The hon. member for Burlington will have five minutes for reply.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to my friend and colleague from Burlington's motion, which brings an important public health issue to the forefront of debate. The motion speaks to the important public health issue of obesity and the physical well-being of all Canadians. It is both timely and relevant.
Obesity levels among Canadians continue to be extremely high. The World Health Organization declared in 2011 that obesity is a global epidemic and it is facing us now. In Canada, the social and economic impacts of obesity are considerable.
Statistics show us that obesity accounts for losses totalling billions of dollars, but this does not tell the entire story. Obesity often leads to major chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, so when we factor in the costs to our health and productivity, we see that the cost to our economy is far greater. We cannot ignore the significant human costs, such as reduced quality of life and social stigma, just to name two. If left unchecked, the economic and social impact of obesity will continue to grow with irreversible consequences for all Canadians.
As such, our government is acting. We brought in the children's fitness tax credit to encourage families to keep their kids active. Keeping with the theme in budget 2013, we eliminated tariffs on sports and athletic equipment. We are working with our partners to promote healthy weights for all Canadians. We fully support the motion and invite colleagues from all sides of the House to join us.
Our government is committed to continuing to do our part and working with our partners to curb obesity rates. I would like to expand on the partnership approach we are taking and the role we are playing.
There is no doubt that societal challenges like obesity rely on many to take action. Complex public health issues such as this one simply defy single solution approaches. No one government or institution alone can make the changes needed to curb obesity rates at a societal level. Solutions cannot be developed in isolation from the needs of communities and families.
There is also no doubt that federal leadership is an essential element of mobilizing all sectors of society around a common objective. Mobilizing all segments of society—communities, academia, the charitable and not-for-profit sector and the private sector—needs to happen too. The good news is that all governments and a growing number of other stakeholders in the private and public sectors agree that complementary and coordinated action is necessary.
The government's approach to supporting new ideas delivered in new ways with direct results for Canadians is rooted in the values we share as Canadians, working together for better health outcomes for all Canadians. Our approach allows partners to leverage knowledge, expertise, reach and resources. With this in mind, I would like to expand on several of the important aspects of our approach.
First, we are working in partnership with the private sector to leverage new resources and ideas, and to expand the reach of our programs. For example, the government has recently partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and Sun Life Financial through a matched-dollar funding arrangement. This collaboration is expanding “Get BUSY!”, a program to increase physical activity and healthy eating opportunities for children and youth in community Boys and Girls Clubs.
The government has also partnered with LoyaltyOne to jointly support the Air Miles-YMCA physical activity program, an innovative, incentive-based program that is exploring new ways of getting Canadians active and keeping them active over the long term. In less than a year, we have leveraged over $2 million in private sector investment. This is a positive story from a taxpayer perspective.
Second, innovation is at the centre of our approach. Supporting and promoting new programs and models that are proven to be effective is the goal. We are not reinventing the wheel. We are challenging ourselves and others to innovate and adapt so that the models that have the greatest impact are available to Canadians.
To encourage our partners to work together, we also need to be a good partnership facilitator. Through the Public Health Agency of Canada, a redesigned approach to funding programs was recently launched. The agency is inviting eligible organizations to submit their ideas on effective ways to address obesity, promote healthy living and prevent chronic disease. These ideas are the foundation for partnership discussions, both with the agency and with others who may have submitted similar or complementary ideas. The continuous intake of partnership ideas allows us to be more responsive and support innovative interventions that are at a stage of readiness to make a difference. In other words, we are better able to strike while the iron is hot.
By joining the best ideas with the resources that are needed, we are confident that we will get at the root causes of obesity. Ultimately everyone's goal is to help Canadians overcome barriers to healthy living and prevent chronic disease. These aspects of our work showcase our leadership role and role as a catalyst for innovation. Indeed, since 2006, our government has invested nearly $200 million for obesity-related research.
Another important aspect of our approach relates to the ongoing commitment to accountability for the use of public funds. To achieve greater accountability for results, projects will only be considered where funding can be tied to the completion of measurable results. Performance expectations for each partnership are predetermined and milestones are established in advance.
Recognizing that investments in public health take time to achieve results, this ensures we support only those partnerships that aim to achieve long-term, lasting and, most important, effective results. It is also important to note that a key aspect of our approach involves supporting partnerships that use an integrated style to address common risk factors for obesity and other chronic diseases.
Every year in Canada 67% of all deaths are caused by four major chronic diseases: cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases. What is more, these diseases share common risk factors that, if addressed in an integrated way, can be mitigated.
Chronic diseases can be prevented and their onset delayed. In 2011, at a United Nations high-level meeting, Canada signed the “Political declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases” in which four common risk factors were identified for chronic disease.
These common risk factors include: physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol. This integrated approach to supporting innovative multi-sectoral partnerships allows us to bring a greater number of partners into the fold, partners whose expertise and knowledge can help us address a range of risk factors in an integrated way. The result is that our partnerships can do a better job at creating the conditions in communities to help make the healthier choice an easier choice. This builds on the work that our government has done to ensure that Canadians have access to the information they need to make healthy food choices for their families.
Our approach to creating innovative multi-sectoral partnerships is the right way to go. More importantly, it is showing great promise in rallying a broad range of partners whose responsibility or interest is to tackle obesity as a critical public health issue. As a result, this government is well placed in continuing to support, promote and fund organizations and individuals who are taking innovative approaches to promote the physical well-being of all Canadians. What is more, these partnerships are fostering social innovation and helping to keep the reduction of obesity on the public agenda as a health priority.
In conclusion, as we continue to move forward, we will continue our efforts to generate and leverage new resources, apply innovative approaches, remain focused on accountability and improve our success by addressing common risk factors for obesity. This is why my hon. friend from Burlington's motion, which is before us today, is so important and so timely. It reminds us that consistent innovation is required as we continue to fight obesity and improve health outcomes for all Canadians.
I would like to thank and congratulate my colleague, the member for Burlington, for bringing the motion forward.
Finally, I invite all members of the House to support this very important motion. I am thankful for the opportunity to speak today about the important issue of reducing obesity among Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, Crime Stoppers of Halton is an independent charitable organization, governed by a volunteer board of directors, made up of citizens representing all areas of the Halton region. Put simply, it is a three-part approach to solving crime problems. Crime Stoppers relies on co-operation between the police, the media, and the general community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals.
Since its creation in 1988, Crime Stoppers of Halton has helped the police make over 1,000 arrests, recovering nearly $20 million in money and assets, and it has paid $54,000 in rewards. Halton has been named the safest municipality in Canada. Its Crime Stoppers branch receives 600 tips per year.
Norm Bellefontaine, the chair of Crime Stoppers of Halton, said that he would like to think that Crime Stoppers has been a tool in the toolbox to keep his region safe.
On behalf of the citizens of Burlington, I congratulate the Crime Stoppers of Halton for their 25 years of fantastic service to the community.
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's questions, and I will say hello to her sister-in-law from Burlington when I see her.
The fact of the matter is that the government looks at all programs, including EI, and we look to where there are efficiencies and effectiveness. I was not at the finance meetings to hear what the public service witnesses had to say, so I am not sure what their testimony was.
I am very proud of this side of the House, this government. When we came to office we looked at the EI program, and the member is absolutely right that EI is funded by the employer and the employee, and we set up a fund for that money to go into so that governments could not take that money and use it for general expenses, as has been the case in previous years. So we set that up and I am happy with what we are doing. It is only appropriate for EI and all programs that the government of the day look at how to be more efficient and more effective in providing the services that those programs are to provide, and I am supportive of what we are doing in the EI program.
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak again to Bill C-4. I had the opportunity to speak to it at second reading before it went to committee.
I am happy to talk to my friend from the Liberal Party and ensure that he understands what is in Bill C-4.
What I found funny this week when I was listening was that I was speaker 69 last time and I think the speaker before me wanted to go to the vote on it, and I know we are relatively close to that again this time.
We have had a large number of speakers to the bill. It was funny that we were hearing from the opposition that we were not given enough time to speak on the bill. Then this week, I hear from a number of opposition members that we keep repeating ourselves. We keep repeating ourselves because there is only so much in this bill and everybody understands what is in it. One either agrees or disagrees with it. It is not that complicated.
The opposition says that it is an omnibus bill. Yes, it is a couple of hundred pages: 100 in French, 100 in English. Can they read that? I am not sure. I know I can and I am pretty sure my opposition members can read that much.
Anyway, I want to talk about the areas in Bill C-4, which is the implementation bill of the budget and other measures. People seem to miss the title of the bill, which does say “other measures”. Therefore, it was not just what was in the budget in the spring, but other measures that this government thought were important to bring forward and to get through the House, and I will talk a little about that.
I want to talk about the things that directly affect my riding.
The first thing I want to speak about is the lifetime capital gains exemption basically for small business. The largest employer in my riding has about 600 employees. The municipality, in fact, has about that many employees, or a bit less. The vast majority of employers in my riding are small and medium-sized businesses.
These businesses are often individually owned businesses or group owned. Very few are traded on the stock market, but there are some there, such as financial offices of different organizations in terms of credit. We have components of different larger organizations, but the vast majority are medium-sized businesses owned by small groups of individuals or individuals themselves.
Through this bill, we would increase the capital gains. Business owners could save based on the amount they could retain after they sell their business or pass it on. Small and medium-sized businesses are often passed on to family members. The sale of a business would allow for money to be left in the pockets of the entrepreneurs. They created the jobs and economic activity in my riding and have earned the right to retain earnings. It is their retirement often.
Not all businesses in my riding own their buildings or real estate, for example. Therefore, the retained earnings they would get and the savings they would make on the change to the capital gains exemption would be significant to them, to their families and to their retirement.
We often hear concern about turning a business over, whatever that business might be, because of the cost of capital gains and what would be left in one's pocket after the taxes were paid. This measure would allow for a little more to stay in an owner's pocket, which I think is very important.
The next thing I want to talk about is the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation equipment.
We have the ACCA on a number of items across the country. It is part of the accounting packages that we allow for accelerated capital cost allowance. Basically, it would allow a company to write-off capital expenditures much faster than it would have been able to under normal charts in terms of expected lifespan. It is an accounting piece that would allow companies to invest in equipment and realize profits from that equipment in a much quicker manner. I am very supportive of that.
Part of it is that we have included clean energy generation and clean energy equipment that did not qualify previously for the accelerated capital cost allowance, and this does that. For companies in my riding, if they are not directly involved in the clean energy generation business but are suppliers of those businesses—for example, parts for equipment they may buy—it makes a significant difference to those small and medium-sized businesses being able to take advantage of that ACCA.
I would now like to talk about the hiring credit for small business. In budget 2011, we brought forward the $1,000 per employee small business hiring credit, and we are continuing that process through Bill C-4. This would allow those small and medium-sized businesses in my riding an opportunity to grow, to provide economic growth not just for Burlington but for Ontario and for Canada.
Growth comes in a number of ways, through sales and so on, and if businesses continue to grow, they often need more people. We want to encourage employment through Bill C-4, through our whole budget, our economic action plan, and this mechanism helps encourage employment, particularly for young people in my riding of Burlington. It is a relatively expensive place to live, and we are having an issue with young people who have grown up and gone to high school in Burlington, have gone away for post-secondary education either at McMaster next door in Hamilton, in the area or across the country, and are having a hard time finding positions to come home to in Burlington. The mayor and the city council have looked at this. The small business hiring credit would assist small businesses in my riding to hire young people and help them get started in their careers after their education.
We are doing what we can federally, as is the municipality through a number of programs, to encourage local employment for young people, particularly ones who have a connection with our community and have added to its quality of life.
The other couple of areas I would speak to are on the other categories in the bill. I am fortunate enough to be the chair of the justice committee, which I will talk about last; but first, I have also been fortunate to be assigned to the citizenship and immigration committee, which is a new experience for me. I had not been on that committee before, and this fall I was asked to sit on the committee. I have enjoyed my time there. Part of the discussion we have been having was with Bill C-4. As members know, there were a number of areas under the “other” category, and the finance committee sent those parts of Bill C-4 to those committees for further study.
At the citizenship and immigration committee, we had the opportunity to talk about two things that are in Bill C-4. One is the passport issue. I think we have done the appropriate thing. People who come into my office to talk to me about passports are somewhat surprised, and even I was surprised, that passports were under Foreign Affairs. In actual fact, we are moving it over to Citizenship and Immigration, where it is more appropriate for it to be managed, and that would make for a better system.
My final point is that the Supreme Court Act was also submitted in Bill C-4 and was referred to my committee. We had excellent committee meetings on this issue. We talked about what we are doing, moving forward, in being able to appoint individuals to the Supreme Court. It was an excellent discussion. We had a number of meetings with a variety of different witnesses, suggested mostly by the opposition, so we were able to deal with that issue and send it back to finance. I think it was the appropriate thing to do.
I am happy to answer any questions that may come my way.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to help support my colleague on this important piece of Canadian heritage. The function of the hon. member's private member's bill is to make sure that we, as Canadians, honour and respect the history and the heritage of hunting and trapping and the individuals who make their living in the heritage industries. It is a way of life in this country that helped to build Canada.
It is important for us, and we have done a very good job over the last number of years as a government to make sure that Canadians understand our historical past and the pieces of history that have shaped this country. I want to make sure Canadians understand what we are doing.
This private member's bill would help us understand where we have come from and would preserve this way of life, the ability of individuals and organizations in this country to continue to fish, hunt, and trap and honour our past and preserve that way of life, whether it is for making a living and actually providing for families and their communities or as a recreational opportunity.
Let us be frank. It is important for me, as somebody from an urban area, from the city of Burlington, Ontario, that I and all members stand together on this private member's bill, Bill C-501, to support those from across the country in honouring a special day of the year, a heritage day for hunting, trapping and fishing. Let me just read out the preamble to the bill, which sums up what we are doing:
Whereas hunting, trapping and fishing are part of our natural heritage; Whereas the Aboriginal peoples of Canada have traditionally participated in hunting, trapping and fishing; Whereas Canada's hunters, trappers and fishers have made a significant contribution to the development of our nation by traversing and mapping the prairies, forests, streams and rivers from coast to coast to coast; Whereas millions of Canadians participate in and enjoy hunting, trapping and fishing; And whereas hunting, trapping and fishing contribute significantly to our national economy....
We would have this special day set aside. I now live in an urban area, and therefore, those who participate in fishing and hunting are recreational hunters and fishers. They are not doing it for a living. However, I grew up in a small town in Ontario, Port Elgin, on Lake Huron. Beside that community is a native reserve, the Saugeen Indian reserve, which I grew up knowing. That reserve actually owns the property that is now Sauble Beach.
Fishing played a very important role in the lives of the first nations, and not just in the past for the aboriginal people fishing out of the Great Lakes. Fishing played a key role in the survival, growth, and development of that aboriginal area, the Saugeen reserve.
I can recall distinctly, growing up, that down at the end of my street, there had been an Indian settlement at one time. We had longhouses redeveloped there. Numerous artifacts from that area were from a fishing village. Their livelihood was not from farming but was from fishing. Most of the artifacts from that area dealt with their fishing existence.
It is important that this heritage day highlight and assist others in remembering where we come from in terms of traditional fishing, hunting, and trapping opportunities and where we will go, as a nation, in the future.
Mr. Speaker, as a proud member of Parliament from Hamilton Tiger-Cat country, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to recognize the CFL's eastern division victors and the next Grey Cup champions, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The Ticats have had one heck of a season. Displaced from the home field, against the odds, when everyone had written them off, they fought back and won. It is a story of sheer grit and determination, much like the city they hail from.
On Sunday, they are going to do it again. Against a tough opponent, against the cheers and jeers of the hometown crowd, the Hamilton Ticats will show the country what they are made of.
They are as true as a cup of Tim Hortons coffee, as strong as steel, and with as much heart as the people in the greater Hamilton area. The hon. member for Burlington, seated behind me, has got it right: “Oskee wee wee. Oskee waa waa. Holy mackinaw. Tigers, eat 'em raw”.
Mr. Speaker, today we Conservatives returned from Alberta where we had our best convention ever. We addressed topics that matter to Canadians, including fiscal accountability and the topic of my address today, which is health.
It is no secret, our country is facing a health crisis. Over half of Canadians aged 18 to 79 are either overweight or obese. At the core of this problem, less than 15% of our young people achieve even the minimum guidelines for physical activity each week. Each year, treating obesity related cardiovascular and diabetes costs $7 billion.
Conservatives are committed to sound fiscal management and improving the health of Canadians. Once again, last Saturday our party walked the talk. Conservative delegates and MPs, including the members for Burlington and Kitchener—Conestoga, followed the lead of our Minister of Health on a five-kilometre walk to put fitness front and centre in Calgary.
I invite the members of the other parties to do the same at their own conventions in the future,
We must join together to make Canada the fittest nation on earth.
The electoral district of Burlington (Ontario) has a population of 118,310 with 90,949 registered voters and 264 polling divisions.
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