Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, there is a spirited exchange in the House tonight as we get near 11:30.

I am always reminded, when I hear about trickle-down economics, of John Kenneth Galbraith’s great line that trickle-down economics is feeding the grain to the horse and then there might be something for the sparrows in the manure.

Is my hon. colleague concerned, as we see this omnibus budget bill through the House, that in the finance committee, dealing with multiple pieces of legislation, we did not actually ever get a single witness to speak to the portions of the bill that dealt with workplace hazardous chemicals? There was no testimony and no actual study of those portions of the bill. I attempted to amend some sections, but no one around the committee table knew anything about those sections because they never actually made it before the committee for having witnesses.

Don Davies: Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely true. One of the anti-democratic features of omnibus bills, which the current government has become addicted to, is that it means there are many provisions of a bill that are rammed through this House in committee that never are studied in any detail at all. Regardless of whether they are from the right, the left or the centre, it does not matter; that means poor governance.

It is the duty of representatives of this House. The Canadian public sent members of Parliament here as our primary duty to be a watchdog on government spending. That is the essential role of parliamentarians in this place. That means that we should be able to scrutinize and have time to look at and review every single proposal of the government. A government that is afraid of scrutiny, as is the current government, is a government that is afraid of the Canadian people.

I would point out one other thing. It is a fact in this country, and the Bank of Canada governors have pointed out, that there is some $600 billion of corporate money sitting idly on the sidelines that is not being invested productively in our country, not being used for job creation. If it is true that cutting corporate taxes, as the Conservatives have said, would unleash the power of the corporate sector to stimulate the Canadian economy, they have some explaining to do as to why there is $600 billion of idle capital on the side while there are more Canadians unemployed today than there were when the Conservatives came to office and household debt is at the highest level in Canadian history.