Keeping Canada’s Economy & Jobs Growing Act
Friday, October 7, 2011
Today, Pierre Poilievre, MP for Nepean-Carleton, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, stood up in the House of Commons to speak about “Keeping Canada’s Economy & Jobs Growing Act”.
Please watch the video link above, or you can read his speech below.
2nd Reading – Debate on the Keeping Canada’s Economy & Jobs Growing Act
Friday, October 7th, 2011
Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, as I begin, I note that the previous speaker from the Liberal side stated that he was happy to continue to pay taxes in order to live in the best country in the world. He provoked enthusiastic applause from his opposition colleagues, which indicates to Canadians that those members on the other side believe that what makes our country the best in the world is taxes.
We understand that it is not taxation, but the hard work of workers, small businesses, entrepreneurs and the Canadian people who make us the best country in the world.
Those members have illustrated the clear difference between the two sides of the House of Commons. I dedicate part of this speech to those on the other side who believe, for example, that the solution to the debt crisis in Europe is to have more debt in Canada, who think we can create jobs by taxing those who hire and who say that the individual cannot be trusted with his own money, but a collection of individuals can be trusted with the money of others.
Those people on the other side say that the individual is too flawed to make his or her own decisions, but that those same flawed individuals, when they combine their flaws in the collective, can make decisions for everyone else.
We on this side understand that it is the basic tenets of freedom, as laid out, for example, in the Bill of Rights of the Right Hon. Prime Minister Diefenbaker. Those freedoms are what make Canada great: freedom of speech; freedom of religion; freedom of association; and also freedom of enterprise and freedom of trade.
On the subject of trade, I will just share a bit of an excerpt from one of the finest economists of the last century, Milton Friedman. He says:
That is where we disagree with our opposition colleagues, who believe that they can control the economy from the centre. They can issue dictates out to people far and wide, tell them how to run their lives and how to run their family budgets.
Our government on this side has expanded on that international enterprise by bringing in free trade agreements with Panama, Jordan, Colombia, Peru, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland. We are working a trade agreement with the largest market in the world, the European Union. The second most populous country on earth, India. This will allow us to expand the prosperity, creating new markets for our businesses and new products available to our consumers at lower prices, all of these measures opposed by our official opposition, which would build a wall around Canada’s system of enterprise.
This is an opposition that speaks often about the pensions of, for example, unionized workers. I give it credit because we should all be concerned with that subject. Defined benefit pension plans are under pressure. What to do? Some say to scale back the entitlements and others say to increase the employer contribution. Neither of these options are very favourable, but there is a third option, and that is to lower business taxes. Virtually every defined benefit plan in the country owns shares in the country’s largest and most profitable enterprises. If these businesses make good after tax money, they can pay better dividends to the pension funds that own their shares.
Take the Canada Post pension plan for postal workers. During the recent debate over their strike, members of the NDP simultaneously demanded that the existing pension plan be bolstered while proposing to increase business taxes on the holdings in that very same pension fund. The irony of the two demands is as follows. The top five holdings of the Canada Post pension plan are: the Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, Suncor and Canadian natural resources. They are banks and oil companies, the twin villains in every left-wing storyline.
These are the same enterprises that pay dividends directly to the unionized workers who deliver our mail through Canada Post. These dividends come from after tax profits. If the business tax rises, the after tax profit remaining in the pension fund drops. The Canada Post fund has $202 million invested in the Toronto-Dominion Bank, roughly. As of a couple of weeks ago when I checked, that was the market value of those holdings. When TD profits, it reinvests the money in the growth of the company or it pays dividends to the shareholders. Either way, the pension funds and the pensioners, therefore, benefit.
When we lower taxes for entrepreneurs and businesses, large and small, the beneficiaries in many instances are pensioners, people who are part of defined benefit plans. Businesses are comprised of people. That is something the official opposition refuses to acknowledge. They are employees, shareholders and consumers.
When the NDP proposes to raise taxes on those businesses, it must choose on whom it would raise those taxes, the shareholders, like pensioners, the consumers through higher prices, or the workers through cut wages or lost jobs, because one of those three consequences or a combination of them will surely result when taxes are increased on the nation’s enterprises.
The reason why Forbes magazine recently said Canada is the best place to do business is because we are removing the obstacles to success in overregulation and overtaxation, so that enterprises can hire and create more opportunity for Canadians.
The old utopian dream was for workers to become owners of the means of production through a process of forced collectivization. In an ironic twist of fate, it was the capitalistic stock market and not the state that transformed workers into business owners. It was inventions like the RRSP and now the tax free savings account or defined benefit pension plans which hold equities that have allowed everyday blue collar workers, who only a half century ago would have never considered share ownership to even be a distant dream, to now become owners of businesses.
The workers are the owners because in this system of free enterprise that has made our country so strong and made us succeed so vastly, even in this difficult economic time, we have unleashed the ability of workers to achieve the maximum opportunity for themselves and their families, to lift themselves up and succeed in this country.
In order for us to hold these beliefs and realize these successes, we must continue to have faith in Canadians who work hard every day to provide for their families, to share the blessings of this land with their neighbours and loved ones, and to do so without the shackles of the government holding them down and blocking their success.
I am very proud that the people of Nepean—Carleton elected me to carry on this great Canadian tradition of free enterprise and free trade.