Mr. Speaker, a week ago, the Liberal leader proudly announced one of the most embarrassing floor crossings any of us have ever seen. He claimed that he was impressed with the member for Mississauga—Brampton South's “commitment to public service". Well, his caucus was not impressed.
Now we have the return of that famous source, Liberal MPs speaking on condition of anonymity. One Liberal MP said, “The larger population just got another message saying the Liberals are no different than the Conservatives”. Another said that the leader of the Liberal Party just made the Prime Minister look principled.
What did the Liberal leader get in return for all this? Why none other than new Liberal strategist Dimitri Soudas. This Liberal leader once said, “ when you start to compromise your principles, you’re through”. Indeed, without principles, what kind of leader is a person? Well, we just found out.
Fortunately, Canadians can count on the NDP leader for principled leadership, leadership that fights for the middle-class families of Canada.
Mr. Speaker, last week it was the Conservative-Liberal alliance party trying to say that the NDP had done something wrong with its mailings in Bourassa. Elections Canada said the NDP never did a thing wrong.
Let them keep throwing that around. Canadians understand what it means. We are doing well and Canadians want the NDP in power in 2015.
Has the Prime Minister asked the member for Mississauga—Brampton South to step down?
Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Prime Minister's Office leaked that it was demanding an investigation into the behaviour of the member for Mississauga—Brampton South. After being unaware last week when the NDP first raised this issue, now the Prime Minister is aware of these serious allegations being levelled by party members.
Canadians are left wondering. Why is the Prime Minister demanding this investigation but sees no need at all to investigate Senator Irving Gerstein's use of Conservative Party funds to pay off Mike Duffy? While the Prime Minister has ordered an inquiry into this misuse of the Conservative Party's infamous database, he has never once demanded an investigation into the misuse of the very same database for deceptive voter suppression calls during the last election.
I am sure that Conservative members are happy to see an investigation into the trampling of their democratic rights, but when will Conservatives finally come clean about trampling on the democratic rights of all Canadians?
Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate the member for Mississauga—Brampton South on her appointment as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.
Here we are debating the first bill. The bill could be more properly named the anti-public safety bill because it is very stacked against public safety. Despite what the member has just said, if one looks at the bill and examines it very closely we can see that it is designed to prevent any safe injection site from ever being able to operate.
I would like to ask the member if she knows anything about InSite, the only safe injection site we have in Canada, which is operating in Vancouver, or how it operates. Is she aware that it went through all of the municipal requirements that she just talked about? As a former city councillor, I am very familiar with public notification, input, and so on. I wonder if she is aware that InSite went through a vigorous process of public scrutiny, city council looking at the application, and so on. In fact, it is now very well accepted in the community. Has she ever visited the facility? Does she know what goes on there?
If the member thinks the municipal process is a good process, then why not let these applications be dealt with at the municipal level? Why does it require that the minister have all these criteria in effect so that she can turn it down?
Order, please. The hon. member for Mississauga—Brampton South has the floor.
Order. The hon. member for Mississauga—Brampton South.
Mr. Speaker, since her return from the summer, the member for Mississauga—Brampton South has given four statements but none highlighted events in her riding. She did not mention the United Achievers' Club Annual Scholarship and Recognition Awards held on September 15, or the Sikh community town hall meeting held on September 30.
Brampton Day, a celebration of all things local in Brampton, happened just one month ago. Again, nothing from the member.
Just yesterday, the Brampton Battalion hosted a special Olympics day. Players and fans bought red laces in support of the Special Olympics.
Why were none of those events worthy of celebrating in this House?
There are many wonderful community events happening in every riding all across Canada.
I encourage members to take this time to highlight the Canadians who help build our vibrant communities and not simply repeat fabrications cooked up in the Prime Minister's office.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Mississauga—Brampton South.
I am happy to stand today and support the budget action plan 2012, Canada's economic action plan, because it is so important. It is certain to bolster Canada's long-term economic strengths and promote job growth, and that is what it is all about.
We are federal representatives who support Canadians in their endeavour to have a better quality of life, and hat is exactly what Canada's economic action plan 2012 does and I am proud to stand up for it.
This is such a good budget for the people I represent. This budget is all about me coming forward to talk about what my citizens are so excited for in this particular budget. It starts with job creation to innovation and invention. It is important to continue to invent things and to work hard to have patents and intellectual interests that actually stimulate growth in our economy because we can sell that to others.
I am proud to say that in my riding of Fort McMurray—Athabasca, we have more patents registered than in all of the rest of Canada combined. It is certainly more than any other jurisdiction of that area or that population. That is why it is important to have innovation and invention, which the budget speaks to.
From my background as a retailer, although the elimination of the penny for some people it is heartfelt, it is a good business decision, good for Canadians and good for northern Albertans.
We will prosper under this budget and continue to have a great quality of life. I am very proud of our government and I am proud of this particular budget. It goes without saying that we on this side of the House are proud of this budget because it takes a step forward.
We saved serious amounts of interest payments when we knocked down $39 billion in direct payments two or three budgets ago. Then we got into a budget of promoting economic wealth through creating jobs, infrastructure and a better quality of life. Now we have an austerity budget, a budget that, in my mind, is more about efficiency and productivity than any other budget in Canada's history.
I will elaborate on a few of my favourite initiatives. I am very happy to see in this budget that some education has been taken from the Senate, in particular the Senate's ongoing inquiry into the involvement of foreign foundations in Canada's domestic affairs. This has brought a lot of attention to the Senate and to this budget, and some people speak against this. However, for me that is not the case.
I donate a lot of money to charities. I support charities and I sit on a board or two. I have done that for years. I think it is clear that some charities are not respecting the rules regarding political activities. It is necessary to do that because Canadians expect their charitable donations to be used for those particular purposes and not for some political purpose or some economic purpose beyond the mandate of that particular charity.
I will quote Senator Finley who said in March of this year:
Shady foreign money is being used to influence Canadian domestic and commercial policy in an obscure fashion.
There is nothing wrong with groups advocating for environmental conservation. However, there is a problem when their unstated intent is to undermine Canadian industries and do irreparable damage to Canada's economy.
We are not talking about $100 here or there, or somebody paying for some protest signs. We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that are being funneled from other countries, other interests, including petroleum foundations that are in competition with petroleum foundations and petroleum companies in Canada. They are actually funnelling them to our country and to other countries to fund environmental and aboriginal activists working to block our economic development.
Some people say that they should be able to do that. I have no problem with Canadians doing that as long as Canadians know what they are doing, know where the money is coming from, know where the money is going and they obey the law. However, Canadians deserve to know. It is time to find out clearly where that money is coming from, who it is going to and what it is being used to fund. Bluntly, it works against taxpayer dollars and it costs more taxpayer dollars to follow through with that economic policy that this place and the members of this place put forward and have put forward. They are working contrary to that purpose, exactly contrary to it, and it costs Canadians more money. I do not think that should continue unless, of course, Canadians want it to continue and Canadians know about it.
Economic action plan 2012 proposes measures to ensure that charities devote their resources almost exclusively to charitable rather than political activities. How would it do that? First, by proposing that Canada Revenue Agency enhance its education and compliance activities with respect to political activities by charities. I do not think many actually understand the ramifications of this and that they need to stick to their knitting and do what Canadians expect them to do with their charitable donations.
Second, to improve transparency by requiring charities to provide more information on their political activities, including the extent to which they are funded by foreign sources. We do not know where this money is coming from. We are starting to learn a little about it. I think most Canadians would be shocked to find out that some of these groups that are opposing our development strategies are funded by oil companies abroad. That is troubling because it is Canadian domestic policy in which these foreign governments are interfering and that should not be allowed. We certainly should not be allowing them tax breaks.
Whether members agree with my position, the government's position, regarding exporting our resources throughout the world, I think 99.9% of Canadians, I hope, believe that this decision is about Canadian jobs, the Canadian economy, Canadian prosperity and our quality of life, every life in the country, including the lives of the constituents of the member for Western Arctic who spoke briefly before me. It is about Canadian policy and it should not be made by foreign trusts for foreign priorities that are operating strictly against our policies and what Canadians voted for last May, one year ago. I congratulate the Conservative majority government. Canadians voted for us to move forward with these initiatives, not to have foreign interests, foreign governments, foreign oil companies interfering in our domestic policy. This is Canadian policy that should be made at home in the best interests of all Canadians.
If Canadians do not like it, their job is to de-elect us, just like it is to re-elect us. I think they will like these policies because they will have a better quality of life, a better job and a better family life as well, because all of those things add up for a better quality of life.
Probably the most obvious budget proposal for me to speak to today is responsible resource development. This is one of the things that throughout my adult life I have pursued. I consider myself an environmentalist. I have spent a tremendous amount of time outdoors. I am a registered trapper in Alberta. I almost finished a masters degree in environmental law in Australia because that was my passion at one time.
I believe the concentration on one review for one project will be better in the end because all of the resources and thought processes will go into that one review. Instead of two, three or four reviews that are competing and have competing interests, we would have one review. We would get all the experts to work on that one review and we have the assessment forwarded with a yes or no so people know where they stand. We cannot wait 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 years where we have money to invest or where outside companies or Canadian companies have shareholders who expect to receive a return on investment. We cannot wait a decade or more for a yes or no answer. We need to ensure we provide that answer to them. What is so exciting for me today is that the budget has a responsible resource development part in it.
In the next 10 years, more than 500 major economic projects, representing $500 billion in new investment, are planned across Canada. I am proud to say that a recent study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that in the next 25 years the oil sands growth, which I represent most of, will support an average of 480,000 jobs, which means $2.4 trillion to our GDP. What is important in relation to this is that there is one review. We would put all our effort into that review to ensure we streamline it, to ensure we give an answer to the people who are investing and to ensure we get the best possible results for Canadians. Protecting the environment, ensuring we stand up for Canadian families, Canadian jobs and consulting properly with first nations across the country, all of those things are important.
Our track record speaks for itself. We have gone through a minority opposition government, two minority governments and now a majority government. Canadians have spoken loudly. They trust the Prime Minister and they trust the cabinet to stand up for their priorities and we will continue to do that through this budget.
Mr. Speaker, earlier today, you interrupted the statement that was being presented by the member for Mississauga—Brampton South. As there is some confusion, I am asking for some indication from the Chair as to how you intend to handle this.
Mr. Speaker, you will recall that last week the member for Toronto—Danforth had raised a point of order with regard to the statement, again presented by the same member on the government side, in terms of the nature of the statement being a personal attack on him, which is a violation of the long-standing tradition of this House and any number of Houses in the Westminster system, and more specifically, it is in violation of the rulings of your predecessor, Mr. Milliken in the last Parliament where he ruled that personal attacks against other members during the course of an S. O. 31 statement is improper.
We are not clear, Mr. Speaker, whether in fact, by cutting her off today, you were expressing your intent as to your ruling or when we might expect a determination from you on the point of order that was raised by the member for Toronto—Danforth last week.
Order, please. I think the member is making a point about the content of the statement of the member. I think I have the gist of what he is bringing to the chair's attention.
The hon. member for Mississauga—Brampton South is rising to address this point.
The hon. member for Mississauga—Brampton South.
The hon. member for Mississauga—Brampton South.
Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to have this opportunity to share my time with the member for Scarborough—Guildwood, who so eloquently spoke on the issue before us, which is Bill C-47.
I rise to speak to Bill C-47, the second act to implement the provisions of the budget of 2010, which we heard in this place on March 4. As I have mentioned in the past, budget 2010 not only fails to address the real challenges facing Canadian families, it fails to even recognize that those challenges even exist. That is why Bill C-47 is a continuation of that failure. Therefore, the Liberal Party and I will not be voting in favour of the bill.
The budget 2010 stimulus package is not working. That is the underlying premise of what I will be talking about here today. The question I ask many of my constituents and many Canadians when I travel the country is whether they are better off today than they were when the Conservatives came into power. The overwhelming response is, no, they are not better off.
I will speak to a few key areas that this budget touches upon and the concerns that many Canadians have brought to my attention.
The first issue that comes up time and time again is jobs. The unemployment rate is 2% higher today than it was during the last election when the Conservatives came into power. In particular, if we look at the jobs number, full-time jobs have been replaced by part-time jobs. We have lost over 200,000 full-time jobs.
People who have part-time employment are unable to find full-time employment. Around 11% to 12% of people who currently work in part-time jobs have difficulty trying to find the full-time employment they are seeking. Employers trying to find employees for certain jobs are unable to do so as well.
At the Montreal conference that the Liberal Party held not too long ago, one of the themes that emerged, and this was when we did public policy, was that there were jobs without people and people without jobs. The job market has gone through a major restructuring. People looking for jobs are unable to find them. People who have jobs are not satisfied with the one they have.
This is a real concern. This is the number one issue that I hear about time and time again. Unfortunately the job story is one that the government does not get and it is something as parliamentarians we need to address. This budget in particular fails to do so.
The second issue that comes up in my discussions with my constituents and Canadians is the current trend we see with the government with respect to borrowing and spending. Household debt is at record levels. The average Canadian owes about $42,000, which is one of the highest amongst the OECD levels.
I want to emphasize this point because my constituency of Mississauga—Brampton South very much relies on trade. We have the Pearson International Airport and major highways in the constituency. Trade is absolutely critical for economic growth and activity in my region.
As a trading nation, we have a monthly trade deficit now at a record of $2.7 billion. What further compounds the issue now, focusing on the borrowing aspect of it, is that we have a record deficit of $56 billion and climbing. This number continues to be revised, over and over again, as the government is unable to demonstrate that it has any type of control when it comes to borrowing money. It increased its spending and doubled it just before we entered the recession. It was the most expensive endeavour taken by the government. It turned a $13 billion surplus into the $56 billion deficit that we see before us.
This is something that obviously is consistent. If we look at all of the budgets of the government, it has increased spending at unprecedented levels. What is even more troublesome is that in the next four years, it is projecting a deficit increase of $156 billion over those four years. It actually adds to our debt, which in turn costs Canadian taxpayers and future the generations $10 billion in interest. This is the kind of legacy the government is leaving for our children.
The government is borrowing and spending at a reckless rate and is leaving a legacy for future generations that will cost hard-earned taxpayer money to pay and finance the deficit and debt left by the government. People just do not understand how a government could spend so much money and borrow so much money.
Then people focus on the spending. We in opposition have highlighted this because it is important that the Canadian public realize the rate at which the government is spending money.
For example, the government spent $130 million on shameless, self-promoting advertising. I spoke with the Auditor General at committee last week about these quarterly reports and statements the government put out. She clearly indicated that it was simply a show and tell exercise. She said that it was simply a government exercise to promote and market itself. She said that the numbers were not substantive and the figures were not accurate. Those audits clearly demonstrated that the figures were not reflective of the real picture.
The Conservative government is spending all this money on twisting things in order to promote itself, and the public is now becoming acutely aware of this pattern. The government spent $130 million promoting itself through signs with respect to the economic action plan, for example, in my riding. That money could have been used for additional projects. This is a clear example of the government's loss of control and its reckless spending.
The government spent $1.3 billion on a 72-hour photo op. This was unprecedented, especially when we compare the cost to G20 summits in other countries, particularly the amount of money spent on the fake lake and glow sticks. This kind of spending at a time when people are worried about their jobs and concerned about household debt cannot be justified.
Here is another example of how the government has spent so much money. It wants to spend $13 billion on American Republican-style megaprisons for unreported crimes. This is not in line with the priorities about which I hear. It is an expenditure that makes absolutely no sense in the current context with a record deficit and the job situation that we face as a country in this difficult economic time.
The government is going to spend $16 billion on F-35 stealth jet fighters. It was a sole-sourced awarded without competition. People are stunned that the government would continue with this decision in light of the record federal deficit.
The Auditor General presented a report recently with respect to the helicopter purchases. She indicated that the sole source process for the F-35 was not the best way to go. It was not the best value for money proposition for the government and for taxpayers. This is alarming to me and to many Canadians. Why does the government continue to spend this kind of money during these difficult times?
The Conservative government provided $20 billion in corporate tax cuts that we cannot afford at the present time. Again, we are giving money away to large corporations when we should be investing in Canadian families. I will speak to this a bit later as well.
Those are some examples of how the government has spent recklessly and how much money it has borrowed.
When I ask Canadians if they think they are better off today compared to when the Conservatives came in to power in 2006, they say no. The reason they say no is because of government mismanagement. Through the various examples that we bring up in the House of Commons, through what they read in the media and see on TV, what they see in public, Canadians are beginning to realize that the government has really mismanaged taxpayer money.
Last week I had the opportunity to highlight two examples of where the government has really misspent and they highlight a bigger problem. The government outsourced the VIA Rail press releases at a cost of $3,400 for approximately 1,300 words. That was completely unnecessary. This reflected the bigger problem.
I want to highlight the fact that the most recent public accounts show that the Conservatives spent $9.4 billion on external contracts for professional and special services, a $2.2 billion increase over the previous Liberal government. That is just another example of mismanagement at a time when people are worried about the bottom line.
This budget is not in line with the priorities of Canadian. Canadians are worried about jobs, and this budget does not address that issue in a real significant way, specifically, with regard to the restructuring that is taking place in our economy. A lot of full-time jobs have been lost and those jobs are now being replaced by part-time jobs.
The government is borrowing and spending money at a reckless pace and that is going to leave a difficult legacy for future generations. It is mismanaging taxpayer dollars at a time when Canadian families are going through difficult times.
Families in my riding care about health care, education, their pensions. This budget is a clear example of the difference between what the current government is planning versus what we are proposing. Most recently we came out with a family care plan. That clearly outlines how we care about our families and our communities.
My colleagues and I will be voting against this bill because it is not in line with Canadian families. It is unfortunate that we are worse off today than we were in 2006, but I hope that changes in the near future.
The electoral district of Mississauga--Brampton South (Ontario) has a population of 136,470 with 90,777 registered voters and 234 polling divisions.
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