Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 (Bill C-4)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, my first comment is for my hon. colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance.

Although this administration has reduced corporate taxes dramatically, economists such as Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of Canada, found that corporations were not using it to create jobs. In fact he called it “dead money”.

An RBC economist has pegged that amount at over $600 billion, money that corporations are saving, not spending. They are not spending it on jobs. They are not spending it on growth. It is in fact dead money and we need to adjust the corporate tax rate to the benefit of Canadians.

I have a lot of questions. I attended the briefing last night, and I think the hon. member did the right thing postponing until tonight, but it means I have a lot of specific questions. I do not know what this has to do with budget 2012. I never saw in budget 2012 that the intention of the budget was to change the Canada labour code so workers covered by it would be less protected against dangerous assignments.

The revision in clause 176, found by coincidence at page 176 of Bill C-4, changes the definition of “danger” and removes, as a reason a worker can refuse to participate in that work, injury or illness that could result in chronic illness, removes the words “injury or illness” and insists that to be dangerous it has to be an “imminent or serious threat to the life or health” and removes what is in the current definition of damage to the reproductive system.

In other words, it is a systematic attack on the rights of a worker to refuse to work in dangerous conditions. That was never cited in budget 2012. I would like to know if the hon. member could explain it to us.

Andrew Saxton: Mr. Speaker, the first part of the question regarded lowering taxes for businesses. We are proud that our government has lowered taxes to record lows. It is at 15% now in Canada.

Let me give an example of a result of that. Tim Hortons had its international headquarters in the United States five years ago. It has now moved those headquarters back to Canada because of our low tax measures. That is a perfect example of jobs being created in Canada as a result of our government’s policies on lowering taxes for small, medium and large businesses.

Regarding the member’s question about the Canada Labour Code and the change to the definition of “danger”, these amendments ensure that employees and employers remain at the forefront of resolving occupational health and safety issues. This would allow our government to improve our focus on critical issues that affect the health and safety of Canadians in the workplace. Employees still have the right to refuse to work where they have reasonable cause to believe a situation is dangerous. Health and safety officers remain available 24-7 to respond to real situations of danger in the workplace.

Worker safety is of the utmost concern to us, and it will remain at very high levels.