Friday, May 11, 2012
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Madam Speaker, things are looking very bad. I really mean it. The Conservatives have invoked closure for the 18th time on a bill that is over 400 pages long.
Bill C-38 is no mere budget implementation bill. It is an omnibus bill that amends at least 60 Canadian laws. The proposed measures are so numerous and will have such serious consequences that people will be feeling their effects for decades, not just over the coming year.
We need enough time to study such a far-reaching bill. If the Conservatives truly believed that the measures in this bill were reasonable, they would split it up and make real debate possible. Instead, they would rather do things on the sly. What are the Conservatives really afraid of?
Canadians are fed up with the government's lack of transparency. The Conservatives should lay their cards on the table. But that is not what they are doing. By using Bill C-38 as a Trojan Horse, the Conservatives have made it clear that they have a hidden agenda. Our fellow citizens want all of the necessary information about the proposed measures. They have the right to know. But being transparent is not how the Conservatives operate, and all Canadians will end up paying the price for that.
Bill C-38 reduces the Auditor General's oversight powers. This is the same Auditor General who said two weeks ago that Conservative ministers knew the real cost of the F-35s. How can the Conservatives possibly justify to Canadians this decision to slash away at an institution as important and respected as the Auditor General? My constituents and I find this very disturbing.
In terms of jobs, Bill C-38 only makes matters worse; it does not improve anything. The Parliamentary Budget Officer recently confirmed that the most recent budget will lead to the loss of up to 43,000 jobs by 2014. From a strictly economic standpoint, every member of this House should be considering the consequences of so many lost jobs on the economy in our communities and on Canada's economic recovery.
When a factory that employs 1,000 people shuts down, the socio-economic repercussions are felt in that region immediately. Suppliers, small and medium-sized businesses and families are all affected. What the Conservatives are proposing is the equivalent of closing 43 factories that employ 1,000 people each, all across Canada.
The Prime Minister made a commitment to Canadians to create jobs, not to increase unemployment, which is what he is doing. In my riding of Hull—Aylmer, several thousand people—people who have families—are going to lose their main source of income, all because of the Conservatives' austerity budget.
Meanwhile, the government continues to claim that its top priority is employment. How can it seriously tell Canadians that its priority is job creation, when it plans to cut 43,000 jobs? Any good economist will agree that job losses have a negative impact on household spending. When Canadian families are not spending money, small businesses are forced to close. And when small businesses shut down, people lose their jobs. It is a vicious circle, as we know. The Conservatives should know that.