Democratic Party is pleased that the Standing Committee on Finance conducted
broad and extensive pre-budget consultations that engaged Canadians on fiscal
policy priorities. The text of the report of the majority provides an account
of the key issues brought forth by a broad spectrum of witnesses but does not
adequately or clearly reflect the contribution of many witnesses. Further, the
NDP is disappointed that recommendations imposed by the Government ignore many
views of witnesses, resulting in a failure to address many of the real issues
confronting the Canadian economy: rising poverty, inequality, unemployment and
indebtedness that Canadian families, workers, students and seniors are
experiencing in their daily lives. The Conservative government’s response to
these structural problems has been leading Canada in
the wrong direction: indiscriminate corporate tax cuts and wrongheaded
fiscal policy which reduce living standards and increase
inequality. New Democrats are releasing this Minority Report to present an alternative to the flawed fiscal policies of the
“Cancelling the corporate
income tax cut scheduled to take place January 1, 2012 and investing the $3
billion in revenue that would be lost to a tax cut in affordable housing
instead could increase GDP by $4.5 billion, create more than 47,000 new jobs
and create 155,550 new affordable housing units and 200,000 repaired existing
homes over the next ten years.” (Citizens for Public Justice)
Fix the Tax System: Tax
breaks and subsidies for profitable oil companies are misguided. The Official
Opposition recommends cancelling the corporate income tax cut scheduled to take
place January 1st 2012 and returning the corporate income tax to
19.5%. The NDP prefers tax breaks in return for performance - for corporations
that invest in such things as new technology, expansion, R&D, training,
energy conservation or development of green technologies and green jobs.
corporate tax breaks haven’t stimulated investment:
“Despite a 36% drop in
corporate taxes (both federal and provincial) in the last decade, and record
profits for much of that time, business spending on machinery and equipment has
declined as a share of GDP, and total business investment spending has
declined as a percentage of corporate cash flow.” (Statistics Canada and
Establish Efficient Jobs &
Training Programs: Investment
in much needed job creation & training should be a priority. The federal
government should include in its 2012 Budget the following pro-employment
- reduce the Small Business Tax
Rate from 11 per cent to nine per cent to support SMEs and a sector of our
economy that creates nearly half of all new jobs in Canada;
- introduce a Job Creation Tax Credit that will provide up to $4,500
per new hire. Employers will receive a rebate on the employer contributions
for the Canadian Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premium for new employees
- extend the Accelerated
Capital Cost Allowance for eligible machinery and equipment acquired before
- fast track qualification for
skilled workers, especially immigrants;
- spearhead the creation of an
Investment fund for displaced workers of the asbestos industry.
Canada’s Failed Research and Development Policy: Strong
Research & Development directly and indirectly supports the creation of
highly skilled, high added value jobs that are the backbone of a strong modern
business investment in real capital and in innovation has been endemic in
Canada. R&D funding is broken and needs fixing.
We must redirect millions of dollars
allocated to SR&ED (Scientific Research and Experimental Development) to
proven and effective programs such as IRAP (Industrial Research Assistance
Program) and SDTC (Sustainable Development Technology Canada) that are highly
regarded by industry and investors. Canada must focus on helping companies that
have the proper expertise.
- The Canadian government
should use its procurement and purchasing power to stimulate innovative Canadian
businesses and act as a first customer.
- Continue to increase funding to
the federal research granting agencies to support innovation.
- Encourage cross‐sector mobilization
of knowledge and research to enhance understanding of our world, create new
processes, products and services, and improve our well‐being.
- Invest in graduate and
postdoctoral training through scholarships and internships to develop the next
generation of Canadian employees, leaders, innovators and citizens.
that Canadians can retire with dignity: Only one in four Canadians can afford
to purchase RRSPs each year. 250,000 seniors live in poverty in Canada. 12
million Canadians lack a workplace pension plan. The Conservative government
recently tabled Bill C-25 to create Pooled Registered Pension Plans. This does
absolutely nothing to address the needs of the millions of workers who cannot
afford to purchase RRSPs: In 2010, 1 in 4 workers were in a low
wage job with wages of $13.32 an hour or less.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) delivers a defined benefit, fully indexed to
inflation, and operates at much lower cost than the proposed “pooled registered
pension plans” which will generate large fees for the financial sector, and
produce a variable and uncertain return.” (Canadian Labour of Congress)
- expand the guaranteed Canada/Quebec Pension Plan by
phasing in, over a seven year period, an affordable doubling of benefits from
25% to 50% of a retiree’s pensionable earnings;
- gradually increase the
Guaranteed Income Supplement as well as ensure automatic enrolment;
- invest in home care as part of
the public health care system. Invest in long-term care for the elderly.
Canadian Consumers from Predatory Finance: Household debt
is at an all-time high in Canada of $1.5 trillion. The federal government
with the provinces and territories to identify, regulate or ban excessive
interest rates on credit cards, pay day loans, store cards and other forms of
predatory consumer credit.
Employment Insurance Premiums: Employment Insurance benefits should
be available when Canadians need them. The federal government should establish an
eligibility threshold of 360 hours for all regions with benefits calculated
based on the 12 best weeks of work. The government should also
ensure that new parents who have taken maternity and parental leave are not
penalized in terms of their EI eligibility once they return to work.
federal government’s existing capacity for environmental science, policy and
programs is crucial for maintaining this prosperity.” (Green Budget Coalition)
technology a cornerstone of Canada’s policy for economic productivity, energy,
innovation, exports and the environment.” (Canadian Clean Technology Industry)
- Implement a well-designed,
transparent, and environmentally rigorous carbon Cap &Trade system.
- Invest in green technologies,
business and household energy conservation, public transit, the development of
renewable energy and workers’ transition to the green economy.
- Work with the provinces and
territories to reinstate and/or enhance federal financial & tax incentives
for clean power and support community-owned renewable energy facilities.
- Introduce a Green
Bond Fund to support the adoption of green energy (solar etc…) in Canadian
households, small businesses and communities and federal loan guarantees for
green energy development.
Invest in Critical
to address the lack of high speed broadband access in rural areas the need for
smart grid systems and major renewable energy infrastructures. Fix
the $123 billion municipal infrastructure deficit by:
funding commitments for federal infrastructures (such as those under the
Building Canada Fund) and establish a specific timetable
for allocating federal funds for key infrastructures, such as the Champlain
Bridge, QC, Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk link, Mackenzie Valley Highway and improving the Trans-Canada Highway between Malakwa and Golden, BC;
“Canada is the only G8 nation
not to have a national policy on public transport, and if anything, such a
policy is more necessary than ever.” (Agence métropolitaine de transports, 2011
- increasing the
gasoline tax transfer by one cent to sustain investment in urban public transit
and fund a “National Public Transit Strategy” which would help meet federal and
provincial government’s targets.
Any delays will only add to the
cost and exacerbate the deteriorating quality of life in our communities.
in our Children’s Early Education: The gap
between the number of regulated child care spaces and the number of children
with mothers in the labour force is 2.8 million. 750,000 children live in substandard
and/or overcrowded housing. The federal government should work with the
provinces to establish a national, high quality, not for-profit child care and
early learning program, modelled on the success of the child care system in
- Make post-secondary education
more affordable by directly attacking skyrocketing tuition costs with a
designated $800 million transfer to the provinces and territories to lower
tuition fees, as per the NDP’s Post Secondary Education Act.
- Increase funding for the Canada
Student Grants Program by $200 million a year, targeting Aboriginal, disabled
and low-income students in particular.
- Increase the education tax
credit from $4,800 a year to $5,760 to help offset rising education costs.
Build Self-Reliance in Rural
Canada through Community Economic Development: The NDP support
a Co-operative Investment Plan. Many SMEs and agricultural producers are
member-owned co-operatives. Particularly in rural areas, co-operatives
are a potential solution to the challenges of SME/agricultural succession
planning given rural depopulation. The proposed federal co-operative investment
plan is expected to generate $130 million per year in new investments.
has been a general lack of progress on eliminating poverty in Canada over the
past two decades. The NDP recommends the introduction of a federal
anti-poverty strategy developed in consultation with the provinces which would:
- re-introduce the federal minimum
wage law to set a national standard of earning for those who make the lowest
wages in our workforce;
- combine existing supports like
the Child Tax Benefit to create a non-taxable Child Benefit and
increase the support steadily by up to $700 per child over the next four years,
while maintaining the current UCCB (Universal Child Care Benefit).
investment in education is critical to building healthy, prosperous, and safe
communities. Education is widely recognized as the most powerful method for
bringing about improvements in all social and economic domains. A considerable
gap in educational achievement and inputs exists with respect to First Nation
education.” (Assembly of First Nations, 2011 brief)
- Table legislation that will set
goals and targets for poverty reduction in consultation with the provincial,
territorial, municipal and Aboriginal governments and with non-governmental
- Work with the provinces and
territories to establish and fund a Canada-wide child care and early learning
program, enshrined in law, which will create 25,000 new child care spaces per
year for the next four years, improve community infrastructure and create
integrated, community-based, child-centered early learning and education
- Implement automatic enrollment
in the Old Age Security (OAS) for seniors.
up Healthcare: Witnesses stressed the importance of
strengthening this sector through an active federal investment policy. There is
no doubt that programs such as our public health system are an asset for
Canadian businesses, as KPMG stated in its report on competitiveness. On
average, Canadian companies have a competitive advantage of $3,000 per
employee over their U.S. counterparts. Companies benefit from a better market
when Canadian families have good incomes and good purchasing power. We should:
- negotiate a new ten-year health
accord with the provinces and territories. The accord will guarantee a
continued strong federal contribution – including the 6 percent escalator - to
Canada’s public health care system – in return for a clear, monitored and
enforced commitment to respect the principles of the Canada Health Act and
to the to the integrity and modernization of health care;
- work with provinces and
territories to expand coverage to out-of-hospital services like home care and
- work with the provinces and
territories to address the shortage of doctors, nurses and other health care
- in collaboration with the
provinces, establish programs aimed at recruiting and supporting low‑income,
rural and Aboriginal medical students.
- Improving assessment to ensure
the quality, safety, cost and health effectiveness of prescription drugs;
- Cutting administrative costs
through public administration.
- Using bargaining power in
- Establishing science-based
formularies and clinical guidelines to advance evidence-based practice by
Uphold our Commitment
to the International Community: Commit to a timetable to increase
Canadian Official Development Assistance (ODA) to reach the UN aid target of
0.7% of Canada Gross National Income (GNI), a goal endorsed in June 2005 by all
parties in the Canadian Parliament.
“Until a national PSOC benefit
is established in Canada, the families of the nation’s professional fire
fighters stand to endure financial hardship in addition to the grief of losing
a loved one. It is time for the federal government to act on the need for this
benefit.” (International Association of Fire Fighters, IAFF)
- Establish a Hero’s Benefit to
recognize the contributions of firefighters and police officers who die in the
line of duty. The fund will pay a benefit of $300,000 to the families of fallen
firefighters and officers.
- Continue supporting front-line
policing as part of its law and order agenda and commit to renew funding and
Strengthen Arts and Culture: According to the Conference
Board of Canada, for every $1 of real value-added GDP produced by Canada’s
cultural industries, roughly $1.84 is added to the overall real GDP. The
Federal government should establish
a tax credit program to stimulate production of the arts and maintain funding
of CBC/Radio-Canada at the 2010 level (1.1 billion) and index it annually to
Forge a New Relationship with
Aboriginal People in Canada:
- Foster economic opportunity and
lasting prosperity, beginning with increasing access to capital for Aboriginal
business development, improving physical infrastructure, removing the punitive
2% funding cap, and addressing the education deficit with a $1 billion per year
investment over the next four years.
- Tackle the problem of social
housing and establish a long-term program to build 85,000 new housing units.
- Expand mental health programs.
- Give First Nations authorities
the freedom to manage their own lands.
- Guarantee access to higher
education for all First Nations students and ensure that they are no longer
discouraged from attending university rather than a vocational school.
- Rework budgets so that funds
are used to deliver services, not oversee expenditures.
- Improve our search
and rescue capability to international standards within the current
- Implement a fair and
open procurement process which would be part of a strategy that would ensure
Canadians get the best value, the military gets what it needs and Canadian
industries get the best spin-offs. The purchasing of military material should
be legislated to ensure better accountability and to protect major projects
from partisan intervention and vested interests.
- Establish a non-repayable fund
for demonstration projects in the amount of $140 million over four years.
Build a strategy for International
Fair Trade: Historically, Canada has been
known as a great trading nation. Today, the country suffers under a serious
balance of payments deficit, as poorly designed fiscal policies have undermined
investment and competitiveness in our leading manufacturing industries. An
uncritical attitude to foreign investment and foreign takeovers, and the
failure to identify, support and promote Canadian global winners, has seriously
hurt our trade performance. In the absence of an industrial vision for the
country, the proportion of unprocessed exports is growing, and the country is
returning to its unenviable role as “a hewer of wood and drawer of water”. Canada
needs a smart, sensible and sophisticated approach to trade. Canada needs to
build trade agreements that ensure good paying jobs for Canadians. We should promote
Canadian performance with a vision for our industrial structure and global
competitiveness in value-added goods and tradable services, and
use Canada’s investment as a driver of poverty eradication, employment, and
sustainable development in both trading nations. Our trade agreements must
increase the quality of life for Canadians and our international counterparts.
Donations: Create a Stretch Tax Credit that would increase
the federal charitable tax credit on giving that exceeds a donor’s previous
highest giving level.
Ottawa, December 12, 2011
Julian, MP Hoang Mai, MP
– New Westminster Brossard – La Prairie
Wayne Marston, MP Alain
– Stoney Creek Marc-Aurèle Fortin