Speech [Part 2] – Oct 6 2011 – Bill C-13 (Budget Implementation Bill)

Keeping Canada’s Economy and Jobs Growing Act

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-13, An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

The Speaker:
The hon. member for Kildonan—St. Paul has six minutes left to conclude her remarks.

Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, as I said when I first spoke this morning to Bill C-13, it is so important to get this implementation bill passed. It is important because there has been a great deal of debate, starting as early as March when the first phase of this bill was tabled in the House.

We have not only gone through debate, but we have also gone through a full-fledged election. In that election, the members on all sides of the House ran on the budget and explained it very thoroughly to everyone. After that, Canadians were well aware of what we stood for on this budget and brought us back to Parliament with a majority government. That was a clear message from the rest of Canada that Canadians wanted to have this budget.

What things were they supporting? One of them was 600,000 jobs. Those 600,000 jobs have been created due to the fiscal management under the Prime Minister and under this government.

What are some of the other things that are so important? I would ask members opposite to think about some of these things because this would impact all communities across our nation, both on this side and on the opposite side of the House. I think Canadians are paying attention to this debate in the House today. I think that in the municipalities, for example, in my municipality of West and East St. Paul, Canadians are very supportive of a permanent annual investment of $2 billion in the gas tax fund to provide predictable long-term infrastructure funding for municipalities. Too often, municipalities had to wait to see what the transfer payment would be, and they put that very money to good use. This is in this implementation bill.

Also, the volunteer firefighters are waiting for their tax credit, which is waiting in the bill.

As everyone knows in the House, we have an aging demographic. It looks as if within the next 10 years as much as 25% of our population will be in the older age sector. The government, in its implementation bill, has introduced a new family caregiver tax credit to assist caregivers of all types of infirm and dependent relatives. It is very important to have that tax credit available. When family members need specific help, there is an expense to that help. Having this caregiver tax credit would be very important for them. We also propose to remove the previous $10,000 limit on the amount of eligible expenses caregivers can claim under the medical expenses tax credit in respect of financially dependent relatives.

The children’s arts tax credit is waiting in the implementation bill. In prior budgets, we gave tax credits for sports. Members of my family and many of my constituents participate in soccer, basketball, hockey and other wonderful sports for which Canadians are so well known. However, there was a cry from the communities all across Canada asking, “What about the arts? What about the music?” In this implementation bill is this tax credit waiting to be launched and implemented. However, without the support of members opposite to get this through right away, that tax credit is held in abeyance.

Education and training are of paramount importance. I know many school children are considering what they are going to be doing when they grow up. Even my own daughter wants to go into medicine and there are many new doctors and nurses who want to go to underserved rural and remote areas.

In this very important implementation bill, Bill C-13, there is the opportunity to forgive loans for new doctors and nurses who make those choices. I just visited Churchill. I was up north and I looked at the wonderful medical facility and talked with the nurses up there. I was discussing this particular part of the budget bill and they said that this would attract people into remote northern areas. I think this is very important.

Also, for students going to university, it is very expensive. That is also in the implementation bill.

There are many good things in this implementation bill, such as phasing out the direct subsidy to political parties. Canadians are saying that they want their tax dollars used for roads, infrastructure, all the things that they need. They do not want to give their tax dollars to political parties so they can do their political things and run for office. Political parties need to take responsibility.

I hope to see this implementation bill pass very shortly.

Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan (Scarborough—Rouge River, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, the member opposite spoke briefly about post-secondary education and that this budget and the implementation bill supports post-secondary education. However, in reading the implementation bill, the only investment that I see is in creating more loans for students. By creating more loans for students who are carrying $40,000, $50,000, $80,000 of debt, how is the government helping students access post-secondary education?

Mrs. Joy Smith:
Mr. Speaker, in this particular part of the implementation bill it is the forgiveness of those loans. In other words, if new doctors and new nurses choose to go to remote areas they have the opportunity to have their loans forgiven, and that is very important. My own daughter, who is going into medicine, is saying that this is something that is very attractive.

Post-secondary education is of paramount importance to all in this country and these opportunities will be opened up.

Mr. David Sweet (Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague on not only a great speech but on all of the good work that she does to fight human trafficking.

I mentioned earlier, with my colleague from Burlington, the issues that we have in the greater city of Hamilton regarding steel and the manufacturing of steel, and not only steel producers but also steel fabricators, and the many different aspects of the value chain. I just wanted to ask my colleague how important it is that this bill gets passed to ensure that the measures come into force for corporations so they can invest for the future and create jobs.

Mrs. Joy Smith:
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for that very important question because the promotion of job creation and economic growth is of paramount importance.

Included in Bill C-13 is the temporary hiring credit for small business to encourage additional hiring, which will help all businesses. Also included is expanding the tax support for clean energy generation to encourage green investments as well. Also included is the mineral exploration tax credit for flow-through share investors by one year to support Canada’s mining sector. Earlier today, several members talked about the importance of the mines in their northern constituencies. The government is listening to that and needs that to happen.

There are other things too. We talked earlier about the accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for investments in manufacturing. I have manufacturing in my own riding and the business people are telling me that it is of paramount importance for this to get through so they can have it.

Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan:
Mr. Speaker, maybe the member did not understand the question I asked previously. The loan forgiveness program would allow members of our community who have already become doctors and nurses to pay off some of their loans quicker, but the problem today is that members in our communities are not able to get into universities and colleges because they cannot afford to pay for them.

How would the bill actually support Canadians accessing education? She wants to talk about the doctors and nurses but the problem is that rural communities do not have the facilities. This does not actually go to the root problem, which is that we do not have enough doctors and nurses in our communities.

Mrs. Joy Smith:
Mr. Speaker, the Canada grants loans program has been improved considerably, and that certainly does help the students.

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