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            • MPnews news Government of Canada Invests in Grand-Pré National Historic Site - Canada NewsWire (press release)
              ... made today by Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, and President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for Kings—Hants, the Honourable Scott Brison.and more » read more
              Jul 07, 2017 10:04 am> |
                • MPnews news Canada's economy needs investment, not Harper's and Mulcair's cuts - NorthumberlandView.ca (press release) (registration) (blog)
                  NEW MINAS, NS – The Bank of Canada's decision to keep the interest rate frozen shows the economy – and growth for the middle class – remains weak, said Liberal candidate for Kings—Hants, Scott Brison. “The bad economic news keeps on coming. read more
                  Sep 10, 2015 11:01 am> |
                  • MPconblog andrewscheer 11 post The Economy

                    The hon. member for Kings—Hants.

                    • MPndpblog Joe Comartin 31 post Business of Supply

                      Order, please. Again, I would ask all members to keep their questions to a minute.

                      The hon. member for Kings—Hants.

                      • MPconblog Jason Kenney 133 post Taxation

                        Mr. Speaker, apparently the member for Kings—Hants does not read The New York Times, because if he did, he would have read the huge benchmark study that celebrated the fact, at least for us Canadians, that Canada's middle class has surpassed that of the United States for the first time ever and that we have the wealthiest middle class in the world.

                        We also have seen a significant reduction in the number of Canadians living below the low-income line. In fact, thanks to our increase in the basic personal exemption and other progressive changes, we have lifted over 1.2 million low-income Canadians off of the tax rolls altogether.

                        • MPlibblog Mark Eyking 352 post Agricultural Growth Act

                          Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kings—Hants for that question. He has one of the nicest areas to visit at apple blossom time or any time of the year.

                          The first time I visited that research station, I was 19 years old. I was in agricultural college, and I was amazed, and I am still amazed by what the researchers do in Kentville. When I was there first, they were doing research on potatoes for the valley and the type of soil they had there. Ten years later, when I went there, they were doing research on apples, and they came out with varieties that transformed the whole apple industry in the Annapolis Valley, which was amazing. It brought the apple industry back. Now when I go there, they are doing grape varieties and other varieties of fruit and vegetables that are very important for the Atlantic region and the valley region. That is key.

                          We have two things. We have climate change and we have consumer tastes changing. It is hard to believe, but where all those potato fields could have been, where they were doing research, now we see vineyards all through the Annapolis Valley, and it has become one of the fastest-growing areas.

                          It is key to have that research. It is one thing to bring people in and invest money in agriculture in the area, but they need research and people to help them with varieties, soil tests, and whatever needs to be done. That is a very important point the member for Kings—Hants made. If we do not continue to have that, these pockets of our country are not going to have the environment for agriculture we have seen over the years. We are going to lose it, because research in certain areas is not applicable to other areas.

                          • MPlibblog Mark Eyking 237 post Agricultural Growth Act

                            Mr. Speaker, I have to commend the member for Welland on the work he does on the agriculture committee, as well as in his riding. In his area, which has probably one of the richest soils in Canada, there are a lot of good, productive farmers. The member for Kings—Hants says that they have better wine and better soil, but that is not for debate today.

                            This whole bill has so much in it. However, it seems that the debate is focused mostly on UPOV and the whole thing about seeds. That is important, but there is so much else in this bill that it is disappointing to me that we do not talk enough about it.

                            My question is for the NDP. What if this bill were broken up? I ask because that is what happens in the House, where the Conservatives jam everything together. What if this part on the whole issue on seeds and breeders' rights were a separate bill?

                            What is the member's opinion on the rest of the bill? Would he agree that the rest of the bill is good for farmers overall and that the NDP members would have voted for it it were a separate issue?

                            • MPconblog Jason Kenney 133 post Employment

                              Mr. Speaker, what a tragedy to see the member for Kings—Hants now resorting to quoting a union-NDP think tank. That is the same member who used to support income splitting. He used to support lower taxes. Now he supports more reckless spending and endless deficits, the kinds of policies that lead to killing jobs.

                              This government has brought the federal tax burden down to its lowest level in 60 years. We have helped provide training opportunities to over six million young Canadians. We have created the apprenticeship incentive and completion grants and the Canada apprenticeship loan. We are doing more than any government to support youth and find them employment.

                              • MPlibblog Scott Brison 127 post Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

                                With regard to government funding, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusive: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group in the electoral district of Kings—Hants, providing for each (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the location of the recipient, indicating the municipality, (iii) the date, (iv) the amount, (v) the department or agency providing it, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) the nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?

                                • MPconblog Ron Cannan 307 post Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2

                                  Mr. Speaker, last week we were standing in this House in unity among all parties. The Prime Minister said that we were in opposition but we were not enemies. We can have a healthy debate and respect the fact that some of us might have an oops moment. I have had them myself. I know that members of the Liberal caucus have had them.

                                  My colleague, the Minister of State for Finance, is a hard-working member. I just wonder if he could clarify this for the House. My understanding is that recently, the member for Wascana was forced to apologize for misleading the House by misquoting support from a Laval economics professor. Then the Liberal finance critic misquoted Jack Mintz, who said that the Liberal EI scheme would encourage employers to fire older workers. Then yesterday, the member for Kings—Hants accidentally tried to cite reputable economist Jack Mintz right after Mr. Mintz had a letter published, entitled “Bad Policy”, about the Liberal plan. I understand that last Friday the leader of the Liberal Party, in a speech, indicated that he was going to hike pension payroll taxes, which would be a concern for my constituents of Kelowna—Lake Country.

                                  I would ask the hon. Minister of State for Finance how the budget implementation bill would help small businesses across Canada and keep payroll taxes low?

                                  • MPndpblog Nathan Cullen 374 post Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2

                                    Mr. Speaker, there was some debate before my colleague spoke about the changes to the temporary foreign worker program that exist within this omnibus bill. The reason I raise it is that there has been some dispute as to whose fault this all is between my Liberal and Conservative colleagues.

                                    It was a program started by the Liberals some years ago. It was somewhat limited. It started to grow a little. There were some scandals with its use and application for professional dancers, exotic dancers, at one point under the Liberals that got some attention, if I recall correctly. Then the program was expanded massively under the Conservatives.

                                    My question is from the briefing we had last night and from the speech earlier that said the new changes will make it so that the temporary foreign worker program is not a first option program for Canadian employers. There were some other revisions as well, a reporting mechanism, an outing and naming of those employers who chose to abuse the program.

                                    It is not as if these concerns are new. We had concerns, particularly across the west but also in other parts of the country, that this had become a program of first resort rather than last resort for many employers. How could we have designed it this way?

                                    I assume that is what the changes are meant to fix. There are design flaws in the DNA of the temporary foreign worker program. Were those flaws inherent in the program that was established by the Liberals? Were they newly incorporated when the Conservatives took over?

                                    I want to understand when it was that the temporary foreign worker program became a first option for too many employers. The minister mentioned that it was 2002, when those changes came in. Perhaps my colleague, the member for Kings—Hants, can allow the minister some time to answer a similar question with some accuracy as to who was the most abusive of the temporary foreign worker program.

                                    • MPconblog BarryDevolin_MP 26 post Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2

                                      Order, please. The hon. member for Kings—Hants.

                                      • MPlibblog Scott Brison 193 post Restaurant Industry

                                        Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Restaurants Canada, the leading voice of Canada's diverse and dynamic restaurant and food service industry.

                                        Canada's restaurant industry is a key economic driver and job creator. With 89,000 restaurants, bars and caterers across the country, this industry is a leading provider of that all important first job for youth and newcomers to Canada. In fact, 22% of Canadians had their first job in the restaurant business, the highest of any industry.

                                        With 18 million customer visits every day, the restaurant industry is the backbone of communities across the country, feeding Canadians from big cities to remote regions.

                                        In my riding of Kings—Hants, the industry is an important source of jobs and growth. Next month, Wolfville will host the 4th annual Devour! The Food Film Fest, a celebration founded by Chef Michael Howell that will highlight our great restaurants and wineries.

                                        Restaurants Canada has been a powerful advocate for this vital industry. We wish them many more decades of success.

                                        • MPconblog andrewscheer 29 post Employment Insurance

                                          Order, please. We have moved on to the next question.

                                          The member for Kings—Hants now has the floor.

                                          • MPlibblog Judy Foote 1432 post Business of Supply

                                            Mr. Speaker, I stand today to speak in support of our opposition day motion. I want to repeat it for those who may be listening in. It states:

                                            That, in the opinion of the House, the Employment Insurance...plan announced by the government on September 11, 2014, and which will begin on January 1, 2015, will not create jobs and growth but will instead provide a financial incentive for employers to lay off workers; and therefore, the House urges the government to re-direct those resources by providing employers an EI premium exemption on newly-created jobs in 2015 and 2016.

                                            This is yet another example of a hopelessly misguided Conservative policy. The Conservatives' small business job credit is so flawed that it actually discourages job creation and economic growth. Quite simply, the Conservative proposal is bad for employers, bad for workers, and bad for the Canadian economy.

                                            The Conservatives' EI credit plan encourages businesses to stay small and punishes them if they grow and are successful. Under the Conservative scheme, only businesses with EI payroll taxes below $15,000 get any money back. Moreover, despite being billed as a job credit, there is no requirement that companies actually hire new workers to qualify. That in itself is mind-boggling.

                                            The Conservative proposal lowers the EI rate of a business from $2.63 to $2.24 per $100 of salary paid for any employer paying less than the threshold, with no requirement for job creation. Regardless of whether a small business hires new workers, remains the same size, or even fires workers, so long as they remain below the $15,000 threshold, they qualify. This creates a perverse incentive for businesses to fire workers to get below the $15,000 threshold.

                                            Mike Moffatt, professor of economics at the lvey School of Business, expressed his concerns about the effect of this policy on wages, stating:

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

                                            Wages are not the only thing in danger under this plan. In fact, the Conservative scheme offers up to $2,234.04 for firing a worker and only up to $190.52 for hiring a worker. This approach sets a dangerous precedent, especially in provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador, where over 5,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who had a job this time last year are now out of work.

                                            My constituents in Random—Burin—St. George's and their fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians face unemployment rates well above the national average. On the Avalon Peninsula, unemployment is 8%. In Notre Dame-Central-Bonavista, the rate is 16.4%, and in the South Coast—Burin Peninsula region, the unemployment rate is 17.3%.

                                            More and more of my constituents are telling me that they are struggling to make ends meet, and many of my constituents have had to look for work elsewhere. What we need in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in other parts of our country, are more jobs, not fewer. The current government must do more to help create jobs instead of helping to drive high unemployment.

                                            For young workers, job creation is even more important. The situation faced by youth across Newfoundland and Labrador is even more troubling. Unemployment among youth ages 20 to 24 is 15.3%, which is higher than the average in Newfoundland and Labrador and higher than it is for their peers across the country. More and more young people graduating from college and university programs have high debt loads and absolutely no guarantee of finding jobs. They are forced to move back home with their parents, and in many cases, their parents, some of whom are also having trouble making ends meet, try to assume the debt load and living costs of their children, which jeopardizes the future for all involved.

                                            The best way to combat youth unemployment and to help create secure financial futures for all is with new jobs. There is nowhere more important where this will come up than in Newfoundland and Labrador, where there is such a high unemployment rate and a need for steady employment. At a time when youth unemployment is high and many students and recent graduates are struggling to find jobs or co-op placements, the government is continuing to compound the problem through its actions.

                                            Instead of providing incentives for businesses to eliminate jobs, Liberals believe in providing businesses with incentives to create jobs. We have a solution: an EI premium exemption for new jobs created in 2015 and 2016. This would represent a benefit of up to $1,279.15 for each newly created job. That is an incentive. That is an encouragement to a business. The Liberal plan would represent a benefit of up to $1,279.15 for every new person hired by a company, which, for the same price as the proposed EI premium exemption, could produce over 175,000 new jobs.

                                            This is a plan we know works. Under a previous Liberal government, similar incentives were offered through the new hires program as part of budgets 1997 and 1998. That program, unlike the current Conservative plan, provided an incentive to create jobs rather than an incentive to eliminate them, and experts agree. Today Professor Moffatt concluded in his latest piece:

                                            The New Hires Program provides a great framework for a new Small Business Job Credit. I hope the government will take [the Liberals'] suggestion seriously and correct the flaws in their current proposal.

                                            I too hope that the government will realize its error and admit that there is another way of making sure that we respond to the needs of Canadians and the need for employment, especially among our young people. I hope the government listens to the experts and votes in favour of the motion before us today.

                                            What Canadians from coast to coast to coast need the government to do is encourage job creation and growth, not stagnation. Businesses should be encouraged to create more jobs, whether the company pays $14,999 or $15,001 in EI payroll taxes.

                                            What is more, small businesses agree. Just this afternoon, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which government members quote all the time, endorsed the proposed EI holiday for job creators, saying that it had, and I quote, “Lots of job potential”. It is also important to note that EI is a fund paid into by employees and employers, not the government.

                                            According to a report from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada, in 2015 the government is expected to collect $3.5 billion more in employment insurance premiums than needed. Even with the estimated $225-million proposed tax credit, it still means the Conservative government will be taking in $3.25 billion more than necessary.

                                            What this serves to do is to create the illusion of a larger surplus going into 2015, and we know that. We know what is happening with the cuts that are taking place under the government in terms of trying to create a surplus so it can do things leading up to the next election. As my colleague, the hon. member for Kings—Hants has said:

                                            They're padding their books on the backs of workers and employers to fund a pre-election spending spree. At a time when employment numbers are soft and growth has stalled, it’s irresponsible for the Conservatives to maintain high job-killing payroll taxes just to fund their pre-election budget.

                                            Canadians believe, and rightly so, that the government has a responsibility to not only create the right conditions for economic growth but to also ensure that growth is sustainable. We need to create the right conditions for jobs and growth to benefit all Canadians. What we have here is a tale of two policies: a Liberal proposal designed to create stable, long-term job creation and to spur economic growth, and a Conservative policy that creates incentives to fire workers and that discourages growth.

                                            • MPlibblog Wayne Easter 239 post Business of Supply

                                              Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased. I did not recognize that the CFIB was so on its toes, in terms of watching the debate and hearing the motion put forward by the member for Kings—Hants, the Liberal critic for finance, and recognizing the wisdom of this proposal. I certainly congratulate the CFIB on listening to the debate, on looking at the proposal, and recognizing that it does indeed have merit.

                                              Again, I come back to how this chamber can improve proposals. We have the government proposal. I would hope that the Minister of Finance comes in at question period and uses a point of order or a ministerial statement to say that they believe the Liberal proposal has merit, that the chamber is working the way it should, and that parliamentarians, as a collective, are proposing solutions that will create jobs for Canadians. That would be a good thing.

                                              I would hope that the Minister of ESDC comes back and also perhaps makes a statement to clarify whether it is postal codes or regional boundaries in Prince Edward Island in the new EI rules.

                                              • MPlibblog Wayne Easter 2481 post Business of Supply

                                                Mr. Speaker, I am indeed most pleased to second, and to speak on, the motion by my colleague, the member for Kings—Hants, which reads:

                                                That, in the opinion of the House, the Employment Insurance...plan announced by the government on September 11, 2014, and which will begin on January 1, 2015, will not create jobs and growth but will instead provide a financial incentive for employers to lay off workers; and therefore, the House urges the government to re-direct those resources by providing employers an EI premium exemption on newly-created jobs in 2015 and 2016.

                                                The proposal that we are presenting today is a tangible response to the need to create jobs across Canada. We are seeing that need everywhere in the country. We know that the manufacturing sector is down in terms of job creation. We know that the middle class is suffering. We know that in many of the regions, my own in particular, there is a shortage of jobs, and that shortage is causing great difficulties for communities and families across the country.

                                                The proposal is based on the proposition that there should be an incentive for those who create jobs, and that is what is seriously missing from the Conservative proposal.

                                                The Conservatives recently announced the creation of what they call the small business job credit, which many economists have called a disincentive for companies to grow. This Liberal counter-proposal would reward companies that are growing and creating new jobs.

                                                The Conservatives' small business tax credit has a design flaw that discourages job creation and economic growth. My colleague, the finance critic, has outlined that fairly extensively in his remarks. Simply put, under the Conservative scheme, only businesses with EI payroll taxes below $15,000 would get any money back. This creates a perverse incentive for businesses to fire workers in order to get below the $15,000 threshold. I know that earlier some colleagues disputed the fact that would happen, but in fact it does. That is the reality of the world.

                                                The Conservative scheme offers up to $2,234.04 for firing a worker and only up to $190.52 for hiring a worker. Those are the extremes at both ends. The mix would be somewhere in between.

                                                My colleague also outlined in detail the tragedy of the Conservative proposal. He used quite a number of quotes, but let me add a couple.

                                                I will first quote from Stephen Gordon, who is an economics professor at the University of Laval. He was quoted in Maclean's magazine on September 11. He stated:

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

                                                Clearly, he does not see that this incentive is really a win-win solution that is going to work.

                                                Mike Moffatt, an economics professor at the Ivey Business School, was also quoted in Maclean's on September 15. He stated:

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

                                                Mr. Moffatt's remarks make the point that there is also the perverse situation where, because of the $15,000 threshold, there is pressure on companies to either cut back a bit on wages or cut back on employees to stay within that $15,000 threshold.

                                                Why would the Conservatives put forward this proposal? Why would they not go with the better proposal that we are proposing today? I would submit that to a great extent, it is all about spin, with a little Conservative manipulation thrown in.

                                                The minister knows that the business community is incensed about the changes made to the temporary foreign worker program and the blanket treatment across the country. Those changes were made without any real consultation. All of us are hearing concerns from small businesses, from large businesses, from fish companies, from trucking companies, you name it, about the temporary foreign worker program. While changes need to be made, the way they have been made by the government, without consultation, could shut down some small businesses, some larger businesses, and some trucking companies and could hurt the economy.

                                                The government has been told that in some instances, the temporary foreign worker program will shut down the economy and could cause small businesses to shut down, with a loss of jobs for Canadians. That is part of the reason a number of ministers are now concocting a scheme to throw a little bone to the business community. The problem is that the bone does not have much meat on it in terms of creating jobs.

                                                Some of the statements made by the Minister of Finance himself indicate to us that this proposal is really a lot about spin. It is a lot about leaving Canadians with the impression that the government is doing something positive for small businesses with the EI insurance program, when it really is not doing that at all. It is all about leaving the impression it is doing something, when really it is not.

                                                My colleague from Vancouver Quadra summed that up best last week when she asked a question of the Minister of National Defence. She said that what we have had from the Conservative government has been 10 years of deception. We know that it is not really 10 years. It is really eight years, but it certainly feels a lot longer than eight. The fact is that there have been years of deception by the government.

                                                The deception in this policy is that it is support for small businesses for a limited period of time, when in reality, it could have the perverse reaction of costing some jobs in the small-business sector. The reality is that when we compare the Conservative proposal with what we are proposing here today, it is an opportunity lost. If the government does not support the proposal coming from my colleague, the Liberal finance critic, it is an opportunity missed for Canadians, for the small business sector, and for job creation in this country.

                                                That is where the House of Commons comes in. This should be a place, and it has not been for some time, where proposals come forward from a member and are looked at seriously, rather than through the entrenched positions, without discussion, we get from the Government of Canada. We know that the Conservatives do not consult. They only consult with a few people, and they are usually their friends. It does not consult generally.

                                                This is an opportunity for the government and the House of Commons to show that things can change in this chamber in the fall of 2014 to make better policy for Canadians. My colleague, the critic for finance for the Liberal Party of Canada, has put that proposal on the table. I encourage those backbench members who really do not have to take their direction from the cabinet to stand up in their own right and support this proposal. It would be quite a change on the government side.

                                                While on the point of deception, we have seen it in a number of other areas. I talked to a lot of construction companies in my province this summer. I have talked to both the rural section of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the big city sector, and they are crying for infrastructure. If we raise the question in the House, the minister or a backbench government member gets up and says that they have announced the biggest infrastructure program in Canadian history. If we look at this over 10 years, it may look that way, but again, it is deception by the government. The Conservatives, in fact, cut the infrastructure program, from this year up to 2019, by somewhere around 87%, because the big numbers are only over a 10-year period, and the program does not really kick in until 2019. As a result, communities' infrastructure deteriorates. Construction companies are not creating the jobs that they could. I am making the point that it is another case of deception on the part of the government.

                                                We have seen this deception in my area, in a serious way, with regular EI changes by the government in the last couple of years. It claimed there would be an incentive to work longer. It has had the opposite impact in my riding, and certainly in P.E.I. Worse, it has taken money directly out of Prince Edward Island's economy and right out of the back pockets of Prince Edward Island's seasonal workers. Between the clawback of 50¢ on the dollar the minister proudly announced and the loss of the five-week pilot project, it has cost Prince Edward Island workers and its economy about $18 million this year. That is a loss. As I said, it comes right out of workers' pockets. It is money that would have been spent, whether on heating oil or groceries or other things for businesses, in my community. That is what the minister took out of Prince Edward Island when he said that it was an incentive to work. That is so sad and so wrong.

                                                Let me get back to the subject at hand. The results achieved by the government are failing to address a growing need for jobs across Canada, and the proposal being presented today by the Liberal Party would address that vacuum. I am surprised by some of the questions coming forward from government members. They should not see this proposal as divisive. They should see it as an opportunity for this chamber. Yes, we have our partisan differences, and that is fine, but we are talking about ways to do a better job of creating jobs for Canadians.

                                                I look especially to the MPs in the Conservative Party and the backbench from Atlantic Canada. This is an opportunity for them to stand up and be counted, to create more jobs in this country, and to be seen to be allowing this place, this chamber, this House of Commons, to work as it should.

                                                What is being proposed by the Liberal Party is an EI premium exemption for firms that actually hire new employees. That is the essence of what this proposal is all about. Our proposal would represent a benefit for every newly hired worker in 2015-16.

                                                With the Conservative plan, only businesses with EI taxes below $15,000 would see savings, creating an incentive for businesses to either cut back on salaries or lay off workers.

                                                The Conservatives have announced an annual $225-million measure that is unlikely to produce anywhere near the number of jobs that this proposal would produce. The plan we are putting forward would represent a benefit of up to $1,279.15 for every hire, which, for $225 million, could produce over 176,000 jobs. I heard New Democrats speak to the figures earlier. The fact of the matter is that not everyone would be at the maximum level. Some would be less and some would be more. Therefore, that estimate we believe to be pretty accurate.

                                                The Liberal plan would grant every business that creates a new job, regardless of the size of the business, an EI premium exemption for the employee who fills that new position. Unlike the Conservative plan, the Liberal EI exemption would actually reward businesses that are growing their payrolls. It would not reward companies that reduce wages or staffing levels to make it under an arbitrary $15,000 threshold.

                                                The Liberal plan would reward companies up to $1,280, the maximum annual employee contribution announced in 2014, for each new job they created. The employer would not have to pay EI premiums for the employee working in that new position. For the same cost as the Conservative proposal, the Liberal plan could create more than 176,000 new jobs.

                                                To move a little further afield on the issue of employment insurance, the latest measures taken by the regional minister and the minister in charge of employment insurance have impacted my province really seriously. With respect to my home province of P.E.I. and my constituency of Malpeque, the damage the government has inflicted is having a devastating impact on a number of families. That relates to the new Charlottetown region and rural region. We are receiving endless numbers of calls from people confused about the new program and where it will leave employers and employees with respect to this new change.

                                                When we call Service Canada to get answers, we cannot get any. We are getting confusion around the new zone in the rural area, where one needs more hours to work for less in benefits. Who is in the zone and who is out? Service Canada is saying that it could apply to the postal code or it could apply to the address.

                                                Service Canada cannot give us the answer. Can the minister outline specifically these zones and whether it is the postal code or the address? Who is in and who is out of the zone, because it really matters to these folks in terms of how they survive the winter months, the off-season. If he cannot answer now, can he answer later?

                                                The regional minister promised answers. It is time we had some.

                                                To conclude, I ask for people's support of the Liberal plan to create jobs in this country.

                                                • MPconblog GeraldKeddy 219 post Business of Supply

                                                  Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, it is not about one party working with another party. It is about whether something is correct or incorrect.

                                                  The hon. member sat there when the member for Kings—Hants talked about the support for the Liberal 1998 project. The hon. member was here at that time, as I was, and the member for Kings—Hants voted against that budget.

                                                  Speaking of selective memory, we have total selective memory on the Liberal side. The reality is that he is incorrect.

                                                  Our plan would allow for jobs to be created. The Liberal plan would be a disincentive. It would end up that they would be giving them a holiday. New hires would not affect the EI plan immediately, but eventually they would have to start paying into it.

                                                  The whole point of our Conservative strategy on EI is to make EI self-supporting. If we continue with that plan, we can continue to reduce the level of EI remittances across the country from $1.88 to $1.47 and at the same time continue to make EI self-supporting and encourage employers to hire more employees.

                                                  • MPconblog GeraldKeddy 1175 post Business of Supply

                                                    Mr. Speaker, before beginning debate, I should let the House know that I intend to split my time with the member for Prince Edward—Hastings.

                                                    With this motion, my hon. colleagues are suggesting that somehow the government job credit for small businesses is nothing but an incentive to lay off employees. As I mentioned in my first question to the member for Kings—Hants, it is a little difficult for us to wrap our heads around the logic, and I suspect it is difficult even for the Liberals, that somehow any government, not just this government with a reputation of creating jobs, would take any action to reduce the number of jobs available. It is truly ludicrous.

                                                    What we are doing is exactly the opposite. The small business job credit will lower EI premiums for small businesses by 15%. Over the next two years, the premium reduction will save employers $550 million, money they can use to hire more Canadians.

                                                    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business estimates the credit will create 25,000 person-years of employment over the next two to three years. The Minister of Finance also confirmed that in 2017, EI premiums will go from the current $1.88 per $100 of earnings down to $1.47 per $100 of earnings. This means that employers will have more money to invest in things like training and increasing wages, and workers will have more money in their wallets at the end of the day.

                                                    Our government has a responsibility to create the right conditions for economic growth, and it is clearly one that we do not take lightly.

                                                    Since the economic downturn, we have had a steady increase in employment, low interest rates and the kind of economic growth that has made us the envy of other countries. We got here by implementing concrete measures to ensure Canadians have the skills they need for the jobs that are in demand. That is a big part of it. On the other side of the coin is how we are supporting employers to ensure they continue to grow their businesses and create jobs for Canadians. The small business job credit is simply the latest step in a broader plan to support job creation in our country.

                                                    Another element of our plan, as members know, is the Canada job grant, an employer-driven approach to help Canadians gain the skills and training they need to fill available jobs. So far we have finalized agreements with all of the provinces and territories, and six of them are already accepting applications from employers with a plan to train people for jobs. Matching employers with employees across this country will continue to create jobs across Canada. What this means is that employers can be sure they will have an employee with the skills that the job requires. It means as well that there is a real job at the end of the training.

                                                    We are also partnering with several colleges and training institutions to get more businesses directly involved in ensuring there is a better matchup between skills taught and skills wanted. That is also why we invest so much in apprenticeships. However, support for apprentices will not accomplish much if it is difficult for people to hire them. To change this, the government has provided tax credits for employers who hire eligible apprentices.

                                                    Employers can also take advantage of provisions in the EI system for supplemental unemployment benefits or SUB plans. Employers with a registered SUB plan can provide supplemental payments to EI benefits for temporary periods of unemployment due to a temporary stoppage of work, training, illness or injury. So far close to 3,000 employers across Canada have approved SUB plans, and over 887,000 workers are benefiting from these payments. The SUB plan, among other things, solves a major challenge for employers who hire apprentices. It means that employers can pay up to 95% of their apprentice's regular salary, while the apprentice is completing his or her technical training at college.

                                                    Our priority is clear. Since the depths of the global recession we have implemented a range of measures to create jobs and prosperity for all Canadians, and we are seeing the results. Canada's economy is performing well in the context of the weakened global economic recovery. We have created over 1.1 million jobs since July 2009, and over 80% of these jobs have been in full-time positions. Nearly 80% are in the private sector and 65% of those are in high-wage industries.

                                                    As I said, this job credit for small business is the latest measure in a much broader plan, a plan that includes a commitment to a national EI program that is more reflective of, and responsive to, local labour market conditions and that stimulates job creation. The job credit we announced two weeks ago intends to do just that.

                                                    However, it is increasingly clear that the Liberal leader does not have a plan for the economy. He believes that budgets balance themselves, and now he is trying to make us believe that taxing small businesses would somehow create jobs. In fact, it is the opposite. The Liberals' plan for employment insurance would cost Canadians nearly $6 billion. This would lead to a massive increase in payroll taxes, with an increase in EI premiums of nearly 50¢, and would kill thousands of jobs.

                                                    If we take a look at just one part of this plan, the 45-day work year, its cost alone would be over $4 billion. Other parts of their plan are equally thoughtless, including $3 million to provide EI for prisoners. They would compensate perpetrators of crime.

                                                    It is abundantly clear that we do not need the measure that our Liberal colleagues are proposing today. Therefore, I urge all members not to support the motion. This applies particularly to the members of the NDP, who I am sure do not need to be reminded of their record of being the least democratic party in the House, without a single dissenting vote against the party line since becoming the official opposition.

                                                    In closing, I know my colleague from Prince Edward—Hastings has more to add to this speech. What we have here is flawed Liberal logic backed up by flawed NDP logic. Really, the facts speak for themselves. This is a good incentive. It would create jobs across this country. This is legislation we need. We do not need the naysayers.

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Kings—Hants

The electoral district of Kings--Hants (Nova Scotia) has a population of 81,531 with 64,593 registered voters and 200 polling divisions.


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Scott Brison MP
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