Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-06 16:04 [p.23347]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise. As usual, I would like to say hello to the many people of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us live on CPAC or on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter later.
I would like to comment on the speech by the Minister of Status of Women. I found it somewhat hypocritical when she said that she hopes her opposition colleagues will support the bill and the budget's feminist measures, which she presented, when the Liberals actually and strategically included all these measures in an omnibus bill, the 2018 budget implementation bill. Clearly, we, the Conservatives, will not vote in favour of Bill C-86 because it once again presents a deficit budget that is devastating for Canada's economy and for Canadian taxpayers. It is somewhat hypocritical for the minister to tell us that she hopes we will support the measures to give women more power when she herself was involved in hiding these measures in an omnibus bill.
I would like say, as I often say, that it is a privilege for me to speak today, but not for the same reason this time. I might have been denied the opportunity to speak to Bill C-86 because this morning, the Liberal government imposed closure on the House. It imposed time allocation on the speeches on the budget. This is the first time in three years that I am seeing this in the House. Since 2015, we have had three budget presentations. This is the sixth time we are debating a budget since 2015 during this 42nd Parliament. This is the first time I have seen the majority of my Conservative colleagues and the majority of my NDP colleagues being denied speaking time to discuss something as important as Bill C-86 to implement budgetary measures. The budget implementation legislation is what formalizes the budget the government brought down in February. Implementation is done in two phases. This is the second phase and it implements the Liberal government's budget.
By chance, I have the opportunity to speak about the budget today and I want to do so because I would like to remind those listening about some key elements of this budget which, in our view, are going in the wrong direction. First, the Liberals are continuing with their habit, which has become ingrained in their psyches. They are continuing with their deficit approach. It appears that they are in a financial bind. That is why they are creating new taxes like the carbon tax. They also lack the personal ability to govern. You might say that it is not in their genes to balance a budget. The Liberals' budget measures are bad and their economic plan is bad. They are so incapable of balancing the budget that they cannot even give us a timeline. They cannot even tell us when they think they will balance the budget.
This is the first time that we have seen this in the history of our great Canadian parliamentary democracy, established in 1867, and probably before that, in the parliaments of the United Canadas. This is the first time since 1867 that a government has not been able to say when they will balance the budget. I am not one for political rhetoric, but this is not rhetoric, this is a fact.
The Liberals made big promises to us in that regard during the 2015 election. Unfortunately, the Liberals put off keeping those promises. They promised to balance the budget by 2019. Now, they have put that off indefinitely, or until 2045, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, a position that, let us not forget, was created by Mr. Harper. That great democrat wanted to ensure that there was budgetary accountability in Parliament. The Liberals also promised that they would run small deficits of $10 billion for the first three years and then balance the budget. The first year, they ran a deficit of $30 billion. The second year, they ran a deficit of $20 billion. The third year, they ran a deficit of $19 billion. Just a week or two ago, we found out from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the Liberals miscalculated and another $4 billion in debt has been added to that amount. The Liberals have racked up a deficit of $22 billion. That is 6.5 times more than what they set out in their plan to balance the budget.
The other key budget promise the Liberals made was that the small deficits of $10 billion would be used to build new infrastructure as part of a $187-billion program.
To date, only $9 billion has flowed from the coffers to pay for infrastructure projects. Where is the other $170 billion? The Prime Minister is so acutely aware of the problem that he shuffled his cabinet this summer. He appointed the former international trade minister to the infrastructure portfolio, and the new infrastructure minister's mandate letter says he absolutely has to get on this troublesome issue of money not being used to fund infrastructure projects.
There is a reason the Liberals do not want to give us more than two or three days to discuss the budget. They do not want the Conservatives and the NDP to say quite as much about the budget as they would like to say because we have a lot of bad things to tell them and Canadians.
Fortunately, we live in a democracy, and we can express ourselves in the media, so all Canadians can hear what I have to say. However, it is important for us to express our ideas in the House too because listening to what we say here is how Canadians learn what happened in history.
Things are not as rosy as the Liberals claim when it comes to the economy and their plan. For instance, in terms of exports, they have not been able to export Canadian oil as they should. We have one of the largest reserves in the world, but the Liberals tightened rules surrounding the National Energy Board in recent years. As a result, several projects have died, such as the northern gateway project and energy east, and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project, which the Liberals managed to save in the end using $4.5 billion of taxpayers money. In short, our exports are not doing very well.
As for investments, from 2015 to 2017, Canadian investments in the U.S. increased by 65%, while American investments in Canada dropped by 52%.
On top of that, one thing that affects the daily lives of Canadians even more is the massive debt, which could jeopardize all our future projects for our glorious federation. In 2018, the total accumulated debt is $670 billion. That comes out to $47,000 per family. Not counting any student debt, car payments or mortgage, every family already has a debt of $47,000, and a good percentage of that has increased over the past three years because of the Liberals' fiscal mismanagement.
That is not to mention the interest on the debt. I am sure that Canadians watching at home are outraged by this. In 2020, the interest on the debt will be $39 billion a year. That is $3 billion more than we invest every year in health.
The government boasts about how it came up with a wonderful plan for federal health transfers with the provinces, but that plan does not respect provincial jurisdictions. What is more, it imposes conditions on the provinces that they must meet in order to be able to access those transfers. We did not do that in the Harper era. We are investing $36 billion per year in health care and spending $39 billion servicing debt. Imagine what we could have done with that money.
I will close by talking about the labour shortage. I would have liked to have 20 minutes so I could say more, but we cannot take the time we want because of the gag order. It is sad that I cannot keep going.
Quebec needs approximately 150,000 more workers. I am appalled that the minister would make a mockery of my questions on three occasions. Meanwhile, the member for Louis-Hébert had the nerve to say that the Conservatives oppose immigration. That has nothing to do with it. We support immigration, but that represents only 25% of the solution to the labour shortage. This is a serious crisis in Quebec.
There are many things under federal jurisdiction that the government could do and that, in combination with immigration, would help fill labour shortages. However, all the Liberals can do is make fun of me, simply because I am a member of the opposition. I hosted economic round tables in Quebec City with my colleagues, and all business owners were telling us that this is a serious crisis. The Liberals should act like a good government and stop making fun of us every time we speak. Actually, it is even worse; they want to prevent us from speaking.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Scott Brison Profile
2013-12-02 13:51 [p.1600]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak today to Bill C-4, the government's latest budget implementation bill.
The bill fails to address the very real challenges faced by the middle class in Canada.
This bill does little to help middle-class families in Canada.
First and foremost, this bill does nothing to create good paying jobs for Canadians. Middle-class Canadians are worried about their finances. They ought to be, because they face record levels of personal debt, amounting to $1.66 for every dollar of annual income. They are struggling to make ends meet when interest rates are low. They are petrified to think of what will happen in the future if interest rates start to rise at some point.
One of the driving forces behind this accumulation of household debt is the direct financial subsidization of adult children who cannot yet make it on their own. These are young people between the ages of 25 to 35 who are living at home and unable to pay rent. In fact, 43% of Canadian families have directly financially subsidized young people who have lived for extended periods of time at home with them because they cannot make ends meet. Young Canadians have been left behind during this so-called economic recovery; they have 225,000 fewer jobs than before the downturn.
Bill C-4 does nothing to help young Canadians find jobs, even though the youth unemployment and underemployment rates are higher than they were before the recession.
Instead of supporting job creation for young Canadians, a number of items in Bill C-4 would put existing jobs at risk. This bill phases out the labour-sponsored venture capital corporation tax credit. These venture funds help small business start-ups grow and create good jobs for Canadians. They are particularly important in Quebec.
All of the chambers of commerce in Quebec are against these changes.
However, it is important to realize that the impacts of these labour-sponsored funds and investments, many of which are based in Quebec, benefit small business across the country, in start-ups, technology companies, biotech, cleantech, and certainly the jobs of tomorrow.
The provinces that have labour-sponsored venture capital funds include B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Bill C-4 would cut the tax incentives for those labour-sponsored venture capital funds by half, endangering not only their business model but also the businesses that rely on that venture capital to grow and create jobs.
The government has said that the reason it is doing this is because it is bringing in the VCAP, the venture capital action plan, The problem is that the VCAP is not up and running yet. Therefore, the government is actually destroying one source of venture capital, the labour-sponsored venture capital source, without having a new program that is running. It is creating a vacuum in funding. That funding is extremely important to create innovation, commercialization, and jobs of today and tomorrow for young Canadians, exactly the kind of jobs we ought to be focused on.
Again, this is like the government with its jobs training program that it introduced shortly after the last budget. In fact, it is still not running. It forgot to talk to the provinces. Therefore, there is no jobs training program. It spent millions of dollars on advertising it, but there is no program. This is a government that invests money in self-promotion, but does not get the job done when it comes to putting in place the kinds of measures to create jobs, good training and to close the job skills gap. The government is more interested in promoting activities as opposed to getting the job done.
In terms of the mining sector, Bill C-4 reduces tax incentives for Canadian mining companies, which will severely hurt Canada's competitiveness in an important global industry where Canada is seen as an international leader. Canada's mining sector is an important source of good paying jobs for Canadians. These measures in Bill C-4 would put Canadian jobs, particularly in rural and remote communities, at risk. These are communities that are struggling. Rural Canada is struggling. This is no time to reduce the support for and incentives for investments in mining, particularly at a time when the mining industry faces huge challenges globally.
In terms of employment insurance rates, the Conservatives claim that the proposed changes to EI rates are going to be good for the Canadian economy. Certainly extending the EI hiring credit is an initiative that we do support, but this credit has been in place for three years and young Canadians are still struggling to find good work. Clearly, this measure is not strong enough to kick-start the economy, particularly in terms of opportunities for young Canadians.
However, Bill C-4 also freezes EI rates, which at first glance may seem like a good idea. When EI rates are going up, it may be good for small businesses and good for workers to freeze EI rates. We now know that the EI account will be balanced in 2015 instead of 2016, and ultimately would be able to start falling after that, left to its own devices.
The problem is that the Conservatives had promised to set EI rates at a break-even rate as soon as the EI account is balanced. However, Bill C-4 actually breaks that promise by freezing EI rates until the end of 2016, instead of them being allowed to fall naturally commensurate with the account being in balance.
As a result, Canadians will pay an extra $5.6 billion more than what is required to balance the EI account. That is an extra $5.6 billion over two years that we should be using to keep in the pockets of Canadians and Canadian small businesses in order to create jobs during a time of significant unemployment and underemployment in Canada.
This legislation has a large number of measures that have nothing to do whatsoever with the budget or the fiscal framework. They do not belong in a budget bill. This legislation amends the rules for appointments to the Supreme Court. With Bill C-4, the Conservatives created this farce whereby the finance committee was tasked with making decisions on the selection process for the Supreme Court of Canada. What is next? Are we going to be having members of the justice committee making decisions on government-wide fiscal policy?
Bill C-4 amends the Conflict of Interest Act to allow cabinet to designate one person or class of persons as public office holders or reporting public office officers.
We have even heard from the Prime Minister's former chief of staff, Guy Giorno, who was so concerned about this part of Bill C-4 that he wrote to MPs on the finance committee. This is what Mr. Giorno had to say about the measures in part 3, division 15, of Bill C-4:
Cabinet's power to designate new public office holders and reporting public office holders would be unlimited and far-reaching. The bill would place no restrictions on cabinet's power to designate individuals and classes of individuals as subject to the Act. Virtually anyone could be designated as subject to the Conflict of Interest Act at any point during his or her employment or tenure in office.
The government has not indicated who, if anyone, might be designated if these provisions are passed and come into force. The Budget is silent on this point. In fact, the Budget Plan did not even suggest that the Conflict of Interest Act should be amended.
Mr. Giorno makes some very clear points as to why this may be the wrong direction, but the finance committee is not the best committee to actually deal with this kind of issue or the process around the appointments to the Supreme Court.
The changes to the Labour Code in the bill ought to have been dealt with at another committee. They were broad, sweeping and controversial and ought not be dealt with by the House of Commons finance committee. Again, there are changes to the numbers of members of the veterans review board. The government continues to demonstrate disrespect for Parliament, parliamentarians and the people who elect us. Conservative members and opposition members have a responsibility to defend their right to do their jobs and to study legislation.
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2012-04-03 11:53 [p.6830]
Actually, Madam Speaker, that was my fault. If they are kind enough to applaud and show so much energy 10 or 11 hours into the debate, then what you are actually suggesting to me, I think, is that I should stop talking when they are applauding. I will do that.
Mr. Robert Chisholm: Thank you, Madam Speaker, for that admonishment.
Mr. Peter Julian: I thank the Speaker for, as always, managing the House business with a great deal of dignity, tact and strength. We thank her for her service to the country in the Speaker's chair.
I have another very eloquent letter from Manitoba. We have mentioned the issue of manual labour a number of times. It was mentioned earlier when I quoted a gentleman who works with floor installers.
Yesterday we heard from a number of people from the manual trades. Manual workers wrote in because the budget talks about raising the retirement age from 65 to 67. They say that is provoking profound hardship in the lives of so many future seniors who have worked all their lives in the manual trades and whose bodies simply cannot give any more.
Earlier today I cited a profoundly eloquent letter from a constituent in the Annapolis Valley who said very clearly that, with the government's actions in raising the retirement age, she foresees many more seniors late in their lives having to go out into the blueberry fields to pick berries as a way to keep a roof over their heads. It is shameful that the government is even contemplating forcing that skyrocketing level of poverty that will become commonplace in Canada as a result of deliberate government policies.
We are hearing these eloquent augments from Canadians across the country who are just expressing themselves and they are doing it through us by emails, tweets and postings on Facebook. They are asking the government to please listen to them because what it is doing will profoundly impact their lives negatively. They are telling the government that it is forcing them to work two years longer, if they can, and, if they cannot, they will be forced to live in poverty. The government is giving them the worst of possible choices. After giving all of their lives to their community and their country, the government is raising the retirement age from 65 to 67.
Members will recall that we had the analysis that actually showed that the government is simply wrong when it says that OECD countries are raising the retirement age to 67. My NDP colleagues will recall that we were actually only talking about a handful of countries. Yes, there are some countries that have raised the retirement age, but they did not raise it from 65 to 67. They raised it from 62 or 63 to 65. Canada is off-side with the vast majority of industrialized countries in the OECD because what we are doing is out of step. Three-quarters of the countries in the OECD have 65 or under as the retirement age. Canada, under the Conservative government, is showing a disrespect to seniors that few other countries have shown.
Mr. Robert Chisholm: We want to hook ourselves to Greece.
Mr. Peter Julian: The government likes to say that Greece has done worse. Well, the government seems to be doing everything in its power to push the quality of life downward to those of other countries that we have heard about that have a worse quality of life.
This is what Manning Blair wrote to an NDP member:
You asked for our thoughts on the budget. I do not live in your riding; I am stuck with a Conservative member of Parliament and so I adopt other MPs randomly.
The first thing that strikes me is that as a 47-year-old blue-collar worker with arthritis, I have to work an extra two years. I'm really looking forward to that. I've already changed careers because driving truck is less physically demanding than construction work and I hope to hell I can keep passing the medical until I am 67 or I am really screwed.Of course, having come of age under the destruction of the Mulroney government and having had to suffer under Grant Devine in Saskatchewan and Gary Filmon in Manitoba, I kind of got off to an iffy financial start and have never really been able to save much. I have been downsized and right-sized. The OAS was about my only chance to retire at 65, thanks largely to the fiscal incompetence of Conservative federal and provincial governments. Still, I am in better shape than many. My house is paid for and I can always pick up some side work doing landscaping or landscape carpentry. That hurts like hell too when you have arthritis, which is why I quit doing it full time and started driving truck, but I can do it. Right now I am so upset that I can only do it when I get a chance. I was taught from a young age to work and make sure that I took care of myself, but this Conservative--
He does not use the word “government”. He uses a word that is unparliamentary, but we can understand his frustration.
--I am certainly not going to continue to pay for their grafts and kickbacks.
The second thing that strikes me about the budget is the continuing attack on science. I do not know exactly why the Conservatives hate science so much, but my suspicion is that it interferes both with their beliefs and their twisted instinct for short-term greed. Heck, it might just be that whatever gene makes you Conservative also--
I cannot complete the sentence, but the individual is saying that he thinks it makes one less intelligent. He went on to say:
If they fund science properly, maybe we could find out and discover a cure for Conservative--
Certainly, judging from the emails that we are getting, a lot of Canadians would like to see this. He said:
The Conservatives' hatred of science definitely shows up in this budget though. They cut funding for pure science, wanting it to be directed to feed corporate greed instead.
As he says, we need to make sure that we are investing in science. He went on to say:
Most concerning to me is global warming and the die-off that we are seeing in bees. There are other things, of course, but these are very important to me. There is nothing in this budget about dealing with the environment. The Prime Minister's continuing attack on the climate is pretty well documented and his cuts to science and reduced environmental regulation will make things even worse.
You asked for my thoughts and these are my thoughts. Keep fighting for us.
We certainly will. We will keep standing up for the Blairs of the country. There is no doubt about that.
I have another tweet hot off the press, “Many veterans of the Afghan campaign will not be eligible for OAS until 67, unlike veterans of past wars. They deserve fairness too.” We certainly support that.
All this feedback is flooding in from Canadians. I would like to read into the record emails from two residents of Victoria. I paid tribute to the member for Victoria earlier.
One individual from Victoria writes:
I am very upset about the Conservatives' 2012 budget. I feel particularly threatened by the so-called streamlining of legislative decision making around development projects and the cuts to the CBC, never mind everything that was not even touched in any significant way, education, housing, environment, transportation. I feel that the kinds of budget decisions the Conservatives are making are anti-democratic, limiting national public meetings, making decision making even further out of the reach of people, concealing the issues that would be addressed in the budget. They are selling this country out and eroding everything that Canadians that I know, we feel we stand for.
Mr. Swinden from Victoria writes:
What impacts me negatively is the fact that the government taxes OAS at 15%. What I object to as a recipient of GIS on a lower income scale is that I then have to pay the money back. This amount of money I should be able to use to afford basics like an eye care exam, a new mattress which will allow me to sleep better, and other basic essentials, not to mention dental and pharmaceutical expenses. What else I object to is that what we have is a government that is breaking its commitments. To help better balance income distribution, retirees on lower incomes should have their OAS increased, especially those living on GIS, in order to meet the rising costs of living so they could live decently and comfortably with reasonable material security.
That is another comment regarding OAS from a Canadian in Victoria, British Columbia. Moving right along, there are more comments coming in.
Ms. Hamilton from Scarborough, Ontario states:
The budget also ignored the needs of youth, especially for increased job and training opportunities and lower tuition fees, disregarded the environment by imposing time limits on environmental studies and new resource projects and providing zero leadership on environmental issues, dropping responsibility for providing leadership in health care, failing to address the fast growing gap between rich and poor, and cutting funding to the arts by strategically attacking groups that take a critical perspective on the status quo: the CBC, the National Film Board, Telefilm.
An individual from the Toronto region states that the federal budget does not address the issue of rising gas prices, particularly in Toronto. The individual also says that the government “thinks its infrastructure program is adequate. Both the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Canadian Urban Transit Association have called for a national strategy to invest in expanding public transit, involving the federal government, provinces and municipalities, with dedicated funding. This budget is deaf to this fact.”
My colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour is wonderful at managing the paperwork. He is doing a great job.
This is another one from the metro Toronto region with respect to the budget. Ms. Blais, a small business owner, writes:
I am not happy that once again corporations receive breaks and the most vulnerable of our society, elderly, children and those in the mid and low income brackets, are the hardest hit. Canada is in the unique position now of being a world leader in human development, understanding and building a better society, but not with this government, which seems fairly bent on being another version of the U.S. Republican Party.
We are burdened with this majority government. I do not believe there is much you can do to change their minds or the road map they are determined to make. I find it frightening at best. The government is setting this country on a path that will benefit big business, but build an increasing divide between classes, effectively wiping out the middle class, and will leave our seniors in some cases to starve, while our mental health patients are placed in increasing numbers in a prison system that will not rehabilitate them. Canada was once a better country than the U.S. It is sadly becoming a poor imitation of the same.
That is the voice of another Canadian.
Again, from Victoria, British Columbia, there are a number of comments that the budget decisions made by the Conservatives are anti-democratic. They are saying that the Conservatives are limiting the national public media and taking decision making even further out of the reach of people, concealing the issues that would be addressed in the budget. That is something that so many Canadians are raising as a concern.
From the St. John's area, there is a concern about the OETC. This individual indicates that the elimination of the OETC would cause the loss of current and future Canadian higher trained, skilled workers. Many will leave our great country. Without it, a lot of Canadian companies that work in other parts of the world and bring a lot of capital back to Canada would not be able to maintain the workforce they now have. It would make it impossible for them to continue to operate in third world countries, which would be a huge loss for both Canada and the other countries involved. It would also mean that Canadian crew members working on vessels would essentially be taxed twice. Because it would reduce the effect of any job creation plans, he says that we have to stand together to keep that program. He said that to his member of Parliament, the member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl. That is yet another point that has been raised.
An individual from Edmonton, Alberta has written in to say:
I note that in tabling his March 28, 2012 budget, the federal finance minister made no mention of closing the loopholes that enable ultra-rich Canadians to avoid paying their fair share of tax. Through the use of tax havens and ambiguous tax laws, these wealthy Canadians get away with staggering sums of money that could be used to help sustain social programs and fund infrastructure renewal.
Before I get into what happened this morning, which is a key announcement that we need to come back to, I am going to read a comment that comes from the riding of Honoré-Mercier.
Here is what this woman said:
“Having looked at this week's budget, I would like to draw the following points to your attention. First of all, without a doubt, the government has shown that it is incapable of meeting the millennium development goals and is therefore completely abandoning developing countries. Dedicating 0.7% of its GDP to development assistance is a concrete measure that would help underdeveloped countries to get ahead. It is unfortunate that Canada cannot lead by example in that regard.
“Second, the government is treating us like imbeciles, wanting us to believe that it can maintain the same level of service to the public while eliminating 20,000 government jobs.
“Third, this government does not have its priorities straight, considering its decision to purchase F-35 fighter jets.
“Who are we so afraid of that the government has to buy those planes, just when it is trying to eliminate the deficit? Personally, I am not afraid of getting attacked by another country, but rather by this government—an attack on my own country.”
I would like to thank this woman from Honoré-Mercier for her letter. Of course, when the government says it can eliminate 20,000 public service positions without reducing services, that is precisely what we are refuting. This poses a serious problem.
This has just been confirmed. Job losses in the public sector will reach the same level as jobs losses in the private sector.
A few hours ago, as you know, we received an analysis by the Canadian Association of Professional Employees. According to that analysis, the 19,700 positions being cut in the public service—to which Ms. Tremblay referred—will lead to the loss of more than 40,000 jobs in the private sector. We are talking about 60,000 jobs lost in all.
We have to understand what is happening. Last fall, jobs were lost everywhere. Factories and all sorts of companies closed. We lost Mabe, Electro-Motive, Aveos—even though those people are trying to keep working—and the Brunswick mine. We lost job after job in a wide range of Canadian companies.
With Electro-Motive we lost 465 jobs; with Aveos, 2,600 jobs; with Ocean Choice International in Newfoundland—my colleague from St. John's South—Mount Pearl knows all about it—we lost hundreds of jobs. With Maple Leaf Foods, in New Brunswick, Ontario and Coquitlam, we will lose 1,550 jobs by 2013. With AstraZeneca, we lost 132 jobs; with Bick's Pickles, 150 jobs; with XL Foods in Calgary, 500 jobs; with Sunoco, 102 jobs.
Ms. Carol Hughes: What did the Conservatives do about this?
Mr. Peter Julian: Absolutely nothing. They did absolutely nothing.
With Navistar, we lost 350 jobs; with Ford in St. Thomas, 1,100 jobs; with NewPage in Nova Scotia, 1,000 jobs. With Mabe, as I mentioned, 700 jobs will be lost by 2014.
Last fall was disastrous.
Jobs were lost across the country, including manufacturing jobs. How did the government react after all these layoffs? Did it say that services need to be maintained? No. It is going to eliminate 19,700 jobs instead. Canadian families are going to lose their livelihood, but what is more, we are losing those jobs. In the NDP, we are saying very clearly that Canadian families deserve better than the job cuts announced in the budget. Canadian families truly deserve better than this.
So this is what they did. After all of those job losses and plant closures, there have been members of the NDP caucus standing up one after the other over the last weeks. In every case there is strong push-back from NDP members. We understand that when a plant is closed and the government does nothing, there is a multiplier effect in the community. When we lose 2,600 jobs for Aveos, as the government has done, we are talking about a multiplier effect of thousands of additional jobs that are lost. This is what the government does not seem capable of understanding.
On Friday, I talked about the Conservative government's economic record. It is appalling when we look at what it has managed to do over the course of a small number of years. Members would agree that the reason we are getting so many Canadians sending in negative comments about the job losses in this budget and about the direction that the government is taking us is because those Canadians understand that the government is not responding to economic fundamentals.
We have catalogued some of the government's achievements that are not in the Prime Minister's Office speaking notes that Conservative MPs receive. They should be, however, because they are facts and we cannot have a fact-free government. We see in the budget cuts to the first nations, eliminating the First Nations Statistical Institute, eliminating the National Council of Welfare and severe punitive cutbacks to Statistics Canada. We see the government moving away from any sort of fact-based public policy. On this side of the House we believe that facts are the foundation upon which we should build public policy. That is the difference between the two sides. Certainly Canadians are looking ahead to October 20, 2015, when the first NDP government in the history of the country takes office. We can assure Canadians that we will be looking at facts and not just fiction that is manufactured by the Prime Minister's Office.
What are the facts? What have been the achievements of the government?
One achievement is we now have the worst merchandise trade deficit in Canadian history. That is because of an erosion of manufacturing that has been unlike any that we have ever seen. The government has managed to achieve the unthinkable, the worst merchandise trade deficit in Canadian history. The government would say it does not matter because we are really good at exporting raw resources: minerals, bitumen and logs. However, then we look at all exports. The merchandise trade deficit is Canada's sending of manufactured goods abroad and importing from other countries. We are not producing those manufactured goods anymore.
Then we look at the overall deficit which is called the current account deficit, the balance of payments deficit. It is also the worst we have ever seen in Canadian history.
On the merchandise trade side, the government has the dubious achievement in its dismal decade, the dismal, dark, divisive decade of Conservative government, of the worst merchandise trade deficit and the worst current account deficit on balance of payments in our nation's history. These are two achievements, but they are dubious achievements.
What else is there? Another record is that, on manufacturing jobs, we now have the lowest number we have ever had since they first started keeping statistics. It is the worst total we have ever had, a third achievement of the government: worst manufacturing jobs, worst merchandise trade deficit and the worst current account deficit on balance of payments.
What else is there? We also have what are becoming record levels of inequality now, where 20% of the country is earning essentially most of the country's income and has more than three-quarters of the financial resources. That means that the fourth record of the government is now, tragically, the worst level of household debt in our nation's history. We have worst for export, worst for manufacturing jobs and the worst for household debt. That is the Conservative government's economic record.
The Conservatives will point out that in the fewer jobs, less growth and less prosperity budget, they are anticipating that they will change this sorry record. That is what they will say. That is certainly what they will claim.
Let us look at their record so far. I did ask this question before, but I just wanted to raise it with colleagues who are a little bit different today. I just want to ask my colleagues in the House, just for a moment if I could, given how Canada has fared in the last few years, what they thought about how we have managed to do in economic growth among the industrialized countries worldwide.
Mr. Robert Chisholm: According to the government, we must be one or two.
Mr. Peter Julian: My colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour says that the government always seems to say it is setting records and doing really well. It quotes Forbes magazine, which is a great magazine for billionaires, of course, but we prefer to listen to ordinary Canadians.
What have the Conservatives done in terms of projected growth among industrialized countries? My colleagues says first or second, and that is not the case.
Does anyone say the top five? Are there any takers for the top five?
Okay, does anyone say the top ten? I have a Conservative who says we must be in the top ten. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We are not even in the top ten.
Are there any takers, perhaps on the Conservative side of the House, for the top twelve? No.
Actually, for projected growth in 2012, Canada will rank fourteenth among industrialized countries. That is not too good.
We might say that maybe we will do better on overall growth, if we take worldwide growth. We are fourteenth among industrialized countries. Obviously the industrialized countries are doing much better.
Let us take all the countries in the world. Let us take the 200-odd countries in the world and let us ask the same question. How did we do for 2011 in economic growth?
Is anyone for the top ten? Obviously not, because among industrialized countries we are fourteenth, but is anyone for the top twenty? No, I should say that my NDP colleagues are very wise, because we are not in the top twenty.
How about top thirty? Nobody thinks so.
How about the top forty, top fifty, top sixty? How about the top hundred? Nobody, no takers there.
What about the top 120? No.
Okay, it is 130th for 2011 in economic growth. There were 129 countries better managed for economic growth than Canada was in 2011.
Mr. Robert Chisholm: We never hear them say that. They never say that, opposite, do they?
Mr. Peter Julian: No, we have never heard them stand up and say we are number 130.
The next question is this. If the Conservatives did that poorly in 2011, before this budget they must have already had plans in place to do better in 2012.
The IMF, the International Monetary Fund, has a ranking of projected economic growth for 2012. These rankings of economic growth are right here. So, I am just going to ask my colleagues. Obviously we would expect the government to do better in 2012, right?
Mr. Robert Chisholm: Oh, yes.
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims: According to the finance minister, we are always doing better.
Mr. Peter Julian: My colleagues think the government must have done better for the 2012 rankings for the projected economic growth. That was prior to the budget. Let us try that out, then.
Who thinks we are in the top 100? Anybody?
Are we in the top 120?
Are we in the top 130? No?
My colleagues are very wise, again, because it is not the top 130. It is not the top 140. It is not even the top 150.
For 2012, for projected economic growth, we are projected at 152nd internationally. One hundred and fifty-one nations do better than Canada on economic growth, and that was before this budget.
The reason I bring this up is that we now have a budget with 19,700 public sector job losses. But here, from the calculations now done by the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, we see what the real cost of the budget is for Canadian jobs. I will read this out. It just came out. It is hot off the presses. I am certain Conservative members will be getting copies of this. I certainly hope they will, because if this is not further proof that this is a bad budget, I do not know what is.
According to an analysis done by the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, the $5.2 billion cutback in spending and services that was announced in the budget tabled in the House last week will now cause 40,825 additional job losses in the private sector. That is 19,700 in the public sector and 40,825 in the private sector. We are now talking about 60,000 families losing a breadwinner after six appalling months on the job front, as a deliberate result of the government's bad management of the economy and irresponsibility around the budget.
Mr. Robert Chisholm: One would think they would have known that, though, right?
Mr. Peter Julian: The question my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour is asking is, “Would one not think they would know that?”
This is a government that does not even know how much its prisons are going to cost. This is a government that has absolutely no idea how much the F-35s are going to cost. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, fortunately for us, for Canadian taxpayers' sake, did a study and showed it was going to cost $30 billion, including the maintenance contracts. However, that was before all of these additional problems came up with the F-35s, which have been identified by the Auditor General and others.
The government has no idea how much the F-35s will cost. It has no idea how much the prison program will cost. Obviously, it had no idea that what it was doing was throwing 60,000 Canadians out on the street, that it was essentially leading to what can only be called a job meltdown, with more than 60,000 families losing a breadwinner.
Mr. Robert Chisholm: Speaking of the F-35s, they are getting into a bit of trouble on that, I think, are they not?
Mr. Peter Julian: Yes, my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour is absolutely right. I think we will find in question period, which will start in about an hour and a half, some real discussion around this F-35 fiasco.
The Canadian Association of Professional Employees applied an economic model developed by Statistics Canada to the information contained in the 2012 federal budget, which included $5.2 billion of spending cuts and a reduction in the size of the federal public service through the elimination of 19,200 jobs.
The Statistics Canada model indicated that job losses in the public and private sectors would affect all parts of Canada to varying degrees, and the Canadian Association of Professional Employees found that the announced cuts would result in the following job losses by region.
Here we go; here is where we really get a sense of the magnitude of what the government has done. Whether it knew it was doing it or not, whether it understood the economic impact of the multiplier effect or not, I cannot speculate. What is very clearly true is that when there are job losses in the tens of thousands, in this massive way, this is going to provoke exactly what the rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, and so many economists are warning about, that after all the economic problems we have had over the last few months with the factory closures that I mentioned earlier, the plant closures, the loss of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, economists and Fitch and Moody's and the rating agencies were all saying, “Do not cut deep; if you throw more people out of work, what you are going to do is provoke an even worse economic downturn”.
Now we are seeing the results. That is exactly what it is doing. Here are job losses by region. In the province of British Columbia, where I come from, what will happen is 5,869 British Columbia families will lose the breadwinner, 5,869. That is for my province of British Columbia, and that is catastrophic.
I will give one comparison. The last time we talked about job losses of this magnitude is when the mean-spirited government brought in the softwood lumber sellout. We fought that in this House, and in fact I fought it in committee. I remember speaking for 16 hours against what was a horribly poorly negotiated agreement. We knew it would lead to jobs losses. In my area of Burnaby—New Westminster, scant weeks after the government pushed through the softwood lumber sellout, 2,000 jobs evaporated. Three plants were closed.
Mr. Robert Chisholm: Did the government say it was sorry?
Mr. Peter Julian: No, the government never apologized to the softwood lumber workers who lost their jobs, not once. It never said “We are sorry”. Interfor, Western Forest Products and Canfor all closed their doors as the result of deliberate government policy.
That was 2,000 jobs lost, and here we are talking about nearly 6,000 in British Columbia. That is absolutely catastrophic. That is what the government has done with deliberate government policy.
Let us move on to the other side of the country. In Atlantic Canada, we have the Canadian Association of Professional Employees economic model, developed by Statistics Canada, which can still do that because the mean-spirited cuts we saw last Thursday have not taken effect yet. We can still do those economic models. We can still resort to facts. That is extremely important. We can still have facts.
The facts are that for Atlantic Canada the budget is going to kill 6,758 jobs. That is including the multiplier effect. In British Columbia we are talking about 5,869 lost, including 4,009 in the private sector. In Atlantic Canada we are talking about 6,758 lost, including 4,286 in the private sector.
Let us move on to the Prairies. Doubtless to say, Prairie MPs from Conservative ridings are going to be hearing from their constituents. The impact on the Prairies, in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, is 7,538 jobs lost, including 4,886 in the private sector. We have already seen the Prairies hard hit by the government policies in the destruction of the Wheat Board. We already know how farmers are reacting to that. The farmers fought tooth and nail against the government. Again, when we talk about those promises made prior to May 2, we can remember the Minister of Agriculture standing up and saying “No way. Farmers get the final say on the Wheat Board. We certainly will not ramrod our ideology on the backs of farmers on the Prairies”.
Conservatives were elected and, like all of the other broken promises, they promptly forgot their promise to western farmers. They did not consult them. When the western farmers elected a board that was solidly pro Wheat Board, they decided they would not listen to democracy or western farmers and certainly not westerners. Instead they imposed their view and made the decision for western farmers.
Western farmers will have to put up with the government's reneging on solemn commitments that were made. It is a recurring theme that the Prime Minister breaks commitments.
In addition to all of that other economic hardship, the government seemingly can only export raw minerals, raw bitumen and raw logs. The only arrow it has in its quiver is exporting raw materials and jobs as a result. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as a result of this budget, will lose 7,538 jobs in total and 4,886 of those are private sector jobs. That is catastrophic for the Prairies and western Canada. When we add up the losses on the Prairies and in British Columbia, that is well over 13,000 jobs that have evaporated because of the government. It is unbelievable that the government would be that irresponsible. We are talking about impacts right across western Canada and across Atlantic Canada.
In the most irresponsible way possible, the government has decided that it will go to war on jobs. It is not a fewer jobs, less growth, less prosperity budget. It is a budget that is a war on jobs. It is a budget that is a repudiation of any kind of job strategy. Over 60,000 jobs have been lost because the government is so profoundly irresponsible that it thinks it can meddle in ideology and that somehow everything will work out. When we look at its economic record, it has failed on jobs and on wages because Canadians are poorer under the government. There has been a real wage reduction over the last few years because wages have not kept up with inflation. There are record levels of debt. It has failed on exports. There is the lowest level of manufacturing jobs in our nation's history since we started reporting those statistics. To add it all in, the government is now eviscerating jobs right across the country.
An hon. member: Shocking.
Mr. Peter Julian: It is shocking and it is irresponsible. Canadians get it. I have been reading into the record the comments of Canadians from coast to coast to coast who are concerned about the direction in which the government is headed.
Coming back to the rankings before I complete the table, after eviscerating tens of thousands of jobs, the government is hoping that economic growth is going to be better than what the IMF projects for Canada, which is 152nd. The Conservatives have dragged us all the way down to 152nd worldwide. If we look at what happens to a coach in a sporting context who brings the team down to last place, the coach is fired. If a government brings Canada down from its lofty height to 152nd worldwide for economic growth in 2012, even before it eviscerated over 60,000 jobs, we see a whole different order of things. It is not that we have to fire the coach, we have to fire the whole team and that is just what Canadians will do on October 20, 2015.
I thank my colleagues for their enthusiasm and energy because that is what New Democrats do. They bring a lot of energy to their jobs. In part, it is because we get so much energy from Canadians who are writing in to us today concerned about the impacts of this budget. Canadians understand that when 60,000 jobs are slashed in the public and private sector in one budget that it is not an achievement. The budget day of last Thursday was a black day for Canada.
I talked about the well over 13,000 lost jobs in western Canada. I talked about the 6,758 lost jobs in Atlantic Canada, including the great provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
After all these factory closures in Ontario and Quebec over the last few months, one has to ask what has happened in central Canada.
In Quebec 13,299 jobs will be lost. This province has already been hard hit by all the bad government policies that have resulted in factory closures throughout Quebec, in industrial areas such as Montreal, the South Shore and the Quebec City region. And in these areas, because of these bad government policies, there will be a total of 13,299 jobs lost, including 9,314 in the private sector.
We are experiencing an economic downturn. Everyone, all the economists and the rating agencies such as Moody's and Fitch, have warned the government that eliminating jobs will only slow the economy further. Who would have thought that the government would be so irresponsible and so driven by ideology that it would attack the public sector and cut services needed by the public, causing an even more serious economic crisis than the one we have been living through for months?
We can all agree that when tens of thousands of jobs are eliminated, we have an economic crisis on our hands. When tens of thousands of jobs are eliminated, it is a crisis for communities and for those who cannot meet their families' needs. These people have to find a way to put food on the table and to keep a roof over their heads. Even worse, it has an impact everywhere, on all communities and all regions. When a position is eliminated in the Eastern Townships, for example, the effects are felt in Sherbrooke, all over the Eastern Townships and all over Quebec.
Because of the deliberate policies of this Conservative government, Quebeckers will feel the effects of bad government policy 13,299 times. That is terrible. The NDP believes that all Canadian families deserve better than the job cuts that this government has delivered in its budget. They really deserve better.
What about Ontario? The government has killed more than 13,000 jobs in Quebec, more than 13,000 jobs in western Canada and close to 7,000 jobs in Atlantic Canada. What has it done in the heartland of our country? Everywhere else we are seeing significant job losses.
Thanks to the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister, across Ontario, the southwest, to the north, eastern Ontario, through the Toronto region, 26,155 Canadian workers in either the public or the private sector will get that sickening feeling as they are given pink slips. They will have to go home, talk to their families and figure out some way of getting through the coming months and years because their jobs are gone and the economy will be worsened. Of the 26,155 jobs lost in Ontario, 18,199 are in the private sector.
When we look at all those job losses, over 60,000 across the country, this budget is an economic catastrophe. Everybody warned the government about the cuts. The only ones who seem satisfied with the cuts are the people who simply do not understand the multiplier effect of these public sector cuts, folks who may not have lived through what happened in Ontario with Walkerton, and other examples. Every time there are deep cuts to these austerity programs, it hurts families, the services and the economy overall. That is what is happening in this case. The government has deliberately and consciously taken actions that will lead to the loss of more than 60,000 jobs.
Before I close on that point, I would like to raise a few other rankings because it is important.
When we look at the overall so-called economic achievements of the government, they are quite dubious, such as record levels of export deficits and family debt, as well as considerable job losses. When we look back to May 2008, before we entered into the recession, since that time the government managed to barely create 200,000 net new jobs. Some would say that 200,000 is a really good achievement, except that the labour force grew over that same time frame, from May 2008 to today, by nearly half a million.
We were close to 300,000 jobs short. That means Canadians are going out and hitting the streets and sidewalks, knocking on doors trying to get a job and not getting them because we are 300,000 jobs short. They are discouraged and are still trying, but the result is the government's dubious efforts with respect to jobs. It throws out a big number, which we can only attribute to the same kind of sleight of hand it used for trying to calculate the prison budgets or the F-35 budget. It said that it was better than that and threw out some number that nobody could ever confirm where it dreamed it up. It cannot make up public policy on the back of a napkin. It just cannot invent figures. It has to actually go with facts. As we have mentioned before, the budget is cutting all the fact-finding agencies. It is not using facts. Rather, it is absolute fiction.
When we look at that lack of quantity of jobs and we also look at the lack of quality of jobs, the few jobs that have been created under the government over the last six years actually pay $10,000 a year less than the jobs that have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost. It has gained some of them back, but the jobs that have been lost are the family-sustaining manufacturing jobs. Those are the higher paying, value-added, family-sustaining manufacturing jobs.
As members know, we are now at a record low level of manufacturing jobs, lower than even 40 years ago when we had a much smaller population. The government has lost those good quality family-sustaining jobs. What did the government gain? It has been part-time jobs, temporary jobs and jobs that pay $10,000 a year less.
Mr. Robert Chisholm: And now they are changing EI.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Speaker, as my colleague from Dartmouth points out, they are also changing EI.
We are talking about an appallingly bad economic record. Bankers and owners of oil corporations, of course, are happy with the government. However, most Canadians are not in that fortunate position and most of them are the ones who are struggling every day to make ends meet, trying to find and cobble together a number of different part-time jobs, hoping that will give them enough income to provide for their family. They are the ones who are striving to scrimp and save so they can pay for their kids' education, and perhaps for family members who need medication or health care. They are striving as well to make ends meet and looking for that day when they can retire and enjoy life because they are working seven days a week. Even that has been taken away by the Conservative government in this budget, because people are now forced to work two years longer.
With all of those dubious achievements, let us look at a couple of final statistics that show how very bad the government has been on its watch. I am not going to take as a benchmark the statistics prior to the Conservative government coming into place in 2006, but the actual period of the Conservative government from 2007 to 2011. First, I am going to ask a question about the change in real per capita GDP. In other words, in terms of the growth of gross domestic product per Canadian as we have increased our population, how has Canada fared?
I will ask my colleagues if they think we have been in the top five.
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Peter Julian: Do they think we have been in the top 10?
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Peter Julian: In the top 12?
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Peter Julian: These are very wise colleagues I have here. How about the top 15?
Ms. Ruth Ellen Brosseau: Yes.
Mr. Peter Julian: Yes, and the member for Berthier—Maskinongé wins the prize. We are 17th in terms of change in real per capita GDP, on the Conservative government's watch from 2007 to 2011, among industrialized countries. That is a pathetic record. The Conservatives would say that is better than our 152nd place in terms of worldwide economic growth. However, it is not much better, and as it is a smaller pool, we are still as bad off proportionately speaking. Given the small number of industrialized countries, 17th place is nothing at all. However, here is the more important thing. While we are in 17th place, our real per capita GDP actually declined in this period under the Conservatives by minus 1.4%. Our per capita GDP has not gone up, but has gone down under these Conservatives. If that is not a more complete analysis of just what a failure the government has been, I do not know what is. We are well behind virtually every industrialized country and we are in negative real per capita GDP growth, at minus 1.4%.
Let us now look at the changes in the employment rate. For the same period and again among the industrialized countries, do my colleagues believe that we are in the top three? No? They are not sure? Are we in the top 5? No? Perhaps in the top 10? No, not at all? We would hope, but such is not the case. Are we in the top 12? How about the top 15?
Unfortunately, it is the same thing. Canada is in 17th place. On the Conservative government's watch, from 2008 to 2011, Canada ranked 17th among the few industrialized countries. Once again, the important thing to note is that the growth in Canada's employment rate was -1.2%. We are in the red on this, too. It is not just that we are in 17th place but that the growth in our employment rate was -1.2%. That means that the employment situation in Canada has gotten worse as a result of Conservative policies. The Conservatives have led us into increased poverty, and we are in 152nd place in worldwide economic growth for 2012. And that was before the budget.
Now, we have just learned that the government plans to irresponsibly eliminate 60,000 jobs in Canada, 26,000—
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