Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Transport.
I am pleased to rise on Bill C-43, economic action plan 2014 act, no. 2. In my preparation for these remarks, I was struck by the importance of the date on which I am speaking. I am speaking for the second time on the budget from earlier this year. I spoke to it for the first time in this House on April 4. In my remarks, I praised the work of the late Jim Flaherty, because at that time, he had moved from being our long-serving Minister of Finance to being the MP for Whitby—Oshawa. That was on April 4. Sadly, six days later, we lost our friend Jim. I think this House and all Canadians recognize that what we are debating today is his last budget and his gift to Canada of securing our economic future.
When I was reviewing my remarks, I realized that today is the day the new member for Whitby—Oshawa, and since she has not yet taken her seat, I believe I can say that her name is Pat Perkins, will be taking her seat, in about an hour. She will be taking her seat as a proud Conservative caucus member and as a former mayor of Whitby who has worked very passionately with people like Jim Flaherty and our Prime Minister and with this government.
Sometimes these significant dates and the tremendous public service of people like Jim and Pat need to be recognized in this House.
In my remarks given in this place on April 4, I highlighted several parts of the budget, particularly some measures for small and medium-sized enterprises; research and development innovation, such as at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology; trade and some of our trade work; and our reinvestment in the Last Post Fund for veterans, something the legion had been asking for, which would extend the century-long work of the Last Post Fund to modern-day veterans, veterans post-Korean War, who may have been indigent at the time they passed.
I think all members in this House are well served by the teams we have in our ridings. Today is also important to speak because I am fortunate to have Sheryl, Stacy, and Danielle from my riding here today in Ottawa at training. Without people like that serving our constituents, we would not be able to give the service we need to to Canadians.
My remarks today are going to focus on some different parts of the budget and related amendments that are important to Canada and our prosperity. I want to focus on why some of these measures are here. Often my friends in the NDP like to talk about how many pages a budget implementation act has but do not actually read the pages.
We are looking at one of the most sophisticated economies in the world. With tax measures, measures to promote growth and job creation, and listening to families and promoting safe communities, there are going to be consequential regulations and amendments as part of that. If we dive into them, we can see that they actually echo the demands of Canadians.
The child fitness tax credit has been remarkably popular. It supports healthy activity for our young people and helps families bridge that gap as the costs of these sports and physical activities have gone up. This bill will implement our doubling of that fitness tax credit and will make it refundable as of next year.
I was very proud that the Prime Minister chose Whitby to make this announcement and that we were part of it in the Abilities Centre. It is a direct measure that has been benefiting families. We are extending it and making it better.
Consumers, particularly seniors in my riding, have asked me countless times why they have to pay to pay. They want to know why they have to pay for a paper bill if they want to get a paper bill. That provision is in here as a consumer measure. It is focused on giving choices to consumers, those who either pay online or the traditional way. It is also part of our multi-year project of making the wireless sector more competitive and more accountable.
There are also measures in this bill that will see administrative monetary penalties added to the Wireless Code and that will continue our work to bring cell phone costs down for Canadian families and businesses.
We see direct input from charities in this budget, building on the exceptional work done in the previous budget on the introduction of the first-time donor’s super credit that encouraged Canadians to support the charitable sector. We would build on that to allow charitable groups, non-profits, and church groups to fund-raise and do their activities by computer, which would allow them to do more modern fundraising. We have been listening to these charities and acting.
We see NGOs’ input reflected in here. I remember meeting Kady Séguin, from Publish What You Pay, in my extractive-sector outreach. Our G8 commitment, made by the Prime Minister in Scotland, to make resource companies around the world publish their payments in those countries is in here. That is listening. That is building on the work some of those NGOs are doing.
Business owners, particularly small-business owners, will see their demands in here, expressed through a number of groups, including CFIB. Our small business job credit, which would see a benefit for 90% of EI-dues-paying employers, would drop their EI payroll taxes by up to 15%, not only securing the jobs of today but building them for tomorrow. That is listening. That is in here.
We have heard from victims advocates across the country. The victims bill of rights is in this budget implementation bill. As well, there is something that many, including my friend, the leader of the Green Party, have advocated for. She has been advocating for the DNA missing persons database to try to give closure to some of these families. Victims groups have asked for that investment in the DNA databank. That is in here. That is listening to victims. That is listening to groups across the country.
It is also an opportunity for small groups of residents, like those in my riding, to have an impact. When I was elected in 2012, I met with a group of people who were upset by some of the development around a small aerodrome in Greenbank. Large quantities of fill were being brought in. There was the expectation that because it was an aerodrome, there was no regulation permitted by the local and provincial levels of government. That was not the case. We have clarified that. Operations like the fill operation will only attract the federal jurisdiction if they have a direct impact on aeronautics. However, clearly, there is a need to clarify this area, so there is another provision. We have listened. A number of us have advocated amendments to the Aeronautics Act that would clarify the ability of the minister to set regulations on the development of these aerodromes, small ones scattered throughout the country, and to make regulations with respect to consultations on the development of these aerodromes.
The great thing about a budget that will bring Canada to a balanced budget in the next year, spending in priority areas, and offering tax relief to groups like families and small businesses is that in many ways, it goes back to my first remarks that the legacy of our friend Jim Flaherty will live on through the secure economy he has provided. Budgets like this one make sure that our economic fundamentals are sound.
It takes prudent management. Budgets do not balance themselves. It takes setting priorities. It takes establishing a plan. It takes building an environment friendly to job creation, innovation, and growth.
This will mark a turning point. Canada not only stands tall with our success domestically but serves as a beacon to our G7 counterparts. Canada will be the first G7 nation, for many years, to have a balanced budget. What is more impressive is that we balanced that budget while creating jobs, spending in priority areas, like record health transfers to provinces like mine, Ontario, and controlling the overall pace of the growth of government, recognizing that small businesses, families, and seniors cannot be leaned on time and again just for the sake of growing every department of government and the size and scope of government.
It is with a mixture of sadness and joy that I recognize that Mr. Flaherty’s legacy will be executed through this final budget, which will pass this House and secure a strong future for Canada.