June 8, 2015

CPC

Dave Van Kesteren

Conservative

Mr. Dave Van Kesteren

With regard to government funding in the riding of Windsor West, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusive: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Sub-subtopic:   Question No. 1181
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(Return tabled)


CPC

Ron Cannan

Conservative

Hon. Ron Cannan

With regard to government funding in the riding of Kelowna—Lake Country, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusive: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Sub-subtopic:   Question No. 1182
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(Return tabled)


CPC

Ron Cannan

Conservative

Hon. Ron Cannan

With regard to government funding in the riding of Vancouver Kingsway, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusive: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Sub-subtopic:   Question No. 1184
Permalink

(Return tabled)


CPC

Wai Young

Conservative

Ms. Wai Young

With regard to government funding in the riding of Vancouver Centre, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusive: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Sub-subtopic:   Question No. 1185
Permalink

(Return tabled)


LIB

Dominic LeBlanc

Liberal

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc

With respect to all the small craft harbours located in New Brunswick: how much funding has been allocated by the government since fiscal year 2001-2002, broken down by (i) fiscal year, (ii) small craft harbour, (iii) specific expenditure program?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Sub-subtopic:   Question No. 1194
Permalink

(Return tabled)


CPC

Tom Lukiwski

Conservative

Mr. Tom Lukiwski

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Permalink
CPC
?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Permalink

The House resumed consideration of the motion.


CPC

Pierre Poilievre

Conservative

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I thank you personally for recognizing the presence in this chamber today of the great-grandson of Winston Churchill, Randolph Churchill, who I had a chance to meet today. He reminded me of one of Churchill's great sayings to the effect that trying to tax one's way to prosperity is like trying to lift oneself off the ground by standing in a bucket and pulling up on the handle.

That is particularly appropriate for the motion put forward in the House by the NDP, supported I presume by the Liberals, which has the effect of raising payroll taxes on Canadian workers. The opposition NDP view Canadian taxpayers as a bottomless pit from which it can take endless supplies of money to spend on all of the dreams that a left-of-centre politician can conjure up. Today the New Democrats are focusing on payroll taxes. Let me help them understand what payroll taxes are. They are a fixed sum of money that is taken off of the paycheque of every single worker and used to fund the Canada pension plan and employment insurance. Deductions are also matched by the employer so that both employer and employee must make these payments in order to fund these programs.

Our approach has been to keep these payroll taxes as low as humanly possible. In fact, with the soon to arrive surplus in the employment insurance account, we will have the ability to lower payroll taxes in the year 2017, at which time they will go down by 21%, one-fifth, which will save money for both small business people and the hard-working employees who work for them.

The NDP and the Liberals want to do exactly the opposite. They would like to raise payroll taxes. Therefore, let us start with the two things that they had announced they want to do to raise payroll taxes. Both have recently announced support for Premier Kathleen Wynne's proposed pension plan in Ontario. That Liberal pension plan would raise payroll taxes by $1,000 per worker for every person earning $60,000 a year. It is indicated in a schedule to the publicly available Ontario Liberal government plan put out in 2014 how much extra taxes Canadians would have to pay. For example, someone earning about $70,000 would pay an extra $1,200 in payroll taxes and so would the small business that employs him or her. Someone earning only $45,000 would pay an additional $800 and his or her employee would be forced to match it.

When Kathleen Wynne came up with this new tax, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business asked its members, thousands of small businesses right across the country, how they would carry this new burden. The answers that the small businesses gave are the following: a majority said they would have to fire people; a majority said they would have to cut wages; and, many said they would have to do both. In fact, a significant number of small businesses indicated that they would have to close their doors altogether were they to be burdened with this increased tax.

That is precisely why we have rejected higher payroll taxes to fund pension schemes. Our approach for pension security is to cut taxes. We believe that if you leave more money in the hands of those who earn it they can set more money aside to prepare for a brighter future. Therefore, we brought in the tax-free savings account that allow people to put aside money and grow it tax free for the rest of their lives.

The opposition claimed that the people who contribute to these are making too much money, so I checked, and I found that on average, 60% of those who max out their tax-free savings accounts earned less than $60,000 a year. Liberals and New Democrats think that if people earn $60,000 a year, they are too rich and they should pay more to the government. They could not be further from the truth.

Our approach for retirement security is a low-tax plan. Their approach is a high-tax scheme. Whenever Canadians are given a clear choice between low taxes and high taxes, they always choose wisely because they understand that a dollar left in the hands of the person who earns it will always be more productively spent and invested than in the hands of the politician or bureaucrats who tax it. That is the lesson that they will teach the NDP and the Liberals when they vote on this payroll tax in October.

There is one member in the House who gave me applause and I want to thank him for that. The member for Brandon—Souris is very generous and I know that he agrees that his constituents should be able to keep more of their own money and that is why they have confidence in him.

I know there is no applause on the other side of the House when we speak about lower taxes. They believe in a big usurpatory government that takes as much as humanly possible. We know that any government that has to spend more on the irresponsible schemes of a left-of-centre party ends up emptying the pockets of hard-working Canadians and we will not allow them to do that.

I now move on to the second tax increase that both the NDP and Liberals propose and that, of course, is an increase in employment insurance payroll taxes. We have here in the House of Commons one of the greatest supporters of the 45-day work year. He proposes, and so do both opposition parties, that employment insurance be paid out for an entire year after someone works 45 days. How do we run an economy if people are only working 45 days a year?

The NDP and Liberals have both endorsed this approach that would cost billions of dollars in order to increase eligibility for EI to a year-long period after 45 days of employment. This plan would apply in every single economic region in the country, even places with acute labour shortages where employers struggle to find people to work. The NDP and Liberals would institute this multibillion dollar scheme of a 45-day work year.

The problem is not just that it would harm our workforce, it would raise our taxes because we cannot find billions of dollars to spend on a scheme like that out of thin air. Budgets, unlike the Liberal leader's view, do not balance themselves and neither do expensive schemes like this pay for themselves. They would have to raise payroll taxes on those Canadians who get up every day and work hard and the people who employ them.

We know if it is more expensive to hire, our employers will hire less. On this side of the House, we believe in creating jobs because the best way to lift people up and to create a brighter future for them is through the three pillars of prosperity: jobs, families and communities. The best anti-poverty plan is a good job. The most reliable social safety net is a strong family. For those who have trouble finding a job or whose families struggle, we have a third pillar which is community. Let me briefly talk about all three of them.

Our plan for jobs is the three Ts: training, trade, tax cuts. Training connects Canadians with the opportunities to be employed. Trade gives markets for our businesses to sell to. Tax cuts allow our consumers to spend, our families to save and our businesses to hire. These three Ts create jobs.

As for families, we are putting money into the hands of moms and dads so they can make the best decisions for their children.

As for communities, we are eliminating the tax on charities, which used to punish our non-profits every time they got a donation from a philanthropist, so that 100% of charitable giving will be tax-free from now on.

Families, jobs and communities are the three pillars of a strong Canada. That is our future.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Employment Insurance Premiums
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NDP

Mathieu Ravignat

New Democratic Party

Mr. Mathieu Ravignat (Pontiac, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I am always disappointed when the hon. member does not include a quote from F.A. Hayek or Robert Nozick in his speech. He has the habit of doing so.

What the member is proposing is basically that seasonal workers in my riding do not have a right to a job. They also do not have a right to live in their community. The changes the government made to employment insurance are forcing workers out of their communities, away from their families, to move into cities. Whole industries are being destroyed by this. It is not good for the employers because they are expecting to have trained specialized workers in their community. Those trained specialized workers in their community, which my hon. colleague flaunted, are having to leave the community, and the employers and business owners in my community cannot find people to do the specialized jobs. How is that helping?

Compounding that, his party, as well as the party all the way down over there, stole money from Canadians to invest in their own insurance plans to bail themselves out. How is that right?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Employment Insurance Premiums
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CPC

Pierre Poilievre

Conservative

Hon. Pierre Poilievre

Mr. Speaker, the NDP plan for jobs is to punish those who work and punish those who hire them. It wants to raise taxes on small businesses that go out into the world and hire people and create opportunities. We should do exactly the opposite.

That is what we have done in our recent budget. In fact, if we look at the tax relief we have instituted since 2006, right through to the recent reductions put forward in this budget, we are cutting taxes for a business that earns $500,000 a year by $38,000. That is enough for each one of those small businesses to hire a promising young person, with a great job and rewarding salary, right out of school.

The member across the way just said something very shameful. He said that small businesses do not hire people. In fact, they do hire people. The NDP member from New Brunswick should be absolutely ashamed for insulting our small businesses. They are the ones that create the jobs and the opportunities for our country.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Employment Insurance Premiums
Permalink
LIB

Sean Casey

Liberal

Mr. Sean Casey (Charlottetown, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am from Prince Edward Island and I would like to direct a question to the minister, who I am sure does not know very much about Prince Edward Island. I will start with a couple of facts.

First, Prince Edward Island has among the highest labour participation rates in the country when the jobs are there. Second, Prince Edward Island has a small population and a small landmass. Until recently, all of Prince Edward Island was treated the same when it came to access to EI benefits. That has changed. Prince Edward Island now has two zones. One zone is the central third of the island, where seasonal workers have to work a lot more for fewer weeks. The other zone includes all of the riding of Egmont and some other rural parts of Prince Edward Island, where the qualification period is shorter and the benefit rate is higher.

These changes were made before the minister took over leadership of the portfolio. Does he support the pitting of Islanders against one another with respect to eligibility for EI benefits?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Employment Insurance Premiums
Permalink
CPC

Pierre Poilievre

Conservative

Hon. Pierre Poilievre

Mr. Speaker, I support more jobs for Islanders, and that is exactly what our agenda seeks to do. Though trade, training and tax cuts, we are encouraging Canadians from coast to coast to work hard and succeed.

Nowhere is this more important than on the east coast. It will benefit disproportionately from the presence of a Canada-EU free trade deal. The reality is that this will create enormous opportunity for coastal communities across the Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador, precisely because of geography.

The Liberals delivered almost nothing for trade during their time in office. We had free trade with only six countries when we took office. Now we have free trade with 44 countries. That gives our businesses a world of customers and our customers a world of choice.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Employment Insurance Premiums
Permalink
NDP

Hélène LeBlanc

New Democratic Party

Ms. Hélène LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I wish to inform the House that I will be sharing my time with the member for Drummond.

On behalf of my constituents in LaSalle—Émard, I rise in the House to support my colleague's motion. I will be supporting the official opposition motion moved by my colleague from Trois-Rivières. The motion states the following:

That, in the opinion of the House, employment insurance premiums paid by employers and workers must be used exclusively to finance benefits, as defined by the Employment Insurance Act, for unemployed workers and their families and that, consequently, the government should: (a) protect workers'...premiums...; (b) improve program accessibility...; and (c) abandon its plan, as set out in Budget 2015, to set rates unilaterally...

When we are elected to the Parliament of Canada and form the government, it is important that we keep our promises. When we collect EI premiums from workers and employers, that money must be used for its intended purpose.

In other words, those premiums must be used to help workers who have had the misfortune of losing their jobs, so that those workers can make ends meet and provide for their families until they can find another job.

When we take office, that is a commitment we make. It is what is written, for example, in the contract of this employment insurance program, which is one of the commitments that Canada has made to Canadian society. These are the programs we have set up over the years to ensure that we have a society that is more just and more equitable.

In addition, for decades, Canada was rightly acknowledged as a fair, equitable and, I would even say, compassionate society. We introduced programs such as employment insurance, health insurance and the Canada Pension Plan. All of these programs are part of the social safety net that Canadians decided to establish and to which they contribute year after year through a variety of contributions and income tax.

It is a government’s responsibility to ensure that the contributions it receives from workers, from Canadian men and women, are used fairly and equitably for government programs.

However, over the past 20 years, we have noted that government after government has not kept the commitments it made or its promises, and this is why Canada is no longer the fair and just society that we used to know.

Over the past two decades, that is, since the major cuts made my Liberal governments and now those made by the Conservative government, the wage disparities between rich and poor as well as between men and women have continued to grow. I am not the one who is saying it, this is in the OECD reports: income inequality between rich and poor and between men and women in Canada is rising, and rising more and more quickly. This worries me.

This is the reason why we have programs such as employment insurance and others that I mentioned before that help reduce these inequalities.

I am lucky to represent the riding of Lasalle—Émard. It is a riding that experienced a golden age, at a time when the manufacturing sector was important. Over the years, manufacturing has declined somewhat and major companies that employed a large number of people have unfortunately closed down.

We have come to realize that there is a significant transition happening in the Canadian economy. First, a number of Canadian companies have been bought up by foreign interests. Then they just closed down, because it was decided to move production to somewhere else in the world. Other companies did not invest wisely in their employees or in the business itself to ensure its survival, and they too closed down. What happened to most of these workers? They lost their jobs. It is at this point that workers want to be able to rely on employment insurance.

I find it extremely sad to hear some of my Conservative colleagues talking about people who lose their jobs as if it were their own fault and as if the government were not required to help them. I know that Canadians are supportive and compassionate people. These are people who want to help each other. When I listen to Conservatives on the other side of the House, I do not recognize myself in them. Most Canadians would not recognize themselves in them, either.

As I mentioned, a number of large manufacturing companies in my riding have closed down. There has been a transition and, today, one of the fastest-growing sectors in my riding is the retail trade. What do we have now? We have precarious employment, part-time jobs, minimum-wage jobs and very difficult jobs. It is very hard for a family to make ends meet.

In addition, because of the type of jobs in retail, when the American giant Target closed its doors just a year after coming into Canada with great fanfare, between 60 and 70 jobs were lost in my riding. The same thing then happened with Best Buy. Because these jobs have such piecemeal schedules, it is really difficult to get a certain number of hours. In addition, who occupies most of these jobs? They are women.

We know that, with the cuts made by the Liberals and then by the Conservatives, and the fact that they have made access to employment insurance more and more difficult, these people often find themselves with nothing. It is not just the workers who suffer. Their families suffer, too. What we have noticed in the riding of Lasalle—Émard is that people are poorer because the cost of living is increasing and jobs are precarious. When someone loses a job, it is difficult for him or her to have access to employment insurance. The social safety net that we built generation after generation in this country has been ripped apart.

I think that those currently in government do not understand Canadian society at all or the values held by Canadians. In October 2015, I think it will be their turn to receive a pink slip that says they have been fired.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Employment Insurance Premiums
Permalink

June 8, 2015