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41st PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 135

CONTENTS

Thursday, October 30, 2014




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 147 
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NUMBER 135 
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2nd SESSION 
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41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayers



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Privacy Commissioner of Canada

    I have the honour, pursuant to section 38 of the Privacy Act, to lay upon the table the annual report of the Privacy Commissioner for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h), this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to 12 petitions.

Committees of the House

Veterans Affairs 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs in relation to Bill C-27, an act to amend the Public Service Employment Act, enhancing hiring opportunities for certain serving and former members of the Canadian Forces.
    The committee has studied the bill and decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

[Translation]

Finance  

     moved that the second report of the Standing Committee on Finance, presented on Tuesday, December 10, 2013, be concurred in.

[English]

    Debate? Is the House ready for the question?
    Is the hon. member for Winnipeg North rising on debate?
    Is this a concurrence motion, Mr. Speaker?
    This is the concurrence motion for the second report of the Standing Committee on Finance.
    Debate, the hon. member for Winnipeg North.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to take the opportunity because in the last few days we have had a number of reports that have been concurred in. There is a great deal of curiosity as to why we have reports being concurred in, and a great deal of concern with regard to one report that I have been hoping will be concurred in, which is dealing with the procedure and House affairs committee.
    After a report comes through committee, it has to then come into the House. The concurrence then is somewhat obligated, and it is important that all reports be concurred in.
    I believe there is an issue in recognizing the importance of our standing committees, and I want to provide comment on the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
    We are supposed to be having committee meetings. We have lost literally hundreds of hours of committee meetings because the New Democratic Party continues to deny consent for concurrence in the procedure and House affairs committee report No. 18. That is having a very profound impact on the work of this Parliament, and that is one of the reasons that I stand today to recognize the importance of the report. Therefore, I move:
    That the motion be amended by inserting before the words “be concurred in” the words “and the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs”.
    I will sign the amendment in the hope that we will be able to get it passed today.
    Mr. Speaker, not only did the member not speak to the report that was before the House, but he is also trying to add additional reports. He is combining a motion for concurrence in one committee report with a motion for another. That is not something that is practised in this House.
    Mr. Speaker, while there may be a legitimate question of relevance in terms of the amendment, it certainly would be in order were the amendment to go by unanimous consent.
    I do find that the amendment is out of order, and I will not allow it.
    We will go to questions and comments. The hon. member for York West.
    Mr. Speaker, I am quite curious as to why we are not going forward with this. We are here to work, and that is what this is all about.
    I am not sure if the hon. member for Winnipeg North, since he is the one who tried to move the amendment, would be capable of answering the question. However, I might nonetheless enjoy the answer.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North, if he wishes to respond.

  (1010)  

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the member beside me is asking me to go outside to make my comments.
    The member for York West has asked the question, and obviously my colleague has been very offended by the question. The answer to the question is very simple, and I think that this is why he maybe got a little upset. That is the fact that the NDP appeared to be very lazy.
    We had been getting along so well until then. I do not think that was a helpful remark from the hon. member for Winnipeg North. It certainly was not a point of order. He started off the response by raising a point of order.
    I see the hon. member for Sudbury rising. I will give him the floor, but I think we should very quickly try to get off this particular point about the amendment. The Chair has already given a ruling and, as members know, the Chair's rulings on these things are final.
    I will give the floor to the hon. member for Sudbury, and then hopefully we can move on.
    Mr. Speaker, I was referring to his taking it outside because, while everyone assumes that of someone from Sudbury, his comments were actually quite inappropriate, and he needs to remove that type of language from the House. This is the House of Parliament. If he wants to continue to act like a juvenile, he needs to do that outside.
    I think the best thing for the House right now is to move on.
     Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Speaker: The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: On division.

    (Motion agreed to)

    Mr. Speaker, this should be fun. Again, if the House gives its consent, I move that the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on September 30, be concurred in.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Yes.
    Some hon. members: No.

Petitions

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise to present two petitions today.
    The first is primarily from residents of Saanich—Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island, calling for a permanent ban on crude oil tankers on the west coast of British Columbia. This is particularly poignant and important, given the drifting Russian cargo ship that nearly went aground on beautiful Haida Gwaii.

Bottled Water  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls for the discontinuance of the purchase of bottled water for personal use in federal institutions. This petition primarily comes from residents of Nanaimo and Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Eating Disorders  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition regarding eating disorders. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are serious mental illnesses that incapacitate more than 600,000 Canadians and can be fatal.
     The petitioners call upon the government to work with the provinces, territories, and stakeholders to develop comprehensive pan-Canadian strategies for eating disorders, including better prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and support.

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House to present a petition on behalf of many Canadians.
    The petitioners are asking members of Parliament to condemn discrimination against girls occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.

  (1015)  

Rouge National Park  

    Mr. Speaker, I stand today to submit petitions on behalf of residents from all throughout the greater Toronto areas with respect to the Rouge national urban park.
    The petitioners request that the Government of Canada protect the irreplaceable 100 square kilometres of public land assembly within a healthy and sustainable Rouge national park. Since this land is the ancestral home of the Mississauga, Huron-Wendat, and Seneca first nations and their sacred burial and village sites, people would like to see the cultural and historical aspects of these lands protected, as well as assurance that there is an enjoyable nature experience and agricultural experience for people who live within the greater Toronto area.

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from citizens of London and St. Thomas and the rest of the riding who are looking for a ban on dog and cat fur imported from China.

Questions on the Order Paper

[Text]

Question No. 668--
Mr. Matthew Dubé:
     With regard to the Fryer Island Dam, located on the Richelieu River in Quebec and forming part of the Chambly Canal National Historic Site: (a) how much has been spent, per year, on maintaining and repairing this dam since it was built; (b) what is the number of dam inspection reports since 2005, what are their titles, and what is the inspection policy for this dam; (c) what are the longer term plans of the government or Parks Canada for the dam’s repair and modernization; and (d) how much money has been set aside to repair and modernize the Fryer Island Dam in the coming years?
Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):
     Mr. Speaker, regarding part (a) of the question, the Fryer dam was built in 1938 and has never been operational. Access to the structure has been prohibited for several years and additional security measures have been put in place to ensure public safety near the structure. Parks Canada has not undertaken maintenance or repairs due to the fact that the dam was never operational and access has been restricted.
     Regarding part (b), since 2005, two inspection reports have been produced by consulting firms on the Fryer dam. Staff conduct rounds of the Chambly Canal area and inspections are conducted as required.
    Regarding parts (c) and (d), at this time, no funding for the Fryer dam is identified for repair or modernization.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if Question No. 678 could be made an order for return, this return would be tabled immediately.
     Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 678--
Mr. Rodger Cuzner:
     With regard to Part III of the Canada Labour Code: (a) which recommendations from the 2006 comprehensive review of Part III of the Labour Code conducted by Commissioner Harry Arthurs has the government (i) implemented, including when and why, (ii) not implemented and why; (b) what measures has the government implemented since 2006 besides those listed in (a), including (i) the rationale for implementation, including listing any studies and their document or reference number that was done to support the change, (ii) when the changes were implemented; and (c) what studies has the government undertaken on making changes to Part III of the Canada Labour Code since 2006 not listed in (b), including the rationale for undertaking each, and their document or reference number?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, lastly I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.
     Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2

Bill C-43—Time Allocation Motion  

    That, in relation to Bill C-43, a second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, not more than three further sitting days shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and
    That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the third day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
    Of course, this motion would result in there being four days of debate here at second reading.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute period.

[Translation]

    I invite hon. members who may wish to ask questions to rise in their places so the Chair has some idea of how many wish to participate in the question period if debate.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, here we are again. Eighty times now the Conservative government has chosen the path of what some have called bulldozer politics when it comes to Parliament. Eighty times they have shut down debate, breaking every record set by any government under any circumstances in Canadian history.
    When the Conservatives sat in opposition, they detested this exact same procedure when it was used by the Liberals. Now that they are in government and are a little long in the tooth, having been here a number of years, they are running out of ideas and do not like the conversation that happens around a 460-page omnibus bill—

  (1020)  

    You sound like a broken record.
    If only you'd work with us, Nathan.
    Mr. Speaker, if they want to get into the debate, they can rise, but at this moment I have the microphone, and they will listen to the question that I have for them.
    We are speaking of a 460-page omnibus bill that has virtually nothing to do with the economy.
    I would also suggest to my Conservative colleagues that they do not have a clue about what is in this legislation, because when we count the number of Conservatives who showed up to listen to departmental officials at the technical briefing just two nights ago, the answer is none. Is that not amazing? Is it not amazing that we had a six-hour technical briefing on this very bill?
    Opposition members of Parliament are meant to do one specific thing: hold the government to account. That applies also to backbench Conservatives, although they do not do that job because they vote as they are told to vote.
    This bill proposes changes to the Refugee Act, the Public Safety Act, the Judges Act, and all sorts of things that have nothing to do with affairs of the budget and the government of the day as our economy sits in fragile territory.
    I have a specific question for my colleague across the way. Is stripping social assistance from refugee claimants something that was important for the government to do to restore Canada's fiscal capacity and put Canadians back to work?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure again to stand in the House and to move the motion.
    Canadians expect their government to make decisions and to make those decisions in a timely manner. We have made commitments in platforms and during the budget period. Our government is now doing something that is novel for the other parties to understand, because we are living up to our commitments. We are keeping our promise. We will continue to make our commitments to Canadians and we will then introduce the proper legislation and pass that legislation because of the commitments and the promises we have made.
    My colleague spoke about the size of this legislation. It is common practice to include various measures in a budget and subsequent budget implementation bills. This budget has been before Parliament since February. We introduced the budget in February, over 250 days ago, over eight months ago. There has been debate in the House on the first part of the budget, and now we have the second budget implementation bill.
    The member asked a question in regard to social assistance. The measures in this bill would simply allow the provinces their rightful jurisdiction to implement timelines in which residency must take place before individuals receive social assistance.
    We look forward to the debate.
    Mr. Speaker, there is a genuine lack of respect for parliamentary procedure. This is the second time. On the one hand, parliamentary committees that should be meeting have lost hundreds of hours of opportunities to hold the government accountable on aboriginal affairs, foreign affairs, and other things because of a bunch of lazy New Democrats. On the other hand, the government brings in time allocation and—
    Order. The hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, this is regrettable. You have just come into the chair, but the Speaker of the House of Commons, just minutes ago, asked the member to use language other than what he just used. The debate before us is about time allocation being used by the government on the second budget implementation bill. If the member from the Liberal Party would like to have some other debate or use personal invective against members in the House, he knows exactly what he can do: he can do that elsewhere. However, the rules that govern us here seek some level of civility. The member knows that the personal has to stay out our conversations; otherwise, civility and decorum are lost in this place.
    Therefore, could he return to the topic and, I suggest, retract the comments he just made about the New Democrats and actually speak to the motion at hand? That would encourage the debate that we need to have in this place in the limited time we have.

  (1025)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am not new to this. I have listened to many New Democrats speak inside the House of Commons and inside the Manitoba legislature and I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I have heard a great many exaggerations and offensive words come from NDP benches.
    Everything I said in my comments in posing the question in regard to time allocation is completely relevant. What I was talking about was our wonderful institution and how important it is that we have certain privileges. We have the privilege to hold government accountable. Time allocation is, in essence, preventing members of Parliament from standing up to speak. The same principle applies in parliamentary committees. In parliamentary committees, we are supposed to be meeting and allowing MPs the opportunity to question the government.
    The point of order was on the use of what the Speaker has already indicated was uncivil language. I was in the chamber when the Speaker ruled that way. I would ask the member for Winnipeg North to cease using that language and to finish his question.
    I would point out that these questions are supposed to be no longer than one minute, and we have now been on this question for six. Would the member for Winnipeg North ask the question that he wishes to ask of the government so that we can get on with the debate?
    Mr. Speaker, I take it by your ruling that the word “lazy” is not unparliamentary, but rather it was the context that I suspect you are referring to. I understand that I have offended a number of members from the New Democratic caucus. If some of them feel personally attacked by it, I will withdraw the comment and apologize.
    That said, it is an issue in terms of allowing for parliamentary accountability. Every time the government uses time allocation, it prevents or puts limits on members of Parliament being able to hold the government accountable on a wide variety of issues. Given the importance of this legislation, which is of a budgetary nature, why has the government chosen to use time allocation just one day after the bill was introduced?
    Mr. Speaker, this is not so much a point of order, but I feel disappointed that the last point of order has taken nearly 10 minutes, and this budget implementation bill is such a good bill that I want to be certain that my time is not going to be cut short as we talk about the very good measures brought forward in the bill. I do not think the differences between the Liberal and New Democratic parties should prevent us from talking about the budget implementation act.
    The commitments and measures that we brought forward in the budget implementation bill are important to Canadians. Canadians listened last February when the budget was being brought down. They know ways and means motions have been brought forward because of the technical changes that must happen. Changes must be made first to the Income Tax Act, but other good measures must happen as well.
    We can have four days of debate in the House. It is important that we give everyone those days to focus on the budget and then get it to a committee to be studied there. We want that process to happen. We want committee members to debate this bill and then bring it back to the House.
    Mr. Speaker, Lindsey Jill Nicholls disappeared in 1993 on her way to meet friends in Courtenay, B.C. This is a tragedy that far too many families have had to face.
    With the support of missing persons advocates, police groups, and other families of missing persons, Judy Peterson, Lindsey's mother, has worked enthusiastically to change Canadian law to allow DNA matching of missing persons, known as Lindsey's law. Ms. Peterson championed the cause for the creation of a national DNA-based data bank to compare the DNA of missing persons with that collected through crime scene investigations and from convicted offenders. Her hope is that linking the DNA profiles of missing persons to a national DNA data bank will provide information that in some cases may bring closure to years of suffering.
    Can the Minister of State for Finance please update the House about this important clause?

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Provencher for the question. This is a bill that the former member for Provencher, a former justice minister and public safety minister, was very involved in as well. The member for Provencher had big boots to fill, and he is doing it.
    Our thoughts and prayers go out to all families that have had to live through such a tragedy as losing children. They have to live through never having closure, never being able to locate the children, and in some cases never being able to locate the remains of those children. As a father, I can only imagine the genuine heartbreak that families have to face.
    We are both proud of and inspired by the determination and courage of those who have advocated for the rights of victims. Once this DNA index of missing persons is brought forward, it will support missing persons and unidentified human remains investigations, as well as strengthen the current criminal application of the national DNA database. The index, once created, would help bring closure to those families that have an empty place at the table each and every night and are reminded every night of the missing children when they walk by their bedrooms. These are the kinds of measures that are brought forward in this budget implementation bill.
    I would again remind all members that both the questions and responses are supposed to be one minute and no more. I am going to hold the chamber to that today.
    The hon. member for La Pointe-de-l'Île.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by saying I am not lazy and no member of the House is lazy. It shows a great deal of disrespect when a member of the House makes that assumption and says that any of the members sitting here are lazy. I would like the member to retract his comments, because it shows a great deal of disrespect to my constituents and his constituents.
    I might or might not be able to talk about this budget, because the government says we only need a couple of days to discuss this bill. I would like the minister to tell my constituents why the government thinks members do not need to discuss their constituents' interests and needs. What does he say to the people of La Pointe-de-l'Île?
    Again, Mr. Speaker, I would encourage her to talk to her House leader and ask to speak on the budget implementation act.
    Are you here tomorrow?
    She is saying that she is not here tomorrow—
    The minister of state knows not to address his comments directly to any other member but to the Chair.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am here tomorrow.
    Mr. Speaker, she says that she is available to speak tomorrow, so we would encourage that hard-working member to bring her thoughts to Parliament tomorrow. There are four days of debate on this measure. There are going to be many members who will have ample opportunity to speak, and we encourage them to do so.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the hon. Minister of State for Finance, because I fully support Lindsey's law. Judy Peterson is one of my constituents, and I was thrilled to see it in the budget.
    However, a 450-page omnibus budget bill, the second such omnibus bill this year, with yet another time allocation, bringing it to 80 time allocations in the 41st Parliament, is a breach of privilege of individual members in this place. We cannot do our work as members of Parliament when we are forced to go through enormous bills.
    For example, this bill involves the Canadian Polar Commission, which has no relationship to the budget. It involves many measures that are not budgetary. With 450 pages to be scrutinized in a time allocation debate, we will never do justice to those individual measures, including Lindsey's law.
    My question of privilege remains. I hope that at some point the Speaker will find time to rule on the objection to these time allocations that I made on September 15.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, again, in relation to the size of the bill, it is 460 pages long. There are some are very technical measures, technical in that there are changes to income tax. For example, there is one measure dealing with intellectual property changes. I think there are over 35 pages on that specific measure. What it does is it bring us in international compliance with the Madrid protocol, the Singapore protocol, the Nice agreements, and other agreements that all deal with international property rights. It puts us in compliance with international protocols. Because it deals with all these protocols, there are 35 pages that deal just with that.
    It is technical. I think everyone can agree that we need to be in compliance with international law. These measures list the different protocols we live up to.
    Mr. Speaker, being new to this chamber, it is a little odd not to have committees meeting and to have every budget circumvented. I am beginning to question what exactly this institution is supposed to be trying to achieve by not working. I do not think it is a question, necessarily, of defining people's personalities, but there is obstruction at play, and it concerns me.
    The hon. member said, in representing this motion, that this was a budget tabled months earlier, that it is just housekeeping being tabled today, and that we are simply trying to be efficient.
    However, there are measures in this process that were not tabled in the spring budget. I would like to know how those measures will be properly dealt with. Measures that were never announced in the budget are now being slipped into this process. How are we supposed to fully debate and understand those and represent our constituents' needs when those measures were not presented or tabled earlier?
    Mr. Speaker, in regard to the committees, I look at the New Democratic members. They say that they are meeting and that their committees are meeting. Our committees are meeting. I used to chair a committee. I found the work of committees very important. I had good members to work with from all parties of this House.
    Is there some obstruction going on? Yes, there may be by other parties. Certainly committees are meeting. I think all members want to work and work hard.
    The member talked about the implementation bill bringing forward different pieces of legislation. I would just remind the hon. member, as he is new to the House, and we look forward to working with him over the next year, that the previous Liberal government's last budget implementation bill amended dozens and dozens of different pieces of legislation. It is a common practice.
    It is not the size of the budget legislation the opposition really cares about. We have had larger bills. It is that they want to stop the necessary and vital—
    Questions and comments. The hon. member for Surrey North.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of State for Finance talked about having enough time for every member to speak in the House.
    The fact of the matter is that in moving time allocation, not every member is going to have time to speak to this bill.
     Budget bills are very important. This is where we work for Canadians. This is where we provide funding for pensions, seniors, and all sorts of projects.
    This is a very important bill. There are a number of concerns from my constituents, who would like me to represent them here in the House. How would the minister of state explain to my constituents that I am not going to be able to speak in the House on this budget?
    Mr. Speaker, again, I would encourage the member for Surrey North to speak to his House leader to make the request to speak. I am not certain how the New Democratic Party brings forward the list of members who want to speak on this. I would encourage the member to speak to his House leader. We have four days to speak to it here. We have a committee that is going to study it.
    The member makes reference to things that were not in the budget. One of the examples is the temporary foreign worker program that was announced in June. We knew in April or May about the changes that were coming. That is one of the measures.
    Another one is ending pay-to-pay practices. Day after day the opposition stands and questions us in regard to pay to pay. This measure ends pay to pay for the telecommunication industry. No Canadian should have to pay extra to get a bill from a telecommunication company. This bill would stop that practice.

  (1040)  

    Mr. Speaker, last week we were standing in this House in unity among all parties. The Prime Minister said that we were in opposition but we were not enemies. We can have a healthy debate and respect the fact that some of us might have an oops moment. I have had them myself. I know that members of the Liberal caucus have had them.
    My colleague, the Minister of State for Finance, is a hard-working member. I just wonder if he could clarify this for the House. My understanding is that recently, the member for Wascana was forced to apologize for misleading the House by misquoting support from a Laval economics professor. Then the Liberal finance critic misquoted Jack Mintz, who said that the Liberal EI scheme would encourage employers to fire older workers. Then yesterday, the member for Kings—Hants accidentally tried to cite reputable economist Jack Mintz right after Mr. Mintz had a letter published, entitled “Bad Policy”, about the Liberal plan. I understand that last Friday the leader of the Liberal Party, in a speech, indicated that he was going to hike pension payroll taxes, which would be a concern for my constituents of Kelowna—Lake Country.
     I would ask the hon. Minister of State for Finance how the budget implementation bill would help small businesses across Canada and keep payroll taxes low.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country made reference to the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party scrambles to cover up for its leader.
     We are delivering action for the Canadian economy, and that is what this budget would do. This budget bill would legislate our small-business job credit that would lower EI payroll taxes by 15% and save small and medium-sized businesses in Canada $550 million. About 780,000 businesses in Canada are expected to benefit from these measures in this bill. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says that the credit would create 25,000 person-years of employment.
     While we are lowering payroll taxes for 90% of businesses in Canada, the Liberal leader has pledged to raise pension payroll taxes. Not only that, but the Liberal EI agenda would give EI benefits to prisoners, pay for a 45-day work—
    Order, please. The minute is up.
    The hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister of state mentioned earlier that talking about the New Democrats' and Liberals' differences is taking time away from this very important budget implementation bill and that he would like to see more debate in this House.
     Why is the minister actually stopping debate from happening before it even starts? This minister of state is supporting the time allocation motion that would end debate in this House.
     I come from a constituency that represents almost 140,000 constituents, and when I say that I may not be able to speak to this because he is moving time allocation and ending debate, cutting the time here, he says to talk to my people and that it is my fault that I am not speaking. Actually, no. I am here. I want to speak to this budget implementation bill, but he is not allowing me to, because he and the government are stopping debate before it even happens by moving time allocation. They are making sure that I might not be able to speak to this. He is blaming the victim. Why is he doing that?
    Mr. Speaker, all Canadians need to understand that the measures we have taken today are not to end debate but to begin debate. That is what we are going to do here. We are going to start debate. We are going to move quickly into four days of debate. We are not a debating club; we are a Parliament. Canadians expect that we will introduce legislation, debate it, move it, take it to committee, and study it. Those are the measures we take in a Parliament.
    Contrary to what the hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River says, our plan is to move to debate on the budget. I would encourage those members to look at the budget. It is a good budget implementation bill. There are good measures in it that the members of the Canadian public are asking for.
     Four days of 10-minute speeches, with questions and answers, will give ample opportunity for all those members who want to speak to speak. Let us start that debate.

  (1045)  

    Mr. Speaker, the minister said a few moments ago that omnibus bills were common. They have been common since the current government started putting 600-, 700-, and 800-page bills together and forcing them on the House through time allocation, which is also becoming common. It is 80 times that the current government has used either closure or time allocation to limit debate on measures before this House.
    I want to ask the minister of state this. Canadians are not clamouring, to my mind, for rules that would allow provincial governments to cut off refugees from social assistance and welfare, even though they are not allowed to work in this country while they are refugees. Is that something the minister of state thinks people are clamouring for that must be put into a bill? It has nothing to do with the budget itself.
    Certainly, Mr. Speaker, I think Canadians understand that this government is committed to helping all newcomers, including genuine refugees, integrate into Canadian society and fully contribute to our economy and our communities.
    Canada has one of the fairest immigration systems in the world. However, we also have, in this parliamentary system and in this country of Canada, a federal government. We have provincial governments, we have municipal governments, and we have territorial governments. Each of those governments has jurisdiction for certain responsibilities. The provinces and territories are close to those taxpayers who believe that refugees need to have the proper social programs. As we all know, we transfer monies from the health and social transfer fund to the provinces so that they can administer social programs.
    This is not about cuts for refugees. This is something that would allow the provinces to help those refugees in their--
    Order, please. The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
    Mr. Speaker, I just heard the hon. minister revive the assurance that every member in this place will be allowed to stand to debate this omnibus budget bill. Could we take this as an undertaking?
    There are now 12 members of Parliament who represent ridings equal in importance to the ridings of any other members of Parliament. In doing our due diligence as members in this place, we have the right to participate in examining legislation. There are now 12 members of Parliament who are not members of the Conservative, Liberal, or New Democratic parties. Does the minister give us assurance that each one of us will have a 10-minute speaking slot on the bill?
    Mr. Speaker, again, we are moving this motion today so that we can get into the debate on the budget implementation bill and have four days of debate and see it move from here. I mentioned earlier 10-minute allocations. I do not know how many speeches that would be. For four days members can stand and speak for 10 minutes in debate.
    There are other opportunities. The member is not from one of what we would call the recognized parties in this House, but she certainly has the rights of every member of this House. There are times for questions, when the member can stand and question anyone who is speaking. She can make a point. It is not that she would have to try to stump one of her New Democratic friends or her Liberal friends or her Conservative friends. She may want to make a point on this budget--
    Order, please.
    Is the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley rising on a point of order?
    No, Mr. Speaker. I wondered if we were drawing near to the end of the time for this.
    We are drawing near to the end of the time.
    The hon. minister of state may complete his statement. He only has about 30 seconds.
    Mr. Speaker, I will defer my time to the opposition so that it can ask more questions.
    Since we are down to less than 20 seconds, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.
     Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion ?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Deputy Speaker: Call in the members.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 266)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Armstrong
Aspin
Baird
Barlow
Bateman
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Falk
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
Obhrai
O'Connor
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Reid
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 143

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Caron
Casey
Cash
Chan
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Christopherson
Cleary
Côté
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Nantel
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Rathgeber
Rousseau
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stoffer
Sullivan
Thibeault
Toone
Turmel
Valeriote
Vaughan

Total: -- 103

PAIRED

Nil

     I declare the motion carried.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings on the time allocation motion, government orders will be extended by 30 minutes.

Second reading  

    The House resumed from October 29 consideration of the motion that Bill C-43, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques has 10 minutes to finish his speech.
    Mr. Speaker, my speech was split into two parts because of last night's votes. I will quickly come back to what I talked about yesterday to complete and conclude my remarks this morning. Yesterday, I mentioned that the Conservative government seems to use eight criteria when introducing a budget bill. We have seen these eight criteria in all of the budget bills that this Conservative government has introduced to date, at least since the last election, in this Parliament.
    I would like to quickly list those eight criteria. First, the bill must be big. This one is 460 pages long. In fact, it is 78 pages longer than the last one, which was the first budget bill for 2014. The bill must amend at least a dozen laws. In this case, there are about 40 laws that are being created, eliminated or amended. The bill must deal with many subjects that have absolutely nothing to do with the budget, including some subjects that may appear to be related to the budget—such as the amendment to the fiscal arrangements between Canada and the provinces—but that, in the end, have no impact on federal finances. The bill must create a number of non-budgetary laws that should be examined outside the Standing Committee on Finance as stand-alone bills.
    A perfect example of that is the creation of a DNA data bank to facilitate the search for victims or missing persons. That has no place in the budget. It should be studied thoroughly, on its own. I will come back to that.
    The fifth criterion is that this type of bill must concentrate powers in the hands of the ministers. We have seen that with every budget bill, and we are seeing it again, particularly in the changes being made to the Aeronautics Act and the provisions of the new Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act and the Canadian Payments Act. More discretionary power is being given to ministers when it should be here, in Parliament.
    The final three criteria focus on including legislative amendments to restrict the rights of workers and immigrants, as well as a law and order measure. All of these measures, these eight criteria, can again be found in this bill.
    I want to come back to the question of law and order because we are once again talking about a proposal, found in a division of part IV, that would create a DNA data bank. We are in favour of the measure from a philosophical point of view, and we proposed this same tool in the past.
    However, creating this type of data bank raises some major ethical issues. That is why a committee such as the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security or the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights should have the opportunity to closely examine the consequences of creating a data bank like this. Right now, it is buried in part IV, where there are 31 divisions and this one, with respect to creating a data bank, is only one of those 31 divisions. I am not even talking about all of the tax measures in the first three parts.
    We are MPs in the House of Commons. We represent our constituents and all Canadians. Despite the fact that most of the parties in the House cannot oppose these things as a matter of principle, we could strongly oppose them if the consequences of including these things presented a major ethical problem regarding the privacy of Canadians and the security of their person. Why, then, include such a measure? I can already hear some Conservative members telling us it will be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. It will not be referred. The committee might discuss it quickly at one meeting, or two at the most, given that the time allocated to the minister in question already takes up much of the meeting. This usually comes back to us without amendment and without any opportunity for the members of the Standing Committee on Finance to really understand the nature of the committee's deliberations.

  (1135)  

    Contrary to what the member for Vancouver South said yesterday evening, these measures were not included innocently and without consequences; quite the contrary. This is not the usual practice. Before the Conservatives came to power, omnibus bills were about 100 pages in length, at most. Now we are routinely asked to study bills that are between 400 and 800 pages long and sometimes up to 950 pages.
    It is impossible to govern or demonstrate good governance by taking an attitude like that and introducing bills that ultimately form the cornerstone of how the federal government operates. Debating such bills is something that not only the opposition, but also the Conservative Party members who are not cabinet ministers should be able to do; however, they refuse to engage in real debate. In the end, they simply repeat the talking points given to them and support the bill without even reading it. I can guarantee that out of the 160 or so Conservative Party members, only about 15 really understand the contents of this bill. They will not gain a better understanding through debates in this House, either, because they do not listen to the debates. Nor do they read the committee evidence to find out about the main issues discussed.
    This government tends to view this side of the chamber as a non-essential part of House operations. It does not see the opposition as being able to assist in better governance. As the official opposition, quite often our role is to oppose, but we diligently fulfill another more fundamental role, and that is to point out to the government flaws in its regulatory or legislative proposals.
    To the government, any proposal from the opposition is an obstacle, even if after multiple warnings, the details we submit to them or the flaws that we point out in the bills end up being authentic and valid.
    In those cases, the government makes the necessary changes itself, or has them made by the other place, or uses subsequent budget bills to correct the mistakes that it made and we pointed out.
    We see very little that is positive, despite what most Conservative MPs will say. Very little has anything to do with job creation. Very little has anything to do with economic growth. There certainly is not much that has anything to do with Canada's long-term prosperity. The only measure they can debate is the small business tax credit, and even then they are wrong about it, since it targets only those employers that pay less than $15,000 in employment insurance premiums. As government officials and the government itself have confirmed, this measure will cost at minimum more than half a billion dollars in lost revenue for the federal government.
    What will we get in return for this lost revenue? According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, this measure will create 800 jobs, at a cost of $700,000 per job.
    The government says that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is very much in favour of this measure. Naturally it did a study and found that this measure will create 25,000 jobs. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says it is more like 800 jobs. The government's only argument is the consent or approval of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which, at the end of the day, represents the people who are going to benefit from the half a billion dollars.
    What we want, in the House, is an independent study to prove that this is an appropriate and effective job creation measure. The people in this chamber know very well that this measure will not achieve the objectives set by the government. Therefore, we are rejecting the only measure that even comes close to being a job creation measure or an economic measure.
    We will have no choice but to oppose this budget bill at second reading. Given that the government has a majority, the bill will be passed and go to committee with the same shortcomings and the same mistakes.
    We, the opposition, will continue to work diligently. We will point out the shortcomings and the main problems in this bill.

  (1140)  

    We hope that as the election approaches, MPs, especially the Conservatives who are not in the cabinet, will realize that this is not a good budget bill and that at least the shortcomings must be addressed.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague indicated that on this side of the House we have not taken time to look through the bill. I wonder if my colleague understands that Bill C-43 has a very technical amendment in it that would extend the capital gains exemption for farm property.
    In my riding, my farmers are a part of the prosperity of my area; not only the primary producers but the food processing that goes on in Waterloo county is very important. This measure would make it easier for family farms to be passed on to the next generation. This is an important aspect of our food security in Canada.
    It is too bad that the NDP in the past has not stood up for the protection of family farms. This time, NDP members have chance to stand up for the protection of family farms and to ensure the good produce that our farmers produce year to year by passing this measure in the bill.

  (1145)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague's argument is the perfect argument against omnibus bills.
    There are some things that we could agree to in the 460 pages and 401 clauses. However, just because we support two, three or four measures does not mean that we could vote for a budget bill that we reject for the most part. How can we agree to spend more than half a billion dollars with no guarantee that even one job will be created?
    Just like the member who asked the question, I represent an agricultural riding. I recognize that there is a problem with passing on family farms. I am quite willing to discuss the possibility of facilitating the transfer of family farms, but not if this measure is buried among 400 other items. We cannot support most of those items because they have nothing to do with the budget or with prosperity, growth and job creation.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I do have a question, but prior to that, I have a point of order that I would like to raise.
    I would ask for unanimous consent to move the following motion: that the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented on Tuesday, September 30, be concurred in.
    Does the member for Winnipeg North have unanimous consent to move his motion?
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Deputy Speaker: Seeing there is no unanimous consent, the member for Winnipeg North can proceed with his question.
    Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing that unanimous consent was denied by the New Democrats.
    Having said that, my question is in relation—
    Order. The hon. member for St. John's East is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that his remarks are out of order. He was ruled out of order before when he raised this, but he insists on raising points of order and then when he is denied, he continues to want to talk about it.
    My point of order is on how the member gets to have two speaking opportunities by having a point of order and then wanting to speak. That seems to me to be out of order.
    All members have the right to rise on a point of order and to seek unanimous consent. That was certainly in order. Also, in terms of the rotation that we have for questions in the House, it was the third party's turn for a question. I assume the member for Winnipeg North has that responsibility for his party, so he may continue with his question.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your ruling and comments.
    Many aspects of this particular budget could be debated and discussed in parliamentary committees. The question I have for the member is on the benefits of having debates on a wide variety of issues in parliamentary committees.
     Does the member believe that discussions of accountability and transparency can in fact take place in parliamentary committees? Would he not agree that there is a very important role for parliamentary committees in dealing with accountability and transparency, especially on issues such as the budget?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is very important to be able to debate issues in committee. Moreover, we want most bills to be debated in different committees.
    Take, for example, the amendments made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. They need to be studied. We would like this bill to be split so that the committee can do its job. This also applies to the provision to create a DNA database. The appropriate committee needs to conduct the study.
    The Standing Committee on Finance has expertise in financial matters, and it uses this expertise wisely. However, it makes no sense for this committee to study and vote on a budget bill like this, which contains all kinds of other measures that have nothing to do with the budget itself.
    We would like the government to start showing good governance by referring the budgetary and fiscal measures to this committee and making sure that all the other measures that have nothing to do with this bill are studied by other committees.

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague mentioned, this omnibus bill contains 401 clauses and is 478 pages long, and it amends various federal policies, from the DNA data bank to social services for refugees.
    I would like to know what my colleague thinks about how the Conservatives are attacking the least fortunate. Protecting these people is the responsibility of the government and part of our Canadian values.
    Why is the government targeting people who have been persecuted and subjected to trauma and violence? Why is it eliminating what is sometimes their only source of income?
    Mr. Speaker, clearly, the measure set out in the amendment to the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act is a fundamental issue. As I was saying, we are talking about an amendment that seems to be a budget measure. However, it does not in any way affect the transfers between Ottawa and the provinces. Ultimately, it allows the provinces to include a residency period in their austerity measures, which will prevent refugee claimants who are awaiting the determination of their claims—not those who have had their claims rejected—from collecting social assistance. The provinces did not ask for this.
    In the technical briefing, we learned that only one province asked a question about this amendment and that the province in question was not very receptive to it.
    It is not as though refugee claimants can work to support themselves. The system we had in place allowed us to fulfill our obligations as a host country while waiting for the process to be complete.
    I was shocked to hear the answers given by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration during question period. When he was asked the specific question, his answer was very far from the truth. It is obvious—and it has been confirmed by experts and government officials—that this measure is not limited to, but specifically affects, refugee claimants.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech, which was very interesting, particularly with regard to two points.
    The first deals with the approach the government is taking by introducing this huge 460-page omnibus bill. The bill contains many measures, some of which are good for our country's economy, but most of which are bad.
    I would like to ask my colleague a specific question about employment insurance. We now know that most Canadian workers who have contributed to the employment insurance fund cannot use it. What is the point of this fund? It should be used to help workers who have lost their jobs.
    How can the Conservatives justify using over $550 million from this fund, which does not belong to the government? The fund belongs to Canadian workers and employers. However, the government used this fund to create 800 jobs. It is unbelievable that the Conservatives would think of doing such a thing and that they are saying that this program will improve the economy and help Canadians. How can the government justify its abuse of this program?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a very important question. Once again, it goes to the very heart of the only really relevant measure, a massive one, that talks about job creation.
    According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the government would be investing $550 million to create 800 jobs. Apparently, the finance minister conducted an internal assessment on this, but the government refuses to disclose the results. I am certain that if the assessment backed the government's arguments, the Minister of Finance would be the first to table it in the House in order to support what he is saying. However, that is not the case. We must therefore conclude that the job creation measures will not live up to what the Conservatives are promising.
    The most frustrating aspect is that the projected employment insurance fund surplus would be obtained primarily by restricting workers' access to employment insurance. That is a real-life situation that is playing out in regions like mine in particular, where the economy still relies heavily on seasonal industries. Workers will continue to make their contributions while premiums for business owners will drop, yet there is no guarantee that jobs will be created. That is extremely frustrating for workers.

  (1155)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Nipissing—Timiskaming.
    I am privileged to rise today to speak to the second budget implementation act, 2014. I would like to share with the House some of the important measures contained in the legislation that stem from budget 2014 and other important actions of our government.
    In the 2011 election campaign, our government made a number of promises to the Canadian people that we said we would bring in once the budget was balanced. We are well on our way to fulfilling our promises. One of the first promises we are fulfilling is the doubling of the children's fitness tax credit from $500 to $1,000 and making it refundable.
    It is well known that regular exercise is essential to the successful development of children. It is a great way to get them started on a lifetime of healthy, active living. That is why our Conservative government introduced the children's fitness tax credit in the first place. This measure makes it affordable for Canadian families to register their kids in fitness activities. This tax credit currently benefits approximately 1.4 million Canadian families by providing them with much-needed tax relief.
    With the doubling of this tax credit to $1,000 and making it refundable, it would become even more beneficial to low-income families. These enhancements to the children's fitness tax credit would help bring further tax relief to about 850,000 families that enrol their children in sports or other fitness activities. As a government, we have been strongly committed to making life more affordable for hard-working Canadian families, and doubling the children's fitness tax credit and making it refundable does exactly that.
    Our government has also committed to supporting job creation and economic growth in Canada's economy. We recognize that the most important driver of Canada's economic growth and success is the private sector, small businesses and entrepreneurs. These companies and individuals are the ones driving our economy forward, putting in long hours, and hiring our friends and neighbours.
    According to the Business Development Bank, small and medium-sized enterprises make up 99.8% of all Canadian companies. It is because small businesses are so important that our government has introduced the small business job credit. The aim of this measure is to help small businesses save money and therefore have more resources to hire more workers. The small business job credit would apply to employment insurance premiums paid by small businesses in 2015-16.
    The credit will be calculated as the difference between the premiums paid at the legislated rate of $1.88 per $100 of insurable earnings in each of those years. Since employers pay 1.4 times the legislated rate, this reduction in the legislated rate is equivalent to a reduction of about 39¢ per $100 in insurable earnings. That is in EI premiums paid by small employers. The 39¢ premium reduction would apply in addition to the premium reduction related to the Québec Parental Insurance Plan. Any firm that pays employee EI premiums equal to or less than $15,000 in 2015 or 2016 will be eligible for the credit in those years.
    As an example, a small business employing 14 employees each earning $40,000 would ordinarily pay about $14,740 in EI premiums in 2015. However, since the total EI premiums paid by the employer are less than $15,000, it would be eligible under the small business job credit for a refund of about $2,200. That is the difference between the employer premiums paid at the legislated rate versus the premiums calculated under the reduced small business rate.
    Businesses will not have to apply. The small business job credit will be automatically administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, which will determine eligibility and calculate the amount of the credit. Once calculated, the credit will be applied against any outstanding debt and then the remaining amount, if any, will be refunded to the small business. We expect this measure to save small employers more than $550 million in 2015-16. This is just another way that our government is helping foster the conditions for private sector jobs and growth in the Canadian economy, which is the foundation of our long-term prosperity.
    The budget implementation act would also take action to help amateur athletes and students, and I want to highlight those measures briefly as well.
     First, for amateur athletes, the budget implementation act would permit income contributed to an amateur athlete trust to qualify as income earned for RRSP contribution limits. This is another important way we can help encourage and fund our young athletes on their journeys in their respective sports.
    The budget implementation act would also extend the tax credit for interest paid on government-sponsored student loans to interest paid on a Canada apprentice loan. This is also vital in encouraging young Canadians to consider the trades as they prepare to enter the workforce or prepare for their post-secondary education. It is well known that there is a shortage of skilled tradespeople in the country and this is another important step in encouraging young Canadians to consider a career in that field.

  (1200)  

    I would like to turn to a subject that is close to my heart. Anyone who has spent time with me knows my passion for caring for men and women in uniform, and for continuing that care once these individuals are out of uniform and become part of Canada's veteran community.
    With so many young veterans now, our care for them must change, it has changed, and it continues to change and improve.
    One of the primary goals of the government and of the Department of Veterans Affairs is care for our veterans, helping them transition to a new career and establish a new life with as much independence as possible. This includes helping the seriously ill and injured veterans have their house renovated to accommodate diverse needs, such as wheelchair access and things like that, as well as providing up to $75,800 in career retraining funding for either the injured forces member or their spouse.
     The aim of that fund is to get veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces working again in meaningful and gainful employment. We want them to use their trade, leadership and people management skills in the public or private sector where they can be put to good use.
    For our part, our government is taking action to ensure that veterans are welcomed and hired into the public service in a way that recognizes the service they have already given to the country.
    Each year, approximately 7,600 Canadian Armed Forces personnel leave the service, including about 1,000 individuals who leave for medical reasons beyond their control. Finding meaningful employment for them is a very important factor in them making the successful transition to civilian life.
    In recognition of their service to Canada, budget 2013 promised to enhance employment opportunities in the federal public service for medically released Canadian Armed Forces personnel by creating a statutory hiring priority in the Public Service Employment Act for forces members who were medically released for service related reasons and by extending the duration of priority entitlements from two to five years for all medically released Canadian Armed Forces personnel.
    Our government also proposed, in budget 2014, to amend the Public Service Employment Act to give preference to eligible veterans in external public service job competitions and to allow Canadian Armed Forces personnel with at least three years of military service to participate in internal public service job competitions.
    To that end, our government has tabled Bill C-27, the veterans hiring act. That bill would build upon our previous commitments and previous legislative, giving honourably released forces members better access to job openings in the federal public sector. This is all part of our efforts to ensure there are more opportunities for Canada's veterans to build meaningful second careers as they transition from military to civilian life.
    As part of this effort, veterans and Canadian Armed Forces personnel with a minimum of three years service would be allowed to participate in advertized internal hiring processes for a period expiring five years after their release date.
    This measure would be in addition to a previous announcement by our government that eligible veterans whose military service was cut short by a career-ending illness or injury suffered in the line of duty would be given statutory priority access to job opportunities in the federal public service.
    The duration of priority access for all medically released personnel would also be extended from two years to five years.
    These are clearly all initiatives designed to help our veterans achieve “re-establishment in civil life”. That short quote comes from the list of responsibilities that the Minister of Veterans Affairs, and therefore the Government of Canada, is charged with in relation to Canada's veterans. These priority hiring measures are simply another way that our government is trying to help our veterans successfully re-establish themselves in civilian life.
    This is the key concept in the overall philosophy of service to veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs
    The aim of veterans programs is not lifelong financial dependence, unless that is the only option. The aim of the programs is to give the veteran every support possible to help those who cannot or do not wish to continue to serve in the military the tools they need to succeed in carving out a good future on their own terms. It is a goal I know all members of the House and all Canadians share.
    The measures from the budget implementation act that I have highlighted today are ones I believe are in the best interests of all Canadians, whether they be children, amateur athletes, working moms and dads or veterans.
    Where government can help Canadians, we want it to help and be as effective as possible. Where it is simply in the way of ordinary Canadians achieving their best possible quality of life, we want government out of the way.
    The bill would help us improve that balance. That is why I am pleased to speak to it and support it.

  (1205)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague opposite for his speech.
    Clearly, I do not agree with the bill before us, if for no other reason than the gag order that will limit debate.
    He said that the government is taking a step back from its public role and that the bill before us will help with that. Meanwhile, the government is once again dipping into the employment insurance fund to subsidize companies that do not need the support. The government is going to create 800 jobs at nearly $500,000 each. The Parliamentary Budget Officer was clear about that.
    I want to hear the member's comments on that because, frankly, if the Conservatives are unable to create jobs for less than $500,000 a piece, not only is the government not taking a step back, but it is also alienating Canadian employees and employers.
    It is high time they were shown some respect.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments. Of course, I do not expect him to agree with the budget bill, or it would not be this place.
    However, when he is talking about money spent to create jobs and to help small businesses, I would remind him that 99.8% of companies in Canada are small businesses. The member might want to go and talk to some of the small-business owners to see what they think about this. The organization that represents a lot of those folks is the CFIB, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. It does not agree with the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Not everybody agrees with the PBO on lots of things. I certainly do not agree on this and on a few other things as well.
    Whether it is 800 jobs, according to the PBO, or 25,000 jobs, according to CFIB, probably the answer is somewhere between those numbers, and those are pretty widespread numbers. I would encourage the member to talk more to the people who are actually charged with creating jobs, and they are the small-business owners.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It is nothing urgent, but as my colleague from Winnipeg North did previously, I would ask for unanimous consent for the following motion: That the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented on Tuesday, September 30, 2014, be concurred in.
    Does the hon. member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel have the unanimous consent of the House for this motion?
    Some hon. members: No.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his speech outlining many of the positive initiatives in this budget implementation bill. He drew attention to the one that relates to the doubling of the amount that parents could claim for the children's fitness tax credit. As the father of three children and the grandfather of nine grandchildren, I am very concerned that our next generation continue to stay active and involved in community sports and things like that.
    I wonder if my colleague could comment on the fact that not only would this be doubled but we would also make it refundable. That is a point that is often lost on the part of Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. He does make an important point, and I did mention that it would be refundable. That really takes it down to the lower-income families and allows them to get their children into sports activities. Right now, it benefits about 1.4 million Canadian families. This would bring it to about 850,000 more Canadian families, and many of those would be the folks who would rely on the refundable aspect of this to put their children into the activities, which we know are very healthy.
    I have only two children and only two grandchildren, so I am a bit jealous, but I want to see them grow up healthy and active as well.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is important that we have as much information as possible from my hon. colleague. The bill contains mistakes and does not deserve the support of this House, especially since we are under closure.
    My colleague made some comments regarding the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. The Parliamentary Budget Officer is an expert in this area. He is neutral and will always give the best advice based on the best science. Therefore, if he says that this will create only 800 jobs at nearly $500,000 per job, we need to listen very carefully to him.
    If this bill passes second reading and is sent to committee, this will likely come up many times. I plan to push very hard on this, because the government is raiding the employment insurance fund, which is completely unacceptable.
    Does the member believe that raiding the EI fund is the way to go, or will the government finally be straight with Canadians and admit that it is raising taxes through the back door because it does not have the courage to do so through the front door?

  (1210)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that was a bit rambling, but I have a couple of quick points. It is not closure; it is time allocation, and there is a difference.
    On the other point about whether it is 800 jobs or 25,000 jobs, the PBO has a legitimate job to do and he legitimately provides advice. The government considers that along with other advice and input that we get. This is an important area of job creation, of giving small and medium-sized businesses as much help as we can. The simple fact is that we are not sacking the EI fund; that is a ridiculous statement. It is all about helping small businesses create jobs, keep jobs, and keep Canadians working.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand in the House and speak in favour of Bill C-43, also known as budget implementation act number 2.
    Since 2006, our Conservative government's budgets have consistently delivered for Canadians by always putting their priorities first. Canadians have told us that they want a strong, stable economy and access to good, well-paying jobs.
    Each budget has done exactly that. Since 2006, Canada has one of the best economic performances among all G8 countries, particularly during the recession and current recovery. During this period we have created more than one million net new jobs, the overwhelming majority of which are full time. We have accomplished this without introducing new taxes, in direct contrast to the policies that the opposition parties advocate. In fact, Canadian families pay about 10% less in personal income tax. Adding all the various tax reductions we have introduced since 2006, the average family of four pays $3,400 less in taxes each and every year.
     Our strong economic performance has come without increasing the deficit. In fact, we have progressively been reducing the deficit and the size and cost of government. We are now in a position to balance the budget in 2015, as well as deliver a surplus.
    Our budgets have achieved these goals without sacrificing the quality of federal services or investments. Various federal services have been streamlined over the years to provide the same, if not better, services to Canadians for lower costs. As well, our Conservative government has been carrying out the most ambitious infrastructure investment plan in our nation's history. In 2007, we introduced $33 billion in flexible and predictable infrastructure spending. Recently we committed another $70 billion over the next decade to continue investing in world-class infrastructure. These funds have supported dozens of important projects in my riding of Nipissing—Timiskaming, particularly municipal priority projects.
    Therefore, consistent with the successes of our previous budgets, Canadians can be reassured that the 2014 budget will continue to be more of what they have come to expect from their government: responsible, targeted, accountable, and inclusive of the necessary changes to keep taxes low and our economy growing.
    Although there are many components to the budget, I will focus on measures most relevant to the needs of my constituents in Nipissing—Timiskaming. One of the important measures is the small business job credit, which has recently been announced by our government. This credit would lower payroll taxes for small businesses by 15% over the next two years.
    Overall, it is estimated that Canadian small businesses would save $550 million, thanks to this measure. For the many small businesses in my region, this would mean increased capacity to grow their business, as well as more money becoming available for investments, as opposed to paying employer payroll taxes.
    Our government recognizes the fundamental importance of small businesses in fuelling the Canadian economy. ln my riding, small businesses employ thousands of people and are the backbone of our communities.
    The introduction of this credit would further build upon our government's strong support of small businesses since 2006. We froze El premiums to provide certainty and flexibility for small businesses. We have cut red tape by eliminating more than 800,000 payroll deduction remittances to the CRA made every year by more than 50,000 small businesses. We reduced the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%.
    We also increased the small business limit to $500,000 in taxable income, which had the effect of expanding the number of businesses that could take advantage of these benefits and save costs, costs that could be reinvested in growth and job creation.
    The results are clear. A typical small business is now seeing savings of approximately $28,000. Since we took office, small businesses have seen their taxes reduced by 34%.
    While we are discussing measures in the budget that would help small businesses, here is another measure in the bill that I would like to highlight, as chair of the clean-tech caucus in Parliament.

  (1215)  

    Bill C-43 would expand the eligibility for accelerated capital cost allowances for clean energy generation and conservation equipment. Let me quickly outline what capital costs are.
     Capital cost allowance is a mechanism by which businesses can lower their taxable income by claiming the cost of depreciation of their equipment. Accelerated capital cost allowances simply allow companies to claim more of their costs. This measure is important because it incentivizes businesses to use cleaner technology and equipment. The health of our environment is very important to my constituents, and I know they will appreciate these measures.
    The next measure I would like to highlight concerns families, particularly children. Our government believes that fitness is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and a habit that should be encouraged, particularly in childhood. That is why we introduced the children's fitness credit in budget 2006, which provides non-refundable tax credits of up to $500 annually in fees for the registration of a child under the age of 16 in an eligible program of physical activity.
    In October 2014, our Prime Minister announced that our government would double the children's fitness credit from $500 to $1,000 and make it refundable, which would increase benefits to low-income families claiming the credit.
    The increase of this tax credit would greatly benefit families in Nipissing—Timiskaming, many of which have very active children. In our communities, it is commonplace for children to enrol in hockey, soccer, or baseball camps. The increase of this tax credit would make it affordable for families to get their children involved in all these physical activities. Ultimately, greater access to physical activity would improve the health of children in my riding, but also their social skills, as very often physical activities are team or group activities as well.
    Since 2006, Canadian families have benefited from significant, broad-based tax cuts introduced by our government. For example, we have reduced the GST to 5% from 7%; increased the basic personal amount, the amount that all Canadians can earn without paying federal income tax; reduced the lowest personal income tax rate to 15% from 16%; and introduced the tax-free savings account, which has helped thousands of families save money.
     These and other actions have given individuals and families the flexibility to make the choices that are right for them. This is why, as I mentioned earlier, Canadian families pay on average $3,400 less in taxes every year.
     Bill C-43 includes an important measure that would assist law enforcement in locating missing persons. Many constituents have expressed concern over various disappearances of Canadians, particularly first nations Canadians.
     I know many of my constituents will appreciate Bill C-43's amendment of the DNA Identification Act to create new indices in the national DNA data bank. This would contain DNA profiles from missing persons, from their relatives, and from human remains to assist law enforcement agencies, coroners, and medical examiners to find missing persons and identify human remains.
    The bill also includes various changes to the income tax and excise acts and various other statutes; however I will leave those changes for my honourable colleagues to address.
    At the outset of my speech, I articulated the intent and record of our government's previous budgets, and I stated that from Bill C-43 Canadians could expect a continued focus on keeping taxes low and improving the economy. From the main measures I highlighted, it is clear that as a result of the budget implementation act, families would save more money through an increase in the children's fitness tax credit. Also, business would benefit from reduced costs through the changes in payroll tax and capital cost allowances. These changes would help businesses invest more of their money in expanding their businesses and, as a result, create more jobs for Canadians.
    Whereas our honourable opponents continue to propose various tax hikes and increased intervention into the lives of Canadians and businesses by government, we on this side of the House continue to focus on jobs and the economy in a responsible, pragmatic, and non-intrusive manner. We firmly believe that Canadian families and businesses, not Ottawa, know what is best for them and their interests.

  (1220)  

    We are, and have been since 2006, able to help remove obstacles, regulations, and unnecessary and restrictive taxes on Canadians and businesses.
     I encourage all members of the House to support the pragmatic and necessary measures in Bill C-43 so that we may continue to grow Canada's economy for the benefit of all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, my question for the hon. member is with respect to the pay-to-pay fees the government has said it would like to get rid of. The government says it is unfair for broadcasting and telecommunication companies to charge Canadians a $2 fee to receive their bills to pay their bills.
    Why does the government continue to allow banks to continue this unfair practice?
    Mr. Speaker, it is clear in this budget that we are addressing regulatory impediments. We are reducing taxes, and we are making it easier for families and individuals to live their lives without government interference. We will continue to implement these measures. It is part of our DNA.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague spoke about the benefits to children of the sports tax credit that has been implemented and that will now be doubled. This is a remarkable opportunity for parents.
     I wonder if the member could speak about the businesses in his riding that are providing services to young people, such as coaching. Could he talk about how this will impact their opportunity to thrive in the member's community?
    Mr. Speaker, my riding is in northern Ontario. It has a host of sports and recreational activities, and businesses are involved in promoting those activities. The sports tax credit will improve that situation. It will make more activities available for children in families that do not have the income. As members know, hockey is our lifeblood in Canada, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for families to have their children involved in it. This measure will help that situation, along with all other sports.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, it has taken a long time, but I am glad the government is now proposing some measures in the budget with respect to a refundable tax credit for children's sports activities. Liberals have long said that this was a failing of the government's earlier proposals in budgets. It will spread it a little further. For once, maybe the government has listened.
    The member talked a fair bit about the DNA missing persons section in this particular bill. I strongly support that. It has been a long time coming. For those that have missing children, it will go a long way toward settling some of that tragedy and anxiety.
    Could the member tell me why this would be part of what is basically a budget implementation bill? Why would it not be a separate bill, a bill in its own right, that could maybe go through the House more quickly? Although this is a good measure, why complicate the budget bill with other measures that have no relation to the budget?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to say, with regard to these particular measures, which he complimented, that the Liberals do have good ideas from time to time. We are not at all hesitant to adopt good ideas.
    With respect to the DNA identification for missing persons, the answer is simpler. There is a cost. As a cost, it would have to be budgeted for, and therefore, it is in the budget implementation bill.
    Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour to stand in the House and speak on behalf of my constituents from Surrey North.
     Before I go on, I will be sharing my time with the member for Trois-Rivières.
    Where do I start? Let me start with this omnibus business. The Conservatives brought in this massive bill, which has, as we have heard before, more than 450 pages and more than 400 clauses. Everything is in there but the kitchen sink. The Conservatives are trying to make changes to many different laws in this omnibus bill.
    I have heard Conservative members talk about the importance of moving some of this legislation. They have said that it is consistent with the norms of the House to bring in omnibus bills. The norm is just starting. It is actually the Conservatives who started this business of omnibus bills in which they combine 50 or 60 bills in one so-called budget bill. A number of the clauses in this bill, Bill C-43, have nothing to do with the bill itself.
    On top of this, we have had time allocation, which was moved this morning. Time allocation basically shuts down the debate. The Conservatives do not want Canadians to know what is in this bill. We have had two days of debate on 400 pages of very technical language. I know that you know, Mr. Speaker, that these bills are very complex and that we have to dig deeper to find out exactly what is in them, because the government is not telling us.
    As the opposition, we have an obligation to Canadians to ensure that whatever the government brings in, and it has tried to rush it through with time allocation, we rip it apart. We have to look at it in great detail so that Canadians know exactly what is going on.
    I am fortunate enough to have time this morning to talk about some of the provisions in this bill, but other members in the House, whether they are Conservative members or members on this side of the House, would surely like to represent the people who elected them. Actually, the Conservatives may not want to talk about this bill. Unfortunately, because of time allocation, members on the opposition side are not going to have enough time to speak to the bill, especially about what their constituents are saying in their communities.
    There are a number of concerns I can bring up in the short period of time I have. One is the small business job credit. Basically, it would provide small businesses with $550 million in tax credits. The Conservatives claim that this would create 25,000 jobs. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, who is independent and is appointed by the Conservatives, said that at a maximum this would create 800 jobs. We would spend $550 million and create 800 jobs. That translates to roughly $700,000 per job. Any Canadian would understand that this is not an efficient way to invest in creating jobs in this country.
    What the Conservatives could have done in this bill is look at youth unemployment and underemployment. There is nothing in this bill that would generate jobs or create jobs for our youth. That is where we need to make investments, yet the Conservatives are going to use $550 million and maybe come up with 800 jobs.
    There are experts that have spoken up on this. I will quote Mike Moffatt, from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario. He said:
...the proposed “Small Business Job Credit” has...structural flaws that, in many cases, give firms an incentive to fire workers and cut salaries.

  (1230)  

    Not only would it create 800 jobs at a cost of $750,000 in taxpayers' money each, it may even cut some jobs. That is the kind of math the government works with.
     There is also nothing in the bill on youth unemployment and youth underemployment. There is nothing to enhance opportunities for our young people to get into the workforce.
    My second point is on the pay-to-pay issue. Lately we have seen the telecom companies, the banks, and other companies charging Canadians for sending them bills that they are expected to pay. The official opposition has advocated the elimination of this pay-to-pay billing practice. The Conservatives have listened a little bit. They would eliminate it for the telephone companies. What about the banks? Canadians will still have to pay the banks for the bills they will be receiving.
    This morning I went to the bank machine, because I needed money. I deal with a credit union. I went to get some money out and was charged $2.00. Some ATMs charge $3.00 and $4.00. We have been asking the government to put a flat rate on ATM fees so that the banks are not gouging or nickle and diming people when they want access to their money. That happened to me this morning. Canadians and people in my community are asking about changes with respect to banks and telephone companies. These companies are nickle and diming our citizens.
    The Conservatives say that they want to put money back into people's pockets. On the other hand, they are giving billions of dollars away to their friends in the oil industry. When will they eliminate the $1 billion in subsidies to the oil companies? They are saying that they want to give money back to families, yet they are giving billions of dollars away to their friends in the oil industry. We have been asking the government to eliminate tax subsidies for the oil companies.
    Since the Conservatives have been in government, they have accumulated not only a deficit but also a debt that future Canadians will have to pay. They will have to pay that debt because of its incompetence in handling the finances of Canadians.
    I could go on, but the limited amount of time I have will not allow me to even scratch the 460-odd pages of this omnibus bill. The Conservatives want to ram this through. They do not want to discuss the nitty-gritty of it, because they know that would expose what is not in there.
    They could have borrowed the ideas we have. We have laid out a plan for a child care program for under $15. We would be more than happy to support them if they borrow our idea. Those are the kinds of changes and programs we need in the community.
     Research has shown that for every dollar spent in child care, we get close to $2.00 back. We believe in the kind of math where if we make an investment, we get a return on every dollar and double our money. The Conservatives' math is to spend $550 million to create 800 jobs. That is $750,000 per job. That is the kind of math we do not need. That is incompetence in trying to manage our economy. Canadians expect better. They expect us to scrutinize these bills and everything that comes through.

  (1235)  

    Unfortunately, the Conservatives are trying to ram this through without any solid discussion in the House. That is not acceptable to the official opposition and I can assure members, it is not acceptable to Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague across the way give his ongoing commentary. There are measures in the budget bill that would be beneficial to the people who live in his riding. He has families who have children in sports of all kinds who would like to see that tax credit doubled so that they could make use of it for their income tax. There are small businesses in his riding that would benefit from the changes in EI.
    Therefore, how does my colleague go back and tell those families that he voted against putting money back in their pockets?
    Mr. Speaker, my constituents are telling me exactly the opposite of what the member said. I talk to my constituents in my city. I have been a small business person myself. I talk to the small business people in my community. It is the merchandise fees that small businesses pay to the big credit card companies that are a big concern. That is taking away the livelihoods of many restaurants and small businesses in my community.
    People in my community are worried about the $1 billion in tax subsidies the government is refusing to look at so it can give that money to its friends. That is the kind of thing families in my community are worried about. They want child care for their children so that women and men can go back to work and two parents can work. Unfortunately, none of that stuff is in the bill.
    If the Conservatives were really concerned about some of these things, they would split the bill up. There are provisions in the bill that we would actually support. Therefore, let us get them separated, get our House leaders together, vote on them and get them to our families as soon as we can, rather than having this omnibus bill rammed through the House.

  (1240)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech on the budget implementation bill.
    He just replied to a Conservative colleague by talking about the number of things in this bill and the differences between each of them. As parliamentarians, we are forced to vote on all of these things together, rather than vote on each proposal individually.
    I would like to take a moment to talk about the proposal regarding refugees. Would my colleague like to comment on the new provisions the government wants to bring in regarding refugees, who will find it harder to access social assistance programs in the provinces?
    These people fled threatening situations in their own countries to settle in Canada, so it is unfortunate to see the government treating them so poorly.
    What does my colleague think of that measure and of all the measures in the bill?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we saw the cuts to refugee health care that were implemented by the government. The Federal Court called it cruel and unusual. The member for Sherbrooke is absolutely right. Some of these refugees are coming from war-torn countries and they need assistance settling when they arrive here. Not only that, we charge them for the airfare when they come here. They do not have any money when they get here. To have these kinds of provisions in the budget implementation bill for these very vulnerable people who are supposed to be seeking refuge, I do not think that is aligned with our Canadian values.
    There are a number of things the government could have done to help families or to help our young people get into the job market. With the underemployed and high unemployment of our young people, the government could have taken some steps to provide a pathway for these young people who are graduating, from universities even, to help them get into the job market. However, the government has allocated $550 billion for a small business tax credit that would create only 800 jobs. That is about $750,000 per job. That is the kind of math we do not believe in.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is with mixed emotions that I rise to speak to Bill C-43. First of all, I would like to sincerely thank my colleague from Surrey North who agreed to share his time with me so that I could rise in the House to speak to a bill as important as the budget implementation bill—or at least, that is what it is supposed to be.
    At the same time, I am extremely frustrated, because not only will I not have enough time in these 10 minutes to say everything I have to say and speak on behalf of my constituents in the House on this measure, but many of my colleagues are also being muzzled and will simply not be allowed to speak—not to mention that this is the 80th time this has happened in this Parliament.
    The democratic rights of all Canadians are being trampled here, not just those of the members who represent them in the House. It is frustrating. I hope the message is being heard and that in 2015, we will have a government that respects democracy under the leadership of the member for Outremont, who has proven himself in the past and who upholds the values that Canadians and Quebeckers want to see reflected in their democratic institutions.
    The budget bill is without a doubt a fundamentally important tool that allows Parliament to debate the government's fiscal policies and its public policy decisions. However, the form of the bill has to be conducive to transparent debate and consistent with our democracy, as I was saying earlier.
    Once again the government is introducing a mammoth piece of legislation with only one objective, namely to stifle debate and prevent us from truly discussing the scope of this bill. In this bill we find another series of features that are the hallmark of this government's bills, namely time allocation motions for the most important bills, which we should be discussing for much longer. We have spent more time in the House debating bills that are just a few pages long than this one, which is between 400 and 450 pages.
    I am certainly not saying that a bill that is just a few pages long is less important, but it is easy to see how the math works. We should devote less time to studying five pages than 400 pages. It makes perfect sense. Anyone who knows basic math can figure that out.
    There are also many laws that will be affected, amended or even created by this inappropriate bill that introduces new measures that were not announced in the budget. Furthermore, the bill concentrates powers in the hands of the minister and also includes some bills that, logically, should not be studied by the Standing Committee on Finance, but by other House committees that carry out in-depth studies of important issues concerning the environment, transportation and other areas.
    We will have one vote on the set of measures contained in this bill, and we will say yes or no. We no longer have any illusions, and everyone figured out years ago that the Conservatives' strategy is to stuff as much as possible into one bill, including bills and reasonable amendments that deserve to be supported as well as bitter pills that obviously are unacceptable.
    The ultimate and purely political objective is not to put in place the best law with the best amendments, but to rise as often as possible in the House to say that the NDP voted against it. However, the solution is quite simple: we should split this bill and study the different measures on their own merits.
    If we were to do that, Canadians would see two things: the NDP will support measures that make sense and can amend bills in order to improve them, and our democracy and our system can function properly. However, the government does not seem to want that.

  (1245)  

    As my party's employment insurance critic, I want to focus on one specific proposal in this mammoth bill.
    In keeping with its firmly entrenched practice, the Conservative government, through this bill, is once again using the employment insurance fund for something other than its intended purpose. This time, the government is creating a tax credit for small businesses whose EI premiums are less than $15,000 a year. The Minister of Finance claims that this measure will create jobs.
    This measure for small businesses is the same one that was brought in a few months or even years earlier to grant credits to big businesses. The former minister of finance urged big business to reinject that dead money into the economy. The government does not seem to learn from its mistakes; it is taking that measure for big business and applying it to small business, even though it will get the same poor results.
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer, who is neutral and capable, has flat out denied this claim. He said that just 800 jobs will be created at the expense of workers' contributions, and he provided figures to support this statement. Furthermore, each of these jobs would cost on average $555,000.
    If I were given $550,000 to create jobs in a struggling region like mine, where the unemployment rate is high, I would not be creating one job—I would be creating 10, 12, 14 or 15 stable, permanent jobs.
    However, it seems that, once again, that is not the path that the Conservatives chose to take. In other words, the Conservatives are attacking employment insurance on all sides. What is more, they froze employment insurance contribution rates. That may seem like a good idea, but in reality, 10,000 jobs will be lost in 2015 and 2016 because of the current employment insurance measures and the frozen contribution rates.
    I am not the one saying this. I also took this information from a report of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The Conservatives have maintained artificially high employment insurance contribution rates, which means that the amount of money going into the fund will be much greater than what is necessary to cover the benefits that will be paid out under the Conservative reform.
    Some might say that it is good that the fund is running a surplus. However, workers will be contributing more than necessary, which will weaken their purchasing power and decrease market opportunities for the products produced by these same companies.
     I have a lot more to say, but since time is short I will just comment briefly on the measure pertaining to the Social Security Tribunal. Bill C-43 indicates that new money will be invested in hiring people to deal with the backlog of cases before the tribunal.
    This seems like a good thing, and it seems as though the Conservatives have finally understood what is needed, but the problem is much more serious than that. The Social Security Tribunal has such complex measures that since it was created, many workers, who are unfortunately without jobs, have given up their right to benefits.
    What is more, just this morning, a report published in Le Devoir by a research group at the Université du Québec à Montréal indicated that:
...the avenues for redress are less accessible and less effective, which is depriving even more people of their right to benefits and forcing them to accept whatever job they can get because they do not have any other source of income...
    The government therefore has not fixed any problems in Bill C-43.

  (1250)  

    It is all well and good to hire a few extra people, but how long will it take to train them before they become effective? We saw how long it took to fill all the positions.
    I will stop there, but there is still so much to say and there are so many criticisms I could make. Clearly, I am going to vote against this bill. I will now let some of my other colleagues speak. I hope that they will be given 10 minutes to express their views.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member on his excellent speech. As usual, he used the right words to explain to Canadians how completely ridiculous this bill is.
    Something our Conservative colleagues do not often talk about is social housing. The NDP has repeatedly called on the Conservatives to adopt social housing programs. We are the only OECD country that does not have a national infrastructure plan.
    Nonetheless, once again the Conservatives are introducing a budget in the House that makes absolutely no mention of the important role social housing plays in bringing homelessness to an end.
    Would my colleague care to comment on the Conservatives' lack of vision?

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for La Pointe-de-l'Île for her question.
    If there is one word that sums up this budget, in terms of the measures that are lacking, that word is “pathetic”. I think that Bill C-43 is nothing but a pathetic proposal in a country as rich as Canada.
    Fortunately, there is an alternative: the NDP. We will propose—as we have been doing for years—social democratic measures that we will have the opportunity to implement in 2015 with the support of all the people of this country. These measures will ensure that we can enhance wealth in this country and distribute it more equitably so that no one is left behind.
    Just last week, some people who work in social housing in my riding came to my office. They painted a very sombre picture of both social and rental housing.
    We could have taken time to talk about what is not included in this pathetic bill, Bill C-43.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the budget implementation bill takes into consideration the expenditure of literally billions of tax dollars. What is really important to all Canadians is that there is accountability and transparency when it comes to spending tax dollars. One of the ways we assure Canadians that sense of accountability, at least for the most part, is through parliamentary committees.
     Could the member comment on the important role parliamentary committees, as part of our institution, play in holding government accountable?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    I am not sure how to answer that question. Should I talk about how important our committees should be to parliamentary debates or about how important the government seems to think they are since it has had its majority? To be sure, committee work was supposed to be less partisan. Of course, the opposition does not control the legislative agenda because that belongs to the government.
    However, once these bills are sent to committee, it is up to all of the members around the table to improve them to make them accountable, if not acceptable. Once again, the opposition members' contribution is being completely ignored.
    Considering the number of amendments that have been accepted for all of the bills, it is clear that the Conservatives think they have a monopoly on truth and knowledge.
    This way of governing cannot go on. The 2015 deadline is fast approaching.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have an opportunity to speak to this budget implementation bill. Before I start, I will be sharing my time with the remarkable, hard-working, thoughtful member for Don Valley West.
    I am here today to talk about the budget, but before I start I want to talk a bit about the amount of time the opposition members spend on complaining about not having enough time to talk about various pieces of legislation. If they added that up, it would be hundreds if not thousands of hours of House of Commons time, precious time that we need in the House to talk about important legislation. It is thousands of hours they spend complaining about not having enough time. Does that make sense?
     It maybe does to the New Democrats and maybe to some Liberals, but it certainly does not to me. They could just talk about the issues at hand, about which they have several opportunities to speak in the House and when it goes to committee where they have all kinds of opportunity to propose amendments and to talk about the issues. Instead of that, they complain about not having enough time. I think the public has seen through that and people really will not buy into it anymore.
    I will mention a few things about what past budgets leading up to this budget have really done for Canadians. Then I want to talk a bit about a couple of specific changes that apply to farmers and fishermen. These are not changes that may be important to hundreds of thousands of people, but they can be very important for family farms and for families involved in the fishery. However, I will talk about that at the end of my presentation.
    As Canadians know, since taking office eight years ago, the Conservative government has been focused on jobs and the economy. We have focused on lowering taxes to families and to businesses, which are the job creators in our country. We have focused on making things better, allowing families to move ahead and to do better, have a little more money in their pockets and have more opportunity for them, their children and their grandchildren.
     We have looked at protecting the incomes and opportunities for seniors as well, making the point that just because they are seniors does not mean they can no longer contribute to society. We have made several changes that make it a little easier for seniors to continue to contribute to society over the long term. That is important too.
     We have focused on these things, and we have done it in a very organized fashion, one budget building on the next.
     I take a lot of pride in what we have accomplished. However, it is not just me saying that. I can refer to several different think tanks and world-renowned agencies like the International Monetary Fund, for example, and the OECD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which expect Canada to be among the strongest growing economies in the G7 over the next couple of years. In fact, I do not remember the details and the year, but I remember a study predicting that Canada would be the number one economy in the world well in the future. The OECD is saying that what we are doing now is setting a foundation, not only to create jobs now, because our government has put in place the environment that has allowed business to create 1.2 million jobs since this recession was at its worst, and we should take a lot of pride in that. It is good for us and good for Canada.
    The OECD and the International Monetary Fund think tanks recognize that we have set this foundation that makes things better for Canada than for most countries that went through the recent recession, In the decades ahead, Canada will stand in good stead.

  (1300)  

     The leader of the third party had focused for the longest time on the middle class in Canada, saying that it was not doing as well as it should be. If we want to have a look at that, here is what an analysis in The New York Times has said, “After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada”, substantially different from the way it was in 2000 when the Liberals were in government, “now appear to be higher than in the United States.”
    The leader of the third party talks about middle-class incomes and wants things to be better, but he should realize that they are much better relative to our competitor nations than they were just a few years ago, when the Liberals were in office.
    Those are some things for not only the opposition parties to think about, but for Canadians to think about as well.
    I know I have taken a little long getting to the particular details that I want to talk about, but I want to mention a couple of issues to do with farming and fishing. These are issues that are not, as I say, important to a large number of Canadians, but they are certainly important to certain Canadian farm families.
    Before I got into politics, I farmed, and I still have farms, but I also worked as a farm economist. I worked with farm families on how they could grow their farms and in some cases, unfortunately, how they could exit the farming business in the best possible way. In the eighties, in particular, it was a very difficult time for grain farming and for the livestock sector. Certain things were in place that clearly were there only because of technical reasons.
    I want to mention a couple of those things.
    The first has to do with the tax deferral or the rollover provision for capital gains. This was put in place a long time ago. It gave farmers and fishermen the ability to pass the capital property over to the next generation without being taxed on it at that time. In effect, the tax liability was passed to the next generation so the current generation, let us say the parents, could exit the industry and be paid off in some fashion, but in a way that would allow the farm to continue. That was extremely important.
    However, there were certain quirks about that which did not make any sense. We have fixed those in this budget. For example, if people were both farming and fishing, which is the case certainly in Atlantic Canada, in a lot of cases in the west and even on the Prairies, where there are some various commercial fishing operations, the rules were set for either farming or fishing. They had to have a substantial part of their income, 90% or more, from either farming or fishing. However, if they were farming and fishing and they had income under that percentage, then they simply did not qualify.
    We have changed that so they can put the two together and if they qualify with both the farming and the fishing components of their business, then they qualify for these rollover provisions. It is an extremely important change that would allow many farming and fishing families to pass this on to the next generation.
    One final thing is that in many years, parts of our country are hit by drought, floods or by excessive moisture. There has been a provision in place that can be enacted by governments to allow farmers to, in severe cases, where they simply cannot keep their livestock anymore, to sell off their breeding stock and not have to pay tax on it that year. That tax would be paid the year after. If they sell off their cow herd, for example, they are not taxed on it that year and that allows them to buy back breeding stock the year after, if there is grass again because it has rained or the fields have dried. In effect, the purchase price of the replacement breeding stock is balanced off against the income from the breeding stock they sold a year earlier.
    In 2014, our government has extended this tax deferral to bees and to all types of horses, which may not sound very important. We have a lot of horses in Alberta. It is very much a commercial business. Horse owners have been asking for this for some time.
    Again, these things are very important to those particular farm families that are directly affected by this. Our government takes care of this kind of detail.

  (1305)  

    I appreciate the opportunity to speak on the budget bill. I very much look forward to questions from the members opposite.
    Mr. Speaker, in the budget there are things that should be looked at in a positive light and there are certainly things that need to be looked at in a negative light, at least by the opposition side.
    We have seen a lot of reasons why this bill should not be adopted at second reading. Of course, we are going to hear from more Conservative members who will give us their point of view as well.
    Let us talk about farmers and agriculture. There has been a disaster out west with regard to shipping grain by rail. I do not see much in the budget that is going to address that problem. It is nice that there are going to be measures for farmers, but the major issue for farmers this year has been the fact that their grain cannot make it to port.
    The rail industry right now is a shambles. A lot of capacity is being displaced, especially by the petrochemical industry. What is the government going to do to come to the aid of farmers so that the product they are so laudably trying to produce can actually be sold on the open market?

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, we probably will not see a lot in the budget about that issue because, quite frankly, it does not involve a lot of government spending. It involves commitment and it involves improvements, and money spent by the railways themselves will provide that.
    What need is there for it to be a budget item? The railways, because of their monopoly positions, have a responsibility to move the commodity. Earlier we put in place measures that set requirements for the amount of grain that railways had to move. For the most part, they met those requirements. In fact, I think they have moved a record amount of grain over the past year in spite of the terrible months they experienced a little earlier.
     Why is there a need for that to be a budget item? It is an important issue, and we are going to have to continue to watch it. Members can be assured that we will, because Conservatives represent most of the farming areas in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the comments the member opposite made regarding a New York Times article and Canada's middle class. I would like to quote a few excerpts from that article.
    Members of the middle class in Canada worry about whether they can afford college for their children and whether their children will find jobs afterward. Housing costs are a major concern, as are everyday costs for transportation and mobile-phone plans. Middle-class Canadians worry about inequality.
    It goes on, and it does not describe a very happy middle class in this country, I might add. To get a sense of how those trends are affecting people, they talked to a number of them. One person, Deborrah Mustachi, said:
    When you have a family to raise and you are middle class, you are on a treadmill. It’s very difficult to save when you have to live for today.
    She means paycheque to paycheque.
    The article goes on to add one last comment about the fact that Canadians credit labour unions for giving them a decent pay raise. Those are interesting comments.
    If that is the information the member opposite wishes to cite as evidence that the government's plan is working, can he explain why The New York Times talks about so much anxiety, so much fear, so much stress, so much struggling, and why the budget addresses none of it?
    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have that question, because the answer is relatively simple.
    The information that the member is quoting has come from a few individuals, and quite frankly there are a lot of families in this country that are having a difficult time making ends meet, in particular when they are trying to put kids through college and have all those commitments. Even when kids become more active in sports, it is expensive.
    However, overall, the middle class has benefited from what our government has done over the past few years. An average-income family of four benefits by $3,400. That is how much better off they are than they were when that party was in government. That is an awful lot of difference. That helps to deal with their concerns to a great extent.
     Furthermore, the article went on to say that in fact these concerns expressed by these people, while they are real for them, do not reflect what is happening with the middle class generally. The middle class in this country is doing better than before, and better than in most countries on the face of the earth.
    Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today and contribute to the debate on Bill C-43, economic action plan 2014 act, No. 2.
    I will be focusing my remarks today on three fundamental components of economic action plan 2014. It will have a true and lasting impact in Canada and in my riding of Don Valley West, namely by investing in skills and training, supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, and providing support for small businesses.
    Since 2006, our government's top priority has been jobs and economic growth. While Canada has the best job growth record in the G7, too many Canadians are still looking for work or are underemployed. Indeed, an increasing number of jobs across Canada are going unfilled because of a lack of people with the right skills. That is why economic action plan 2014 introduces new measures to support skills training and to connect Canadians with available jobs.
     This includes implementing the Canada job grant, which will connect Canadians looking for skills training and a job with employers looking for skilled workers. It also includes creating the Canada apprenticeship loan, which would provide apprentices in registered Red Seal trades with access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year.
    Economic action plan 2014 would strengthen the apprenticeship system by introducing the flexibility and innovation in apprenticeship technical training pilot project to develop new approaches to expand training for apprentices. It would also ensure that Canadians are first in line for available jobs by launching an enhanced job-matching service to match job seekers and employers on the basis of skills, knowledge, and experience.
    On this note, the government has a strong record of support for apprentices and for the employers who hire them. Through the apprenticeship incentive grant, the apprenticeship completion grant, the tradesperson's tools deduction, and the apprenticeship job creation tax credit, our government has provided tangible support for apprentices and the employers who hire them.
    That is not all. Our government has also extended the fees eligible for the tuition tax credit to include those for examinations required for certification as a tradesperson in Canada. We have made an effort to use apprentices in federal construction and maintenance contracts, and we have encouraged provinces, territories, and municipalities to support the use of apprentices in infrastructure projects that receive federal funding.
    Our government is also supporting Canadians with disabilities who are looking for meaningful and fulfilling work. We are doing so by making key investments in the ready, willing, and able initiative. By the same token, our government will create vocational training programs for persons with autism spectrum disorders.
    Further, in 2013-14 our government invested $2.7 billion to support skills and training programs. This includes $1.95 billion to provinces and territories through labour market development agreements, $500 million to provinces and territories through labour market agreements that were introduced in budget 2007, and $218 million to provinces through labour market agreements for persons with disabilities.
    Since 2006, our government has provided support for skills training for youth through the youth employment strategy, with investments of over $330 million per year. We have also provided skills training for persons with disabilities through the opportunities fund, with annual investments of $40 million per year, and for older Canadians through the targeted initiative for older workers and the ThirdQuarter project. Economic action plan 2014 would build on these successes.
    Our government recognizes that entrepreneurship and innovation are key to Canada's future prosperity. By supporting innovation, our businesses will become more productive and continue to fuel job creation and economic growth in Canada. That is why economic action plan 2014 introduces new measures to support entrepreneurship and innovation by making a landmark investment in post-secondary education.

  (1315)  

    Through the creation of the Canada first research excellence fund, $1.5 billion will be made available over the next decade to Canadian post-secondary institutions. This investment would secure Canada's international leadership in science and innovation.
    Economic action plan 2014 also supports leading-edge research by investing $46 million a year, ongoing, to granting councils across Canada in support of advanced research and scientific discoveries. Further, our government will be fostering world-leading research by investing $222 million in the TRIUMF physics laboratory to support leading research and the launch of cutting-edge spinoff companies.
    Our government will also support technological innovation by investing $15 million in support of the Institute of Quantum Computing for research and commercialization of quantum technologies and $3 million to support the creation of the open data institute.
    These and other investments build on our government's strong record of supporting entrepreneurship and fostering innovation in Canada. Since 2006, our government has invested over $11 billion in new funding to support entrepreneurship and innovation, including more than $2.3 billion to support advanced research through the federal granting councils.
    Our government has also provided funding to support cutting-edge post-secondary research infrastructure through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and has provided funding to universities and colleges for repairs, maintenance, and construction through the knowledge infrastructure program.
    Our Conservative government recognizes the vital role small businesses play in the economy and job creation. That is why we are committed to helping them grow and succeed. Through economic action plan 2014, our government will invest $15 million for up to 1,000 post-secondary graduates to intern in small and medium-sized businesses across Canada. We will also maintain the freeze on employment insurance premiums in order to provide certainty and flexibility for small businesses in the years ahead.
    Our government is also working to cut the red tape burden. We are doing so by eliminating over 800,000 payroll deduction remittances to Canada Revenue Agency made every year by over 50,000 small businesses.
    Economic action plan 2014 builds on our government's significant actions to support small businesses since 2006, which included reducing the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%, lowering the federal corporate income tax rate to 15% to help create jobs and economic growth for Canadian families and communities, and eliminating the corporate surtax for all corporations in 2008. This change was particularly beneficial to small business corporations, as the surtax represented a larger proportion of their overall payable tax.
    All this is to say that a typical small business with $500,000 of taxable income now saves $28,600 as a direct result of our Conservative government's low-tax plan. Economic action plan 2014 is great news for my constituents in Don Valley West and to all the small and medium-sized businesses that sustain our growing economy.
    I urge all members of the House to join me in supporting jobs, growth, and long-term economic prosperity.

  (1320)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, as we all know and as many of us have said, this bill is huge and affects many different sectors. The member talked about some of those elements. I would like him to comment now because I am sure he has read this bill.
    Can he tell us about the changes to electoral provisions for the Northwest Territories, which are in Part 4 of this bill? I would like to know if he can explain the logic behind the changes the government is making in Bill C-43.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that my colleague was listening to my speech. Clearly I spoke on three areas that were extremely important to me and to the business community, especially in Canada: investing in skills and training, supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, and supporting small business.
    Clearly our government has been focused on job growth, economic growth, and prosperity for all Canadians. This budget, economic action plan 2014, continues to deliver on that premise, and I would encourage the opposition to get on board and support this budget as a means of supporting Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    Mr. Speaker, before I start my question, I would like to congratulate the member opposite. His daughter has been elected to Toronto City Council, an elected body that I am well familiar with.
    I guess it also gives me an interesting point on which to start a question. The member opposite endorsed the winning candidate in the mayor's race, who made a pointed campaign platform that included a set of requests to the federal government, in particular around transit funding and housing funding. He talked about the problems of the city that he represents, and the city that the member opposite recommended that he be elected to represent. He made a particular point that the federal government had to get back into the transit and housing game if Toronto was going to succeed.
    The member endorsed this mayoral candidate and this budget, yet there is no money for transit and no money for housing. None of the issues that his daughter will have to deal with at Toronto City Council are addressed by the current policies in front of us today. How does he square that circle?

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend opposite for his kind remarks. It is truly a challenge for anybody going into city council in Toronto these days, as he well knows. I appreciate his comments.
    I did endorse the newly elected mayor of Toronto, because I believe that he is the person who can best, as the member said, square the circle and can bring a new level of dignity and respect to the city of Toronto.
    One of the elements of this government, particularly with regard to transit, is that we have been very clear with Canadians that we will wait for the discretion and judgment of each city and regional council to determine what their needs are before they approach us. We are not going to go to the City of Toronto and say that we want to spend x millions of dollars on a particular project that might be a favourite of my colleagues opposite. We are going to wait for it to come to us with its request and then, through the appropriate channels, we will make the decisions that are right for Canadians, particularly those, in this case, in Toronto.
    Mr. Speaker, I wanted to thank my colleague for an excellent speech. I would like to see if he could comment on the importance of returning to a balanced budget. We see in the House every day, for example, the opposition and the NDP, which has $56 billion worth of unfunded promises.
    Let us put that into perspective first. With 17 million Canadians working, that comes out to about $3,300 more in taxes per person under the NDP that Canadians and businesses would have to pay for.
    Going to my colleagues over here in the Liberal Party, we have seen in Ontario a horrible record of balancing budgets. It is so bad in Ontario that its deficit this year, if we add all of the deficits of everyone else in Canada together, including the federal government, its deficit is going to be even greater. The green energy policy, for example, is killing new business.
    Could my colleague comment on the importance of returning to a balanced budget, and what it means to Ontario and to creating new jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, what a great question because that is what the budget is all about. That is what we, as Canadians representing the government, should be focused on day in and day out.
    As a businessperson, when I ran my business and was saddled with debt, it stopped me from being productive. It curtailed any creativity. It did not allow me to do the things that I would have liked to do with my business. Clearly, the same applies to the government from the perspective that the more debt, the more burden on Canadians, the less likely we are as a government to be able to be creative, create innovation and do all of the things that this budget so clearly outlines.
    We committed to delivering a balanced budget and we are going to do just that this year. That is a commitment of the Conservative government, which is clearly getting the job done, creating jobs, creating growth and creating prosperity for future generations of Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl.
    It is Halloween, and the monsters are back. This is a monster budget. I rise today to speak in this debate to oppose Bill C-43, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, as well as the undemocratic process being used by this government and the Prime Minister to amend 30 or so pieces of legislation.
    As the member for LaSalle—Émard and the official opposition's critic for co-operatives, I would like to express my deep concern about this shocking process, which consists of forcing the approval of hundreds of changes without giving members of the House or the stakeholders involved time to study them.
    I am especially concerned about the changes included in division 22 that will have an impact on credit unions. However, before I go into detail about division 22 of Bill C-43, I would like to remind members of the House, especially government members, of the important role our credit unions play in Canada.
    Excluding Quebec, there are 317 credit unions in Canada with 1,740 branches and over 5 million members. They have assets worth over $165 billon and are present in every province of this country. The Mouvement Desjardins has 360 credit unions in Quebec with 6 million members and over $212 billion in total assets. It is the largest private sector employer in the province, supporting 40,000 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs.

  (1330)  

[English]

    The numbers speak for themselves. Credit unions are a big part of our economy and financial landscape, and their contributions are extremely important. I can assure everyone that every member of the House has thousands of constituents who are members of a credit union and/or use their services.

[Translation]

     Nonetheless, beyond the numbers, credit unions really matter to all our communities. They are in the municipalities or regions of Canada that the traditional banks have abandoned. They offer products and services that meet the needs of the people and they reinvest in their community.
    What is more, credit unions are more resilient to economic uncertainties. With regard to the riding of LaSalle—Émard, I can attest to how the LaSalle caisse populaire contributes to the vitality of community organizations. It contributes a great deal to the vitality of our community organizations and our community.
    Despite the major growth in credit unions and their significant financial performance, the Conservative government is introducing another bill that does not take into account their needs or the differences between them and the banks.
    I have said before that the Conservative government is incapable of taking into account the unique characteristics of credit unions or recognizing the benefits of that uniqueness. The same goes for SMEs. When drafting bills, the government is incapable of taking into account the inherent differences between large companies and small and medium-sized businesses. The same goes for the co-operative movement.
    This proves it. Division 22 of Bill C-43 seeks to makes changes to the regulations on credit unions. More specifically, it amends the Bank of Canada Act by eliminating the central bank's role as lender of last resort for credit unions, forcing them to rely on provincial guarantees in order to get a loan.
    It also amends the Bank Act and the Co-operative Credit Associations Act in order to facilitate the entry of provincial cooperative credit societies into the federal credit union system and to discontinue supervision of provincial central co-operative credit societies by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.
    Instead of addressing the reality and the needs of credit unions— especially their request for the creation of a new tax credit enabling them to access other sources of capitalization—these amendments seek to make our financial system homogeneous by trying to subject credit unions to the same conditions and rules that apply to major banks.
    Do members acknowledge that we can have a multi-faceted economy and financial system? That is what the regions, credit unions and big cities are asking for. We have to recognize that credit unions meet community needs and that chartered banks and credit unions can co-exist.
    The proposed measures are once again in keeping with the Conservatives' philosophy of opposing, for ideological reasons, the expansion of the Canadian co-operative movement. The 2013 budget measures unfairly increased taxes on credit unions. The proposals in this mammoth budget bill represent an effort by the government to subject credit unions to the same rules as banks.
    In other words, and I have said this before, the Conservatives are not taking into account how credit unions are inherently different. In Canada, chartered banks have their way of operating and they are favoured by the government. Meanwhile, the government does not stop creating obstacles for credit unions thereby preventing them from growing and meeting the needs of regions and communities that are not served by large financial institutions.
    I am wondering whether the government would dare demand that banks rely on the same type of guarantee from the province where their head office is located in order to access Bank of Canada loans. I am also wondering whether this government consulted the provinces before proposing the risk transfer resulting from the amendment and whether it assessed what impact this measure would have on their finances.
    I am concerned that the government seems to want to encourage provincial credit unions to transition to the federal system without taking into account their unique characteristics and the challenges they would face in making such a transition.
    Finally, we must remind the government of the importance of working with the credit unions to find solutions that will help them to grow. This government cannot continue to ignore the demands of a sector that plays such an important role in our economy.
    This government did not even include in these 460 pages provisions that would help promote the capitalization of credit unions and give them the means to assist families and small and medium-sized businesses, namely through a capital growth tax credit.
    The government did not consider modifying the legal framework, which would have allowed credit unions to compete with the big banks without losing their status as a co-operative and while maintaining their commitment to serving their members.
    Once again, these 460 pages do not take into account credit unions, which contribute to a sustainable, democratic and 100% Canadian economy.

  (1335)  

    I bitterly regret it, but I must oppose this monstrous bill that does not in any way take into account the interests of Canadians, co-operatives or credit unions.
    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague from LaSalle—Émard for her very good speech.
    She spoke a lot about credit unions and co-operatives. Last week, the manager of the Caisse populaire de Verner, which is in my riding, visited my Ottawa office. He was very concerned about the government's plans to tie the hands of credit unions. Could my colleague tell us more about how the government is preventing credit unions from doing what credit unions do?

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Nickel Belt for bringing this up, because he gave a perfect example of how credit unions help keep regions and communities—especially francophone communities across Canada—strong. He also shared the concerns of credit unions.
    Credit unions and caisses populaires have unique structures, which is why they are so valuable. This is what makes our economy democratic. Under this government, they also have to face increasing amounts of regulation, and they comply, in order to keep up. These regulations put a considerable administrative burden on credit unions, and this government does not seem to care. As a result, they are not able to keep up with all of these regulations and the accompanying administrative burden.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my dear colleague for her excellent speech on this omnibus bill—or mammoth bill, as we say. I think that is what it is.
    I have a question for the government about this policy and credit unions. They are very different from banks. A number of Conservative members think that credit unions and banks are exactly the same. The new changes are harmful to credit unions, which use a lot of their money to help small and medium-sized businesses in Canada to create the jobs we need.

[English]

    My question very specifically is this. Conservative MPs in particular who have said, in committee and other places, that they do not see any difference between a chartered bank and a credit union expose a grave concern for me, because last year the government inadvertently—maybe by accident, we do not know—heaped millions of dollars of extra taxes on top of credit unions through one change. Now they are coming in with something else that will deny credit unions access to funds.
    It should be noted that credit unions, much more so than chartered banks, move money to small and medium businesses, particularly in smaller communities, many of which have lost their chartered bank representatives entirely.
    If an economy like Canada's right now has not created virtually any new jobs in the private sector industry, and small businesses create upwards of 80% of all jobs in Canada, why would the government not take the initiative to help out groups like the credit unions, which do great good for our communities and help move money, loans, guarantees, and what not to the small businesses, the true job creators in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, our finance critic, for his comments and for his question.
    I think he recognized, as I do and as should a lot of members on the Conservative side, how a simple capital growth tax credit would have a multiplier effect on the regional economy, on regional revitalization, which would have an effect of boosting small and medium-sized businesses, contributing to their growth and success, contributing in creating jobs, which we all want here.
    Why not have something like a capital growth tax credit for credit unions, to make sure that these contributors, the credit unions, which are great contributors to our economy, can again do their job?
    Mr. Speaker, this is my first opportunity to speak in the House since the events of last week. I am proud of how the House conducted itself in the wake of such terror, such atrocities, such shocking tragedy. It was good for Canada that we resumed sitting the very next morning, that we stood strong, that our leaders addressed Canadians, and that our leaders embraced. It was good for the nation to embrace.
    It has been three years, and last week was the first time as a member of Parliament that I felt partisan lines dissolve, momentarily at least. I felt somewhat that way after Jack Layton died and after the passing of Jim Flaherty, but not to the degree I felt it here a week ago today. The House came together as one.
    It is not every day that I stand up and applaud the Conservative Prime Minister. It is not every day that the Prime Minister stands up and applauds the leader of Her Majesty's opposition, the New Democratic Party of Canada, or the third party Liberals. It is not every day I personally compliment the Prime Minister. In fact, it never happened until last week.
    The Prime Minister made a statement in the House last Thursday that I have since repeated a number of times, because it struck a chord, and I agreed with the statement. The Prime Minister said, “In our system, in our country, we are opponents, but we are never enemies.”
    We are united in the House by the desire to better our country. As opponents, we disagree on how to get there, but we all strive for a better Canada, for this country to be the best country it can be. We are opponents, but we are never enemies. That is why it is so infuriating to see the government introduce, yet again, an absolutely massive anti-democratic omnibus bill. It is a bill that amounts to an affront to the principles and spirit that this precious institution was built on.
    The Prime Minister said we are opponents but we are never enemies. I say we are Canadians but we are never fools. We are members of Parliament, but we are never puppets, at least we should never be puppets. We are elected to serve, to stand on guard for the Canadian way, for democracy, for our communities and our constituents. However, omnibus bills such as this are an attack on Parliament. Omnibus bills undermine Parliament.
    In the words of former auditor general Sheila Fraser, “Parliament has become so undermined it is almost unable to do the job that people expect of it.”
    Bill C-43 is a budget bill, but it is so much more than that. It is an omnibus bill, meaning it is a proposed law that covers a number of diverse or unrelated topics. In this case the number is a truckload. It could fill a boat to the gunwales. The bill is 400 pages long. It has more than 400 clauses. It amends dozens of acts. The bill contains a host of measures that were not even mentioned in the original budget. This is the Conservatives' sixth straight omnibus bill. It is too much for one bill.
    There are some things in it that we like, such as ending pay to pay billing so Canadians are not forced to pay for a paper copy of their bills. We like that, although even that does not go far enough. The bill only bans pay to pay billing for telecom and broadcast companies. What about banks? Why should banks still be allowed to gouge Canadians? That is what they are doing. By charging Canadians for their paper bills, they are gouging Canadians, and the Conservatives are letting them get away with it.
    There are also some things that we outright disagree with in this omnibus bill, like denying access to social assistance for refugee claimants. What else do they live on if not social assistance, in so many cases? This attack on the most vulnerable comes on the heels of Conservative cuts to refugee health care, a move that the Federal Court called “cruel and unusual”.

  (1345)  

    Denying access to social assistance for refugee claimants was a backbench private member's bill that was rammed into this omnibus bill after the media and anti-poverty and labour groups tore it apart.
    There are parts of this omnibus bills we like; there are more parts of this omnibus bill that we do not like; and there are more parts of this bill that I will not even get to. It is not possible. In the end, there is no way that I, as the member of Parliament for St. John's South—Mount Pearl, can critique this omnibus bill, let alone analyze details of more than 400 clauses, given such limited debate and limited time, with so much stacked and rammed into one bill.
    Here is how one parliamentarian described the use of omnibus bills. This is from a column by Russell Wangersky in today's The Telegram, the daily newspaper in east coast Newfoundland. This parliamentarian stated:
    In the interest of democracy I ask: how can members represent their constituents on these various areas when they are forced to vote in a block on such legislation and such concerns? … I would argue that the subject matter of the bill is so diverse that a single vote on the content would put members in conflict with their own principles.
    Who was the parliamentarian who was so outraged about the Liberal blockbuster omnibus bill? It was none other than the Prime Minister of Canada himself, when he was in opposition in 1994.
    When the Conservative government and the Liberal governments before it ram so much legislation into omnibus bills it leads to mistakes. Who pays for those mistakes? Canadians pay for them. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians pay for those mistakes.
    The Conservative government used a 2012 omnibus bill to create the new Social Security Tribunal, which hears appeals related to the Canada pension plan, disability benefits, employment insurance, and old age security. My constituency office has officially been told that the backlog of cases is one year. Unofficially the backlog is three years. That 2012 omnibus bill capped the size of the tribunal at 74 full-time staff. It also removed limits on the number of hours part-time staff can work—thus, the backlog.
    Now the Conservative government is using this latest budget bill to expand the Social Security Tribunal. The government has said that the change would allow it to add employees to respond to a backlog of nearly 11,000 cases across the country related to CPP and OAS. That mistake would likely not have happened if that piece of legislation had not been lost in an omnibus bill and if members of Parliament had been given an opportunity to better scrutinize the bill. However, we were not given that opportunity, and Canadians have paid the price.
    The journalist Michael Harris, who is well known in Newfoundland and Labrador for his work with the Sunday Express newspaper and for books such as Unholy Orders and Lament for an Ocean, has a new book called Party of One, reflections on a prime minister.
    He quotes Peter Milliken, former speaker of the House of Commons, who stated:
     Parliament can hardly be weakened any more than it already is. [The Prime Minister] can't go much further without making the institution dysfunctional....
    Michael Harris also quotes the late Farley Mowat, who stated that the Prime Minister is “The most dangerous human being ever elevated to power in Canada.”
    We are opponents; we are never enemies. The Prime Minister is right. We are opponents, and the Prime Minister has to stop treating us with contempt. The Prime Minister has to stop treating us like fools.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, this is just a comment rather than a question.
    I have been listening to the debate this morning, and the opposition members keep talking about this mammoth number of 400 or 450 pages. There is only half a page here. It is in column print and there are two columns on every page, so they cannot be counting that as a full page because it is a half page. Therefore, if there are 400 pages, that is about 200 pages.

  (1355)  

    It is small print.
    Mr. Nathan Cullen: That is a good one. It is in eight font.
    Mr. Robert Chisholm: Do not let him get away with that.
    Hon. Wayne Easter: Tell him he needs a magnifying glass to see it.
    Mr. Speaker, whether they like it or lump it, that is just the way it is. If they take a look at the page, they will see it.
    It was just a comment, Mr. Speaker.
    Half a page--half a wit. What I would say to that, Mr. Speaker, is that we are talking about 400 clauses, we are talking about amendments to dozens of acts and we are talking about a host of measures that were not even mentioned in the original budget. There are hundreds of clauses and amendments to dozens of acts.
    Do not let that Conservative member fool you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from the great province of Newfoundland and Labrador for his speech, but I just wanted to let him know that the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs just did a unanimous report with recommendations for the government in order to improve the new veterans charter. The Conservatives said we have to study it more, which means more delays. Now they bring forward an omnibus bill that includes everything but the kitchen sink.
    I would ask the hon. member if he has read through the entire thing, or realized the word “veteran” is not anywhere in that bill whatsoever. How can the government cram everything into that legislation and completely ignore our veteran community in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, it is not only veterans that are not mentioned in this omnibus bill; housing is not mentioned at all. Housing is a problem from coast to coast to coast, from one end of this country to the other.
     I am glad the fantastic critic for Veterans Affairs will be visiting my riding of St. John's South—Mount Pearl next month. There is a quote that resonates with the people in my riding and it is that if you can't look after veterans, don't send your people to war.
    We are not looking after our veterans. The current Conservative government is not looking after our veterans, and we are going to war.
    Mr. Speaker, this is nominally and allegedly something to do with the budget. As has been described by my friend from Newfoundland, in these 460 pages are dozens of laws changed and hundreds of clauses, with so little to do with the economy.
    However, the one piece that the government is hanging on to is to take more than half a billion dollars from the EI scheme, which the Conservatives even admit is money that does not belong to the government but belongs to the people who paid into it, the employers and the employees, and create, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, 800 jobs. This is the great solution the Conservatives have to the fragile and flat economy that exists in Canada right now.
     There were almost zero private-sector jobs created in the last 18 months, and the Conservatives' answer to this—
    Not true.
    This is according to StatsCan, by the way. The Conservatives can yell out “not true” as much as they want, but the truth is that what Canadians are also experiencing is that the private sector is not growing. Their one so-called solution is to rip off the EI fund for more than half a billion dollars to create 800 jobs, which the PBO said would cost about $550,000 per job.
    Therefore, with just a little over one-third of Canadians even being able to get employment insurance when they need it, is this a proper use of something such as that fund, to create 800 jobs at a cost of more than half a million dollars per job?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has been lauded in the media in some quarters for what it has done with the economy, for leading us through some turbulent economic times better than other countries around the world. However, the Conservative math is absolutely out of whack; it is absolutely out to lunch.
    As the hon. member just mentioned, $500 million would be stolen from the EI fund to create 800 jobs. That is a joke.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[Translation]

Work of Members of Parliament

    Mr. Speaker, tomorrow I will have the pleasure of opening debate on Motion No. 535, which is designed to empower MPs so that they can defend their constituents' rights and advocate for their interests in the House.
    We are elected to represent the people in our respective ridings, yet power is being increasingly concentrated within the political establishment, the group that surrounds each party leader.
    Those leaders impose their will, make all the decisions, and even deprive members who are not in their good books of precious time that should be reserved for championing the needs of those who elected us. It is not right that an MP's ability to do his or her job well depends entirely on the goodwill of party leaders and the unelected people in their entourage.
    I invite all parliamentarians who care about getting back to the very core of democracy to take part in this debate. Together, we will combat the cynicism that has taken hold of the entire political class. Together, we will give constituents MPs who really serve them.

[English]

Poppy Campaign

    Mr. Speaker, tomorrow as we approach Remembrance Day, our Kelowna—Lake Country community will come together to join Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26 in Kelowna and Branch 189 in Oyama for this year's annual poppy kickoff campaign.
    Under the dedicated leadership of John Broughton, 94 years' young Syd Pratt, and their tireless team of volunteers, the poppy campaign will once again raise funds to support veterans and their families. Last year, the Kelowna Legion broke a record, collecting $165,000, a record it hopes to break again this year.
    The red poppy is an enduring symbol of collective remembrance, which Canadians wear with great pride. In the days leading up to Remembrance Day, I encourage all of my constituents and all Canadians to help our Legions succeed in reaching their poppy drive goals. Let us show our support for our veterans and the dedicated uniformed men and women who serve Canada.
    As we have learned so acutely in recent days, freedom comes at a price, and it is our sacred duty to remember them. We will remember them.

[Translation]

The Future of our River, Rapids and Canal Forum

    Mr. Speaker, on October 8, over 120 people got together at the André-Laurendeau CEGEP in LaSalle for a forum that I organized called “The Future of our River, Rapids and Canal”. They all agreed on the importance of better protecting our ecological, historical, and cultural heritage. Rich and inspiring discussions led the participants to the idea of creating an urban national park.

[English]

    This park would become the second national urban park in Canada, located in the second-largest urban centre in Canada.

[Translation]

    I am committed to working with them on this project, which would be a major legacy to Canada for the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal.

[English]

First Responders

    Mr. Speaker, every day first responders put their lives on the line to serve and protect Canadian society. Police, firefighters, paramedics, and members of the armed forces: these brave men and women embody the true essence of what it means to serve and protect.
    Recent events in Ottawa and Quebec have shone a light onto the remarkable work these Canadians do to serve our nation abroad and to keep our streets and communities safe here at home. It is no easy task and often comes with little recognition.
    On behalf of my constituents in Don Valley West and all Canadians, I offer my heartfelt thanks to all who put their lives on the line, put others before themselves, and keep us safe every single day.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, a report released yesterday from the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness indicates there are now 235,000 homeless people in Canada.
    As that number grows, the government's response is to cut funds for housing. In Toronto, half of the people who go to sleep in a shelter every night are children. It is bad enough that the government has cut daycare; now it seems not to care about night care for the city's most vulnerable.
     What is worse is that this very same report shows that despite a budget surplus on the horizon, even more cuts for housing are in the forecast.
    Instead of reducing funds for housing, the government should increase funding for provinces and for municipalities, and it should solve this crisis now. If the only way the government thinks it can solve a problem is by cutting taxes, why will it not cut the taxes on private sector developers who are trying to deliver rental housing? Why is that tax not addressed in the omnibus bill?
    This country has an affordable housing crisis. It also has a housing affordability crisis, in particular out west. The government is silent. I remind the ministers opposite—

  (1405)  

    The hon. member for Fleetwood—Port Kells.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is focused on what matters to Canadians: jobs and a healthy and growing economy.
    Employment has grown by over 10%. Over 1.1 million net new jobs have been created since the global recession. That is almost 20% more jobs per capita than our closest G7 competitor.
    Meanwhile, we have cut taxes over 140 times, saving the average family over $3,400 per year. Our government is on track to balance the budget in 2015, promising even further possible tax cuts on the horizon.
    GDP is up nearly 14%, and we are further strengthening the economy by signing a record 38 free trade agreements. In Surrey, there has been record investment of more than $1.4 billion, and I have personally made over 60 federal funding announcements worth over $60 million.
    Our Conservative government can be trusted to stand up for Canadians and deliver real economic results.

Canadian Cities

    Mr. Speaker, we are a vast country made up of many landscapes, many ways of life, but for 80% of us, the life we lead is urban, from downtowns to suburbs and the places in between.
     Successive federal governments have ignored our urban reality. However, we know that the success of our cities is vital to our national interest, that there can be no national agenda that is not also an urban agenda. Such an urban agenda must finally put into place a modern, innovative economy, the means of mitigating global warming, and a prosperity more equally shared.
    An NDP government would be a reliable friend and partner to provinces and cities. We would play our part in building into Canada's cities the infrastructure that will ensure that Canada's cities are prosperous, fair, and sustainable places to live.
    We will provide to all who live in them the opportunity to realize all that is possible. That is the NDP way.

House of Commons Security Services

    Mr. Speaker, the strength and resolve of Canadians was tested by despicable attacks in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, on Parliament Hill, and at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. These brutal attacks sadly took the lives of two members of our armed forces, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo.
     Thanks to the bravery of our House of Commons Security Services, the attacker was stopped before he could do further harm.
     On behalf of the parliamentary assistants, it is a privilege to express to this House how deeply appreciative they are for those who kept them safe in the face of danger. I have been asked to present to you, Mr. Speaker, a special certificate of thanks, signed by assistants from all parties, and respectfully request that this be given to your dedicated security team.
     These cowardly acts were an attack against our values and our way of life. However, where these terrorists sought to tear us apart, we became stronger. Canada will not be intimidated.

Elections in Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, today is Ukrainian Day on the Hill. Canada and Ukraine have a rich history, one that has continued to grow since Canada became the first western nation to recognize Ukraine's independence in 1991.
     Canada stands with the people of Ukraine, and last week assisted in election monitoring. With parliamentary colleagues from both sides of the House, we deployed across Ukraine. With the member for Selkirk—Interlake, I observed the election in Odessa. I am honoured to inform the House that Ukraine elected an overwhelmingly Eurocentric parliament.
     This was a critical election, with remarkable results in the face of continuing Russian aggression. Ukraine ran a democratic election in defiance of attempts to undermine Ukraine's independence and sovereignty. This is also the first time since the Bolshevik revolution that Ukraine's parliament is absent of any Communist representation.
     I am proud of Ukraine's move toward reform and stronger and more resilient democracy. It was an honour to contribute to it. Therefore, in recognition of Ukraine and today's celebration of Ukrainian day on the Hill, I offer on behalf of us all: Slava Ukraini.

  (1410)  

Northern Development

    Mr. Speaker, sometimes the actions of the government are so single-minded that people resort to writing books like Party of One. When it comes to northern policy, this really applies.
    Last winter, the government wanted to devolve authority over lands and the environment to the Northwest Territories and to make it simpler for developers by doing away with the regional board structures that were negotiated with land claims, against the voices of 90% of northerners, particularly first nations. Now two first nations governments have taken it to court over the change, just as they said they would.
    Where is the certainty for development with this kind of action? Now it wants to do the same thing in Yukon through Bill S-6. The Council of Yukon First Nations has already said that if this bill passes, it is going to court.
     What is wrong with the government? What is it that makes it so single-minded that it creates these conflicts? Could it be the Prime Minister, the party of one, in all his glory, who listens to only one voice, his own?

Canadian Armed Forces

    Mr. Speaker, today the Royal Canadian Navy destroyer HMCS Athabaskan returned to her home port of Halifax after a successful deployment on Operation Caribbe. Operation Caribbe is Canada's contribution to a multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by organized crime in the Caribbean and the eastern Pacific Ocean. I would like to welcome her home after a job well done. HMCS Athabaskan spent 53 days away from home and 37 days at sea, sailing over 14,600 nautical miles.
    We are proud of their accomplishments and commend their efforts. HMCS Athabaskan seamlessly conducted joint operations, supported multiple aircraft patrol sorties, and participated in six intercept operations, one of which resulted in the successful seizure of 820 kilograms of cocaine.
    Canada's commitment to Operation Caribbe has contributed to the reduction of illegal narcotics on the market. The Canadian Armed Forces have been involved in this operation since 2006 and remain committed to working with our partners to improve regional security and to deter criminal activity across the western hemisphere.

[Translation]

Institut maritime du Québec

    Mr. Speaker, today I want to acknowledge the 70th anniversary of the Institut maritime du Québec. Celebrations are being held all year long.
    Since 1944, the Institut maritime du Québec has made Rimouski the maritime training capital of Canada, with the only French-language school for trades in this field in the country. The Institut has trained more than 2,216 graduates since it was founded. Every year, 350 students enter the Institut to learn navigation, naval architecture technology, marine mechanical engineering technology, shipping logistics, or even professional diving.
    Today these men and women are sailing the seven seas, promoting their school as well as Rimouski, Quebec, and Canada, thanks to their expertise that is world-renowned both on land and at sea.
    I want to thank the teachers and the management and staff at the institute. May the ocean professionals, those who pilot, maintain and guide the ships or the brave souls who don a dive suit and go underwater to repair and build boats and structures, these future mariners ready to sail around the world, may they continue to learn their trade in Rimouski and make us proud for many years to come.
    Happy 70th anniversary and continued success to the Institut maritime du Québec.

[English]

Canada Border Services Agency

    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to a safe and effective border where legitimate travel and trade are expedited but drug smugglers are stopped in their tracks. Yesterday a shipment that originated in Argentina was intercepted by the Canada Border Services Agency. Upon inspection, officers identified several large black duffle bags filled with bricks of cocaine. Nearly 500 kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of approximately $57.5 million, were seized.
    On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to thank the Canada Border Services Agency officers for keeping these dangerous drugs off our streets and for keeping our communities safe.

Royal Montreal Regiment

    Mr. Speaker, in three days, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Montreal Regiment. This regiment, authorized on November 2, 1914, served in numerous campaigns, earning many battle honours, including at Ypres, Vimy Ridge, and the Somme in the First World War and at Leopold Canal in the Second World War.

[Translation]

    The regiment also served under the United Nations during the Korean War and took part in many peacekeeping missions, including in Cyprus, Egypt, the Congo, Bosnia, and Sudan. More recently, it deployed 49 soldiers to Afghanistan.
    The Royal Montreal Regiment was designated a bilingual regiment in 1968. It enjoys the Freedom of the City not only in Westmount, where its headquarters are located, but also in the municipalities of Hampstead and Pointe-Claire and the city of Montreal.

  (1415)  

[English]

    I am very proud to the have the Royal Montreal Regiment based in my riding. I know that it will continue its distinguished service as it begins its second century.

National War Memorial

    Mr. Speaker, our National War Memorial looks a little different today. Yes, it still has that remarkable statue of Canada's First World War veterans, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier remains stronger than ever. Today the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is blanketed with hundreds of poppies of remembrance, each left by one Canadian or another who has come to the memorial to pay his or her respects. More touching is the wall of flowers, flags, and letters Canadians have set beside the members of our armed forces, who resumed their sentry posts late last week.
     However, colleagues, the most remarkable difference at the National War Memorial is the hundreds of Canadians who are still out there, showing their bravery, solidarity, and respect.
     Yet again, Canada's proud traditions have been strengthened by the sacrifice of our veterans. This is something we shall never forget.

[Translation]

Alain Gervais

    Mr. Speaker, last week's events shocked Parliament Hill and the entire country. My colleagues and I went through something very difficult that day.
    Today I would like to commend one person who risked his life to protect us. Alain Gervais, a House of Commons security guard, did not hesitate for one second to come into the room where we were and stand in front of the door to keep us safe.
    While shots were ringing out, I kept my eyes on him. I could not look anywhere else. At an extremely scary time, I felt reassured by his quick thinking, composure, and determination and the fact that he knew exactly what he was doing.
    Even when a bullet lodged in the door he was guarding, he did not budge. This man was prepared to sacrifice his life to protect ours.
    From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of all members of Parliament, thank you. You a true hero.

[English]

Halloween

    Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is Halloween. It is very scary. While children from across the land celebrate with candy and trick-or-treating, Canadians from coast to coast to coast are frightened by the very scary NDP.
    Mr. Speaker, Count Dracula himself is scared of the NDP leader's very spooky QP. The Count says, “Lighten up and the very scary vampires and the spooky taxes will go with the gargoyles.” It is very scary.
    The Liberal leader raising taxes and the budget balancing itself are spooking the Count.
    Canadians are calling on the Prime Minister and us to put a stake through the heart of the horrendous taxes.
    Only then—
    Order, please.
    I could not tell exactly what the hon. member was wearing, but I do hope that members do not get inspired to do anything funny tomorrow. We want to keep our usual attire and our business dress.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, today three former federal judges, all experts on national security, are warning the Prime Minister not to rush into passing new national security legislation in the wake of last week's tragic event. They include former Supreme Court Justice John Major, who said that the government should “rationally consider what powers they already have enacted, rather than a knee-jerk reaction to a present existing circumstance.”
    Instead of rushing through partisan legislation, why not work together, strike a special committee, and conduct a thorough review of Canada's existing security measures before proposing a host of new ones?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member has in front of him a very rational bill, Bill C-44, which would help to protect Canadians. I invite the member and all parties to support this very reasonable bill. I can also assure the member that we are moving forward.
    Let me be clear. On this side of the House, a terrorist act is a terrorist act, as Secretary of State John Kerry said, as the RCMP said, and as the Criminal Code of Canada says.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what this former Supreme Court justice is telling the government is to stop riding the wave of emotion and to rationally examine the tools already at our disposal. If the Conservatives are not partisan, they should agree to work with everyone.
    In the wake of last week's attacks, the Prime Minister made a solemn commitment to put aside partisanship and to work with the other parties on security issues.
    With this in mind, will the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness agree to strike an all-party committee and consult Canadians before introducing new legislation? Or, as he just demonstrated, will he be partisan at all costs?
    Mr. Speaker, we are putting in place effective tools to protect Canadians. Today all political parties will be briefed on Bill C-44, a balanced bill to protect Canadians.
    However, let me be clear. It is not partisanship to call an incident a terrorist act based on the definitions found in the Criminal Code. That view is shared by the RCMP and the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, even Stockwell Day, the former leader of the Prime Minister's own party, and a former public security minister at that, is calling for better civilian oversight of Canadian security agencies. He wants a select committee of MPs to be given security clearance so that they can examine classified security programs.
    Why does the Minister of Public Safety oppose his own Conservative predecessor's proposal to improve civilian oversight?
    Mr. Speaker, we certainly agree that there is a need to have robust oversight of our national security intelligence agencies. The fact of the matter is that this robust oversight exists. It is SIRC.
    SIRC is there to protect Canadians and make sure that CSIS is exercising its mandate within the scope of the law. It has members such as Deborah Grey, Gene McLean, and Yves Fortier. We trust in their capacity to keep us safe and to make sure that CSIS is working within its mandate and the law, for which it was created.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, two out of the five positions are vacant. The last time the Prime Minister consulted on this, he got an answer for us from Deborah Grey. He completely ignored her advice. This time we hope there will be a real consultation, in the public interest, not in the Conservatives' interest.
    Three years ago, the Prime Minister proposed a tax plan that would cost billions of dollars but give absolutely no benefit to 86% of Canadian families. Today the Prime Minister proposed to replace that ill-thought-out scheme with a new scheme that will cost billions of dollars and will still give absolutely no help to 86% of Canadian families. It is a tax plan that does nothing for nine out of 10 Canadian families. As Jim Flaherty asked, how does that benefit our society?
    Mr. Speaker, I will encourage the leader of the opposition to stay tuned. There will be very good announcements coming shortly.
    Income splitting is good policy for Canadians. It is good policy for Canadian seniors. It will be good policy for Canadian families. Our government is also making life more affordable for Canadian families by doubling the children's fitness tax credit to $1,000 and then making it refundable.
    Shamefully, the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party vote against each one of these measures, vote against every tax cut that will put money into the pockets of Canadians.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, a policy that helps 14% of the population and excludes 86% is not good policy.

[Translation]

    It will not be just the middle class that will be unfairly made to pay for income splitting. The provinces will also be saddled with the bill.
    The Conservatives' gimmick will be of absolutely no benefit to 86% of families, but will cost the federal and provincial governments billions of dollars.
    Why do the Conservatives want to exacerbate the fiscal imbalance with a measure that will only benefit the 14% of the population who are the wealthiest Canadians?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, seniors across the country are saving thousands of dollars each year because of pension income splitting. Now the leader of the New Democratic Party says that he would take it away from them.
    Income splitting is good policy for Canadian seniors. It will be good policy for Canadian families.
    That party has never seen a tax that it did not like. It has never seen a tax that it would not hike. Every tax measure that we bring forward to put money in the pockets of Canadians, it votes against.
    Mr. Speaker, the late Jim Flaherty said, “I think income-splitting needs a long, hard analytical look...because I’m not sure that overall, it benefits our society.” He was right.
    The Conservatives may have tinkered with their scheme, but it still does nothing to help 86% of Canadian families. It will not help the 1.5 million single parents who are struggling, but it will cost billions of federal and provincial dollars.
    Will the Conservatives listen to the late Jim Flaherty and experts across Canada, and will they scrap this tax scheme?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know they are better off with this Conservative government.
     Let me simply quote one of the many individuals who had supported income splitting, “We should change the tax system to treat single income or dual income identically under the tax system in order to stop penalizing Canadian single income families.” Who said that? The Liberal member for Kings—Hants.
    Mr. Speaker, I said a few stupid things when I was a Conservative. That is why I joined the Liberals: so I would no longer have to say stupid things.
    Income splitting does nothing to create growth or strengthen the economy. It costs the provinces over $1 billion a year, which is money that will be taken out of health care and education, and it puts the federal government back into a structural deficit, according to the PBO.
    When will the government listen to reason and scrap this bad plan?
    Mr. Speaker, the member's record still continues on. It did not end just when he left the Conservative Party. He still says many things that are stupid.
    The Liberal leader has pledged that if he is elected, he will hike taxes on Canadian families. That is what the Liberal leader said. According to media, the Liberal leader is even looking at reversing the doubling of the children's fitness tax credit. He even said that Canadians could be convinced to accept a tax hike.
    He is lobbying for a tax—
    Order, please. The hon. member for Bourassa.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I think we need to watch the level of language in the House.
    Many independent think tanks, and the late former Conservative minister Jim Flaherty as well, spoke out against income splitting, saying that it would benefit only the richest of the rich. The original plan was tweaked, but this is still a regressive measure. Will the Conservative government have the decency to tell Canadians that income splitting will not benefit 86% of them?

  (1430)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government stands with Canadian families. We stand with Canadian seniors. We continue with measure after measure to put money back into the pockets of Canadian families.
     Again, seniors across Canada are saving thousands of dollars every year thanks to pension income splitting. What is good for seniors will be very good for families.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, as the government rushes to respond to the events of last week with more legislation, one thing remains clear. Canadians expect that any new legislation should improve public safety and protect civil liberties. Inadequate oversight of our intelligence agencies continues to be a major concern. It has been eight years since the Arar inquiry recommended improvements.
    Why have the Conservatives persistently refused to boost intelligence oversight despite these recommendations?
    Mr. Speaker, the first responsibility of a government is to protect its citizens. We are promoting reasonable policies such as Bill C-44. We are seeking support from the opposition.
    In the meantime, there is robust oversight. SIRC is doing a remarkable job. I want to congratulate Deborah Grey, Gene Mclean and Yves Fortier for keeping an eye on CSIS, which is there to keep us safe.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, as parliamentarians, we have a duty to ensure that Canadians are safe while also protecting their rights and freedoms.
     The Minister of Justice seems to have forgotten that duty when he talks about his new legislative measures to control content on the web. Even the hon. Conservative member for Moncton has expressed reservations about this.
    Can the justice minister tell us what he considers to be a crime of opinion and what sort of sentences offenders will face?
    Mr. Speaker, what we have before us today, which was introduced on Monday, is a bill to clarify the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS. It will facilitate the activities of the review committee by making the rules clearer and better defined. We are making things clearer. We have an oversight body and we will make sure that this committee's recommendations are implemented so that CSIS can continue to protect Canadians.

[English]

Transport

    Mr. Speaker, on May 7, the Minister of Transport told the House that her department was “not aware of an ignition switch issue prior to receiving its first notice from GM Canada”. However, CBC has revealed internal documents that prove that this absolutely was not true. Transport Canada was aware of the issue eight months before the GM recall.
    Did the minister knowingly mislead the House?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously with respect to this incident, our thoughts and our prayers are always going to be the victim of the accident.
     That being said, I found out about the notice of defect in February 2014, as I have told the House. Now I am informed by my officials that they knew about the notice of defect as well at that time just prior to the recall by GM Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Transport Canada knew that the Chevrolet Cobalt's ignition switch was a problem eight months before the safety recall. If people had been told, lives could have been saved. GM has accepted responsibility for 29 deaths related to these defects. There are claims related to 150 more deaths. Her department knew of the problem eight months before the recall.
    How can the minister tell the House that she knew nothing?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, with respect to this incident, in June 2013, Transport Canada did receive a report of a crash in Quebec where the air bags did not deploy, the vehicle went off the road late at night and struck multiple trees. Officials commenced an investigation at that time. They continued in their investigations. After the notice of defect was received by officials in February 2014, they went back and looked again at that fatal collision from June 2013.
     That is the first time I learned about this accident or this investigation and the conclusions that Transport Canada reached.

  (1435)  

[Translation]

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport's rail safety promises are disappointing. The mayor of Lac-Mégantic wanted the minister to do more. She is calling for tougher regulations and stricter oversight.
    Will the minister heed the mayor of Lac-Mégantic's call and force rail companies to follow the rules?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I very much value the recommendations, the advice and information we received from the mayor of Lac-Mégantic. She has been instrumental in ensuring we do what is right vis-à-vis the community.
    We did speak to the mayor prior to our announcement yesterday. What she told us and told the media as well is as follows: “The town of Lac-Mégantic recognizes that the additional security measures announced today will make rail transport safer in Canada.”
    Indeed, we will continue to work with the mayor of Lac-Mégantic and all municipalities to ensure we are working together on rail safety.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not think Canadians are reassured by the minister's words, and they should not be.
     In fact, the Public Accounts released yesterday show that in spite of all her talk of rail safety, the Conservatives actually cut funding for rail safety in each of the last two years. Last year, they failed to spend nearly $4 million of the budget that was left.
    Why do the Conservatives say one thing and do the other when it comes to ensuring rail safety?
    Mr. Speaker, in the Public Accounts that were published yesterday, actual spending was lower, but the reason why actual spending was lower than what was budgeted was because there was a reduction in the grade crossing improvement contribution program. Fewer people applied for the funding and, in fact, some of these projects came in under budget.
    Most important though, if members continue to read into the numbers, they will realize that on the operation side, where the salaries and people are, we increased spending there by $1 million.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the real problem is the lack of resources and inspectors to enforce the rules.
    Yesterday, the Minister of Transport put on a big show to tell us how important rail safety is to her. At the same time, we learned from the public accounts that her department's rail safety budget dropped from $38 million to $33 million over two years.
    How can the minister say she is strengthening rail safety when the budget is being cut?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it gives me the opportunity to reiterate that on operational matters and rail safety, our department has responded, and has spent an increase of $1 million as compared to the year over.
    Also, in terms of the department involved with transportation of dangerous goods, it spent approximately $2 million more to ensure we had appropriate people looking at these accidents, looking at these incidents and ensuring we had the right policies.
    Quite frankly, Transport Canada is working very hard to ensure we get rail safety right in our country.

[Translation]

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' indiscriminate cuts have affected more than just rail safety.
    This morning the CBC announced that it is laying off another 392 employees. CBC employees in my riding will once again be affected. This will also affect the quality of information available in both official languages across Canada.
    When will the minister finally recognize that these cuts on top of cuts are preventing our public broadcaster from properly carrying out its mandate?
    Mr. Speaker, as the president of the CBC said himself, the decline in the number of viewers in certain demographics and lower advertising revenues are what have caused this situation at the CBC.
    Once again, it is up to the CBC to figure out what programming Canadians want in French and English. It has enough taxpayers' money to fulfill its mandate under the Broadcasting Act.

[English]

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, the Public Accounts show the Conservatives lapsed more than $7 billion in approved funding last year. That is a whole lot of mismanagement.
     They also show that the Canada Revenue Agency is failing to collect millions of dollars from tax cheats. Of $220 million reported missing, CRA collected just 1%, and appears to have no plan to collect the rest, to say nothing of the billions stashed by Canadians in offshore tax havens.
    Why does the minister keep coming up empty-handed when it comes to going after tax cheats?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, the amounts the member refers to are in active collection. These are the facts.
    The amount recorded is for cases that are still before the courts, which means these amounts are verifiable and recoverable.
    Collection action is a process. Once these cases move through the courts, further collection tools available to the CRA will be pursued.
    Last year alone, we resolved over $46 billion in outstanding taxes. We continue to aggressively pursue tax cheats.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, a national security committee of parliamentarians from all parties is about making sure that our intelligence and security agencies have the tools and the funds they need to protect Canadians and to protect Canadians' rights.
    We are the only country among our major intelligence partners that does not have such a committee. Why is the Conservative government unwilling to give Canadians the confidence in their security agencies that all our major allies already enjoy?
    Mr. Speaker, the Security Intelligence Review Committee was established in 1984 as an independent external review body that reports to the Parliament of Canada on the performance of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS.
    I have full confidence in SIRC and its honourable members.
    Mr. Speaker, in a moment of seemingly unscripted candour, the Minister of Justice indicated yesterday that our security services and police already have significant and robust legislative tools in the Criminal Code to combat terrorism.
    Is that still his view today? If so, could he assure the House that these robust terrorism provisions are being used in national security investigations?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness also said that he believes our anti-terrorism laws are robust. At least 80 individuals have come back to Canada and violated those very anti-terrorism laws.
    Can the minister tell the House if those individuals have been arrested and if not, why not?
    Mr. Speaker, it is the role of politicians and Parliament to make laws, and it is the role of the police to arrest criminals and terrorists.
    That is why it is our duty to put laws in place. As an example, we introduced Bill C-44 on Monday to make it easier for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to do its job.
    Otehr measures will follow to ensure that our approach is balanced and responsible in order to protect Canadians.

[English]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Forces Ombudsman has called the universality of service rule for the Canadian military “arbitrary and unfair”. Members across the country have also been saying that the rule makes it harder for them to come forward with mental health issues. They fear being discharged.
    The number of members who are being forced out for medical reasons before getting enough experience to receive a pension is large and growing. Does the minister still believe that it is a reasonable, fair, and effective policy for the Canadian military?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has made significant investments in the whole area of mental health and reaching out to the men and women in uniform who are suffering from PTSD and other problems. This is why we have approximately 415 full-time medical health care workers. We have one of the highest ratios of mental health professionals to soldiers in NATO. We want to work with the men and women in uniform to make sure they get all the possible care that they need.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, last year, 1,190 soldiers, like Louise Groulx, lost their jobs for health reasons.
    Ms. Groulx sustained a workplace injury that resulted in a number of complications. When she returned to work a year later, she was able to do 90% of her duties. Nevertheless, she was discharged from the Canadian Forces. Ms. Groulx's case is a perfect example of why the universality of service policy does not make any sense.
    Does the minister sincerely believe that the universality of service policy serves the interests of our soldiers and the Canadian public?

  (1445)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, no member of the armed forces is let go until they are ready to move on. This is why our service and the level of care that is provided by our armed forces is unprecedented. This is why this has continued to be a priority for our government. We want to reach out to those men and women in uniform and give them all the help they need.

[Translation]

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, the Federal Court found that the changes that were made to the interim federal health program in 2012 were invalid and even cruel.
    Rather than admitting that it made a mistake, the government has appealed the decision. This appeal means a lot of time lost on this sensitive issue and needless suffering for refugee claimants and their children.
    Rather than cobbling together a contingency plan in case they lose their appeal, why do the Conservatives not simply reinstate the program that was in place in 2012?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, we were disappointed by the court's decision last summer. That is why we are appealing it. We are going to continue to protect the well-founded interests of refugees and the interests of Canadian taxpayers as well.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it has been four months since the Federal Court told the government that its cuts to refugee health care were cruel and unusual. Now the government is scrambling to come up with a contingency plan just days before the court deadline to reinstate the program.
    We have a suggestion for the government. Instead of dragging its feet and coming up with more excuses and trying to circle the rules, why does the government not just reinstate the interim federal health program?
    Mr. Speaker, the interim federal health program continues to serve refugees extremely well. We were disappointed by the Federal Court's decision on July 4, and that is why we have gone into appeal. We await the court's decision.
    We will continue to uphold and defend the rights of refugees as well as the interests of Canadian taxpayers.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, with one in five jobs in Canada dependent on exports, our government understands the importance of opening new markets. That is why we have launched the most ambitious pro-trade plan in Canadian history.
    Before 2006, Canada had free trade agreements with only five countries. Since then, the Conservative government has concluded agreements with 38 countries.
    Could the hard-working Minister of International Trade please update the House on the status of the government's pro-trade plan?
    Mr. Speaker, last night the House passed third reading of Bill C-41 to implement the Canada-Korea free trade agreement. This is an historic agreement that will increase Canada's economic output by close to $2 billion and increase our exports to Korea by 32%
    The bill is now in the Senate, where it will be sponsored by my colleague, Senator Yonah Martin. It is my hope that the Senate will pass the bill quickly so that Canadian exporters can take advantage of this remarkable economic opportunity as soon as possible.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, according to a report issued by Germanwatch, Canada has the worst record of all OECD countries when it comes to combatting climate change, ranking just below Australia and Turkey. The Conservative government's failing grade can be attributed to its withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol, its unambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, and its lack of a plan to reduce the emissions of large emitters.
    Speaking of large emitters, when will the government present its plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas industry?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government's record is clear. We have taken decisive action on the environment while protecting the economy.
    Everyone internationally has to do their fair share. Building on our record, I announced a number of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from vehicles. Recently I also announced our intent to regulate the HFCs, one of the fastest-growing greenhouse gases in the world. We are accomplishing this without the job-killing carbon tax that the NDP wants.
    Mr. Speaker, surely the government can change its talking notes now that it is ranked last among all OECD nations.
    Members of Parliament from all parties have been briefed on the laudatory actions by higher-ranked OECD nations, including Germany and Denmark. Many of those initiatives and investments made to transition to cleaner energy sources are readily available to Canada. What our country needs is a government with the will to act.
    What on earth is it going to take to make the government act in the interests of Canadians and invest in a cleaner energy future?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of our record. We are a founding member of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. We have made significant investments to help support green energy and infrastructure. Internationally, we have provided $1.2 billion to developing countries to address climate change.
    Recently I announced new regulatory initiatives that will lower pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from cars, trucks, and heavy-duty vehicles. Thanks to these actions, carbon emissions will go down by close to 130 megatonnes from what they would have been under the Liberals, and we are not introducing a carbon tax.
    Mr. Speaker, October 31 is the two-year anniversary of the groundbreaking report from the Cohen commission, which made 75 recommendations to protect B.C.'s sockeye salmon. However, the Conservative government has failed to take this report seriously and has failed to move on any of the key recommendations in the report.
    When will the minister finally recognize that something has to be done and implement the key recommendations in this report before it is too late?
    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure as well to inform the House that the 2014 returns of salmon to the Fraser River are in the area of 20 million healthy fish.
    The government has introduced several measures that are consistent with the recommendations from the Cohen commission, including a moratorium on aquaculture development in the Discovery Islands and an investment of $25 million in recreational fisheries conservation partnership.
    All revenues from the pacific salmon conservation stamp are now provided directly to the Pacific Salmon Foundation to be invested in the salmon industry.
    Mr. Speaker, this is not complicated. The Conservative government spent over $26 million for the advice in this report.
    It should not have taken two years for the Conservatives to understand findings that are so clear. Wild salmon are in trouble, and Justice Cohen's recommendations offer a road map to saving them.
    The government does not understand the economic and cultural importance of wild salmon to British Columbia. Will the Conservatives stop ignoring Justice Cohen's report and finally implement his recommendations?
    Mr. Speaker, we are addressing many of Justice Cohen's recommendations through the department's day-to-day work, and we will continue to consider his recommendations as part of our ongoing work.
    We have just recently invested $54 million to enhance regulatory certainty for the aquaculture sector and to provide greater support to science directed at aquaculture, part of Justice Cohen's recommendations.
    I am happy to report that it is not just the Fraser River. There are many rivers that are reporting record numbers of salmon this year.

Transport

    Mr. Speaker, in May of this year the Minister of Transport told Parliament that Transport Canada was “not aware of an ignition switch issue” prior to receiving notice from GM in February 2014.
    It turns out this was not true.
    We now know that her department was fully aware of these problems in June 2013, eight months before the minister said she was told about the problem.
    Did the minister mislead the House and Canadians on this very serious issue? If she did not, how could she possibly not have known?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said before, and I will be very clear on this matter, I did not know of a notice of defect from GM until we received it. I did not know about that until just prior to the recall.
    I will also say that the officials have indicated the same to me. They were not aware of the notice of defect before then.
    The particular incident to which the hon. member is referring is an unfortunate accident that happened in June 2013, an accident that Transport Canada investigated. In the course of its investigation, it took a look at why the air bag did not deploy when the vehicle went off the road. It came to the conclusion that the ignition switch was not part of the reason that the fatal collision occurred.
    That said, Transport Canada reopened the case and looked at it again once it heard of the notice of defect to take a look at it in a new light.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the facts do not support what the minister is saying.
    The chronology is clear. Documents show that Transport Canada was well aware of the ignition switch issue with GM vehicles in June 2013. That is eight months earlier than the date the minister gave when she was asked when Transport Canada knew about this.
    In light of these facts, again, will the minister explain why she deliberately misled the House?

  (1455)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I knew of the defect from GM when we received the notice of defect in February 2014. I said that last year and I say that today as well. My officials told me the same thing. They knew of the notice of the defect in this fleet at that point in time.
    Transport Canada inspectors were investigating an accident in June 2013. Through their investigation, they determined there was a problem with the ignition switch. After the notice of defect and the recall, they went back and looked at the accident again in a new light.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the deadline for the Indian residential school personal credit for educational programs and services is tomorrow, yet out of around 80,000 former survivors who are eligible, only 10,000 have applied. This is pushing leaders like Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus to ask the government for an extension of the deadline.
     Will the minister heed this call? Will he work with other signatories to the agreement and get the deadline extended so that more survivors can access compensation for these large sums of money that are owed to first nations peoples?
    Mr. Speaker, although reminder notices were mailed to close to 75,000 of those recipients and although there has been an email and social media campaign to inform them, yes, indeed, we are going to work with the partners in the agreement to try to get an extension.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's apology in 2008 was to be the start of a reconciliation process. For that to happen, the survivors need to have access to the programs and credits owed to them so that they can continue to learn and pursue their healing process.
    I will repeat the question: will the minister work with the courts and the other signatories to the agreement and get the deadline extended, and can he confirm that in writing today?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is obvious he will not take “yes” or “no” for an answer.
    I just stated that, indeed, we are presently in negotiations, talking with our partners, in order to give this extension so that the victims of residential schools who are eligible for this education credit may get it.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, today, there is joy in Halifax. The Royal Canadian Navy destroyer HMCS Athabaskan is back in her home port after a successful mission, Operation Caribbe.
    This was an international campaign to target illicit trafficking by organized crime in the Caribbean and in the eastern Pacific. I would like to congratulate and welcome home her crew after a job well done.
    Would the Minister of National Defence please update us on HMCS Athabaskan's activities?
    Mr. Speaker, I join the hon. member in welcoming home the crew of the HMCS Athabaskan. I am proud of their accomplishments and commend them for their efforts.
    The HMCS Athabaskan seamlessly conducted joint operations, supported multiple aircraft patrol sorties, and participated in six intercept operations, one of which resulted in the successful disruption of 820 kilograms of cocaine.
    Canada's commitment to Operation Caribbe has contributed to the interception of a significant quantity of illegal narcotics. The Canadian Armed Forces has been involved with this operation since 2006. We remain committed to working with our partners to improve regional security and deter criminal activity in the western hemisphere.

Committees of the House

    Mr. Speaker, my question is for the chair of the PROC committee regarding the agenda of the committee itself.
    The 18th report of the committee, which reconstitutes the House of Commons committees, was presented in the House on September 30. It has not yet been concurred in. Committee travel has also stopped. Hundreds of hours of committee time has been lost.
    Would the chair tell the House if the committee will meet to consider any further action it can take to get the committees back to work?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, as we know, the committee continues to work on ways to improve committee work in the House. Daily, I try to stand here to move concurrence on the report. It has had a great aerobic effect, but not much else.
    Apparently, the official opposition wants to deny members the voice of their constituents at committees. We hope we get back to work soon.

Social Development

    Mr. Speaker, this week UNICEF reported that child poverty in Canada is at 21%. That is one in five Canadian children growing up with the stress and deprivation of poverty, struggling to learn without adequate nutrition, and facing the likelihood of poorer health.
    When is the current government going to stop leaving so many children behind and get serious about eradicating child poverty?
    Mr. Speaker, here is what that report actually said. It said, “that's really impressive. It’s better than the majority of other countries did during the recession.”
     UNICEF also commented that our national child care benefit “kept money in circulation”. It said, “money goes to poorer families, and that tends to be spent on children and then it kept money circulating in the economy as well.... That kind of investment in children is so important.”
    That is what UNICEF said. We are on the right track.

[Translation]

Child Care

    Mr. Speaker, today Statistics Canada released a report on child care in Canada.
    Canadians know that our government's policies give parents the choice for child care because, as everyone knows, there is no single solution. That is what this recent report shows.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre. She is a highly effective member and again she is on the right track.
    Statistics Canada says that of the 46% that do use some form of child care, approximately a third uses daycare centres, another third uses home daycares, and the remaining third uses private arrangements. We are on the right track. It is a flexible system. We support the universal child care benefit.
    If the opposition gets the chance, it is going to take that benefit away from moms and dads across this country. It should get on board and support our plan for child care.

Regional Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker, the new CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources sees zero hope of developing the Ring of Fire in the next 50 years. He cites no plan, no infrastructure, no leadership. This means no jobs, no investments for northern Ontario, and no benefits to Ontario's broader mining, finance, and technology sectors. Almost all of the government's Ring of Fire announcements failed to materialize.
    When will the government show the leadership it promised over a year ago and work with Ontario to make the Ring of Fire happen?
    First, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his generally positive tone and the effective interaction he has had on Ring of Fire, up until that question was put. The president's remarks are indeed regrettable.
    While Cliffs has taken a business decision regarding its operations in the Ring of Fire, industry proponents communities, including first nations communities, the Government of Ontario, and our government are quite optimistic about the prospects for the Ring of Fire. We will continue to work collaboratively to ensure that we maximize the enormous economic potential of the Ring of Fire and the infrastructure that is required to support those projects.

[Translation]

Forestry Industry

    Mr. Speaker, while scientists and the forestry industry are rightly concerned about the spread of the spruce budworm epidemic in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, the federal government is doing virtually nothing to address a problem that could become very serious.
    Instead of waiting for the industry to be seriously affected, why does the government not invest more, as it did for the pine beetle epidemic in British Columbia?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for asking a question on a topic that is so important to rural communities.
    I am proud that economic action plan 2014 builds on our government's success by focusing on innovation and protecting our forests from pests. For example, by focusing on diversifying markets for our forestry products, we have increased our softwood lumber exports to China tenfold.

[English]

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, during question period you were very generous in allowing the member for Ottawa South to ask two questions. When he asked his question in English, he was rather judicious in his choice of words.

[Translation]

    However, when he started speaking French, he used unparliamentary language.

[English]

    I appreciate the hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans raising the point. I will have to take a look and see what was said exactly.
    I will warn hon. members, though, about using terms such as “deliberately misleading”. I heard some phrasing of that in kind of a rhetorical nature. I do not think it is helpful. It gets far too close to the line. I would ask members, instead of trying to get as close to the line as they can, to stand a few paces back. I think members will appreciate that.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order as well.
    In my last answer for the hon. member for Ottawa South, I said the year 2004. Of course I mean the year 2014.
    I appreciate that.
    I believe now the hon. opposition House leader would like to ask the traditional Thursday question.

[Translation]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in caucus, the NDP MPs had the opportunity to thank the security guards, including Alain Gervais, who showed such courage during the events of last week, with which we are all familiar.
    This week we are back to work. As the Leader of the Opposition just said, we continue to offer to work with the government on various files in the wake of last week's events. We will examine those files.
    We continue to offer to work with the government, and we are still waiting for a reply.

[English]

    For next week, I would like to know what the government is scheduling for its agenda. I particularly would like to know in terms of opposition days what the government perceives for the two opposition days that remain in this cycle.
    Mr. Speaker, this afternoon we will continue to debate Bill C-43, the economic action plan 2014 act, no. 2, at second reading. That is a bill that focuses on job creation, economic development, growth, and prosperity for all Canadians, and is certainly something that is welcomed in this time of continuing global economic uncertainty and something that focuses on the priorities of Canadians. That debate will continue tomorrow and then will conclude on Monday.

[Translation]

     Of course, also on Monday, the President of France, François Hollande, will address both houses of our Parliament that morning.
    On Tuesday and Wednesday, we will consider Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act, at second reading.
    Ideally, we will conclude this debate on Wednesday so that a committee can get on with the important work of studying the details of this legislation. This will be an opportunity for all parties to study the bill and its important measures in detail.

[English]

    Next, I am hoping that on Thursday we could wrap up the second reading debate on each of Bill S-5, the Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve act, and Bill C-21, the red tape reduction act.
    Finally, next Friday, November 7, will be dedicated to finishing the third reading debate on Bill C-22, the energy safety and security act.
     There was a specific question with regard to the remaining two allotted days. As members know, I believe we have four weeks available to us after the opportunity in the ridings to observe Remembrance Day with our constituents. I anticipate that those two allotted days will be designated for dates in that last four-week period.

  (1510)  

Ways and Means

Notice of Motion  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I wish to table a notice of a ways and means motion to amend the Income Tax Act.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-43, A Second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to economic action plan 2014 act number 2. Before I commence, I would like to indicate that I will be sharing my time with the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.
     Economic action plan 2014 act number 2 and, more specifically, division 3, which contains the proposed Canadian high Arctic research station act, is something on which I would like to focus. As the member of Parliament for the Yukon, I am very proud of the unprecedented support that our Conservative government has given to Canada's north.
    In 2007, our government made the bold move to launch a comprehensive northern strategy that would allow Canada's north to realize its true potential as a healthy, prosperous, and secure region within a strong and sovereign Canada. This strategy was built on four pillars: strengthening Canada's sovereignty, advancing economic and social development, promoting environmental sustainability, and improving and devolving northern governance.
    To achieve these desired outcomes, we believe that Canada needs to be a world leader in Arctic science and technology. This would allow us to make sound policy decisions based on strong and science-based knowledge. This is why the Prime Minister announced the creation of a new, world-class science and technology research facility in the 2007 Speech from the Throne. The Canadian high Arctic research station, or CHARS, was endorsed by the Prime Minister as a station that would be built by Canadians in Canada's Arctic and would be there to serve the world.
    More specifically, CHARS will lead and support Arctic science and technology to develop and diversify the economy in Canada's Arctic; support the effective stewardship of Canada's Arctic lands, waters and resources; create a hub for scientific activity in Canada's vast and diverse Arctic; promote self-sufficient, vibrant, and healthy northern communities; inspire and build capacity through training, education, and outreach; and enhance Canada's visible presence in the Arctic and strengthen Canada's leadership on Arctic issues. As a fulfilment of that promise, we are here today debating legislation that would bring Canada one step closer to the establishment of the long anticipated world-class research facility by Canada's 150th anniversary.
    This legislation would establish the governing structure for the research station, which would see the Canadian Polar Commission join with the Canadian high Arctic research station to create one larger, stronger research hub for scientific research in Canada's north. CHARS would build on the Canadian Polar Commission's existing mandate and its efforts to bring together industry, academia, aboriginal and northern governments, and international stakeholders and leverage their expertise, experience, and resources.
    Like the Canadian Polar Commission, the Canadian high Arctic research station act also proposes to establish CHARS as a departmental corporation. This means that joining these organizations would not change the current operating framework of the commission, and it would serve to enforce its scientific independence and credibility. As a separate employer, CHARS would also have greater flexibility to attract top notch researchers and scientists from home and around the globe in a competitive research industry by offering competitive compensation and benefits packages.
    Finally, it would build on the Canadian Polar Commission's existing capacity and scope through a significantly larger investment in infrastructure programming and funding. In August 2012, our government announced an investment of $142.4 million for the construction, equipment, and fit-up of the Canadian high Arctic research station in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. An additional $26.5 million annually will be set aside as of 2018-19 for the ongoing science and technology program and operation of that station.
    I was privileged this fall to be in Cambridge Bay with the Prime Minister on his ninth annual northern tour to witness the groundbreaking ceremony that launched the construction phase of this facility, which is expected to take three years. The station will include research labs, centres for technology development, a knowledge sharing centre, and facilities for teaching, training, and community engagement.

  (1515)  

    The steel structure for one of the first buildings in the CHARS campus has already been erected. Work will continue in Cambridge Bay throughout the winter.
    Scientific work is also already under way at the station location right in Cambridge Bay. An interim office has been set up and resident chief scientist Dr. Martin Raillard has been appointed to facilitate operational management and to interface with the community.
     I know the community of Cambridge Bay is excited to host this world-class research facility and is embracing this opportunity. CHARS will be stronger, more effective, and more sustainable thanks to the input from elders and community leaders. Nunavut government agencies and other stakeholders have also participated.
    CHARS will not only promote Canadian sovereignty and stewardship of Canada's Arctic lands, waters, and resources, but it will also support the local economy by generating employment and service contracts in the region. Through its research, capacity building, and outreach activities, CHARS will provide northerners with the skills and job experience they need to better participate in the labour force. In a show of support, following the Prime Minister's August 2014 northern tour, ITK stated:
     ITK is pleased to see investments in Arctic research and we are hopeful about the opportunities that research partnerships...at CHARS can provide to Inuit.
    Northerners believe deeply in this project because they are increasingly experiencing the benefits of investments in scientific research and technological development. Already there are centres for northern science in every territory, pursuing research that benefits northerners. CHARS will complement and anchor the existing network of smaller regional facilities across the north by establishing a year-round hub for a strong scientific research centre in the Arctic. It will be a destination for international scientists who are eager to participate in Canada's commitment to research excellence in the Arctic.
    In my own riding, the Yukon Research Centre at Yukon College undertakes valuable research with respect to climate change, environmental science, technology, innovation, and cold climate innovation. Our government is proud to support the work at Yukon College through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, NSERC. During his August 2013 visit to Whitehorse, the Prime Minister announced the substantial investment in the Yukon College Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining to help the centre expand quickly to meet the growing need for labour. Through the $85 million Arctic research infrastructure fund, announced in economic action plan 2012, the college was granted $2.5 million to renovate and enhance its research infrastructure, including areas that will contain research to advance cold climate innovations. Additional work at the Yukon Research Centre and other venues is exploring clean water, land use, the impact of permafrost on infrastructure, and indoor air quality, just to name a few.
    Targeted science and technology investments like this speak directly to the practical needs of northerners, northern businesses, and northern families. Communities need the infrastructure, technologies, and skills to build prosperity. True prosperity, of course, means ensuring sustainable, low-impact development of the north, while increasing the quality of life for northerners. For example, research into heat recovery ventilators, a current collaboration between CHARS and the Yukon Research Centre, makes homes more comfortable and heating costs more affordable. Research into agriculture and access to healthy foods is also advancing.
    CHARS will build on the scientific and technological progress already taking place in the north. It will add to our knowledge about the north and will allow us to prosper from the opportunities that develop. World-leading science and technology research will help provide Canadians with the knowledge and tools they need to transform current challenges into opportunities. The creation of CHARS is an important step in fulfilling this vision.
     I encourage all members of the House to join us in supporting the economic action plan 2014 act number 2 and to realize in particular the benefits of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in the act that is contained within the budget implementation act to ensure that this important venue goes forward not just for northerners but for all Canadians.

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciated hearing from my colleague, the member for Yukon. He is a member who I think is engaged on a fairly regular basis in different ways with his constituents, talks to them about what is going on here, listens to what they have to say, and takes those issues quite seriously.
    Does the member not think it is a bit odd—maybe not to his constituents but to a lot of other constituents who are represented by members of this House who will not have an opportunity to talk about the budget implementation act, which is associated with a budget of over $200 billion, is over 460 pages, and deals with dozens of different pieces of legislation—that we are being asked to not speak to it for four days but for a maximum of 12 hours. Does he not think that is undemocratic and unfair to my constituents, let alone his?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for those comments and, ultimately, a question on process. Of course, I prefer to focus on the content of the budget and did that in my speech.
    In regard to his question, I can only speak for what happens on this side of the House. When I have an opportunity to speak about legislation, bills, or policies that come before this place, I speak to my colleagues in my government about the opportunity and the need to express my concerns and those of my constituents. I am always given a fair opportunity to speak in the House. That has never been any different, and I am not quite certain it would be any different on that side. If members on his side of the House would like to speak to the bill, then it is something he needs to deal with procedurally by asking the people who make those decisions on his side.
    It is a big country. We have a lot to get accomplished. We are doing a lot, and 460 pages in a budget bill, in my opinion, is rather a thick document when we are talking about all the programs and services and all the financial obligations and commitments that we on this side of the House make to Canadians. It is a lot of great work in a very small document, in fact.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a question about a specific detail in the bill. The previous act, the Canadian Polar Commission Act, allowed the commission to initiate activities. The proposed Canadian high Arctic research act does not say anything about initiating activities. Therefore, it seems to me that, with this new act, the government would be taking away some of the autonomy that used to be present.
    It seems the government is trying to have more control over what researchers do, take away control and centralize it in the Prime Minister's Office and the minister's office. To me, it is just another example of how controlling the government is. I am wondering why the government is afraid of just keeping the same language as before and allowing researchers in the north to have some autonomy.
    Mr. Speaker, with changing times, necessarily, comes changing language around the deployment of the services we are hoping to provide.
    I thank my hon. colleague for raising that question because it gives me another opportunity to talk about exactly how this system would unfold. The Canadian Polar Commission would join with the Canadian High Arctic Research Station. Essentially, it would create a larger and stronger research hub. Building on the existing mandate of the Canadian Polar Commission, CHARS would be able to bring together academic, first nations, northern governance, and international stakeholders to combine and congeal their expertise. The language in the legislation is only set forward to facilitate a stronger and better organization of Canadian northern high Arctic research.
     This is great news for Canadians. I hope my hon. colleague will look at exactly what CHARS would be able to do with this mandate and what it would be able to do with its partners, including community partners in the north. I hope he is willing to find a way to support it.

  (1525)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand today to talk about economic action plan 2014.
    I will cover a few things today. As a small-business owner, I am going to talk about small business support and what this budget offers. I will talk about community and families. I will talk about jobs and growth being our priority as a government and in this budget, and I will certainly talk, and perhaps brag a little, about returning to balance and going forward.
    First, I will talk a little about Elgin—Middlesex—London, how this bill pertains, and why I think economic action plan 2014 is the right way to go.
    Elgin—Middlesex—London is a very diverse riding in southern Ontario. As the member for London West, the Minister of State for Science and Technology, would say, it is the 10th-largest city in Canada, and it has an urban centre that comes with it. However, the rest of the riding is very diverse from an agricultural point of view, and it includes about 80 miles of the Lake Erie shoreline, where we even find commercial fishing. It is very diverse, with heavy manufacturing in one part of the riding, a pretty good urban base, a wide-open economic part for agriculture, and some great recreation.
     I lead off with that so that I can talk about why small business growth is so important to me. I am a small-business person still. We have to move forward by expanding our small-business base in this country.
    Small businesses create so much employment in our country. So much of what happens, certainly in small rural communities, happens because of small business, and I do not just mean the jobs those small business people create, because that is a given. Business people want to be successful and hire people.
     We should stop to think of the goods and services purchased by small businesses in each of our small communities and the really unique things that happen in small communities, such as the small-business owner not only being the sponsor of the local hockey team but probably the coach too, or the small business being the place where we go to get our local news. When we can make a decision in a budget that makes small businesses stronger and gives them the ability to hire more employees, it is something that can really have an impact.
    The small business job credit that is part of economic action plan 2014 would allow small businesses to not contribute some of the EI portion for their staff.
    If there is anyone else in the House who is a small-business person, I can certainly share with them my own business habits and those of other small-business people I know. If money is saved by a small-business person, not very often is it profit or money that goes back into our pockets. It is spent on expansion, on hiring, or on other things. The small business job credit truly would do exactly that. As small businesses find that they are saving, they will certainly turn that into hiring new employees or buying new products or whatever else it might be.
    The other piece in economic action plan 2014 that will affect small businesses in a great way is the continued reduction by this government of red tape for small businesses.
    I love to go to work. I know that many small-business people love to go to work, but not one of them has said that they like to go to work and sit in the back room and fill out government paperwork. That is one thing I have never heard at a Chamber of Commerce meeting or a Canadian Federation of Independent Business meeting. It is just not what people look forward to.
    I think we can certainly suggest that those couple of things in this budget, from a small business and community point of view, are very important.

  (1530)  

    I said I would also talk about communities and families. I crossed over to that when I was talking about small businesses, because in many communities, small businesses are a great part of the community and the families that go with it. If small businesses cannot succeed in rural communities, we start to lose our families. The families in rural communities are, of course, what makes them work.
    Also included in economic action plan 2014 is a children's fitness tax credit, which helps keep our communities more active. Members can laugh, but one of the exciting things we do in small communities is head down to the local arena or the local ball diamond to watch our kids being physically active. Something like the children's fitness tax credit being expanded in economic action plan 2014 adds to the fabric of rural communities in a way that maybe would not be noticed in a large urban centre.
    The recreational facilities and the community piece is a sidebar. They are something that happens because we are doing something right with the child fitness tax credit.
    There are a couple of other pieces in economic action plan 2014 that affect communities, and certainly rural communities, in a great way. One has to do with competition in the telecommunications sector and ensuring that people in rural Canada have what our urban counterparts have. It is certainly to have an increase in the ability to have broadband for our kids' use, from an educational point of view.
    I already mentioned that vibrant small businesses help rural communities be vibrant. Access to good broadband Internet service for those small businesses is a huge thing and needs to happen in our rural communities.
    We also talk in economic action plan 2014 about an end to pay-to-pay billing for consumers. Whether it is in rural or urban communities, not having to pay for having a bill delivered to our house is important for communities and families.
    I said I would also talk about how jobs and growth continue to be what we must think of as priority one, job one. In our heavy manufacturing centre in southern Ontario, we saw a great loss with the closure of some very large car plants and the like during the recession. We trade almost everything we make in Elgin—Middlesex—London with the United States. It is a huge proportion of trade where we live, because north-south trade has always been the easiest thing to do.
    With the great recession in the United States, we had to find other customers, and now as the United States is recovering, we are finding that not only can we keep our other customers, with some of the great deals this government has been able to put together around the world, but we can also go back to our trading partners in the United States and start selling them goods. Do not tell them, because it will work a lot better if they do not know that they are buying from Canada. Jobs and prosperity are very important.
    I want to finish with what I think is truly the best thing that has happened under this government and in economic action plan 2014, and that is finishing the balancing of the budget to take us back to a balanced situation. A number of things will happen because of that. Certainly there will be the ability for us to lower the tax burden for Canadian families and Canadian businesses, because we will be back into balance.
    There is also the psychological piece that happens in every household. There may be times when we have to put a little bit on the credit card. There may be times when we have to take out a little loan to renovate, but there is always that bit of celebration when we pay off the balance. When the mortgage is paid off, it is incredible. To compare the country of Canada with the rural family in Elgin—Middlesex—London, it is a joyous time when we can celebrate returning to balance and being able to make good financial decisions, including allowing Canadians to keep a little bit more money in their pockets.

  (1535)  

    Mr. Speaker, what the member's speech betrayed to me was a complete lack of understanding of cities in this country, as though his rural community is the only community that has ballparks and hockey rinks and all the rest of it. It was as if those of us who live in cities do not spend time in our local arenas. I spend about two hours every weekend, when events allow, at my local arena watching my son play hockey and, from time to time, the team I sponsor. We have two baseball leagues in my riding.
    What the member misses in talking about this sports tax credit is that there is also, in our cities, an enormous portion of people who cannot afford to put their kids in organized sports.
    It is not just about the 400,000 manufacturing jobs we have lost. It is about 50% of the jobs in our cities, in the cities of Toronto and Hamilton, being precarious work. It is about huge, growing informal economies, where people are making less than minimum wage just to survive. They call them survival jobs in my riding.
    What does this budget do for cities? Nothing.
    Mr. Speaker, I apologize to the member if he thought I was downplaying cities. I represent part of the 10th-largest one in Canada. I was trying to draw a comparison between some of the rural lifestyle and the urban lifestyle. I may not have gotten it absolutely right.
     We certainly travel to rinks in the city of London and watch our teams beat those teams. We are happy to do it.
    The child fitness tax credit does exactly what the member asked: What about the kids who cannot afford it? That is what this is for. That is who it helps.
    I recognize that there are great community groups that we all have to be part of that also help with that and make our communities stronger.
     I tried to talk about how the country is diverse. We have a great big country with a lot of different things in it: some great big cities and some very small rural ones. They are all happy to move forward when the kids are doing well, when families are doing well, and when small businesses are doing well. Economic action plan 2014 would make that happen.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the member about employment insurance.
    The Liberal Party came up with a bold, creative idea that would see EI premium exemptions for every new hire for small businesses. It was something that would have created literally tens of thousands of jobs all across Canada.
    We can contrast that to what the Conservatives are proposing, which is miniscule in terms of job creation. Some have even suggested that it would be a job disincentive.
    Does the government not have an obligation to contrast ideas, and where there is a better idea, maybe adopt it, even if it comes from the opposition benches?
    Mr. Speaker, in my speech I tried to talk about my role as a small-business person for most of my life and what it takes to make money in a small business and what we do with it when we make money.
    I am sorry, but I have to challenge the member a little on his math. First, a Liberal Party that emptied the EI fund of every cent in it that then asks if we would be taking too much out of it to help small businesses grow and prosper is a bit on the rich side.
    Second, I have been in the House long enough to hear recommendations from each of the parties opposite on a 45-day work year for EI, which would do nothing but absolutely drain the EI fund.

  (1540)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.
    I come from a background of being on city council. I referenced that earlier today in my remarks. When councillors are confronted with bills or motions that do multiple things, they are usually ruled out of order. One has to introduce items that are specific to a line of thought and amendments and motions have to line up in a logical order. One cannot solve a problem in the fire department, while talking about transit, with a focus on a bill named after a daycare program. It confuses the public, but it also puts legislators in a position where, with a single vote, they have to contradict positions, or policies or promises made to constituents and residents. Members find themselves in exactly that situation today.
    There is a procedural process on many city councils and in legislatures across the country where a motion can be split so one can accurately record one's position item by item. It is a shame the government has chosen to proceed the way it has and stack 100-plus different intents all together under one umbrella, pretending it is a budget bill when in fact it is sort of a cross-section of promises and announcements that have been made across the country. Sometimes in Parliament, they land on our desks and we have to make a decision yes or no on all of them all at once, and I do not think that is a fair process. It does not allows us to accurately register or represent our positions, and that is a concern.
    I will try to address some of the issues that are specific and important to the folks who I represent.
     First is the child fitness tax credit. We all understand that the goal is to get kids physically active, but a lot of kids cannot be physically active due to disabilities and, as a result, this is not a tax break that would be applied equally to all children. As well, many other children choose to exercise their minds and many families put their kids into cultural programs. There is no corresponding tax cut for that. This seems to be an oversight and is something that should be addressed. It is a concern because in cities it is not as singular an approach to child rearing. Parents do not stick their kids on a hockey rink if the kids want to do something else, such as dance, which is also a physical activity, but does not get covered under this program because it is an art and not a sport. It is a big problem.
    There has been reference by some New Democrats that there is no initiative around housing. There are actually two initiatives around housing. The government is doing something spectacular in the middle of a national housing crisis, which is to look for ways to increase the cost of housing. If a condominium is renovated and the renovation is significant, people end up paying more for housing. How is making housing more expensive a strategy that anybody in our country has embraced? In fact, making housing more expensive, particularly in the condominium market, is the housing bubble about the government is so concerned. It once again shows, and this was the comment at the end of my member's statement earlier today, that the government does not seem to understand that the “C” in front of CMHC stands for Canada.
    Canada has always had a national housing program in one way or another. The difference is that in the last 10 years the Conservative government is walking away from that responsibility. In this set of motions, beyond clearing up a past legislative error, the only real initiative under way by the government is to actually make housing more expensive, particularly in urban areas. That is so short-sighted, so ill-conceived and such a wrong move, I do not know how to describe it. What it really shows is that when given half a chance, Tories do raise taxes; they just do it on the vulnerable.
    The other issues of concern are items that have been slipped in. The one that concerns me the most, coming from a city with a very small port that somehow keeps having privileges granted to it, is the changes under the federal ports act and the Canada Marine Act with regard to how federal ports can acquire new property.
    For municipalities, the federal port system and the Canada Marine Act grant powers to land use zoning patterns that are not regulated by local city halls. Therefore, when the power is given to a port to acquire new land, it actually acquires land in very important, very sensitive parts of cities, sometimes environmentally, sometimes economically, and the government has stripped the local authority away from that land and has given it to federal agencies that are appointed largely through order in council. This is not good local planning, this is not good economic development, and this is not reasonable insofar as there has not been consultation with a single city, let alone a province, on this fundamental power that the government would extend to federal ports. That is a problem.

  (1545)  

    Finally, there is the issue of trying to pretend that a private member's bill is now something that was announced in the budget. This refers to the move to suspend the requirement that all provinces support refugees with social assistance.
    Not a single province beyond Ontario was consulted. When we talked to Ontario, it was not consulted and it wrote the Conservatives to say not to do it. Therefore, the only province who speaks to the government on this issue is saying not to do it.
     I do not know how to describe it. An anti-democratic move is one way to look at it, because there is nobody asking for this. Nobody is asking for this change, yet the change shows up mysteriously in a bill that is sold to Canadians as a budget bill. It is actually simply a mask or diversion tactic to slip in a private member's bill that the Conservatives are too embarrassed to have voted on individually because they know how bad the legislation is.
    This is not good government. It is not good process. It is really a basket of flawed policies. When we total up the flaws, the correction of 10 mistakes that the Conservatives made in drafting legislation too swiftly before, and some initiatives which are worthwhile but they do not stand up in contrast to the damages, problems and inadequacies of the other legislation, parties like ours are left with no choice but to cast one vote, because that is the only opportunity we have been given, and the only vote we could cast in good conscience is a “no”.
     If we have to pass this legislation based on its weakest piece of legislation, we have to vote no. It does not mean that we would pass it because we like a couple initiatives and let the other bad stuff slide by. That is not responsible government. It is not responsible legislative law drafting.
    We have in front of us a collection of initiatives, some of which are not serious in terms of having to worry our time debating. They are housekeeping bills that simply clarify legislation. However, the bulk of them is an attempt to slip in poor legislation and trumpet the stuff that the government likes. That is not a fair way to present legislation. It is not an appropriate way for this body to deal with the complex issues in front of it. I would urge all members on this side of the House to certainly vote against it.
     The backbenchers on the opposite side ought to think about what they are being told to do, and what they are being led into. If this process becomes common practice in this place, it will have them voting against their core principles one day and they will be just as upset as we are.
    Mr. Speaker, the New Democrats have been consistently opposed to the Conservative omnibus budget bills, just like we were opposed to the Paul Martin Liberal omnibus budget bill in the 1990s.
    The bill is about 450 pages. It touches 400 clauses and amends dozens of laws. Most of the changes in this huge budget bill have no connection whatsoever to the government's 2014-15 budget from last spring.
    There have been a lot of demands out there. We know there is a surplus now, but on whose back? It is on the backs of first nations, on the backs of the most vulnerable, on the backs of seniors, on the backs of municipalities and on the backs of businesses as well.
    I met with the CFIB this week. It is certainly in favour of the NDP's proposal to ensure that we deal with the high credit card fees. It is also in favour of a national child care program.
    Could my colleague speak to the fact of how desperately we need a national child care program and maybe why his government never actually implemented it with the many promises it made?

  (1550)  

    Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of being a journalist here when some of those budgets were passed in the 1990s and 2000s. I recall the NDP voting several times with the Liberals to promote some good budget measures. The one that did not get passed was a national daycare program negotiated with the provinces, an issue the member will soon be confronting if her motion around daycare ever comes to fruition or if the NDP ever forms government. We all know we cannot negotiate with the provinces quickly.
    The issue is this. When we have opportunities to agree, we should agree and we should work together to get stuff done on some issues. The last Liberal budget in 2005 had $2.4 billion for housing. If that budget had gone through, it would have taken with it the Kelowna accord, which would have had an extraordinary impact on aboriginal first nations communities. We would also have had a national child care policy from coast to coast to coast. Unfortunately, that budget did not survive. Co-operation on that one, which was not an omnibus bill, would have been really good for cities, municipalities, provinces and communities, but, most important, Canadians right across the country.
    We need to start thinking about these issues in a more concise way. I share the NDP concern that the other side has done one thing and one thing only in this budget, and that is to make housing more expensive, while ignoring all of the other demands for housing.
    On the issue of refugees looking for social assistance, the government has listened to nobody because nobody has asked for action. The Conservatives have slipped in a private member's bill in a way that can only be described as trying to hide their true motives. On that one, I share the NDP's distaste for the way in which the government has moved on this legislation
    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the hon. member's theme about all of the things that are hidden in this little gem of a budget.
    I presented to the House Bill C-474, a transparency bill for the extractive sector. Lo and behold, the government in its wisdom defeated the bill, and now it has slipped that bill back into this omnibus legislation. I suppose I should be flattered. I could count that as maybe a half win. Nevertheless, the irony is quite resplendent. That bill demanded of the extractive sector accountability and transparency and was put in an omnibus bill of 586 pages, which has no accountability and no transparency.
    Would the member care to comment on all of these little “gems” that are hidden in this legislation, which make it difficult for members to vote reasonably?
    Mr. Speaker, we might see consensus emerging on some of these items if they were presented one at a time in front of us as members of Parliament. The trouble is that quite clearly a game is being played. We can almost see the campaign being written by members across the way. We voted against X, Y and Z. What they do not tell the public is that we have to vote A, B and C to get there. That is the problem. It sets up a deceitful way of making members of the House express and represent their constituents views, and that is just fundamentally wrong. It also leads to the bad lawmaking that requires 10 corrections.
    There is great consensus in the House on things like an urban agenda, and yet we see nothing.
    The one thing the Tories have done is raise taxes on condominiums and made housing more expensive. That does not help anybody in the country except for the folks who draft bills like this.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we are here to debate Bill C-43 to implement certain provisions of the 2014 budget. I am pleased to be able to speak on this subject.
    First, I believe that it is logical to oppose bills like this one that are too big. This bill addresses too many subjects that have nothing to do with the budget. As a result, we do not have enough time to analyze and thoroughly debate the bill. By way of evidence, this bill corrects a number of previous bills that contained disparate elements.
    We have come to expect omnibus bills from this government, and that is something that I find unacceptable in a country like Canada. Today, we are not only debating the implementation of the budget, but also amendments to the Criminal Code, patents, aeronautics and telecommunications, employment insurance and social assistance, which the government wants to take away from part of the population. I am not the only one to point out the Conservatives' lack of respect for democracy.
    To come back to the bill before us today, I believe that it contains initiatives and measures that are not in line with the pressing needs of the middle class. The bill offers tax credits here and there, but we can already predict that they will be useless, outdated and impractical.
    I find it disappointing that the government ignores what the public wants when drafting a document as important as a budget. We need a much more ambitious plan in order to offer middle-class families better opportunities, while doing everything we can to foster sustainable economic growth.
    One of the measures in the bill that I would like to speak about today is the increase in the child fitness tax credit from $76 to $150. This increase is one of the new income tax measures. As the sport critic, I am pleased to speak about this initiative.
    During the 2011 election, the Conservatives' platform indicated that this measure would cost approximately $130 million a year. The government now expects it to cost only $35 million a year, even though this tax credit will be refundable every year. The fact that the government lowered the estimated cost of this initiative shows that it already knows that this increased tax credit will not increase our children's physical activity.
    Of course, no one is against costs that are lower than planned, and no one is against additional tax credits. However, I strongly believe that if the measure already in place did not achieve the goal of making young people more active, then the proposal to increase the tax credit will not really encourage more people to use it to improve their children's health.
    The participation rate in organized sports is going down, not up. The only year when there was an increase in the past 10 or 15 years was in 2003. We know what happened: in 2002, during the Winter Olympics, the men's and women's hockey teams won gold medals. We expect to see increased participation in organized sports this year because Canada won medals in hockey and curling. There will be just a slight increase in participation. We do not expect this increase in the tax credit to increase the number of children registered for sports such as hockey in the long term.
    This shows that the government is not listening. This initiative is not the help that Canadian families need to motivate young people to be physically active. I know the benefits of physical activity, and I think we need to assess certain policies and improve them or even replace them when they are not working.

  (1555)  

    It has been proven that being active plays a very important part in reducing the long-term risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer.
    According to a document produced by the Conference Board of Canada, inactivity is a serious problem for everyone. The document says that “sitting is being called the 'new smoking'”.
    This is a problem that affects both adults and children, who are becoming increasingly focused on and influenced by technology. This is a social crisis that affects us all. Computers and televisions are creating a generation of young people who remain seated and who do not move enough.
    Unfortunately, I see the child fitness tax credit as a relatively ineffective and impractical tax measure.
    A real initiative to encourage young Canadians to get into shape would involve resources on many different levels. Various Canadian sports organizations wanted the federal government to invest a significant amount of money in infrastructure for various sports.
    I have to wonder how much the government has set aside to refurbish or build sports infrastructure over the next few years. Has the government set aside any money, and could this government commit to doing more and doing a better job at getting our young people moving? I think it is the government's responsibility to look at the programs it develops and eliminate them when they do not achieve their objectives.
    I enjoy sports and this topic is important to me, so I am aware of the urgent needs in the sports world. The most common concern is the lack of infrastructure and resources. We are lacking resources to better train our coaches and enable elite athletes to continue to train in the future.
    Massive, direct investments in sports infrastructure could play a big part in getting Canadians back in shape. I urge the government to act now for the well-being of all young Canadians.
    Another important aspect of the bill that I would like to debate is the amendment to the Employment Insurance Act. This new employment credit is for small businesses that pay less than $15,000 in EI premiums annually. According to government estimates, this credit will cost $550 million over the next two years. Again according to government estimates, this initiative could create approximately 800 jobs over the next two years.
    However, this is another useless and ill-conceived measure by this government. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, each one of the jobs created will cost about $700,000. Some experts even believe that this credit will eliminate jobs, which goes against its main objective. This is not really the help that the Canadian middle class is looking for.
    The Liberal Party proposed a two-year premium exemption for every new job created by small businesses. We believe that companies that create new jobs should be compensated and that we should not run the risk of losing jobs or driving down salaries because of a bad tax credit.
    The Liberal Party believes that we must focus on job creation for the middle class and on economic growth. We can only build a strong and growing economy by addressing Canadians' concerns and listening to what they want. The government is completely out of touch with Canadians and is not offering any major, practical solutions to spur economic growth.
    In closing, I believe that Bill C-43 does not meet Canadians' expectations. The government must do better when it comes to investing in infrastructure, investing in education by working with the provinces to promote accessibility, and developing real initiatives to create jobs in Canada. Furthermore, I believe that the government should sit down with the provinces and consider the different problems they are facing.

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked about how the Conservative government does not listen to experts, as we have said.
    The Conservatives have paid more attention to lobbyists by proposing a plan that will siphon $500 million out of the employment insurance fund to create a mere 800 jobs.
    In my riding, the community of White River needs about 60 employees and is having a hard time hiring people to train them. This kind of thing is happening across the province.
    Does my colleague think that the $500 million would be better invested in a training program so that people can be hired in places like White River?

  (1605)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
    If the government will not listen to the NDP and the Liberal Party, maybe it will listen to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who came up with the estimates.
    I might have gone a little too fast, so I can redo the math, but it is just like my colleague said. The government's new employment insurance reform will cost $500 million and will create just 800 jobs. If you divide $550 million by 800 jobs, that means each job will cost $700,000. That makes no sense.
    That $500 million could be invested in ridings like the one represented by my colleague from Sudbury, or the Island of Montreal, where unemployment rates are a little too high. That way, we could train our young people so that they can find sustainable jobs for the future.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I believe the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel has it right. I truly appreciate the comments he has put on the record in regard to the government's budget.
    I have a simple question for the member. When he talks about the needs of the community and makes reference to Montreal and others, but specifically in regard to Montreal, could the member provide his thoughts on how important it is for the government to invest in infrastructure today as an important economic tool into the future?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague's very good question does not only relate to Montreal. Urban centres all face the challenge, but we saw in the last budget implementation bill that the government committed to having tolls put on the Champlain Bridge. Just south of Montreal we have three other bridges. If we put tolls on just the Champlain Bridge, we are going to have backlogs in traffic all the way to the east end and the Champlain Bridge is located on the west end. I met with some east end business groups and they said we will not solve the problem by setting tolls. The problem will be solved by investing more in infrastructure.
    There is a chronic problem in this country in getting goods from east to west and west to east through the provinces, but we have a huge problem on the island of Montreal getting goods from the east end to the west end because of tonnes of problems with infrastructure. Putting tolls on the Champlain Bridge will be one of the many problems that we will have if the government does not get its act together and put more money into infrastructure.
    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to have an opportunity to participate with my parliamentary colleagues in the debate on Bill C-43. I will be splitting my time with the member for Newmarket—Aurora.
    Throughout the past number of months, especially during the summer break, I spent a lot of time going door to door in the neighbourhoods of the riding I represent. Often residents were surprised to see me at the door during a non-election period but appreciated the opportunity to be served by their member. I appreciated the opportunity to listen to the concerns and questions of my constituents and to see if there was something my office could assist them with.
    There were some common themes that I heard from my constituents. People are concerned about their families, friends, and neighbours. They want to ensure that they all have a job to go to each day. They want to know if they will be able to afford to feed their families and provide them with a safe home. They want to ensure that the portion of their hard-earned income that goes to taxes is being used efficiently and wisely.
    Our government continues to work hard to create jobs, keep taxes low, and help make our streets and communities safer.
    With respect to jobs, I would like to mention that we have the best record in the G7, as has been mentioned often but deserves repeating. We have recovered every job we lost during the recession. Better yet, 1.1 million new jobs have been created in Canada since the depths of the recession, over 80% of which are full time. That is progress because every single one of those jobs means something important to someone, fathers or mothers, young people who are starting their career, or new Canadians who are committed to doing their part in their new country of Canada.
    We are working hard to help students and apprentices. I recently had an opportunity to visit the Electrical College of Canada in my riding of Mississauga East—Cooksville. The college prepares its students with the hands-on, practical application of electrical theory and safety knowledge to get students started toward achieving an electrician licence. During this meeting I heard from the instructors and leaders about the demand for skilled trades, as well as the need for opportunities for young people to apply their practical hands-on skills. There were a number of young men and woman who were learning a trade, which they were excited about, and they were excited about where it would take them. Economic action plan 2014 would help our skilled trades. Apprentices registered in eligible trades would be eligible for loans that would be interest free until their training ends.
    We recently recognized our small-business owners and employees during Small Business Week, those who work hard and take risks in order to create jobs and move our economy. I want to thank the hard-working people in our community who run small businesses. Despite the economic challenges, these business owners are committed to providing jobs and spur our economy. With that in mind, our government recently announced the small business job credit to lower payroll taxes on small business by 15%. The hard-working people of the riding I represent, Mississauga East—Cooksville, can be assured that we will continue to work on the mission of creating the conditions for new and better jobs across all sectors of our economy.
    Earlier I mentioned the comments I heard from my constituents who are concerned about their taxes being used wisely, and the costs of living and raising a family.

  (1610)  

    The cost of raising a family adds up quickly. Our Conservative government understands these challenges. That is why we have worked to lower taxes, cutting the GST to 5% and cutting personal income taxes, and thousands and thousands of Canadians are taking advantage of the tax-free savings account that our government brought forward. Let us not forget the universal child care benefit, the children's art tax credit, and the children's fitness tax credit.
    There is an old expression that goes something like this: active children are healthy children. Canada's Minister of State for Sport recently visited my riding for a tour of the Mississauga Valley Community Centre. He had a very good discussion with some of the sports and recreation representatives in the community about the importance of activity to young people. I certainly believe that to be true, and so does our government. Regular exercise is essential to children's development and to get them started on a lifetime of healthy and active living.
    With that in mind, our Conservative government introduced the children's fitness tax credit, which provides nearly 1.5 million Canadian families with tax relief, an incentive to keep their children active. Further to this, I am very proud of our government's recent announcement of the doubling of the children's fitness tax credit amount to $1,000.
    With all these tax cuts, credits, and supports by our Conservative government, the average family of four now saves nearly $3,400 a year.
    Families also want to know that they are safe in our communities. Of course, we must first thank our police and peace officers for all they do. Our government is doing its part to make sure the system puts the interests of law-abiding Canadians and the victims of crime first. We are toughening laws and supporting programs in this regard.
     I want to recognize the Minister of Status of Women, who visited my riding in September and joined with Ms. Ashley Lyons, executive director of Safe City Mississauga, for a special announcement.
    The minister announced more than $166,000 in funding support to help prevent and eliminate cyberviolence against women and girls in Mississauga and the Region of Peel. This is one example among many of our government continuing to take concrete actions to protect Canadians from all forms of violence.
     Locally in Mississauga, we are seeing job growth and infrastructure investment in our community, thanks to our government's focus on reducing red tape while increasing investment in skills training.
     The City of Mississauga has received nearly $126 million of federal funding through the gas tax fund since 2006. I will add to this that the Region of Peel gas tax fund is at nearly $213 million since 2006. This is a long-term, predictable, and environmentally stable source of funding that has helped with major projects, including Mississauga's accessible transit fleet and the transit campus.
     I want to quickly share an email that I received recently from the City of Mississauga for the opening of the Mississauga Transitway:
    As an important partner in the Transitway Project, I would like to personally invite you to...the official opening ceremony. It’s our way of saying thank you for your commitment to the Mississauga Transitway Project.
     I am looking forward to joining with my Mississauga and Region of Peel colleagues for this special event. Indeed, this is a government that is investing in our communities, our people, and our future.
    Canadians can be pleased that this budget contains no new taxes on families and businesses, while also continuing to ensure government spending is efficient and as effective as possible.

  (1615)  

    We will always put consumers first, expanding choice and reducing costs and keeping taxes low. We are helping and supporting families. We will always put Canada first, celebrating and defending our country and working to keep Canadians safe in their communities.
     These are the priorities of the hard-working people whose doorsteps I visited throughout the summer and fall, and these are also the proud commitments of our government. I would ask all members of this House to vote in support of Bill C-43.
    Mr. Speaker, like the member opposite, I have been knocking on the doors of many of my constituents in Parkdale—High Park, and like the member's opposite, many of our constituents are certainly concerned about how the dollars they send to Ottawa are being spent and how the money that goes into the employment insurance fund, for example, is spent.
    One of the highlights of the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report is looking into the Conservatives' small-business hiring credit. We in the NDP are big promoters of small business, and we certainly want to do whatever we can to encourage them to hire. We have put forward a number of proposals to assist small businesses, including reducing credit card transaction fees. However, what the Parliamentary Budget Officer said was that the credit that the federal government is proposing would cost $0.5 billion and only create 800 jobs. That means it would cost $550,000 for each job created.
    My question for the member opposite is this. Does he think that is good value for Canadian tax dollars?

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I stated in my speech, there is always a concern of my constituents and those of other members, people across Canada, about how efficiently the tax dollars that they contribute are spent. Of course, as I mentioned in my speech, we are working very hard so that the tax dollars are spent wisely, and also that we give our businesses opportunities to grow, that we do not burden them with different taxes and rising taxes, and that we give them a competitive edge on every front.
    Of course there is room for improvement, and that is why we will be working every day on improving the way businesses can work and compete on the world market.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow on the last question, because it seems to me that the current Conservative government has rejected what would be a very good improvement, and that is to replace its plan for EI tax credits with a plan that would actually give an incentive to businesses to create jobs.
    It is one thing to give businesses money, which they may or may not invest. It is another thing to say that, if they create a new job, they will get a credit. They would get this incentive.
    Economic choices are made at the margins. This is basic economics. I really would like the member to answer the question that was previously posed, and also to tell the Canadian people why we do not give businesses an incentive to create new jobs instead of just a simple transfer of cash.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure what he is talking about regarding the government giving cash to businesses instead of incentives. Maybe he forgot, but one of the great incentives is the hiring tax credit. That is given to businesses to hire new people. That is an incentive. This is an incentive for the businesses to grow. Therefore, we do not have a policy to throw money at businesses. Yes, our policy is to give all kinds of incentives for businesses, to help them grow, not to burden them with higher taxes.
    Before we resume debate, it is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Malpeque, the Canadian Wheat Board; the hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, Aboriginal Affairs.
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud today to speak on behalf of my constituents in Newmarket—Aurora on the second implementation bill of economic action plan 2014.
    This is a tremendous piece of legislation that would benefit residents in Newmarket—Aurora and indeed all Canadians. It responds to the priorities of my constituents by putting tax dollars back into their pockets, increasing transparency in government, supporting Canadian families, and helping to create jobs and opportunity.
    Newmarket—Aurora is home to thousands of families, residents who work hard to raise their children and contribute to their community. Every day in my riding, thousands of children and youth participate in a myriad of sports and fitness sessions that include soccer, hockey, dance, baseball, gymnastics, swimming, and martial arts, just to name a few.
    The benefits of fitness activity in children are well known. In addition to the physical health benefits, participation in sports can help build self-esteem and confidence, motivate children to excel academically, and build valuable social skills. That is why, in order to help parents afford the cost of enrolling their children in organized sports activities, economic action plan 2014 proposes to double the children's fitness tax credit from $500 to $1,000. This credit would also become refundable, increasing its benefit to low-income families claiming the credit.
    I remind Canadians that since 2006, our Conservative government has reduced federal taxes to the average Canadian family of four by over $3,400 each and every year. Indeed, the overall federal tax burden is now at its lowest level in 50 years.
    How did we do this? We reduced the GST by nearly 30%, a measure that benefits all Canadians whether or not they pay taxes. We also increased the basic personal amount, the amount that all Canadians can earn without paying federal income tax. We reduced the lowest personal income tax rate and we introduced the tax-free savings account. Doubling the children's fitness tax credit and making it refundable is just one more way that our government is putting more money back into the pockets of families.
    Canada is ranked as one of the world's most attractive countries for business. Bloomberg rankings recently saw Canada leap into second place, behind only Hong Kong. This did not happen by itself; it is a direct result of our government's strong, continued focus on jobs and economic growth.
    Economic action plan 2014 continues this focus through the introduction of the new small business job credit. The small business job credit will cut EI payroll taxes by 15%, saving small businesses more than $550 million over the next two years, money that can be reinvested into hiring or into upgrading equipment and increasing productivity.
     This is yet another action by our government to grow the economy and help create jobs. Indeed, through this government's focus on jobs and economic growth, over 1.1 million net new jobs have been created, 82% of them full-time jobs, with 78% in the private sector and 67% in high-wage industries. Almost 90% of businesses in Canada, about 780,000 in total, will directly benefit from the credit.
    We know that small businesses like those in my riding of Newmarket—Aurora are the backbone of the economy and the economic engines of our communities. In Canada, they employ approximately 70% of the total labour force in the private sector.
    This credit builds upon our government's strong support of small business since 2006, which has included measures to cut red tape, freeze EI premiums, and reduce the small business tax rate.

  (1625)  

    Economic action plan 2014 and, more specifically, this second budget implementation bill continue to empower Canadian consumers. For example, it would improve competition in the telecommunications market and end pay-to-pay billing practices by telecommunications service providers whereby subscribers are charged to receive bills in paper form.
     Bill C-43 also proposes to reduce the administrative burden on charities by allowing them to use modern electronic tools to raise funds and for other purposes. This is great news for the many charities in Newmarket and Aurora. Currently, registered charities must file annual information returns with the Canada Revenue Agency. Unlike other groups, however, charities do not have the option of filing their information returns electronically. This poses a significant administrative burden for volunteers and staff of some 86,000 registered charities across Canada. To address this concern and to reduce the administrative burden on charities, funding will be provided to the Canada Revenue Agency to modernize its information technology, thereby enabling charities to apply for registration and file their annual information returns electronically for the first time.
    To encourage Canadians to donate to registered charities, the Government of Canada provides individuals and businesses with tax incentives that have been described as among the most generous in the world. In fact, federal tax assistance for the charitable sector amounts to approximately $3 billion annually. This new measure would further assist charities to focus more on raising funds to support the great work that they do and less on administration.
    My constituents are also pleased that Bill C-43 would end pay-to-pay billing practices by telecommunications service providers whereby subscribers are charged to receive bills in paper form. The practice of broadcasting companies charging subscribers for providing them with a paper bill is an irritating and costly one. I have had numerous complaints from my constituents regarding this practice.
    We do not believe that Canadians should pay more to receive a paper copy of their telephone or wireless bill. That is why, as we set out in the 2013 Speech from the Throne, we are committed to ending this unfair practice once and for all. Bill C-43 sets out the legislation to do so.
    I can assure my constituents and all Canadians that our government will continue to promote policies that support Canadian consumers and put more money back in the pockets of hard-working Canadian families.
     I have spoken in the House and in committee in the past about our government's concrete action to address the tragic issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women. Economic action plan 2014 contains significant actions to further address this issue. Some $25 million would be allocated over five years to continue our efforts in directly addressing the issue, and over $8 million would be used to support a national DNA-based missing persons index. These two initiatives, together with other federal support for shelters, family violence prevention, and increased economic and leadership opportunities for aboriginal women, will result in a total investment by the Government of Canada of nearly $200 million over five years.
    This investment builds on previous actions that include the passing of historic legislation that gave aboriginal women living on first nations reserves the same matrimonial rights as all Canadians, including access to emergency protection orders in violent situations. We have also passed over 30 justice and public safety measures, including tougher sentencing for murder, sexual assault, and kidnapping.
    I will go back to some of the things that the economic action plan would do. It would make key investments to ensure that today's youth have the skills that they need to get the jobs of tomorrow. We want to see all young people have the opportunity.
    I urge my colleagues on both sides of the House to support the bill's speedy passage so that we can begin to see the results and the benefits.

  (1630)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the speech she gave.
    Clearly, the speech was filled with the same bravado we are used to hearing from the Conservative benches. It is rather disappointing. I find it unfortunate that my colleague brought up the question of support for small businesses, yet she ignored the fact that the Conservatives' plans have so far been quite ineffective for small business.
    In reality, when we look at the past 20 years, big business has benefited from major tax cuts—their taxes have been practically cut in half—while small businesses have had their tax rates cut by only one percentage point, from 12% to 11%.
    The NDP believes in restoring the corporate fiscal balance by lowering small business tax rates to 9% and cancelling certain cuts that were granted to big business.
    I would like to ask my colleague why she did not encourage her government to move in that direction, which would have been far more productive than tax credits that will create almost no jobs in the long run.

  (1635)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as a small business owner and as someone who has worked in that space for quite a number of years, I have, except for four years, created my own paycheque all my adult life. I know that any time we give a tax break to a small business, it will look at reinvesting it into the business, create more services, and create more job opportunities. Any time a small business gets any sort of tax break, that money goes back into the economy. It generates more opportunities in the community.
    I attended, over the Thanksgiving break week, the business awards dinner that was held by our Chamber of Commerce. Person after person from small businesses came up to me to compliment us on the proposals for EI and to tell me that they are going to create more jobs in Newmarket, meaning great opportunities for young people in my community.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a question about the first item that my hon. colleague addressed, which is the children's fitness tax credit.
    The question is about whether the changes to the tax credit measure are really about children's fitness. The way to decide that is to ask the government, I believe, if it has any intention of measuring what the change in children's fitness or fitness activity is as a result of the tax credit.
    Mr. Speaker, I have worked in the area of wellness promotion. I have been involved for many years. In fact, when I was running for the nomination in 2004, I put on record that I would introduce a private member's bill to create a tax credit for people who had gym memberships.
    I am absolutely delighted that the Conservative government is going to put in place a tax credit for children's fitness. Not only would it help families that are trying to give their young ones the opportunity to learn sports and to benefit from the social recreation and leadership skills that sports develops, but it would also create a new generation of healthy young people who would have less need to call upon our health care system.
    I see the tax credit as an incredible asset to young families. Doubling it would mean more money in their pockets.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague just started to explain the benefits of the increased tax credit for children, but I would like her to briefly highlight the aspect of not only doubling it but making it refundable. That is a key point for low-income Canadians.
    I wonder if she would expand on that aspect for 30 seconds.
    Mr. Speaker, indeed this measure would be of real benefit to low-income families, families that may not have been able to access any of the benefits of the tax credit. This would directly put money back into their pockets and give low-income families the opportunity to see their children participate in some of those recreational programs that perhaps they have not had the opportunity to participate in.
    What is most important is that we would be creating a new generation of healthy young people, young people who are going to focus for the long term on their own activity and their own fitness levels and be encouraged to participate for the long run in what wellness can provide to them and in a healthy lifestyle.

  (1640)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to stand for a few moments to talk about Bill C-43.
    I indicate that I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for Beauport—Limoilou.
    I have to say that I speak to the bill with a feeling of frustration and disappointment in this process. We have a bill that implements a budget to fund an organization that spends over $200 billion a year. It is a budget implementation act that consists of 460 pages. It affects dozens of pieces of legislation, things such as, for example, a scheme that the government has come up with to use workers' and employers' money, though mainly workers' money, to fund a supposed job creation plan that the Parliamentary Budget Officer said is going to cost over $500,000 per job. It has those kinds of provisions in it, yet members are being provided four days to debate the bill.
    Four days sounds like a paltry amount, but let us take a look at how many hours that is. One of those days is Friday, when we will have two hours in which to debate Bill C-43. Because of the fact there will be a joint session to hear from the President of France, Monday will be considered a Wednesday, so we will have another two hours. If we stretch it out, we might get a total of 12 hours to discuss the bill.
    Some of the Conservatives often say I am wasting my time. It is my time and I will use it the best way I know how. I am talking about the concerns of my constituents. Not only is the process a sham, but how could anyone possibly analyze a document of this size and this complexity in 12 hours?
    Let us look for a second at what the government actually does with its budget. I talked about the fact that the budget of this country is over $200 billion. We found out just yesterday that more than $18 billion in spending that had been budgeted for programs, infrastructure and capital spending lapsed. In other words, it was not spent on what it was intended for. For example, close to $1 billion that had been budgeted for the Department of National Defence was not spent.
    What does that mean? That means that the men and women who protect our country, who go on training and operations here and around the world, do not have the equipment they need in order to conduct their activities. It means that bases such as Shearwater in Nova Scotia have to shut down their arenas, pools and chapels because they do not have the money to repair the infrastructure. That is what it means when we say money lapsed that had been budgeted to be spent in areas and operations that were deemed required by someone in order to make sure those particular services were appropriate. Bridges and roads have gone without the funds necessary to properly operate.

  (1645)  

    Here we are talking about legislation to implement a budget that is frankly fanciful to begin with to a large extent. The government does not have a clue what it is doing. It does not have a clue. Member after member on the government side stands and says that they are a small business person so they know how to run things and manage money.
    If small business owners managed their businesses in this fashion, they would not be doing it very long because they would not have a roof over their business, they would not have stock because they would not be able to transport stock, and they would not have employees because they would not be able to ensure employees in the workplace were safe. What I am talking about is the responsible management of the resources of the people of this country.
    The Prime Minister is out this afternoon making announcements. How can we believe those? It is like the plan that was announced in 2007 to build between six and eight Arctic offshore patrol vessels. In fact, they were going to cut steel and the first one was going to be started in 2013. That was last year. That is what the government promised. Conservatives went through at least two elections with the big promotions behind that, but it has become increasingly clear that the money is not going to be there. They are not going to be able to build six to eight Arctic offshore patrol vessels. They will be able to build maybe four and if they keep delaying things they way they have been, it is going to be three.
    Why is that important? It is important because we went through a process that we supported and one of the places that was awarded to build those ships was in Nova Scotia. There are hundreds and thousands of men and women around that region who are depending on those jobs. They are now travelling out west to find work. They are counting on that investment that was promised to them by the government, by the Prime Minister, and as every single day goes by it becomes increasingly apparent it is not going to come to fruition.
    We will not know about it probably until after the next election, because somewhere, somehow, the Conservatives will get a welder and a blow torch and cut some steel somewhere and say, “this is what you are going to get if you elect us”, when in fact they know that the money is not there. The Minister of Public Works knows. It is just like the F-35s. It is just like the replacement helicopters for the Sea Kings. Conservatives just cannot seem to get it right. They cannot get the equipment into the hands of the men and women who serve this country and that is shameful.
    That is what we are here to talk about. We should be talking under Bill C-43 about whether or not we can believe anything that is in this document of 460 pages that talks about implementing the budget, a budget that frankly proves time after time to be fanciful. That is the concern that my constituents have, that the government is not able to produce the goods.

  (1650)  

    The hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans is rising on a point of order?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, I am. I would like to advise my friend that I am trying to be attentive to what he says and he says that he is talking about something, but really he is yelling about it. I wonder if you could advise him that his microphone is working and he does not have to scream.
    I do not think that is a point of order, but we will allow the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour to continue. He has a little under a minute left in his remarks.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not going to apologize for being passionate about what the Conservative government is doing to constituents in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. I will never be quiet when the Conservatives are making decisions that are having such an impact on people in my constituency and people across this country. If that offends the sensibilities of the member opposite, then he can go somewhere else, because this is my time.
    My time has been chewed up by an irrelevant question but nonetheless I want to take this opportunity to say that this process is shameful. It does not serve the interests of Canadians and it certainly does not serve the interests of the people of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, and that is how I plan to vote on Bill C-43.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the issue of housing, which my colleague from Toronto made reference to and which members have talked about to a certain degree in this budget debate. There is a desperate need for stronger leadership from Ottawa to deal with the housing issue in virtually every region of the country. There is a genuine need for low-cost housing, low-income housing in particular, but also within the middle class, people are finding it challenging to own a home nowadays.
    The government has not included anything in this budget that would make it easier for people to own homes or to even look at retrofit programs that would be better for the environment. The whole housing file seems to be completely missing from the budget.
    I wonder if the member could comment on the importance of having a more proactive approach in dealing with housing, non-profit housing in particular.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member for Winnipeg North because what has been happening with the cost of housing, particularly the cost of affordable housing in this country, is serious. That began to happen back in the late nineties when the Liberal government pulled out in a big way from supporting affordable housing strategies across this country. It was a shameful process to watch and it has continued under the Conservative government to the point now where it is estimated that there are 250,000 homeless families in this country. We simply have to do better.
    The federal government has a responsibility to partner with the provinces to make sure that we not only fix the stock from the seventies and eighties that is falling apart but that we find other ways to provide new stock in our communities to make sure that affordable housing is available to Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I find it ironic that for more than a day we have heard the NDP talking about the size of the omnibus budget bill, that it is an overly large bill, but rather than talk about what is in the budget bill that member has been talking about things that are not in it. He talked about the national shipping strategy and Arctic offshore patrol ships. Apparently there is not enough content in the budget bill for those members to criticize so they have to go fishing for other topics to talk about.
    It is because of our strong fiscal position that we are able to invest in our armed forces and in military equipment, and invest in the Coast Guard.
    If the member wants to talk about that topic, even though it is not specifically addressed in this budget bill, why do we not talk about our fiscal capacity and the fact that it is because of the strong fiscal measures that we have taken that we have the room to invest in our military and get it back on track?

  (1655)  

    Mr. Speaker, a few veterans and a few members of the Canadian Forces live in Dartmouth who would love to have a little chat with my friend opposite about what his government is doing to support the women and men who serve this country through the Canadian Forces. It is despicable in far too many cases.
    I talked to a constituent the other day whose brother committed suicide after having served within the armed forces for 23 years. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The government did not heed his cry for help and he ended up taking his life. That is what happens when, for example, $1 billion is left unspent in the Department of National Defence. Members opposite have to understand what this is about. This is real. This is not funny. These are not games. Real people, real families are being affected, and that is who I am talking about here today in my remarks.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for sharing his precious speaking time with me. Given that this is a mammoth, monstrous bill, 10 minutes is nowhere near enough time to comment on certain aspects. I want to sincerely thank him for sharing his time so that I can speak to certain aspects of the budget that are of particular interest to the people of Beauport—Limoilou.
    Before I begin, I cannot help but pick up on the parliamentary secretary's comments. I would like to ask him where the replacement fighter jets are. Where are the ships that are supposed to maintain the operational capabilities of our armed forces and the coast guard? While we are at it, I could even ask where, at the bottom of the river, the paintbrush for repainting the Quebec Bridge has wound up. I could do as my Conservative colleagues have done and list all of this government's failures, but it would take too long and I would not be able to address the sensitive issues that are of particular concern to the people of Beauport—Limoilou.
    We have amply highlighted the omnibus nature of this bill, which is more than 450 pages long and contains more than 400 clauses. It is terrible and completely disrespectful of Canadians. That is not to mention the time allocation motion, which severely limits our debates, in addition to the farce we can expect in the committee hearings. This budget implementation bill is meant to go to the Standing Committee on Finance. However, the Conservatives will continue to show contempt toward all Canadians in studying the bill by making it impossible to amend various parts, including, no doubt, at the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, of which I am very proud to be a member.
    Let us move on from the Conservatives' shameful behaviour and focus instead on the part in division 16 of the bill on the amendments to the Canada Marine Act. Hon. members are aware of the issue affecting the people of my riding, Beauport—Limoilou, namely the high level of contamination by a mix of dust, including nickel dust, from the Port of Québec, due to the operations of the Quebec Stevedoring company.
    Obviously, like everyone else, I took up reading this immense bill under unspeakable conditions. After looking at the summary, I decided to focus on this division. There are a number of changes that open the door quite wide. It makes us wonder about the government's intentions and deeper motives. When it changes aspects and sections of our statutes, it does not just make minor changes, without intending to have these sections apply more broadly. Once the door is open it is impossible to close it again without a very strong will. I will raise a number of questions related to that.
    I will start with clause 228:
    228. Section 46 of the Canada Marine Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2.1):
    (2.11) A port authority may acquire federal real property or federal immovables, if supplementary letters patent have been issued.
    That property will become “real property or immovables other than federal real property or federal immovables”.
    That will already have serious consequences. Hon. members likely know that a Canadian port authority cannot transfer, dispose of, or borrow against federal real property or federal immovables.
    Clearly, once the door is open we can imagine what will happen. Furthermore, the government is taking a piecemeal approach because, depending on the port authority, it will issue letters patent tailored to certain circumstances on a case-by-case basis. It is our understanding that these amendments were intended to resolve a particular case in one part of Canada, or that they represented a concession in that particular case. Nevertheless, this could have many negative, even dangerous, repercussions for the people living near a port or a major Canadian port authority.

  (1700)  

    I would like to mention that all major Canadian cities have a port authority. Thus, very large populations could be affected by these changes. Potentially, these changes could ultimately result in complete or piece-by-piece privatization. We have absolutely no idea where this will stop, so why not?
    I will now talk about clause 231 of the same bill. This clause adds quite a number of elements to section 64 of the Canada Marine Act. How this is done is quite surprising. This affects undertakings situated in a port, and the Governor in Council will have the authority to:
...make regulations respecting any undertaking...that is situated or proposed to be situated in a port, including regulations respecting the development, use and environmental protection of the port as it relates to the undertaking or class of undertakings.
    When we look at all the details, we realize that once again, the government, in an underhanded and secretive way, can, through regulation, introduce individual rules tailored to the needs or even the whims of businesses working in our major Canadian ports.
    Since the contaminated dust issue blew up two years ago—the government is still valiantly trying to keep that out of the spotlight—Quebec Stevedoring has always tried to shirk its responsibility and take advantage of a system that lets the company get away with it. Unfortunately, if I understand the logic of these new provisions, that system might be obligingly provided by a government that received nearly $20,000 in donations from the company's senior executives, including the founding president of Quebec Stevedoring.
    It is scary to see the door wide open like that and the red carpet rolled out for a select group of friends, so of course we have legitimate questions. Unfortunately, we are looking at this as part of a huge omnibus bill. We will have no choice but to exercise our right to vote on the bill as a whole. Obviously, we are going to vote against the bill because it contains too many unacceptable measures.
    Then government representatives will be able to drone on, squawk and get all offended about how we voted for this or that measure, and they will generally behave in a way not befitting adults. I will not call it childish, because that would be disrespectful to children. As it turns out, children behave better than many adults.
    I will end there, because I could go on for another 10 minutes, but I cannot fault my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for wanting 10 minutes to stand up for his constituents.
    If it ever passes, section 64.93, which is part of clause 231, indicates that:
     No civil proceeding may be brought, no order may be made and no fine or monetary penalty may be imposed against Her Majesty in right of Canada or a port authority, in relation to an undertaking that is situated in a port, under regulations made under subsection 64.1(1), based on any right or interest held by Her Majesty or the port authority in that port.
    We will have to see what the scope will be, but this clause raises a lot of questions and does not answer the concerns we might have.
     In conclusion, what is really disappointing and what we need to strongly condemn is the fact that the government will try send this division to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities for review.

  (1705)  

    Unfortunately, though, we will not be able to examine it in depth or propose any amendments. Nothing will be done right, and the Conservatives will likely take the opportunity to do some nice things for their friends.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou.
    I do not know if the House noticed that my colleague did not mention the budget. He did not. Was he out of order? Not at all. That is what is so ridiculous about these mammoth bills. He kept his comments perfectly relevant to the bill, and he did not even mention the budget.
    How is that possible? Everything he talked about deserved to be in a separate