Hansard
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 15 of 53
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2014-11-27 12:05 [p.9880]
Mr. Speaker, I first want to congratulate the member for Oshawa on his very thoughtful remarks. We are certainly fortunate to have a parliamentary secretary who is so engaged on the topic.
It is impossible to stand today to speak about the thalidomide tragedy and not be moved. It is a story of an unspeakable tragedy of distraught parents, and children born with challenges that most of us cannot begin to comprehend. This is a tragic event from the 1960s that reminds us of why we need to take drug safety so seriously.
Nothing could ever undo the pain and suffering that was inflicted. It is a story that changed the way we regulate drugs in Canada. It opened our eyes to the fact that while drugs can bring many benefits, by curing diseases, reducing symptoms, and prolonging lives, they can also carry tremendous risks. It also serves as a constant reminder that we as parliamentarians must do all that we can to strengthen patient safety in Canada. That is why I am very pleased to hear that the Minister of Health will be meeting with thalidomide victims and working co-operatively with them to determine what government can do to support them.
Canada now has one of the safest drug systems in the world, and our government recently strengthened that even further, giving royal assent to Bill C-17, Vanessa's law. Protecting patients is a shared responsibility, one that also rests with fellow legislators in the provinces and with provincial health departments, individual health care professionals and administrators, the colleges that regulate medical practice and other professional organizations, key partners like the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, and the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network, and last, of course, the manufacturers of drugs.
The thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s, like no other event before or since, has impressed upon us what a truly enormous responsibility that is. While the quest for new cures is vital, it is equally important that we do everything in our power to ensure that drugs that reach the market do not cause harms that outweigh their benefits. That is why all parties in the House and in the other place united to unanimously support Vanessa's law, and why so many stakeholders and individuals endorsed that legislation.
Although many steps have been taken previously to strengthen Canada's drug safety system, we all recognize that the Minister of Health and Health Canada did not have adequate powers to protect patients from drugs that were found to be unsafe once they were on the market We, as legislators, acted decisively to provide the new tools to address this gap.
I would like to take some time today to focus on how Vanessa's law will enhance patient safety, how it will reduce the risk of tragic events like those associated with thalidomide, and how it will help Canadians to make informed decisions about the drugs they are taking.
Vanessa's law will ensure that knowledge about approved drugs and medical devices continues to be gathered and shared with the public once products enter the market. This is important because clinical trials can only tell us about how a drug will affect a particular population, the population it was tested on. They do not tell us how the drug will affect everyone who might take it once it is on the market.
When a company submits an application for market authorization to Health Canada, reviewers analyze the results of all tests and studies that are submitted. If the product is safe, effective, and of high quality, the department will give the company a licence to market a drug in Canada for a particular use. However, once products reach the market, Health Canada's ability to gather knowledge about them has traditionally been limited, and its ability to take action when problems arise has also been limited. That is why there are new provisions in Vanessa's law that represent a game changer.
Let me take a moment to describe some of them and why Vanessa's law is so crucial. One important new provision is that Vanessa's law will give the Minister of Health the ability to set the terms and conditions on an authorization and to make those terms and conditions publicly available. What this means is that, as part of the authorization, Health Canada will be able to ask a pharmaceutical company to continue to gather information in the real world, after the product reaches the market, and to make the results of the information gathering public so that Canadians and their health care providers have easy access to them.
For example, Health Canada may require the company to gather information about the impacts of a drug on patients with multiple medical conditions. Health Canada could require a company to monitor and assess the effects of drugs on patients with impaired kidney function. This may or may not have been studied in the initial clinical trial, and the approved label would indicate that.
However, this information may prove to be important as we gather real-world experience and see some patients with impaired kidney function and how the drug affects them. It may become apparent that there is no difference in the benefits and harms experienced by patients with impaired kidney function.
However, should it become clear that there may be a cause for concern, Health Canada will be able to compel the manufacturer to conduct active safety surveillance or conduct a new study specifically to address the issue. The information about what activities the manufacturers are being compelled to undertake will be made public. It will be a transparent system so that prescribers and patients will know what actions are being taken. Vanessa's law also provides the Minister of Health with the power to compel a label change for a drug and to make that information publicly available to Canadians. In the past, most companies have agreed on a voluntary basis to undertake a label change. Sometimes, however, protracted negotiations have been required, and sometimes, those negotiations were not successful. The new powers provided by Vanessa's law have changed that, so if adults or children are taking a drug, they will be able to access this new information. This will allow us, as Canadians, to make informed decisions in consultation with our health care providers.
However, not all new information comes from tests, studies, or the ongoing proactive monitoring of a drug. Sometimes, adverse events are completely unexpected and only identified through a rigorous adverse drug reaction reporting system. This reflects the reality I mentioned before, that patient safety is a shared responsibility. That is why Vanessa's law included mandatory reporting of serious adverse drug reactions and medical device incidents by health care institutions. Simply put, serious adverse drug reaction reports from manufacturers, health care institutions, health care professionals, and the public often provide the first clue about an emerging drug safety issue.
To date, adverse drug reactions have been under-reported in Canada. It has only been mandatory for companies to report adverse drug reactions related to their products. It was recognized that it is critical that we increase the reporting of adverse drug reactions so that Health Canada could take quick action when a problem is detected and share the knowledge rapidly with health care professionals and, most importantly, the public, in order to prevent further harm.
Sometimes, it may be necessary to remove a drug or particular batch of the drug from the market. Other times, it may be appropriate to change the label of a drug so that health care practitioners are aware of the new information when they make their prescribing decisions. In other situations, it may be most appropriate to require the company to conduct some active monitoring to gather further information.
I mentioned earlier the important work done by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute works with governments, health organizations, leaders, and health care providers to inspire improvements in patient safety and quality care. It acts as an advocate and catalyst for improvements in patient safety, and it invests in and brokers policy and system changes to protect the health of Canadian patients. As Health Canada works to roll out the new authorities provided in Vanessa's law, either immediately or through developing regulations, these organizations will be able to provide advice.
Nothing can undo the pain and suffering endured by the thalidomide survivors and their families, and it is truly tragic. However, with the passing of Vanessa's law, federal regulators have important new tools to enhance on-market drug safety. The legislation is a very real step to reducing the risk that similar tragedies will occur in the future, and it represents a very important federal contribution to the shared goal of patient safety in Canada.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2014-11-27 12:16 [p.9882]
Mr. Speaker, I did sit on the health committee for several years but have not been on the committee for the last two years. I do have a keen interest in health care, and obviously this tragedy shocked all of us. It is an issue about which we all have endless concern.
The member mentioned that she is pleased that we are supporting this motion and I am glad to hear that. There is no partisanship when it comes to standing united in the face of this tragedy.
I am so pleased that the Minister of Health has announced she will be meeting with the Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada. It is important to state that it is going to happen. The government will be here to provide whatever support it can in the wake of this tragedy.
Health Canada has learned from this tragedy and has made improvements that have reduced the risk of this kind of terrible event from occurring again, including an overhaul of Canada's drug and regulatory framework. That is important. We recognize the pain and suffering of the victims and we are here to support them. At the same time, we want to make sure that we learn from what happened and that Health Canada has the framework and the regulatory ability to ensure we can prevent something like this from ever happening again.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2014-11-27 12:19 [p.9882]
Mr. Speaker, the member for Northumberland—Quinte West has made his life in public safety, and this falls into that category. This is all about public safety.
I want to touch on Bill C-17, Vanessa's law, which was raised by my colleague. It is important to recognize what this legislation will do. It is a step forward for patient safety and for public safety. Bill C-17 will bring in mandatory recall powers, so that we will not have to negotiate with big pharma companies; mandatory reporting of serious adverse drug reactions; tough new fines and jail time for companies that put Canadians at risk; and transparency for drug approvals and clinical trials. These are all critically important steps forward.
Obviously the tragic events in the 1960s remind us of why we need to take drug safety seriously. Let us be clear. Nothing can ever undo the pain and suffering inflicted on these individuals. That is why it is so important that we get it right, so this never happens again. That is why it is important that we use every power and tool within government's regulatory powers to make sure we have the proper framework in place to protect patients.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2014-04-03 16:05 [p.4255]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hard-working member for Don Valley West.
I rise today to show my support for Bill C-31, Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1. I am pleased to see our government continue to focus so squarely on the economic challenges facing our citizens, our communities, and our country as a whole.
Bill C-31 will implement key measures of the economic action plan 2014 to help create jobs and opportunities for Canadians, and to return our nation's finances to balanced budgets.
Through the steady leadership of our Prime Minister, Canada's economy has seen the best economic performance among all G7 countries in recent years, both during the global recession and throughout the recovery.
Here are the facts. Over one million net new jobs have been created in Canada since the end of the recession in July 2009, of which 85% are full-time and nearly 80% in the private sector. Over that period, that has been the strongest job growth in the entire G7 by far. Canadians have also enjoyed the strongest income growth in the G7. Canada is the only G7 country to have more than fully recovered its business investment lost during the recession.
Both the independent International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development are projecting that Canada will have the strongest economic growth in the G7 in the years ahead.
For the sixth straight year, the World Economic Forum has ranked Canada's banking system as the soundest in the world. Moreover, Canada leapt from sixth to second place in the Bloomberg ranking of the most attractive countries for businesses to grow.
Canada has the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7. Canada is the only G7 country to have a rock solid AAA rating and a stable outlook from all major credit rating agencies, Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor's. Canada's net debt to GDP ratio remains the lowest in the G7 by far. It is an impressive track record.
Throughout the year, I am always having discussions and consultations in my riding, the City of Barrie, talking to stakeholders about what they believe is in the best interests of Canada and what we can do to continue to spur economic growth.
I feel that the concerns in Barrie are pretty similar to those we see across the country in small communities. What is important in Barrie is that we focus on ensuring that good jobs are available, that taxes are kept low, and that sensible investments continue to be made to achieve our common goals of long-term growth and prosperity.
There have been many positive investments in communities across Canada in previous budgets. This budget does just that and continues that track record of strategic, smart investments.
I would like to give a few local examples. Federal investments in companies like IBM, with their university partnership, created over 100 jobs in my community; TNR Industrial Doors had a major expansion because of the support of the regional economic development agency; and Wolf Steel, which builds high-efficiency furnaces, doubled in size because of a partnership with the federal government, creating high-tech, high-paying jobs. Furthermore, my favourite local story, Southmedic, was able to move their factory from China back to Barrie. That was certainly a positive sign.
We have learned from these success stories that we must continue to work towards generating more manufacturing jobs in Barrie and across Canada, and that is achievable. Economic action plan 2014 is keeping us on that path to success.
Our Minister of International Trade attended as the keynote guest and spoke about how expanding our trade relationships can create a greater audience for manufacturers to sell their products and create jobs locally. It was a great summit. I know there was a lot of support at the summit for the economic action plan we have built because they recognize that it helps businesses in a meaningful way.
Many of the businesses at this manufacturing summit were small to medium-size businesses. They appreciated the government's commitment to further cut red tape for operations by eliminating the requirement for payroll remittances, and to support made-in-Canada products.
Companies, big and small, were all elated that we were reducing trade barriers within Canada and across the globe for the sale of their products. These stakeholders understand that these measures grow their businesses and allow them to hire more Canadians.
It is not just the manufacturing community that was pleased with our budget, but young people as well.
I am pleased to see that economic action plan 2014 confirmed our government's support for youth employment by investing $40 million for up to 3,000 internships in high-demand fields and $15 million for up to 1,000 internships in small and medium-size businesses. We are once again demonstrating our commitment to help our youth make a successful transition from school to work.
Each year, Barrie welcomes thousands of new students at Georgian College. I know they were very pleased with this budget and what it would do to help students.
Economic action plan also continues to support our seniors with an additional $5 million for the new horizons for seniors program so that more seniors can actively participate in their communities. I have seen firsthand how well this program works. I know about 30 new horizons grants that have occurred in Barrie over the last eight years and they are huge successes.
I think of the Tollendale seniors home where new horizons grants helped to finance a computer lab to connect seniors with relatives all over the world and actually trained seniors at Tollendale on computers. It was an absolute hit. At the IOOF seniors home, there was an art for the ages program. There were people who were struggling with early onset dementia, and having an active lifestyle, including things like painting, actually helps delay the onset. That was another fantastic new horizons investment. To see this program grow, I think, is a wonderful thing for Canadian seniors.
Economic action plan 2014 did something else, since I just touched upon Alzheimer's, that I want to highlight.
The economic action plan included a $15 million commitment to a neurodegeneration consortium on aging. This reminds me of a conversation I had with one of my constituents, Ed Harper, who was actually a member of Parliament from 1993–97.
Just a few months ago, Ed lost his wife, Rosemary, and I attended the funeral. He told me that he was writing a letter to our Prime Minister. He tremendously believed in our Prime Minister and knows what a great job he is doing for the country. However, he wrote a letter to talk about the need for more coordination on Alzheimer's funding and neurodegenerative research.
I know that he was one of the many Canadians who were so pleased to see that $15 million allocated. I think Mr. Ed Harper's comments highlight a feeling that many Canadians have.
There are so many positive initiatives in this budget that it is difficult to touch upon all of them in the short time we have allotted to us. This is a budget that supports our commercial sectors. It supports our workers, seniors, and families across Canada.
I want to stress what I think is most important about this budget, and something that is tremendously appreciated in Barrie, which is that it puts us on an immediate track for balanced budgets. That is very impressive, given the global economic recession that took every country in the world off course. I think it is really a feather in the cap for our former Minister of Finance who did such an incredible job of shepherding the Canadian economy. I know that our new Minister of Finance and his team are going to do an incredible job in laying out the vision that was put forward in Bill C-31.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2014-04-03 16:15 [p.4256]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to correct the mistakes that were highlighted by the member opposite.
First, it is an absolute error to say that there were cuts in infrastructure. This government is responsible for the largest investment in infrastructure in Canadian history, and we are seeing that go forward in the next decade. It is a rock-solid commitment to municipalities.
I served on a city council for two terms. At the time, there was no support for municipalities. There was no audience, in Ottawa, for municipalities. The fact that we have had such an incredible investment in infrastructure has allowed municipalities, like the one I represent, to invest significantly in real and meaningful projects.
I would note that the member opposite said that unemployment has gone up and that we did not get those jobs back. The member is incorrect. I look at my own community. We had unemployment of 11.9% after the recession and we are down to 7% today. These are successful numbers. Progress is being made. If the NDP chose to support this economic progress, it would see, I think, more support in the polls.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2014-04-03 16:17 [p.4257]
Mr. Speaker, I recall when I was a city councillor, the Liberal government of the day had not a penny to support municipalities like mine in Barrie. We asked for funding to expand the GO train. Nothing.
However, when the Conservatives were elected, we expanded the GO train, built two new stations and, across our city, we have seen infrastructure investments, whether it is the expansion of the Georgian College, with the new campus, whether it is the new bridge at Duckworth Street, whether it is the expansion of the regional airport, whether it is the refurbishing of Eastview Arena. There are dozens of projects. I can tell members it is a stark contrast to what happened under the Liberals, where they did not care about infrastructure.
We have made a commitment that is a record investment in infrastructure. I am proud of that commitment to support Canadian municipalities. I am glad we have not continued the Liberal policy of doing nothing.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2013-11-06 17:33 [p.832]
Mr. Speaker, I too would applaud the member for Oakville for his excellent speech supporting this bill. However, what I think might be indicative of the NDP's confusion on issues is the mistake of the member for Oakville being a teenager. I would politely disagree with that, despite being a big fan of his.
I am pleased to speak in support of Bill C-7, which would create the Canadian museum of history. Bill C-7 is very short. It is very clear and specific. It makes a set of targeted amendments to the Museums Act to allow the Canadian Museum of Civilization to transform into the Canadian museum of history.
The creation of the Canadian museum of history would not be an isolated act. It would be one step in the larger government strategy in support of our history and the need to increase our knowledge and appreciation of it. That strategy did not start with this bill and the decision to create a new museum. Our Conservative government has been making efforts to close gaps in how Canada's national museums share Canada's incredible story.
In 2008, we created the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, in Winnipeg, and in 2010 the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, in Halifax. The government recognized the need for these stories to be presented across the country. These were the first national museums to be established outside of the national capital region.
The 2011 speech from the throne observed that Canadians are united by core values, a shared history and a sense of common purpose. In that speech, our Conservative government pledged to join Canadians in celebrating our heritage. The 2013 speech from the throne reinforced this theme. The government's strategy is underlined by the priority it is giving to nation-building milestones on the road to our 150th birthday in 2017.
Our Conservative government's efforts began, as we know, with the commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, as a way of increasing the awareness of the influence that this conflict had on our nation. Other important anniversaries and milestones in the years approaching Canada's 150th anniversary have been identified and will also be commemorated. On the War of 1812, I remember that having that moment to recognize our history was tremendously appreciated across Canada. I remember the celebration we had in Barrie for the War of 1812 and how the community came out to recognize that important milestone. A lot of young people in our community learnt a huge amount about it through that commemoration.
Other events we will be commemorating in 2013 and 2014 include the 100th anniversary of Canada's first Arctic expedition, the 150th anniversaries of the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences, the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the 75th anniversary of the Second World War, and the 200th birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald. I know the member for York—Simcoe is not in the House right now, but I know he would be a big fan of that particular celebration.
On June 11, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages announced a range of further measures in support of the government's history strategy. I would like to take a moment to describe a few of these. First, the Canada history fund will connect Canadian young people to their history in a number of ways, including through the Government of Canada's history awards, which honour outstanding students and teachers who show an interest in celebrating Canadian history.
We have some amazing teachers across this country who have done a lot to inspire young Canadians about our history. I think of Clint Lovell from Eastview, in Barrie, in the east end of my riding, who was recognized with an award two years ago in Ottawa. That inspired the community. It highlights people who throw their heart into Canadian history. I was pleased to see that recognition, and we certainly need to continue that type of recognition of some of our incredible educators.
Through the Canada history fund, the government has also partnered with the Historica-Dominion Institute, both to create new heritage minutes and to allow more veterans and serving soldiers to connect with students in their classrooms.
The second measure is a range of existing programs that have been strengthened to improve access to funding for museums and youth groups that wish to promote Canadian history in their local communities. For example, there is the exchanges Canada program that provides young Canadians with more opportunities to take part in history themed events. The Canada book fund encourages collective projects, with a focus on promoting Canadian history titles. The Canada periodical fund, through the business innovation and collection initiatives components, supports the promotion of history magazines and history content. The Virtual Museum of Canada funds 2017 online exhibits and podcasts, and provides new historical content for teachers and students.
Finally, beginning this year, we will mark the first Canada History Week, from July 1 to 7, which is an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about their history through local and national activities and events.
The creation of the Canadian museum of history is a significant part of this multi-faceted strategy to explore and preserve our history and increase Canadians' knowledge, understanding and appreciation of it. Indeed, Bill C-7 is but one aspect of this exciting initiative.
We know that in addition to the creation of the museum, a network of history museums in Canada is being formed. Led by the Canadian museum of history, museums would work together to share Canada's stories, share artifacts that are the touchstones of those stories, bring history exhibitions from museums across Canada to the national museum, and create opportunities specifically for small museums to borrow artifacts from that national collection.
We all have museums in our regions that would love this opportunity. I can think of the Simcoe County Museum, just north of Barrie, in the riding of Simcoe—Grey, and that would be tremendously appreciated by the broader Simcoe County community.
To help make this happen, the museum assistance program would support museums, including small museums that wish to borrow objects from exhibitions in the national collection of the Canadian museum of history. We understand that the cost of shipping and insuring artifacts is often too much for small museums. We want to help these museums showcase the national collection across the country, which is why we changed the museums assistance program.
The museum assistance program would make it easier for institutions to create and share history exhibits, by eliminating the requirement for exhibits to travel outside their province or territory of origin. We recognize that local and provincial history is an important part of our broader national story. It is vital to give a voice to these stories. We believe that by moving the interprovincial requirement for exhibition circulation, more exhibitions would be shared, and the Canadian story would be better understood.
These are exciting initiatives, and we hope their impact will be felt by Canadians for generations to come. The creation of the Canadian museum of history, through Bill C-7, is an important part of this broader history strategy.
I urge all members in the House to support Bill C-7 and efforts being made within and outside government to preserve and promote Canada's history. It really is an incredible story.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2013-11-06 17:43 [p.833]
Mr. Speaker, obviously the member opposite is confused on the aspects of the bill. Bill C-7 would invest $25 million to preserve Canadian artifacts and to having this museum.
I find it surprising that the previous NDP questioner complained about spending too much money, and now this member is saying we are not spending enough money. The NDP needs to decide on the reason they do not support this bill because they cannot change their attacks within two minutes. It seems a little inconsistent and, unfortunately, very typical of the NDP.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2013-11-06 17:45 [p.834]
Mr. Speaker, it has been great to have the leadership of the Minister of Industry, specifically in his previous capacity as Minister of Canadian Heritage.
His passion for Canada's history has been incredible. Canada has benefited from his passion, and it is great to see the results with this wonderful bill.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2013-11-06 17:46 [p.834]
Mr. Speaker, I will share a quote from one of Canada's most renowned historians, Michael Bliss, who said, “It is very exciting that Canada's major museum will now explicitly focus on Canada's history”.
This government has shown again and again that we are proud of our history in Canada. I am completely perplexed as to why the NDP cannot support a bill that is celebrating Canada.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2013-10-29 16:09 [p.558]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak to some of the key initiatives in Bill C-4, the economic action plan 2013 act no. 2.
As a government, we have much to be proud of. I am glad to see that we remain focused on the issues that matter most to Canadians, which are job creation, keeping taxes low and returning to a balanced budget.
Through Canada's economic action plan, Canada has experienced one of the best economic performances among the G7 countries, both during the global recession and throughout the recovery. We have created over one million net new jobs, of which 90% are full time and over 85% are in the private sector, which is an astounding figure.
Statistics Canada announced that 59,200 net new jobs were created in August and nearly another 12,000 in September. The national unemployment rate has fallen to 6.9%, the lowest level since December 2008.
I have seen the same recovery happen in my hometown of Barrie, Ontario. In September, the unemployment rate in Barrie fell to 7.2%, an improvement of nearly 2% from the September before, which is remarkably better than the 11.7% unemployment rate we saw a few years ago. Therefore, I am certainly seeing in Barrie the recovery that has occurred nationally. As Councillor Brassard said when I addressed the Barrie City Council in September, the federal government's initiatives have been the linchpin to this recovery.
Our strategies to create jobs are working. I am particularly proud of our government's support for job growth through the Canada job grant. As organizations grow, their success is often contingent upon knowledgeable staff. However, with a family to feed and a full-time job, it can be tough for staff to go back to school on a full-time basis. That is why our government created a program that would enable employees to train for better jobs without having to worry about the excessive costs to retrain. Canadians who have an offer of a new or better job might qualify for up to $15,000 or more to learn new skills to accept that job. This will serve as a tremendous help to both employees and employers looking to grow their business.
However, the job does not end there. There is still more to be done. While more Canadians are finding work, I sympathize with the many Canadians who are still searching for gainful employment. We are not immune to the economic volatility beyond our borders. This is especially true for Canada's key trading partners, the United States and Europe. With our big export consumers still on shakey ground, that will have an impact on Canada's economy. That is why our government is staying focused on the economy and creating jobs. One way we are doing that is through supporting small business.
As we all know, small business growth has been one of the key components of Canada's recovery. Since taking office in 2006, our government has supported small business by keeping tax rates low. Small business is the economic engine that drives our economy. Statistics show that 75% of workers in Canada are employed by companies with four or fewer employees. Our commerce relies on keeping taxes low to maintain our competitive edge over many of our trading partners. I have heard this in Barrie.
On September 23, I had the pleasure of having the President of the Treasury Board in Barrie for two round tables, one with Meridian Commercial Banking, hosted by Councillor Alex Nuttall, and one with the Chamber of Commerce, hosted by its executive director, Sybil Goruk. It was that focus on training and small business that we heard at both those local round tables and that they appreciate our efforts on both those fronts.
We have already extended the hiring credit for small business up to $1,000 for new hires, and over one million employers have benefited from that program. There has been some strong feedback from the small business community on this initiative. BIA 2 seeks to expand that recovery by freezing the employment insurance rates that employers and employees pay for the next three years. In Barrie, this means that businesses and their employees will be keeping more money in their pockets, which is great news for our local economy, especially our small businesses.
In my riding, I have seen first-hand how many local businesses have benefited from federal incentives and programs. Federal investments have also supported local businesses to create jobs. For instance, through a repayable contribution, Southmedic was able to take its plant from China to Barrie. It is providing medical masks. TNR Industrial Doors had a major expansion with another repayable loan. Those are good, high-paying jobs.
With a repayable loan, Wolf Steel, which does high-efficiency furnaces, was able to almost double the size of its company with an impressive expansion. Even more significantly, thanks to the southern Ontario economic development agency, we were able to convince IBM to put a plant in Barrie. A $20-million contribution has led to some of the highest-skilled jobs around just on Bayview Drive. Phase one is now open and phase two will be under way shortly.
I would also like to mention the federal contributions that led to the new wellness centre in Barrie. That was 400 construction jobs; 400 new full-time and part-time jobs for staff and faculty. The economic impact of this construction alone was approximately $98 million for my community, a pretty significant benefit.
Last week, the Minister of Finance released the annual financial report of the Government of Canada for 2012-13. This report shows the continued downward track of Canada's annual deficit. In 2012-13, the deficit fell to $18.9 billion. This was down by more than one-quarter, $7.4 billion, from the deficit of $26.3 billion in 2011-12, and down by nearly two-thirds from the $55.6 billion deficit recorded in 2009-10. I certainly hear from around Barrie that this disciplined approach to deficit reduction is applauded and appreciated across Canada.
This is an excellent example of our government's responsible spending of taxpayer dollars. Further direct program expenses have fallen by 1.2% from the year prior and by 3.8% from 2010-11. We have found these savings without raising taxes or cutting transfers to the provinces and territories. The 1990 approach by the Liberals was simply to slash transfers to the provinces and that meant huge cuts to health care and education. That certainly was not the approach we were prepared to make. This has been a much more fiscally prudent manner to approach the deficit.
Our support does not end there. Our government has also recognized the need for improved infrastructure. Not only have we recognized this need but we have taken action by investing over $4.5 billion into greater Toronto area infrastructure since we took office in February 2006. Since 2006, the City of Barrie alone, to give another example, has seen its share of the federal gas transfers not only become permanent, but they have risen from over $2 million a year to $8 million. There is a lot that can be done with that and the city certainly has. We have put $7.2 million into various road renewal activities, and $16.5 million into improvements of stormwater management, like Kidds Creek, Bunkers Creek, Sophia Creek, the Kempenfelt Bay shoreline, culverts and storm sewers. In fact, the City of Barrie got an FCM award this year for its excellent management of gas tax funding. We have also put $2.1 million into the landfill improvement projects up on Ferndale Drive.
Continued investments in my region's infrastructure have improved amenities for families across the board. Building a better community is something that we all have a stake in and a commitment to new infrastructure helps make Barrie an attractive area to live, work, play and invest. I am sure that is the case in every community across this country. Certainly, Bill C-4 provides those significant tools to build our communities.
Not only does Bill C-4 address this issue now, but it includes initiatives that will help Canadians into the future as well. Canada has free trade agreements in force with more than 10 countries and half of those agreements have been brought into force in just over the last four years. These agreements are strategic economic advantages for our country in a wide range of sectors. I think we see that in every community in Canada.
Bill C-4 also addresses the Government of Canada's intent to set public service pay and benefit levels that are reasonable, responsible and in the public interest. Through the much needed amendments to the Public Service Labour Relations Act, we will ensure that the public service is affordable, modern and high performing, as taxpayers expect.
There is one other item I want to mention that I was particularly proud of in Bill C-4. That was the investments that were made in Lake Simcoe. This government has put $59 million into the cleanup of Lake Simcoe. We have never seen a nickel put into Lake Simcoe before this government. Bill C-4 also puts in funds for protection against invasive species. Lake Simcoe is a tremendous jewel in our region. It contributes an estimated $200 million to our region and more than 400,000 people depend on the lake for drinking water. We have seen the phosphorous levels go dramatically down, and I am proud that our government has shown such significant leadership on Lake Simcoe.
I commend the Minister of Finance for his incredible hard work on Bill C-4 and the astute leadership he has shown, respecting Canadian taxpayer dollars and investing in a manner that supports the economic growth of our country.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2013-10-29 16:21 [p.560]
Mr. Speaker, in terms of small businesses, it is very clear and widely recognized across the country that this government has been incredibly supportive, whether it was when we first got to office and reduced the tax rate for small businesses, or more recently with the small business hiring tax credit.
Recognizing small businesses as the economic engine of the country has always been a priority of this government, has always been a focus. Certainly I find it almost comical that the NDP would be standing up asking a question about small business. As we know, in every case when there has been an NDP provincial government in this country, small businesses have fled. I am sure the member recalls that when the NDP were in power in Ontario, I think we lost close to 10,000 small businesses under its economic management.
The best support for small businesses in Canada is a Conservative budget. We are certainly seeing that with the incredible support for small businesses that we have seen under the leadership of our current Minister of Finance.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2013-10-29 16:23 [p.560]
Mr. Speaker, I would certainly disagree with the interpretation of the hon. member.
This budget is certainly about standing up for Canadian workers. It is about creating more jobs and more opportunities. The impetus is creating jobs.
If we look at every aspect of this budget, it is about ways to stimulate our economy, because more jobs in our community, more jobs in our country, means there is greater competition for workers. I have certainly seen that in Barrie where our unemployment rate dropped from 11.7% to 7.2%. We are actually starting to see competition for workers, and that drives higher wages, that drives better working conditions.
We saw that with the expansion of TNR Doors, with Napoleon, with the acquisition of IBM. We are talking about creating a vibrant economy. That is what our Minister of Finance has been doing, and that is a win for workers across Canada.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2013-06-13 13:33 [p.18288]
Mr. Speaker, I am sharing my time with the very hard-working member for Wetaskiwin.
I am pleased to say a few words about Bill S-16, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in contraband tobacco)
This bill contains a number of very important amendments to the Criminal Code aimed directly at the criminals who are flooding Canada with illicit tobacco products that undermine the Canadian economy, fuel addiction, and add to the already serious long-term health issues associated with smoking.
As we have heard, this is not the first time that Canada has faced the challenge of contraband tobacco. When the problem first arose some two decades ago, it had to do with our own legally manufactured and exported tobacco products being smuggled back into our domestic market at greatly reduced prices. Through a combination of tax policy and enforcement measures, we were able to stem the tide of this early onslaught of contraband tobacco.
Since then, the primary legislative vehicle for controlling this illegal trade has been the Excise Act. This legislation combines fines, jail terms and forfeitures to enforce the prohibition against selling tobacco products that have not been stamped. Stamping indicates that the excise tax has been paid. Unfortunately, despite this legislation and despite the efforts of dedicated law enforcement officials, contraband tobacco remains a serious threat to the public safety of Canadians, their communities and the Canadian economy.
Although there are several sources for the contraband tobacco products that are entering Canada, the illicit trade is driven largely by illegal operations run by criminal organizations in both Canada and the United States. In this regard, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec have the highest concentration of illegal manufacturing operations, the majority of the high-volume smuggling points and the largest number of consumers of contraband tobacco.
In response, the government launched the RCMP contraband tobacco enforcement strategy in 2008 with a focus on reducing the availability and demand for contraband tobacco and on weakening the involvement of organized crime in this illegal industry. At the same time, the task force on illicit tobacco products was formed to identify concrete measures to disrupt or reduce the trade in contraband tobacco. The next year, the task force presented a lengthy report to the Minister of Public Safety in which it noted that at least 30% of Canadian tobacco purchases involved contraband tobacco.
One of the primary drivers of this illicit trade, aside from the willingness of consumers to pay markedly reduced prices, has been the shift from single individuals or small groups conducting sporadic smuggling to organized crime groups doing the smuggling and distributing the illicit tobacco through their criminal networks.
Clearly, the time has come to take steps to come to grips with the growing nature of this illegal activity and the growing involvement of criminal organizations whose related activities include the smuggling of other items into Canada using the same networks, which is particularly alarming.
This is the context in which we must evaluate Bill S-16.
Briefly, the bill is one part of a two-part response to the issue I have described. The first part is the bill itself. It proposes to amend the Criminal Code to create a new hybrid offence of trafficking in contraband tobacco, with mandatory minimum penalties for repeat offenders. The second part of the response is the implementation of a strengthened anti-contraband enforcement strategy that includes the establishment of an anti-contraband force made up of 50 RCMP officers. Both of these proposals respond to the 2011 election platform commitments of this government.
I will go into a bit more detail on exactly what is contained in Bill S-16.
First, the bill would create a new offence in the Criminal Code to deal with contraband tobacco trafficking. Indeed, the bill would prohibit the possession for the purpose of sale, offer for sale, or the transportation, delivery or distribution of a tobacco product, or raw leaf tobacco that is not packaged unless it is stamped. The terms “tobacco product”, “raw leaf tobacco”, “package” and “stamped” have the same meaning as in section 2 of the Excise Act, 2001. This would ensure consistency in our national enforcement efforts.
Pursuant to these proposed amendments, the maximum penalty for a first offence would be up to six months' imprisonment on a summary conviction and up to five years' imprisonment if prosecuted on an indictment.
Repeat offenders, convicted of this new offence in cases involving 10,000 cigarettes or more, 10 kilograms or more of any other tobacco product or 10 kilograms or more of any raw leaf tobacco would be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 90 days on a second conviction, a mandatory minimum of 180 days on a third conviction and a mandatory minimum of 2 years less a day on subsequent convictions.
The amendments proposed in the, appropriately titled, tackling contraband tobacco act would not only respond to our domestic problems but would equally respond to the broader international efforts to combat trafficking in tobacco. Let us recall in this context that tobacco smuggling by definition means the illegal movement of goods over national frontiers. Tobacco smuggling is a particularly widespread illegal activity and has an impact on a great number of countries. Thus, Canada is not alone in wanting to put an end to this illicit commerce.
In any attempt to combat organized crime's involvement in tobacco smuggling, one must recognize that organized crime adopts all forms of corruption to infiltrate political, economic and social levels all over the world. This issue has been addressed at both global and regional levels and continues to receive substantial domestic and international attention.
The international community has adopted many international instruments dealing with criminal law. These international agreements attest to a country's recognition of the need for international co-operation to tackle international crime. One aspect of international co-operation that is repeatedly found in these instruments deals with mutual legal assistance. This form of international co-operation is one of the most powerful tools employed by governments to reduce the incidence of international crime.
Therefore, not only does tobacco smuggling necessarily contain an international dimension, one that sometimes involves several countries and the crossing of several borders; it also involves, as our own law enforcement representatives have informed us, significant organized crime group participation. Bill S-16 would not exist in isolation. While this new legislation would help Canada combat tobacco smuggling, it would also help us combat tobacco smuggling and organized crime outside our own borders, not just in Canada alone.
In closing, I thank hon. members for their attention and urge them to consider the broad context in which Bill S-16 must be assessed. Once they have done that, I am convinced they will agree with me that this bill ought to be passed and implemented without delay.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2013-06-13 13:41 [p.18290]
Mr. Speaker, I am not on the committee dealing with this bill, but I know these bills get looked at very seriously in committee.
I would agree with the hon. member on her concern about the importance of combating the dangers associated with tobacco. That is why, with the five-year renewal of the federal tobacco strategy in 2012, Health Canada will continue its very dedicated work on tobacco control initiatives that are aimed to preserve the gains we have made in the last 10 years, which are quite significant.
Results: 1 - 15 of 53 | Page: 1 of 4

1
2
3
4
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data