industry.
When a foreign investor proposes to acquire a Canadian business, the investor has certain responsibilities under the act. Foreign investors must either file a notification or an application for a review.
An investor must file a notification where there is an establishment of a new Canadian business or where there is a direct acquisition of control of a Canadian business with assets below the established threshold. Indirect acquisitions of control by investors from WTO countries are also subject to notification. This is triggered when a foreign investor requires control of a Canadian business indirectly by acquiring a company incorporated outside of Canada, which has a Canadian subsidiary.
For an investment which is not subject to a net benefit review under the act, where an investor has provided the information required by the regulations respecting the Investment Canada Act, the investor has met its obligations under the act. Information required under the regulations includes the names of the investors and the Canadian business, their respective addresses, a description of the business of the latter and the level of its assets.
Where a proposed investment is subject to a net benefit review under the act, the investor cannot implement the transaction without the approval of the minister responsible for the act. The investor must provide certain information as part of the filing of an application, including his or her plan for the Canadian business. Acquisitions are subject to review when the assets of the Canadian business to be acquired are equal to or above thresholds established under the act.
The threshold which applies to WTO members is adjusted each year by an amount equal to the change in the nominal gross domestic product. For 2012, the threshold for WTO members is $330 million. The threshold for cultural businesses and non-WTO members remains at a level established in 1985. It is $5 million for direct acquisitions or $50 million for indirect acquisitions, a much lower threshold for those industries.
The act provides the Minister of Industry with an initial 45 days to complete the review of the proposed investment and to make a determination of the net benefit. The Minister of Industry can extend that review period, if necessary, by 30 days. The review period can be extended further if both the investor and the Minister of Industry both agree.
The Minister of Industry approves an application for review only where he or she is satisfied, based on the plans, undertakings and other representations of the investor, that the investment is likely to be of net benefit to Canada. In making this determination of net benefit, the Minister of Industry must consider the factors listed in section 20 of the act.
For those in the House who do not know this, these six criteria are clearly indicated on the website and are easily found. They state:
a. the effect of the investment on the level and nature of economic activity in Canada, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the effect on employment, on resource processing, on the utilization of parts, components and services produced in and on exports from Canada;
b. the degree and significance of participation by Canadians in the Canadian business or new Canadian business and in any industry or industries in Canada of which the Canadian business or new Canadian business forms or would form a part;
c. the effect of the investment on productivity, industrial efficiency, technological development, product innovation and product variety in Canada;
d. the effect of the investment on competition within any industry or industries in Canada;
e. the compatibility of the investment with national industrial, economic and cultural policies, taking into consideration industrial, economic and cultural policy objectives enunciated by the government or legislature of any province likely to be significantly affected by the investment; and
f. the contribution of the investment to Canada's ability to compete in world markets.
Also, for investors of state-owned enterprises, which has been an issue of late, the guidelines for the net benefit assessment investments by state-owned enterprises published under the Investment Canada Act applies to these proposed investments. The guidelines clarify that in the review under the ICA, as part of the assessment of the factors listed in section 20 of the act, the minister will examine: one, the corporate governance and reporting structure of the non-Canadian, including adherence to free market principles and Canadian laws and practices; two, how and the extent to which the non-Canadian is owned or controlled by a state; and three, whether the Canadian business can be acquired while continuing to have the ability to operate on a commercial basis.
As indicated in these guidelines, the examples of undertakings that address these issues include: the appointment of Canadians as independent directors on the board; employment of Canadians in senior management positions; the incorporation of the business in Canada; and a Canadian stock exchange listing.
The Investment Canada Act has a very clear net benefit test listed for all to see in writing on Industry Canada's website, including specific criteria on state-owned enterprises. Our government has acted to ensure that these criteria are up-to-date and reflect the evolution of foreign investment proposals to ensure that while Canada remains open for business, it is not for sale to foreign governments.
- MPconDec 03, 2012 2:10 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, to make it clear for the viewing public who are listening to this, the bill is 440 pages. Exactly half of that is in English and the other half is in French. The member knows that what is said in English is said exactly the same in French. I do not know whether they know that.
Of the 220 pages, which took me two and a half hours to read, is my colleague not happy with any of it or are there parts she is happy with and would vote for? Whether it is 5 pages or 220 pages, she would not be supporting us anyway.
- MPconNov 27, 2012 11:00 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, the Burlington branch of St. John Ambulance is once again providing an important service this Christmas season.
Operation Red Nose is a unique program devoted to the prevention of drinking and driving. It is a volunteer driving service offered during the holiday season to all drivers who have been drinking.
The Operation Red Nose service is provided by driving teams, each consisting of three volunteers. Two of the volunteers, a driver and a navigator, ride with the client in the client's vehicle while the other volunteer, the escort driver, follows behind in their own car. In this manner, the client arrives home safety along with their own vehicle.
The service is confidential and free. Donations from clients are gratefully accepted. This weekend, my wife and I, as well our member of the provincial legislature, will be a volunteer team.
I want to encourage everyone in Burlington to use this free service. Please do not drink and drive during this holiday season.
- MPconNov 08, 2012 9:15 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation of the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group respecting its participation at the 18th bilateral meeting with the Japan-Canada Diet Friendship League, which was held in Tokyo and Tohoku region, Japan, from May 20 to 25.
- MPconOct 31, 2012 2:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her commitment to bilingualism, which I think is very good. I am trying to learn French myself. It is not going so well, to be perfectly honest, but I am trying. Maybe the next time her speech could be in both French and English. It would be great to see her practise that.
The member said one thing that caught my attention. I appreciate her comment about youth education, but she also said that the Conservative government should do things for job creators, instead of our commitment to lower taxes, to which we are committed. However, the biggest job creator in the country over the last number of years has been in the oil patch. Therefore, oil companies have been the biggest job creators over the last number of years. Is the member advocating for a tax credit for oil companies?
- MPconOct 31, 2012 2:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have a daughter who goes to university in the United States. The university that she goes to requires five core courses, such as math, English, physical fitness. One of them is financial literacy. If I had the opportunity to make a suggestion to whoever gets the new position being created today about what he or she should be promoting, I would say it is an excellent opportunity for every young person at university to take a financial literacy course.
My question to the hon. member across the way is this. Is there anything that he would like to suggest in terms of financial literacy to the person who gets this job?
- MPconOct 31, 2012 1:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague across the way for standing and speaking in favour of financial literacy, in moving forward with this legislation and sending it to the Senate.
It is obvious that there is a need for some financial literacy based on the speech that was just given. We talked about CPP outperforming the marketplace. I would like to know if the member opposite could break down how much the CPP has invested in the actual stock market. Does he know how much is in bonds, treasury bills and in common shares? I wonder if he understands that CPP is invested, actually, in the marketplace and the reason it is outperforming is because it is a pool.
He criticized the registered retirement pooled savings plan that we put together but the CPP actually is a pool of funds. That is why, based on reducing risk and spreading risk, it has been able to perform better. The fact is that the CPP is invested in the marketplace.
I appreciate his support but the NDP could use a little financial literacy.
- MPconOct 29, 2012 12:50 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, that was the perfect question for me. We have committed to send parts of this legislation to 10 or 11 committees so the individual committees can look at individual parts of it. However, what happens when we do that? In The Hill Times the opposition said that it was partial victory for the backing down of the federal government. We are criticized as a government. That is what is wrong with this place. Those members talk about working together and getting things done.
Opposition members also talk about the budget being 440 pages long. It is English and French on each page. It is actually 220 pages. It is not that big. If I can read a novel of 220 pages, then I can read a bill of 220 pages.
We are breaking up the bill. We are sending 10 or 11 parts to different committees so members on all of those committees can review the issues and discuss the tax changes that will happen. What do those members do? They criticize us. They say that we are backing down. We are doing what is right for Canadians, and we will continue to do that.
- MPconOct 29, 2012 12:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to stand to speak on Bill C-45, the second implementation bill of our jobs and growth act. This is an activity we are embarking upon as a government to make sure that Canadians have a job and that our economy is growing.
As part of the system that we have in this country, we present a budget in the spring, which is a policy document, and then we have two implementation acts every year. We had one in the spring and now we are having one in the fall. This bill is to implement the budget that was passed by this House in the spring.
It is important to understand that the bill would implement what has already been debated and discussed. It is nice to talk about things, but it is important for this government to make it happen on the ground and that we implement what we say we are going to do.
The process is not a new one, as it has been in the House for many decades. When there is a budget, an implementation bill comes afterwards, which is what we are doing here today.
There are three or four things that I would like to highlight from the bill.
First, extending the hiring credit for small- and medium-sized employers would enable them to hire new employees and create jobs for people in my riding and ridings across this country.
This is a $1,000 hiring credit, and last year it affected over 530,000 employers. We have seen the benefits from this tax credit in helping small businesses attract new people to develop their products and services. It has provided jobs to those in great need of employment, particularly youth. This is an opportunity for youth to find employment here in Canada.
Nobody is kidding anybody around here; it is a difficult environment for small business. As government, we need to help small business move forward, and this tax credit is one way to do that.
Also, Bill C-45 contains the tax framework for pooled registered savings plans. This is a tool that I have debated numerous times in the House, both at second and third reading in the spring. We talked about the need for an additional tool for small business to attract and retain employees, and for employees in this country to have an opportunity to have a pooled registered savings plan for their retirement. The bill would implement the tax changes that are required to make that happen.
It is important for us to have this debate, but we must move on and pass the bill. The legislation has passed for the pooled registered retirement savings plan, but we now need to take action and implement the changes that are needed to make it happen.
Another piece in Bill C-45 is the expanded accelerated capital cost allowance, ACCA. This would allow businesses to invest in clean green energy generation products, which would include machinery that had not been eligible for an accelerated capital cost allowance. However, the machinery would have to be in the clean energy generation business and meet the environmental criteria.
The bill would allow businesses to invest early on and to write-off the cost of the new investment in a speedier, more accelerated way. It would encourage companies to make those investments and make a difference.
The benefits of the expanded accelerated capital cost allowance are twofold. It would help small business get the equipment they need and it would also support the clean energy agenda that we have as a party. It would ensure that the Canadian government is doing what it can to support industry in providing cleaner energy for the people of this country.
One area that I am very proud and excited about is the registered disability savings plan, RDSP. There are a number of changes to that.
I remember when I was on the finance committee and heard about this idea of a registered disability savings plan, a program that would allow parents and grandparents, particularly parents, to invest in the future of a child with a disability. It is a plan that would provide financial security for young Canadians with disabilities. When their parents are no longer able to support them, a plan will be available for them to call on.
What is very important is that this bill would allow the registered education saving plans to be rolled over into a registered disability savings plans. I am very fortunate to have two healthy children. That does not happen in every family. As a past employee of Easter Seals Ontario, and my wife being a current employee, we know of the difficulties, the struggles and efforts of parents with disabled children.
Of course, not every child is born disabled, and sometimes things happen, whether it is an accident or health issue, which unfortunately causes a child to become disabled. Families may have invested in an RESP with the hope that some day a child would be able to use that capital to obtain a post-secondary education. That does not always happen. Instead of losing those investments that parents have made, they would be able to roll that investment into an RDSP for a child's future needs.
There are also a few other smaller changes. I have been the chair of the Conservative marine caucus for a number of years, which is making some changes to improve the certification of ships that are over 24 metres. Those practices are being improved to make sure we have clean safe ships floating on our Great Lakes and off both coasts. We want to make sure they are safe, that they have the right environmental responsibility and that they harmonize with other international inspection certification programs, which I am very happy with.
One thing that has been a bit of a controversy is the change to the SR and ED program, which is the scientific research and experimental development program. It is a tax credit that companies have been able to attract. It was at the 20% mark, but it is down to 15% in this bill. The enhanced SR and ED program is still at 35%.
However, this was not done in a vacuum. There was a study done by Mr. Jenkins. The Jenkins report talked about the difference between the tax credit and direct support. As all of us know in the House, there have been no complaints. In fact, there has been lots of uptake on IRAP, the industrial research assistance program. IRAP is a direct funding mechanism. The Jenkins report said that we need balance; we are not sure whether we are getting the bang for the buck on the $9 billion we are spending on research. We know that IRAP is producing. We know that it is a very attractive program to individuals. With regard to SR and ED, it depends on the company.
There was a very good presentation at the industry committee last week. A gentleman was there from a company in Burlington, which has used SR and ED extensively over the years. His point was that SR and ED was a bonus because companies are not sure whether they qualify for it every year or not. We are trying to rebalance the issue with the IRAP program. People get the money in advance, and it is a direct support of research and development. SR and ED will still exist and is an opportunity for people to use the tax system to support the development of their research.
Hopefully this new balance will provide more results, because that is really what we want as a government. We want results. We want R and D to turn into product that is commercialized and that we can sell, not just to Canadians, but around the world. We are a trading country, and we need to make sure we have the ability to do that.
- MPconOct 24, 2012 1:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance for her fine speech introducing the implementation bill. This is the second implementation bill, and viewers at home should know that the budget is presented as a policy document and then there are two implementation bills, one in the spring and one in the fall.
Today we are starting the discussion on implementing the second half of the budget that has been passed by the House of Commons. I want to make the point that it has been passed.
One of the items in the budget that we passed in the spring, and was not in the first implementation bill but is in the second, was to deal with the small business tax credit to help small businesses employ more people to create jobs.
Why is it important for Canada to continue to support small businesses in their growth and employment?
- MPconOct 17, 2012 12:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from citizens of my riding who are asking the federal government to provide national leadership in support of child and youth nutrition programs through the Departments of Health and Agriculture to recognize child and youth nutrition programs as a key health promotion strategy to reduce obesity and diabetes and to ensure Canadian children have access to healthy food as they need to thrive for their futures.
- MPconOct 02, 2012 11:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, this week is the 20th anniversary of Mental Illness Awareness Week.
I would like to highlight the tremendous work of ROCK, the largest accredited children's mental health centre in the region of Halton.
ROCK helps infants, children, teens, and adults live healthier lives through early assessment and diagnosis; effective and innovative treatment and therapy; and prevention and early intervention for those having or at risk of developing mental health problems or mental illness.
ROCK promotes positive child development through programs and services that strengthen the ability of families and communities to raise and nurture children.
ROCK's vision is to be recognized as a leader in providing innovative family centred mental health services.
ROCK's values are to provide services that are inclusive, client and family centred, professional, high quality and accessible.
As the member for Burlington, I thank and congratulate the staff of ROCK for providing invaluable services to the youth and their families in my community. I wish them well as they embark on a capital campaign to expand their mental health services for many decades to come.
- MPconOct 02, 2012 10:20 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, the member's question is completely inaccurate in this sense. The member is absolutely right, I was here. I was also a member of industry committee in the previous Parliament. In that committee the Conservatives brought forward the opportunity to study the Investment Canada Act and to make recommendations to the minister for changes. We brought it forward time and time again.
Let me clarify something so people understand. When we were in a minority situation, the decisions on agenda items and what would be studied were made by the committee majority, which was fair. Who was opposed to studying the act? The NDP was opposed to studying it. Those members had other studies they wanted to do. We brought the Investment Canada Act forward time and time again and the NDP did not want to study it or make changes to it. We were interested in discussing change and improvements. All of a sudden, johnny-come-lately says that there is an issue and the NDP is interested in the topic. It is ridiculous. The NDP did not want to do it then and now it only wants to do it for political reasons.
The system we have now, with the six criteria, is the most professional and effective way of doing it. If those members are serious, then the motion would have asked us to review it immediately. The NDP is still not interested in that.
- MPconOct 02, 2012 10:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to speak today to the opposition motion regarding the Investment Canada Act.
I will be sharing my time with the fine member for Don Valley West.
I would like to ensure that everyone understands the six factors listed in the Investment Canada Act and why they are important as part of the review process of the act as it stands today. I am working under the assumption that everybody in the House has read them. However, I want to ensure that my constituents in Burlington have an understanding of the process now, what the law is now and what the evaluation criteria are on foreign investment in Canada.
I will list the six criteria and then I will talk about why they are important. The first is the effect of the investment on the level and nature of economic activity in Canada, including the effect on employment, on resource processing and on the utilization of parts, components and services produced here in Canada.
The second of the six criteria is the degree and significance of participation by Canadians in the Canadian business.
The third criterion is the effect of the investment on productivity, industrial efficiency, technological development, product innovation and product variety in Canada.
The fourth factor considered in the Investment Canada Act, which the minister will review and have staff provide information on, and not just on this particular deal that seems to be today's topic but all deals by foreign entities, is the effect of the investment on competition within any industry or industries in Canada.
The fifth criterion is the compatibility of the investment with national, industrial, economic and cultural policies.
Finally, the sixth criterion is the contribution of the investment to Canada’s ability to compete in world markets.
Those are all the criteria set out in legislation, easily found on the Internet and readable by everyone, including those who are investing in or wish to invest in Canada. They provide an understanding of the criteria set out in law for their decision making in terms of pursuing a Canadian company. Of course, the Investment Canada Act is important for foreign companies buying Canadian companies. There are no restrictions on Canadian companies purchasing other Canadian companies. It does not affect any industrial change that may happen when companies want to expand or change product lines within Canada. Canadian companies are more than welcome to make those investments within the country. However, we do need a regulatory framework, which we have, that allows the government and the minister of the day to look at what is good for Canada in the overall picture of a foreign purchase.
I will begin with the last criterion, which is the contribution of the investment and Canada’s ability to compete in world markets, because it is important. It is the criterion the minister will consider by asking if it will make Canada more or less competitive. There is no criterion that says we want to hurt Canada's ability to compete in the world markets.
When we look at any industry today, we need to ask if it will help Canada to be more productive and play a bigger role in the world marketplace. Let us face it, we are not kidding anybody. Everyone operates in a global market. Very few businesses rely on the local market, although some retail businesses do, but even in my community of Burlington, the largest employer, a pork slaughterhouse that packages materials, has 800 employees and its major customers are overseas. It sells in Canada and in North America but it is able to reach out to other parts of the world. The company happens to be owned by an American company, with some local equity and local owners involved.
However, everybody operates in that field and we need a criterion, which we have in the Investment Canada Act. When we look at somebody else buying a Canadian company, we need to look at whether we would be better off having access to marketplaces that we might not have had access to because the Canadian company was too small, or it did not have the delivery network that often would come along with an acquisition or where another company in another part of the world have distribution networks that were not available to the Canadian company. Vice versa, if it reduces our ability as a Canadian company to access other markets or reduces our ability as Canadians to produce and sell around the world, that criterion can be used to stop an acquisition. At least it is part of the criteria.
I will talk about the compatibility of the investment with national, industrial, economic and cultural policies. We have those criteria in there so if there is a purchase of a property, or a business or assets that have a cultural impact on Canada, we have the criteria by which the minister can evaluate what the impact will be on the cultural identity of Canada. If it will hurt the cultural identity of Canada, it is an opportunity for the minister of the day to say that it is not a good investment for Canada because it is against our cultural policies. It gives the government an opportunity to evaluate it. This is the kind of review that will occur on any acquisition that triggers the Investment Canada Act.
Regarding the effect of the investment on competition within the industry and industries in Canada, a key component is we do not think it is a good thing for foreign investment to come into Canada and create monopolies. We on our side of the House believe in competition. We have made policies, whether through free trade or industry, through our industry committee and our industry minister, to increase competition in telecommunications. We think competition provides better products and services to individuals because they have more choice. It drives down prices normally and also drives innovation and change because the businesses want to keep up with the competition. If they do not have any competition, they do not need to change, or improve or provide customer service. However, through competition and innovation that will happen. It is a criterion of the Investment Canada Act that is presently in place, one that the current and previous ministers have used to evaluate where we go.
That is only three of the six. There are six criteria of which everybody needs to be aware. Investments by foreign entities in Canada are not made without any scrutiny, as was indicated by the previous questioner that these things were not being applied. The minister will look at each one, whatever the circumstance might be, and at how it affects Canada. Those decisions will be made in the best interests of Canada in its long-term economic growth and prosperity.
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