Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the citizens of Fleetwood—Port Kells to present a petition signed by dozens of local residents who are outraged by the unnecessary death of a young woman killed by a drunk driver.
The petitioners call upon Parliament to enact tougher laws, including mandatory sentencing for those persons convicted of impaired driving causing death. The petitioners also ask that the offence of impaired driving causing death be redefined as vehicular manslaughter.
The hon. member for Fleetwood—Port Kells.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to participate in the debate on Bill C-31, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures.
Our government has worked tirelessly to deliver effective change for Canadians and to put Canada back on the road to balanced budgets.
After consultations across the country, we have produced a plan that not only works for Canadians but that will also make sure that Canada is financially sustainable. Our hon. colleague, the former finance minister, tabled a budget just weeks ago. Since then, my office has seen an outpouring of support from constituents who value trade, security, and prudent economic management.
The world has been hit by repeated crises over the past few years. It is becoming harder for governments to maintain the trust of markets. We are no longer allowed to believe that we can escape the costs of financial recklessness and ineptitude. The budget implementation act before us holds many measures that will markedly improve the lives of Canadians.
Our government is working to ensure that Canadians can fill the skills gap to both provide vital services and ensure viable livelihoods. By increasing paid internships for young Canadians, the government will commit $55 million to help recent graduates find work in their fields. By getting graduates to work, Canada can make the most of its skilled labour force and provide opportunities for young Canadians to flourish.
At the same time, the government will ensure that older workers have opportunities to find new employment. As Canadians are living longer, we must face the unexpected challenges posed by longevity beyond one's financial plan. By investing $75 million in training for older workers, our government will make sure that all Canadians can find good, skilled jobs.
Help is not limited to the young and the old. Through the job-matching service, this Conservative government will grease the wheels of commerce and ensure that employers and employees can find their perfect matches.
With Canada's ever-increasing integration, not only into the world economy but between provinces, it is vital for the federal government to play a role in smoothing labour markets across the country. Never before have we seen the kind of mobility we see today, nor have we realized the promise that such mobility creates for families and communities. It is not enough to be looking for a job. We need to support those who are currently training for jobs that will fill much needed positions through the Canada job grant and the Canada apprentice loan. The federal government is investing in high-skill jobs that are currently going unfilled in many parts of the country. By ensuring that Canada has the skilled tradespeople it needs, our government is making sure that the economy can function smoothly. This budget is about embracing the future with skilled jobs, a thriving economy, and a balanced budget.
Through this budget, rural communities will stand to benefit from improved broadband access in rural and remote areas of the country. It is important that Canadians in rural areas, like parts of the British Columbia interior and northern B.C., have an acceptable degree of access to the Internet. Failing to update Canada's digital infrastructure could doom those outside of well-covered areas to technological backwardness and put them at a perpetual disadvantage.
Investments in science and technology, such as the government's $222 million grant to the TRIUMF physics laboratory at the University of British Columbia, promises to pay dividends not just in commercial terms but in academic, intellectual, and technological advances.
British Columbians and Canadians stand to profit immensely from the measures presented in this budget.
The budget implementation act goes further by continuing the good work of the red tape reduction action plan. This budget will make life easier for small and medium-sized business owners.
In too many areas of Canadian life and work, excessive red tape holds us back. The Conservatives have demonstrated a commitment to making Canada work in a way that benefits consumers, workers, and citizens by removing arbitrary and wasteful barriers to businesses.
There are also significant changes to the tax code. The tax code is not a subject that gets many people excited, but by eliminating over 800,000 payroll deduction remittances to the Canada Revenue Agency every year, this government will be helping over 50,000 small businesses lower costs imposed by bureaucracy.
Our government is always concerned about the security of Canadians. For any number of reasons, the lives and well-being of Canadians can be in danger, and it is a key role of government to offer solutions. By investing a further $25 million, we are aiming to reduce violence against aboriginal women and girls. This sector of our community is often the target of abuse above and beyond that faced by others,. They deserve a government that comes to their protection.
Our government will invest $11 million to upgrade the earthquake monitoring systems that protect the homes of my constituents in the Lower Mainland and in high-risk areas across the country.
Over one million net new jobs have been created since the recession ended in July 2009. During the crisis and afterward, our government has provided a steady hand at the tiller, ensuring that Canada's policies work toward stability, growth, and prosperity.
Our banking system has been ranked the most stable in the world for the sixth year running by the World Economic Forum. The numbers do not lie. The deficit will be a meagre $2.9 billion this year, with a $6.4 billion surplus coming next year. This is a momentous achievement. When the previous government balanced the books, it did so by raising taxes and slashing transfers to the provinces. Our government has none neither. In fact, we have done the compete opposite. Next year, our government will provide British Columbia with $4.17 billion through the Canada health transfer, an all-time high. Not only that, this is $1.3 billion more than under the previous Liberal government. That is a 49% increase.
As well, we have reduced the overall tax burden to its lowest level in 50 years. Our strong record of tax relief has meant savings of nearly $3,400 for a typical family of four in 2014. Without raising taxes on Canadians or simply moving costs to other levels of government, the Conservatives have a credible plan for long-term fiscal success. The opposition has made it clear that it will raise taxes and then increase spending beyond even that. Therefore, I commend our Conservative government for such a thoughtful and solid document.
I know there are regularly scheduled House leaders meetings, and perhaps the next one will prove fruitful in coming to some type of agreement, but at this time there is, quite obviously, no unanimous consent.
Presenting petitions, the hon. member for Fleetwood—Port Kells.
Mr. Speaker, economic action plan 2014 demonstrates our government's commitment to fiscal responsibility and prosperity. It is our launch pad to success, reducing the budget deficit to $2.9 billion and forecasting a $6.4-billion surplus for next year, all without raising taxes or slashing transfers.
The economic action plan includes billions for B.C. for health care and social programs. It would close tax loopholes, control the size and cost of government, invest in skills training, cut red tape for small business, strengthen Canada's food safety system, and launch the Canada job grant.
Our government has piloted Canada through economic troubles and chartered a course for greater prosperity, stability, and growth. Thanks to Canada's economic action plan, Canada is one of the best places in the world to live and do business.
Budget 2014 is good for Fleetwood—Port Kells, good for B.C., and good for Canada.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to participate in the debate on Bill C-4, the economic action plan 2013 act no. 2.
The proposed act will implement key measures from economic action plan 2013 as well as certain previously announced tax measures to help create jobs, stimulate economic growth and secure Canada's long-term prosperity.
Our government remains focused on the number one priority of my constituents and of people right across Canada, which is jobs. The measures contained in Bill C-4 reflect that priority and include support for job creators such as: extending and expanding the hiring credit for small businesses, which would benefit an estimated 560,000 employers; freezing employment insurance premium rates for three years, leaving $660 million in the pockets of jobs creators and workers in 2014 alone; increasing the lifetime capital gains exemption to $800,000 and indexing the new limit to inflation; expanding the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation equipment to include a broader range of biogas production equipment and equipment used to treat gases for waste; measures to close tax loopholes and combat tax evasion; modernizing the Canada student loans program by moving to electronic service delivery; improving the efficiency of the temporary foreign worker program by expanding electronic service delivery; and phasing out the labour-sponsored venture capital corporations tax credit.
As our government has made clear, while Canada leads the G7 with more than one million jobs created since the depth of the global economic recession, we are not immune from the challenges beyond our borders. We cannot afford to become complacent.
By implementing the measures from economic action plan 2013, our government is helping to create jobs and opportunities for Canadians and grow Canada's economy.
Canada's economic action plan 2013 demonstrates our government's continued strong support for British Columbia through record federal transfer support for hospitals, schools and other critical services. Totalling over $5.9 billion in 2013-14, this transfer support represents an increase of nearly $2 billion since the former federal Liberal government.
Already there has been unprecedented federal investment in B.C.'s Lower Mainland, in Surrey and into British Columbia communities under this Conservative government impacting nearly every aspect of the lives of hard-working families.
We are making a real difference in the everyday lives of Surrey residents. In total, our government has spent over $1.56 billion on local projects since 2006. This includes the new RCMP headquarters, the South Fraser Perimeter Road and the new Surrey Library, among others.
I have personally made dozens of federal funding announcements totalling over $40 million. Some are the result of the economic action plan, while others are through the Pacific gateway project of the building Canada fund.
Regardless of where the money comes from, it is resulting in local jobs, local opportunities and local facilities for my constituents and Surrey residents. It is all about helping hard-working families, helping the unemployed, seniors and youth in our communities.
In recent months, I have had the pleasure of delivering over $250,000 for the Surrey YMCA, over $110,000 for the Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex, nearly $180,000 for the Newton Wave Pool, over $200,000 to improve water quality at four Surrey community facilities, $350,000 to aid Sophie's Place and protect child victims of crime and nearly $400,000 for 42 projects to allow for the summer employment of students.
It is all about improving our communities, creating jobs, and stimulating the economy. Bill C-4 contains measures that would not only create jobs but would also keep government spending in check so that we can return the budget to balance.
Budget 2013 has our government on track to balance the budget, on schedule, in 2015-16. From 2006 to 2008, our government paid down almost $37 billion in debt, bringing Canada's federal debt-to-GDP ratio to its lowest level in nearly 30 years. This placed Canada in a very strong position to weather the global recession. When the recession hit, we made a deliberate decision to run temporary deficits to protect the Canadian economy, and that plan worked, with over one million net new jobs created since July 2009.
At the same time, we committed to return to balanced budgets over the medium term. We ended temporary stimulus as planned. We controlled government spending. We eliminated wasteful and inefficient spending.
Budget 2013 announces further saving measures that will total $2 billion by 2015-16, including examining spending to ensure that government operations are managed efficiently, reducing travel costs, standardizing government information technology, closing tax loopholes, and improving the Canada Revenue Agency's compliance program to reduce tax evasion.
Canada's fiscal position remains the envy of the G7. Economic action plan 2013 reinforces our position and ensures that our economy is ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
As recently confirmed in the government's annual financial report, we are right on track to return to budget surplus. That is good news. In fact, the deficit last year fell to $18.9 billion, down by more than one-quarter from the deficit in 2011-12 and down by nearly two-thirds from 2009-10.
Our government is acting prudently and decisively to ensure that Canada's economy creates good jobs and sustains a high quality of life for Canadian families. With economic action plan 2013, our government remains squarely focused on the number one priority of Canadians, with a forward-looking plan to create jobs and to grow the economy in British Columbia and across Canada.
Under our plan, Canada will also return to balanced budgets in 2015, and federal taxes will remain at the lowest level in 50 years.
Budget 2013 builds on our government's solid record of achievement, a record that includes unprecedented funding for Surrey infrastructure, lowering taxes over 160 times, and lowering the average family's tax bill by over $3,220. It is a good budget for Canada. It is a good budget for British Columbia, for Surrey, and, of course, for my riding of Fleetwood—Port Kells.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to present a petition signed by dozens of local residents who are outraged by the unnecessary death of a young woman killed by a drunk driver.
The petitioners call upon Parliament to enact tougher laws, including mandatory sentencing, for those persons convicted of impaired driving causing death. They also ask that the offence of “impaired driving causing death” be redefined as “vehicular manslaughter”.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to participate in the debate on budget 2013, a plan for job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity.
Canada's economic action plan 2013 is a comprehensive agenda to bolster Canada's long-term economic strengths and promote job growth. It is a plan not just for the next twelve months or three years, but it is a plan for the next generation.
Our government is proposing measures that would ensure long-term prosperity and growth. It is about putting the country on track for success both now and going forward. Economic action plan 2013 would ensure we are focused on enabling and sustaining Canada's long-term economic growth. Let us be clear. The global recovery remains fragile, especially in Europe and the United States. Too many Canadians are still looking for work. That is why this budget would move ahead to secure jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canada.
Obviously, in an over-400 page budget document the initiatives are many and let us consider just a few of our proposals. Economic action plan 2013 includes key measures that would strengthen Canada's economy, such as increased skills and training support including the new $15,000 Canada job grant to help more Canadians find high-quality well-paying jobs. Once fully implemented, this grant would help nearly 130,000 Canadians access training each year.
It includes tax breaks for manufacturers who buy new machinery and equipment to stay competitive and an extended hiring credit for small businesses that create jobs. The tax break for purchasing new machinery and equipment would provide B.C. manufacturing and processing businesses with approximately $129 million in tax relief to grow their companies and to create jobs.
It includes a record $70 billion in federal investment in infrastructure including money for jobs, roads, bridges, subways, rail lines and ports. This includes a new building Canada fund, the community improvement fund, the P3 Canada fund and specific funding for rail passenger service. Surrey and other B.C. municipalities would benefit from stable and predictable funding to support the community and infrastructure projects.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to present a petition signed by dozens of my constituents.
The petitioners request that Parliament support Motion No. 312, which will be debated this week and voted on next week and reconsider the definition of what it means to be a human and amend section 223 of the Criminal Code to reflect 21st century medical evidence.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to participate in the debate on Bill C-31, protecting Canada's immigration system act.
Our Conservative government recognizes the importance of immigration to our great country. That is evident in our actions and policies. Since 2006, the Government of Canada has welcomed the highest sustained level of immigration in Canadian history. Our government has also continued to strengthen and support our generous refugee system, which is an important expression of the compassionate and humanitarian convictions of Canadians and of our international commitments.
Canada remains one of the top countries in the world to welcome refugees. In fact, we welcome more refugees per capita than any other G20 country, because this government understands the importance of the immigration system to Canada's future. It also understands the importance of remaining vigilant about keeping that system functioning in our national interest. To do so, we must always be prepared to make improvements to the system according to changing circumstances and identified shortcomings.
Bill C-31 would do exactly that. When there is a system in place as generous as Canada, it is particularly important to guard against the abuse of that system and that generosity. Indeed, for too many years our refugee system has been abused by too many people making bogus claims. Our system has become overwhelmed by a significant backlog of cases. More recently, we have grown more and more concerned about a notable upsurge of refugee claims originating in countries that we would not normally expect to produce refugees. This is adding to our backlog.
Allow me to specify exactly what I mean by that.
It comes a surprise to many Canadians to learn that Canada receives more asylum claims from countries in Europe than others in Africa or Asia. Last year alone, almost one quarter of all refugee claims made in Canada were made by EU nationals. Let us think about that. EU countries have strong human rights and democratic systems similar to our own, yet they produced almost 25% of all the refugee claims to this country in 2011. That is up from 14% in the previous year.
These bogus claimants come with a large price tag for Canadian taxpayers. In recent years, virtually all EU claims were withdrawn, abandoned or rejected. The unfounded claims from the 5,800 EU nationals who sought asylum last year cost Canadian taxpayers $170 million. Under the current system, it takes an average of 4.5 years from an initial claim to remove a failed refugee claimant from the country. Some cases have even taken more than 10 years. The result is an overburdened system and a waste of taxpayer money. For too long, we have spent precious time and taxpayer money on people who are not in need of protection at the expense of legitimate asylum seekers.
The protecting Canada's immigration system act would help speed up the refugee claims process in a number of ways, such as changing the designated country of origin policy to enable the government to respond more quickly to increases in refugee claims from countries that generally did not produce refugees, such as most of those in the European Union. Claimants from those countries would be processed in about 45 days, compared to more than 1,000 days under the current system. Claimants from designated countries of origin would also have their claims heard sooner and would not have access to the new refugee appeal division.
Moreover, it would also further streamline the process by limiting access to appeals for other countries, such as by claimants with manifestly unfounded claims or claims with no credible basis at all. It would enable more timely removals from Canada of failed refugee claimants.
Taken together, these measures send a clear message to those who seek to abuse Canada's generous refugee system. It tells them that if they do not need our protection, they will be sent home quickly. They would not be able to remain in Canada by using endless appeals to delay their removal. At the same time, if they need refugee status, these measures would help them get protection even faster. Every eligible asylum claimant would continue to get a fair hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board.
Once these needed changes are implemented, Canada's refugee determination system would remain one of the most generous in the world.
The protecting Canada's immigration system act would also deal with the despicable crime of human smuggling. Human smugglers are criminals who operate around the world, charging large amounts of money to facilitate illegal migration. Each year, countless people die while taking these dangerous journeys. Bill C-31 would help crack down on these smugglers in a number of ways. It would enable the Minister of Public Safety to designate the arrival of a group of individuals into Canada as an irregular arrival. It would establish mandatory detention of those individuals to determine their identity, admissibility and whether they have been involved in illegal activities. It is important to mention here that once a person's refugee claim has been approved, that person would be released from detention.
It would also make it easier to prosecute human smugglers and would impost mandatory minimum prison sentences on those convicted of human smuggling. It would hold shipowners and operators to account when their ships are used for human smuggling.
It would enhance our ability to revoke the refugee status of people who are no longer in need of Canada's protection and of those who have gained that status through misrepresentation. It would reduce the attraction of coming to Canada by way of illegal human smuggling, by limiting the ability of those who do to take advantage of our generous immigration system and social services.
One notable improvement in Bill C-31 from Bill C-4 is that mandatory detention would exclude designated foreign nationals who are under the age of 16.
Our government continues to be absolutely clear that human smuggling is a despicable crime and any attempts to abuse Canada's generosity for financial gain will not be tolerated. With this bill, we will crack down on those who endanger human lives and threaten the integrity of our borders.
The protecting Canada's immigration system act also includes a framework for the collection of biometric information, photographs and fingerprints, in the temporary visa program and will establish parameters for how this information can be used and disclosed by the RCMP in order to enforce Canadian law. The use of biometrics would bring Canada in line with other countries that already use biometrics in their immigration programs, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, the European Union, New Zealand, the United States and Japan, among others.
To maintain the support of Canadians for our generous immigration and refugee system, we must demonstrate that Canada has a fair, well-managed system that does not tolerate queue jumping. Bill C-31 will ensure that genuine refugees in need of protection will receive it sooner, while those who are abusing Canada's generosity will be removed more quickly.
I am proud to support this important piece of legislation and hope that all of my colleagues will work together to ensure the timely passage of this bill.
The electoral district of Fleetwood--Port Kells (British Columbia) has a population of 123,243 with 86,503 registered voters and 214 polling divisions.
This action requires you to be logged into Politwitter. No regisrtation is required, just authenticate using your Twitter account.