MP MacKenzie Speaks to Bill C-13 Keeping Canada’s Economy and Jobs Growing Act in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have been in the House to listen to my colleague from Mississauga—Streetsville. If members here listened to him, they would be happy to go to the vote and pass this budget right now. It was superb and I congratulate him. That is the bonus of having the last election. Like he said, he is now here and it is better for all of us.

Our government is focused on what matters to Canadians: creating jobs and promoting economic growth. While Canada has the strongest job record in the G7 with nearly 600,000 net new jobs created since July 2009 and the International Monetary Fund projects it will have the strongest economic growth in the G7 over the next two years, we are not immune from global economic turbulence. That is why we need to stay the course and implement the next phase of Canada’s economic action plan.

Municipalities across Canada can rest assured that the next phase of Canada’s economic action plan includes legislation to make the gas tax funding for municipalities permanent. Canada’s government will be putting into law the permanent annual investment of $2 billion in gas tax funding for cities and towns to support infrastructure projects. My own municipalities in Oxford will receive a staggering sum of $25,216,242 over the next four years. That is a sizeable amount of money and is certainly appreciated.

We on this side of the House understand the need for many involved in the agriculture sector to possess legitimate firearms. Bill C-13 would provide funding of $20 million to continue to waive firearms licence renewal fees for all classes of firearms. Upon the passing of the budget, until May 2012 not a single firearms owner will pay a fee of up to $80 to renew a licence. It is with sincere hope that the cost consuming, ineffective long gun registry will soon be a thing of the past, in turn further reducing the financial burdens of those in the rural agriculture sector.

Over 600,000 new jobs have been created in Canada. We did not want to stop there. We have included a new hiring credit for small business to support local job growth. The new hiring credit would provide a one-time credit of up to $1,000 to encourage additional hiring. The Canadian economy has weathered the storm of the global economic recession, but it is still very fragile. We understand that struggling businesses may need extra assistance.

The wage earner protection program has been allotted $4.5 million annually to expand the program to cover Canadian employees who lose their jobs when their employers’ attempts at restructuring takes longer than six months, is subsequently unsuccessful and ends in bankruptcy or receivership. In light of this, we are renewing programs to help unemployed workers, meaning their best 14 weeks and working while on EI claim pilot projects will be considered.

To further assist Canada’s manufacturing sector, which is prevalent in my riding, we are extending the accelerated capital cost allowance to help manufacturers and processors make new investments in manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment. Our government’s long-term goal remains to provide the right conditions for a sustainable and viable North American auto sector in which Canada maintains its share of auto production and jobs.

A shining example of this was demonstrated in the recent funding announcement made at the Toyota manufacturing plant in my riding of Oxford to support the manufacturing of the electric Rav 4. The electric Rav 4 will be the first electric vehicle to be assembled in Canada and the first electric vehicle to be assembled by Toyota in North America. Toyota’s investment in project green light is $506 million. The federal contribution of 14% is up to $70.84 million of this amount, with an equal contribution from the provincial government.

Numerous constituents have voiced their concerns to me regarding the red tape surrounding access to information and federal government services concerning small businesses. That is why Canada’s government is continuing its efforts to reduce the red tape by upgrading the BizPal service and further online consulting is being made available to Canadians to continue to be a part of the process by providing their input.

I would also like to highlight the great success of the Sand Plains development fund in my riding and across southwestern Ontario. The Sand Plains development fund was created by Canada’s current government in August of 2008 with a commitment of $15 million to the region. Since its formation, there have been 202 full-time jobs created, 54 part-time jobs created, 119 seasonal jobs created and 256 jobs sustained in the southwestern Ontario area.

More specifically, I would like to talk about the biomass project by Canadian Biofuel in my riding of Oxford that was partially funded through the Sands Plains development fund. The project, formerly a Cargill grain elevator and feed mill facility, will now produce roughly 1,500 tonnes of biomass per month. Low in greenhouse emissions, it can also be used to heat homes and even supplement coal in generating electricity. Initially waste wood was used to make the biomass fuel, however, the company plans to establish a local supply chain of raw materials by encouraging local farmers to grow miscanthus grass and other renewable crops that can be turned into biomass fuel. In addition, this project will create 35 new jobs.

I am very pleased to announce that Canada’s government will be phasing out the unnecessary per-vote subsidies for political parties. Governments have a sworn duty to use taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars wisely and only in the public interest, especially in a time of required fiscal restraint when families are struggling to make ends meet.

Specifically, Canada’s government will introduce legislation to gradually reduce the $2.04 per year per-vote subsidy in 51¢ increments starting April 1, 2012 until it is completely eliminated by 2015-16. This will generate savings ramping up to $30 million by 2015-16. Our government has always opposed direct taxpayer subsidies to political parties and believes that the political parties should rely primarily on their supporters for their financing.

Since 2006, Canada’s economic action plan has provided and will continue to provide tax relief to hard-working Canadians. Taxpayers in Ontario alone can expect to see approximately $970 million in tax relief in 2011 and the following fiscal years.

I, and the residents of Oxford, look forward to a speedy passage of Bill C-13. I strongly encourage all parliamentarians to seize this opportunity of unity in Parliament to give Canadians what they deserve, what they have been waiting for and in many cases, what Canadians desperately need.