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Results: 1 - 4 of 4
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-03-26 16:27 [p.15245]
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Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House to speak to the 2013 economic action plan and what it means for my riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla. There are many reasons why I am in full support of the budget that are unique to my riding. However, there are initiatives that are in our national interest and I would like to briefly speak to those.
There are times when as Canadians we must rise above partisan interests and recognize areas that are of Canadian concern. I am not alone when I say that many of my constituents are concerned when they see temporary foreign workers taking jobs that many of us agree Canadians should be working. Let us also recognize that the program originates back to the early 1970s. It was always intended to be temporary and yet, nearly 40 years later, the program is now older than many members of the House. In fact, the origins of the program are older than I am.
What has changed over the past 40 years is that today the temporary foreign worker program is increasingly being accessed because of the lack of skilled workers available in local markets. Let us also recognize that there are massive amounts of provincial and federal tax dollars spent on post-secondary education. At a time when many of Canada's higher paying employers cannot find enough skilled workers, there are students graduating with degrees in fields in which they can find no employment. The reality is that academia has in many cases been slow to respond to the needs of local employers. That is unacceptable.
The economic action plan for 2013 is the first budget in close to 40 years to propose significant measures that would provide Canadians with the skills they need in our new economy. I commend the Minister of Finance for his vision in this area. It is one of the reasons why I am supporting the budget.
One thing I do with great frequency in Okanagan—Coquihalla is to meet with our private sector employers. They are the wealth providers and the true engines of our Canadian economy. Let us never forget that without a vibrant and prosperous private sector there would be no funds to pay for the public sector.
Recently, I toured a value-added lumber mill in my riding. My host, Mr. Nick Arkle of Gorman Bros., gave me a tremendous amount of insight into the many value-added wood products that his company ships to over 28 different countries worldwide. It was truly an impressive and innovative operation by any measure.
One of the things I learned is that if the company was not in the top 10% of the lumber industry for efficiency, it would be shutting the doors during the inevitable down cycles of the economy. In this industry, every cut of lumber is carefully analyzed. Any waste is considered lost revenue. Therefore, the many large-scale investments the company makes has made it a leader in its industry. The specialized machinery to make these cuts is very expensive. That is why tax relief measures in our economic action plan for new manufacturing equipment is critically important for this and other lumber mills' survival.
Let us also not forget that this new machinery requires skilled workers to operate and maintain it. I spoke with members of Mr. Arkle's saw technician team. In many cases, they will work up to a hundred saws in a single shift to minimize the loss of valuable wood to sawdust, while increasing safety and also prolonging the life of the equipment. It was remarked that at starting wages a saw technician is well compensated and it is a great opportunity for young people to stay in the southern interior of British Columbia, while providing for their families. They just need the required training and a desire to put those skills to work.
That creates new jobs and is another reason why I am supporting the budget, because job creation is as important for my riding as it is for our great nation.
Let us also recognize that lumber mills not only provide hundreds of well-paying jobs that help drive the economy of an entire region but also pay a very significant amount of property tax to local governments. As a former municipal councillor, I know all too well of the importance of industry tax revenues and well-paying jobs to the fabric of a community.
That brings me to my next point. The economic action plan would continue to provide support for both the community improvement fund and a new building Canada fund. This is long-term stable funding that helps communities plan their infrastructure needs in a manner that they can afford.
In the past, we have seen federal governments that have reduced funding to the provinces, which in turn leads to downloading onto municipalities. I hope that all members will join me in recognizing that the budget would maintain support for our communities and our provinces, and that is another reason why I will be supporting it.
Although I could easily go on for several hours on the many reasons why I support the budget, in the interests of time, I would like to draw attention to a final point. Many have overlooked this point but I think it is very important. The economic action plan has many measures that would support job creators. One is the 15% mineral exploration tax credit. When many people think of Okanagan—Coquihalla, they think of the beautiful vineyards and some of Canada's finest wines. On a side note, people can buy some of those fine wines directly if they happen to live in Manitoba and soon Nova Scotia. Hopefully, Ontario will be next.
What many do not realize is how critically important mining is to my riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla. Logan Lake has one of Canada's largest open pit copper mines. The Highland Valley Copper Mine directly supports 900 families and thousands more indirectly. For those who do not support responsible resource development, which is basically the entire opposition caucus and the opposition leader, Teck Resources Ltd., the operator of that mine, was recently named Canada's most sustainable company.
From speaking to Mayor Marlon Dosch, this mine plays a major role in the Logan Lake economy, both as a driver for local employment and a large contributor to the local tax base. It is my understanding that due to a number of retirements, it will soon be looking for more skilled workers. This is something that they welcome as a community, as it means new development and more families moving to Logan Lake and enrolling in their schools. All of this adds vitality to this rural community.
In Merritt, there is also a relatively new Huldra Silver copper mine. Although smaller, it has a workforce close to 60 people, including local first nations, and injects roughly $15 million annually into the local economy. President Sharp has made the employment of local first nations a priority. The measures in this year's economic action plan would support these goals and would thus support the area of Merritt and the Nicola Valley.
In Okanagan Falls, Unit Electrical Engineering is a specialty manufacturer of equipment that includes specialized mining components. UEE is the largest employer in that region and has produced equipment for some of Canada's largest mines.
Supporting the mineral exploration tax credit is important to many families in Okanagan—Coquihalla, who depend on these highly paid jobs within this important industry. That is another reason why I am supportive of the 2013 economic action plan.
Let us also not forget that the economic action plan continues to keep Canada on track for a balanced budget in 2015-16. It also builds on the principles that allow Canada to keep its AAA credit rating and it secures our internationally respected financial position as a leader among the G7 countries.
The opposition says we should increase spending and raise taxes, but let us not forget that other countries went down that road and they are still paying the price. In my opinion, Canadian values would have us live within our means.
Our country was not built on handouts, high taxes and a host of expensive social programs.
I appreciate the opportunity to rise in the House and show support for the Minister of Finance's economic action plan 2013.
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-02-05 14:05 [p.13696]
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Mr. Speaker, Logan Lake is a wonderful rural resource-based community located in my riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla. Folks there are incredibly friendly, hard-working and have a great love of the outdoors.
Each year, Logan Lake puts on an incredible outdoor hockey tournament. When not outdoors, they have a very innovative and unique cable service to watch, run completely by volunteers. Make no mistake, the economic engine of this community is the Highland Valley copper mine. This is one of the largest open-pit copper mines in Canada and puts food on the table for over 900 families.
Recently, Teck Resources, the operator of the mine, was named Canada's most sustainable company. I think this is pretty exciting news for the good people of Logan Lake, for Teck Resources and for other responsible resource development. Please join me in recognizing Teck Resources and the contribution of mining in creating well-paying jobs in rural resource communities such as Logan Lake, British Columbia.
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View David Wilks Profile
CPC (BC)
View David Wilks Profile
2012-05-10 11:56 [p.7857]
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Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be speaking today on budget 2012, which is going to be keeping our taxes low and returning Canada to a balanced budget over the medium term, which is good news for Canadians.
Economic action plan 2012 focuses on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Budget 2012 also demonstrates the Conservative government's strong support for British Columbia through record federal transfer supports for hospitals, schools and other critical services. Transfers totalling over $5.6 billion in 2012-13, represent an increase of over $1 billion from the former Liberal government.
The average hard-working family is paying $3,100 less in taxes under our government. It is also keeping taxes low for small and medium-sized business, and it facilitates the responsible development of Canada's energy and natural resource sector. We will do this without raising taxes and without cutting transfers to the provinces for services that families rely on, like health care and education.
There is more that our government can and will do in the years to come to ensure Canada remains competitive in the world market and provides great opportunities for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
The natural resource sector employs more than 760,000 people in communities throughout the country. It is the engine that drives our great nation. Over the next 10 years, 500 major projects, representing $500 billion in new investment, are planned across Canada. In the rich oil sands developments, the Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that in the next 25 years oil sands growth will support, on average, 480,000 jobs per year in Canada and will add $2.3 trillion to our GDP.
In my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, Teck Resources, the world's second largest producer of metallurgical coal, is expanding to ensure that it is able to keep up with the world demand for steelmaking coal.
We must ensure that the natural resource sector can move forward with projects in a timely and transparent manner, while effectively protecting the environment. With that in mind, our government will focus on four major areas to streamline the review process for major economic projects. We will be making the review process more predictable and timely. We will reduce duplication. We will strengthen environmental protection. We will enhance consultation with aboriginal peoples. With that, we are going to consolidate responsibility for reviews and have fixed beginning-to-end timelines. Panel reviews will be 24 months. NEB hearings will be 18 months. Standard EAs will be 12 months. We will institute a one project, one review process.
There are countless examples of companies having to go through a dual process for a project only to be approved at one level and denied at another. At best, this is extremely frustrating, provides no surety to investors in the project and further bogs down the process.
What are we going to do? We propose to invest $54 million to renew the major projects management office to transform the approvals process for major natural resource projects by shortening the average review time from 4 years to 22 months and improve accountability by monitoring the performance of federal regulatory departments.
We propose to invest $13.6 million over the next two years to support consultation with aboriginal peoples. We want to ensure that their rights and interests are respected and also facilitate discussions on how they can benefit from economic development opportunities.
We propose investing $35.7 million over the next two years to support responsible energy development.
I have heard much about the concern of tanker traffic specific to our west coast. Oil tankers have been moving safely along Canada's west coast since the 1930s; 82 oil tankers arrived at Port Metro Vancouver last year, and over the past five years nearly 200 oil and chemical tankers have visited the ports of Prince Rupert and Kitimat. They all did so safely.
Tankers in Canada must comply with the safety and environmental protection requirements of international conventions, and they must also comply with Canada's marine safety regulatory regime. This includes double hulling of ships, mandatory pilotage, regular inspections and aerial surveillance.
We propose to invest $13.5 million over the next two years to strengthen pipeline safety. We will do this by increasing the number of inspections on oil and gas pipelines from 100 to 150, and we will double the number of annual comprehensive audits from three to six, to identify issues before incidents happen. Why? Because we value the importance of economic stewardship. We want our natural resource sector to continue to be the safest and most environmentally responsible in the world.
Our government also recognizes that in order for our business sector to flourish, we must open new markets for it. That is why we will continue to explore free trade agreements with countries around the world. It is the best way for Canada to grow its economy and create jobs.
Our Conservative government recognizes the importance of clean energy and the opportunities available to those who wish to explore this avenue. As such, under the capital cost allowance regime in the income tax system, class 43.2 of Schedule II of the Income Tax Regulations, we will provide an accelerated CCA rate for investment in specified clean energy generation and conservation equipment. Here are some examples: using a renewable energy source such as wind, solar and small hydro; using fuels from waste such as landfill gas, wood waste and manure; and making efficient use of fossil fuels such as in high-efficiency cogeneration systems, which simultaneously produce electricity and useful heat.
This is an exciting opportunity for communities across Canada to look at investing in cogeneration plants that can create electricity and heat from solid waste, as it is something that every community across Canada must deal with on a daily basis. It opens up opportunities for companies across Canada to expand in new technology, which will benefit Canadians for generations to come.
Finally, I am extremely pleased that our government will invest $150 million over the next two years to support repairs and improvements to existing community facilities. This will be done under the community infrastructure improvement fund. As a former mayor, I can say that keeping community facilities updated is vitally important to ensure they can be used in a safe and efficient manner. Every community in Canada can benefit from this program, and in turn it will promote healthy and vibrant cities and towns from coast to coast to coast.
This touches on just a small portion of the economic action plan 2012. I am proud to be part of a government that continues to focus on jobs, growth and the economy. This is what Canadians want us to do: be responsible, forward-thinking and prudent.
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View David Wilks Profile
CPC (BC)
View David Wilks Profile
2012-05-10 12:06 [p.7858]
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Mr. Speaker, one project, one review. It is what I have heard from my constituents in Kootenay—Columbia with Teck Resources, who go through a number of these every year. One project, one review for the oil sands, one project, one review for all natural resources.
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