Mr. Speaker, the member for Burlington, just like the Minister of Finance, talked a fair bit about hockey helmets. I guess he believes that his request to reduce the cost of hockey helmets really helped, and maybe it did.
Does the member for Burlington not have any young families in his riding who happen to ride bicycles? Does he not have any really young families that like to buy little red wagons?
Does he not recognize that in that area the government is proposing to put $338 million, which is a tax, on people? If the government was doing something to improve the manufacturing sector in Canada, that would be one thing, but what it is really doing is taking that $338 million out of the back pockets of middle-class families. Why?
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.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Burlington.
It is very interesting. I have listened to the debates this afternoon and opposition members have been arguing about the rationale as to why they cannot support Bill C-60, our economic action plan.
I would like to give them a few examples of reasons why they should support it. It is rather important legislation that continues a growth pattern that we have started on as a government.
We have come out of the recession as number one in the world, which is really rare for Canada as it has never been there before. It is exciting to see the numbers of jobs that have been created and the opportunity that we have as far as growth as we move forward.
Maybe I will close with some of the optimistic things that we can talk about within our country, but this legislation builds on that. Just for one reason alone, if the opposition is looking at something it could support, it certainly could support our veterans. This legislation would give a very nice benefit to our vets. For that reason alone, the opposition should support it.
Then again, it should also be supporting what the legislation does with regards to going after tax evaders, something that has not happened for many years. Just in fairness, as Canadians, and for no other reason, the opposition should support it to ensure everyone pays their fair share of taxes and to deal with those who cheat.
When it comes to the indexing of the gas tax, I heard the opposition say that the number one problem in municipalities was housing. I would beg to differ. The number one problem in municipalities, as we have heard right across the country from coast to coast to coast, is infrastructure. The legislation deals with $53 billion of infrastructure over a 10-year period, the most aggressive infrastructure plan that we have ever laid out as a country. For that reason alone, the opposition should support the legislation.
We would be lowering taxes and providing flow-through shares for mining and keeping that industry going. The accelerated capital cost allowance creates a tremendous amount of opportunity in manufacturing and opportunity for job growth and industry growth for many years to come. This is a great benefit in the legislation. The opposition should be supporting it because of that, or because of the hiring tax credit that has been continued for small businesses, which is a real benefit that it should be supporting. Even the capital gains exemption has gone up for lifetime capital gains for individuals. This is should be supported.
For those reasons alone, and I could go on about many other reasons, the opposition should support the bill. Instead, we hear a lot of negativity and some things that are negative have nothing to do with the legislation as far as arguments go. I guess I should not be alarmed about that, because when the opposition runs out of manufactured reasons for not supporting it, it comes up with reasons that are not even in the bill.
I would like to spend my time on the number one issue in my riding, which is the lack of labour. It is different from what I heard from the hon. member from Toronto, who suggested the number one problem was unemployment.
I have the opposite problem in my riding, which is a good thing in some ways, but in other ways it is not. The temporary foreign worker program was there to address it in the last election. When the people of my riding discerned whether I was the right person to vote for, the number one issue they came forward with was a lack of labour. The importance of the temporary foreign worker program was to deal with the kinds of reduction and the ability for corporations and industries to grow and create the kinds of opportunity for our region and our country.
However, the temporary foreign worker program was something we said we would take a look at, to see if we could find ways to make that program work even more effectively. Guess what? We did. We made the program work even more effectively and efficiently. However, there is a bit of a problem with the temporary foreign worker program and this legislation addresses that.
In my riding, unemployment is zero. The real objective of the temporary foreign worker program is that it does not take away jobs from Canadians, but helps complement the workforce where there are no Canadians to fill those jobs.
Even where unemployment is virtually zero or very close to it, there are people in the system who have abused the program, even in my riding. This needs to be addressed. In this piece of legislation, we are going after those individuals, tweaking the program and will be consulting on this program in the future to make it better so that it actually deals with what it was intended to do, which was complement and not replace Canadian workers.
There are seven ways that this piece of legislation lays out how it is going to be changed. The first one would come into effect immediately and it is with respect to the pay differential, which was brought in about a year or a year and a half ago and was not being used. Only about 5% of those using the program even bothered with it. Let us get rid of the compromised price of 15% for skilled workers or 5% for lower-skilled workers on the differential of what those individuals are being paid. That we got rid of in this piece of legislation.
We are going to temporarily suspend in this piece of legislation the accelerated labour market opinion process, which was something they were asking for. In my riding, people needed it. We are not going to cancel it in this legislation, just suspend it while we take a breather, do some consultation and look at how we build on this program to make it even better.
The third thing in this piece of legislation on the program is to make sure it has the power to deal with those who abuse the process in the sense of being able to take away, revoke or suspend the labour market opinion process, the work permit as well as the LMO. This is something we need if we are going to be able to deal with those who refuse to see it as a program to complement Canadian workers and use it to replace Canadian workers, which we are seeing even in an area such as ours.
The fourth change to the temporary foreign worker program in this piece of legislation is to make sure we stop outsourcing. The program was never intended to replace the Canadian workforce and to have people work outside our country is a total abuse. This piece of legislation deals with that as well. That is another reason for certain that the opposition should be supporting it.
The fifth reason is that we want to make certain there is a plan in place for corporations that get LMOs and use temporary foreign workers to replace them long term with the Canadian workforce. That may be the most difficult one in my riding to comply with, so we are going to go through a process of consultation on that.
The sixth thing is to make sure that the fund is self-funded. There is no way that the taxpayer should be supporting this fund. The employer should be doing that.
The seventh thing is to make sure that English and French are the only mandatory languages necessary for foreign workers.
Those are the seven changes. The agricultural community and the agriculture workforce are exempt from most of these, except that if people abuse the system, the work permits will be revoked.
These are wonderful changes to the program, but it is in a process of consultation. It is one of the most important pieces in this bill that will impact all of Canada, but particularly my riding.
We have a wonderful experience in Canada. When we were coming through the recession, my colleagues in America went green with envy. They call Canada the miracle to the north because of the jobs created, the lower taxes, how we are freeing up the private sector to grow, capitalizing on international markets and moving to balanced books. For that, we should be very excited as Canadians. We have a great story to tell. We are doing some wonderful things not only in this budget, but in past budgets. This complements past ones. All members should think soberly about that and support this piece of legislation.
Mr. Speaker, this petition is mainly from people in the Mississauga-Burlington area. They are calling on the government to replace the CFOs, the chief firearms officers for the provinces and territories, with a civilian agency, because the chief firearms officers are inconsistently applying the laws across the lands.
Mr. Speaker, as has been made clear for several months now, the federal government has been leading negotiations with third parties in order to secure a new operator for the Experimental Lakes Area. The federal government has involved the province of Ontario as it owns the land on which the property sits.
Our government is continuing important freshwater research in other facilities across Canada, such as the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg and the Bayfield Institute in Burlington. We are also making important investments to clean up freshwater lakes like Lake Winnipeg and Lake Simcoe.
The electoral district of Burlington (Ontario) has a population of 118,310 with 90,949 registered voters and 264 polling divisions.
This action requires you to be logged into Politwitter. No regisrtation is required, just authenticate using your Twitter account.