House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was simply quoting from a Toronto Sun editorial and the purpose of that was to show that it is recognized outside of the House as well that the NDP is simply using delay tactics in order to stop our budget bill from getting through. I could not have said it better.

The NDP and its opposition cohorts are delaying when they should be helping us pass this essential bill so we can ensure that Canada keeps its enviable economic status on the world stage. Canadians elected us to carry out a mandate. That mandate was clear: create jobs, keep taxes low and keep the economy strong. Bill C-38 delivers on that mandate and goes a long way for Canadians. It supports jobs and growth, would create value-added jobs through innovation, would ensure the responsible development of our resources and, most important, it treats taxpayer dollars responsibly because this government is committed to managing the tax dollars of Canadians as if we had earned them ourselves.

Further, we made a commitment to the Canadian people to return to balanced budgets over the medium term. Over the past year, our government conducted a comprehensive review of approximately $75 billion of direct program spending by federal departments and agencies and we identified a number of opportunities to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations, programs and services that will result in cost savings for the Canadian taxpayer.

Canadians know the importance of living within their means and expect their government to do the same. That is why we are committed to managing public finances in a sustainable and responsible manner. Specifically, our government is committed to reducing unnecessary spending by focusing on providing programs that are consistent with federal roles and responsibilities. It is our duty to ensure programs are delivered by those best positioned to do so and to refocus program funding based on achievable objectives and the needs of Canadians.

For example, through economic action plan 2012, we are eliminating the penny. The penny was for many years a positive source of revenue for the Royal Canadian Mint and the Canadian government when its 1¢ face value exceeded the cost of producing and distributing the penny. However, over time, inflation eroded the purchasing power of the penny and multiplied its manufacturing costs. It now costs taxpayers 1.5¢ for every penny made. It is the right time to eliminate it. It is underused by Canadians, no longer vital to commerce and, ultimately, a burden on Canada's balance sheet. The estimated savings from eliminating the penny will be about $11 million a year, helping us to meet our reduction targets and save Canadians money. In the words of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business:

It has been a long time coming. It’s been a real pain more than anything else. We’ve actually polled our members on this and they’re supportive.

Another example of how we are managing taxpayer dollars responsibly is our recent treatment of the Governor General's salary. Following consultations between the Governor General and the government, both have agreed that the income tax exemption for the Governor General's salary should end and that it should be subject to tax in the same manner as the salary of all other Canadians. This tax treatment is consistent with recent measures in other Commonwealth countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, to make the salaries of their governors general subject to income tax as well.

In the words of noted Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck:

Governors general of Canada will no longer enjoy tax-free status on a portion of their salaries: The Queen’s representatives will have to pay taxes just like the rest of us. I didn’t even know they had tax-free status. Good.

Other common sense measures we are undertaking in economic action plan 2012 to reduce costs for taxpayers includes selling some costly official residences abroad and having our diplomats move to more cost-effective ones. This will generate capital revenue of over $80 million. More modest, cost-effective quarters will not impact the ability of our diplomats to do their jobs and it will reduce the number of required staff, resulting in further operating savings.

Finally, another example of refocusing program spending on the needs of Canadians is our government's decision to eliminate the Katimavik program. Make no mistake, our government is committed to our young people and the opportunities they deserve and we will achieve that by funding programs that benefit large numbers of young people at a reasonable cost rather than concentrating available funding on a very small number of participants at an excessive per person cost, such as this program.

Our government is proud to continue to invest in affordable, effective programming that engages youth, including Encounters with Canada, Forum for Young Canadians and organizations that support youth, like the YMCA. Canadian Heritage will continue to invest over $105 million in youth programming to allow almost 100,000 young people to learn about their country.

Further, our government invests more than $330 million annually to support young Canadians through the youth employment strategy. We will provide an additional $50 million over two years to assist more young people in gaining tangible skills and experience.

Last year alone, this investment helped to connect nearly 70,000 Canadian youth with the work experience and skills training they needed to build a foundation for success in the job market. Clearly this exemplifies our government's commitment to Canada's youth.

These are just a few measures in economic action plan 2012 and Bill C-38 that would deliver measurable results to Canadians and better respect Canadian taxpayer dollars. I am proud to say that our Conservative government has a record that is second to none when it comes to responsible fiscal management.

Among the many advantages of our responsible approach is that it preserves Canada's low tax plan, fostering the long-term growth that generates high quality jobs for all Canadians.

Since 2006, our government has introduced more than 140 tax relief measures, with low and middle-income Canadians receiving the greatest share of the tax relief. The overall federal tax burden is the lowest it has been in 50 years. As we learned today, tax freedom day is now over two weeks earlier under our Conservative government.

Bill C-38 further demonstrates our government's commitment to the responsible use of tax dollars. In this respect, this bill goes a long way for Canadians. I urge members of the House to hurry up and pass it.

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

7:50 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments, but I would categorize this bill as one of the most undemocratic bills in Canadian history, with the grouping of almost 70 laws that will be changed in one fell swoop.

The member highlighted a number of things, including the penny. However, I will ask about one issue that will be grouped in among the 70 pieces of legislation, the Fisheries Act, and the sweeping changes of the amendment of the Fisheries Act, specifically section 35 and changes to protecting fish habitat.

Could the member talk about the consultation that was done on this one small part of Bill C-38, which would change the fabric of Canada for many years to come?

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

7:50 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I believe there were two questions from the hon. member.

The answer to the first question, where the member talked about not having enough time to debate this bill, I would like to remind him that we have debated the bill for nearly six weeks. The bill was also referred to the finance committee, where it was further reviewed. The finance committee spent up to 50 hours studying Bill C-38. The subcommittee, studying part 3, spent an additional 18 hours hearing from witnesses.

I can tell the member opposite that in fact we have spent more time debating this bill than any other budget bill in the last 20 years.

With regard to the member's question about the Fisheries Act, under the current Fisheries Act all waterways are treated the same, as he knows. For example, man-made irrigation and drainage ditches in a field are treated the same as the Great Lakes. That does not make much sense. As farmers or municipalities will tell us from their experience, this rule discriminates against them.

Our changes focus protection rules on real and significant threats to fisheries and their habitat that supports them, while setting clear standards and guidelines for routine projects. We are focusing on Canada's fisheries, not on the farmers' fields and culverts.

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

7:50 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I want to comment on the extensive consultations that have gone on for years on the Fisheries Act.

For years, the farmers in my riding have been complaining about the intrusive nature of the Fisheries Act, without any appreciable protection for fish. Municipalities have had to pay untold amounts of money, often for studies that cost more than the actual project is worth. We have certainly listened to the municipalities and to the farmers about the intrusive nature of this. It does not go to protect the fish at all.

I want to especially commend the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the parliamentary secretary for the work done on this file. I understand, as we all do, about how important it is, for example, to protect the fish in Lake Winnipeg, the Winnipeg River, but when my farmers cannot even clear out the cattails out of the ditches on their property because there might be a minnow in there, it is absolutely indefensible. This happens on a regular basis.

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

7:50 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments on this subject. I would also like to point out that we are making the conditions of the Fisheries Act permits enforceable. This means that proponents will have to comply with conditions set out in authorizations or face penalties for the first time.

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, there are significant changes to the regulatory oversight for our petroleum energy industry in the legislation. In today's Globe and Mail, Barrie McKenna argues that the bill actually undermines the NEB's authority and independence and turns back the clock on five decades of credible resource regulation. He says “The omnibus bill gives Ottawa carte blanche over as many as 750 decisions a year”.

Further, he quotes the president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, CAPP, as saying, the NEB, as it existed, “play a very important role in ensuring that we've got [a] secure, reliable, affordable energy supply for Canadians, and sustainably develop our abundant energy resources”.

The industry supported the NEB as it existed, so why is the government making this change and reducing oversight?

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

7:55 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's environmental review process, as it currently stands, does not serve the cause of environmental protection as well as it should. There is currently no direct enforcement mechanism in place under the current Environmental Assessment Act to ensure liability. In the federal government, accountability for environmental assessments rests with many different departments, causing duplication and overlap. We are eliminating that so we have a more efficient system that will work for Canadians.

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

7:55 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-38 is the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act. Much of Canada now knows that Bill C-38 goes well beyond tax and monetary measures to make major changes in dozens of policy areas, including the environment, natural resources and human resources. The previous speaker talked about being best positioned, that his party received 39% of the vote in the last election, which indeed gave it a majority. However, the Conservatives never once told people they would change EI. They never talked to the Canadian people in that election about changing the fisheries or environment acts.

Recently, the NDP, throughout the finance committee hearings, were clear that we believed that parliamentarians should not be asked to vote on legislation that granted cabinet power to make far-reaching regulatory changes as granted through Bill C-38.

Canadians now also realize that Bill C-38 has well over 400-plus pages. However, I also want everybody who happens to be at home watching tonight to understand that this is just the beginning. There will be another budget bill in the fall with further changes.

Our concerns, and those of many Canadians, go along these lines.

I would state quite categorically that the overhaul to the Environment Assessment Act does not belong in a budget bill. The government wants a one project, one review environmental assessment system, so it is repealing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act that Canadians have known for many generations and replacing it with an environmental assessment act 2012.

The official opposition contends that this type of decision does not belong with the finance committee. The finance committee does not have the expertise, nor the time to bring before it the people required to complete a proper view. Bill C-38 sets out time limits for the completion of reviews and the minister will have the power to shut down a review panel if he thinks it will not finish on time. Before it can finish on time, it has to do a proper assessment for the benefit and protection of Canadians. That type of decision needs due diligence supplied by comprehensive reviews by experts, not by a minister, and certainly not five-minute rounds of questions in the finance committee.

Bill C-38 contains changes to employment insurance that are particularly concerning to maritimers. We all understand and know very well that our friends on the east coast have a different lifestyle. Our friends on the east coast are subject to the whims of part-time employment.

How does studying the proposed new EI definition, a suitable work, belong with the finance committee? It does not. It clearly belongs before the human resources committee. Bill C-38 would remove the definitions of suitable work from the Employment Insurance Act and would give the federal cabinet the power to create new regulations about what constituted suitable work and reasonable efforts to find that work. This budget bill, Bill C-38, gives no details on what the new criteria will be.

I will move to another section of Bill C-38.

How does the decision on removing the oversight of the Auditor General belong here? The Auditor General will no longer be required to annually audit several agencies: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Northern Pipeline Agency and the Canada Polar Commission. These agencies will now submit annual financial reports to the minister or ministers instead. How does putting these foxes in charge of the henhouse do anything for jobs and prosperity?

Bill C-38, with the swipe of a pen, would eliminate tens of thousands of backlogged immigration applications. Among the amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is a move to wipe out the backlog of 280,000 applications under the federal skilled worker program.

These are people who placed their faith in Canada. They could have applied to other countries that needed their skills. These are skilled individuals. They made applications to become Canadian citizens because they trusted Canada. They were told that we needed their skills. We hear it in this House regularly how we need skills, but now those who applied before 2008 would have their applications deleted and refunded. The hopes and dreams of these qualified potential new citizens with skills that Canada needs would be set aside by a budget bill. This issue clearly belongs in a committee other than finance.

These changes would not only destroy the dreams of people who trusted Canada, but imagine what would happen to Canada's once trusted reputation in these countries. How in the world can the government justify doing this within a budget bill, with the claim that it would improve our prosperity?

One of the more ludicrous parts of Bill C-38, which one of the previous speakers mentioned, is how the Fisheries Act changes came before the finance committee. Even if we have concerns, and I trust the word of members on the other side when they say they have concerns with the Fisheries Act, the finance committee is not the place to turn to.

I happen to be the NDP human rights critic for international affairs. I shook my head with dismay when I read that Bill C-38, the budget bill, would scrap the office of the Inspector General of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. We have good people in our police services and we have good people in CSIS, but this office is meant to be the public safety minister's eyes and ears overseeing CSIS. In my opinion, in the shadowy world of CSIS, it is critical to have civilian oversight.

Bill C-38 would shut down several government-funded groups and agencies, such as the National Council of Welfare, the Public Appointments Commission, Rights & Democracy, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, the Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal, and Assisted Human Reproduction Canada.

Bill C-38 would create a new social security tribunal to hear appeals of decisions made under the Old Age Security Act, the Employment Insurance Act and other benefit programs. The bill would create a new Shared Services Canada department. We had people who were part of tribunals looking into the situation of appeals for people on Employment Insurance. They were experts and had jurisprudence in that area. Now that would be done away with and these same people would be lumped in. These are good people who have worked hard for us. I have no doubt that some of them would apply, but it would be housing too much responsibility for too broad a front with too few people.

Bill C-38 would change the age of accessing OAS from 65 to 67. I will not say very much about that because I have spoken in this place many times on it. I will simply say that the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the OECD pension review team said it was sustainable. There is a clear disagreement.

Government members will say that this is not the longest budget bill in history. That is true. They will say that it is receiving hours of debate. That is also true. However, what they do not say is that the changes I have outlined and others should have been before a number of different committees of Parliament.

My rights as a member of Parliament have been pushed aside and the rights of every member on both sides of this House have been pushed aside by the bill. We are not able, nor allowed, to do the due diligence necessary to protect the rights of Canadians. In my opinion, when Canadians look at the bill and see what it actually is, they will see that the better name for the bill is the “eliminating transparency and settling old scores act”.

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek for his comments. It seems that the cuts he spoke of affect mostly the disadvantaged and marginalized, people who can least afford it.

One program to be cut is the community access program which provided needed funds for communities to provide computers and Internet access to people who can least afford it; people in urban areas and particularly rural areas where they do not have 100% connectivity. In Guelph, there are at least 300 people a day who use it at the library.

Could my friend comment on the dramatic effect this would have across Canada?

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2012 / 8:05 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is an important question. I visited a library in Hamilton within the last two months and I watched people accessing the Internet via computer. I watched their excitement. Most of these people were 40 and older and had no access of their own. They could not afford it. Some were looking for work, some were playing games, some older people had their grandchildren there. Overall we had a community place in our library that was vibrant again, more than I had ever seen it before. I had a sense that these people had hope. That has just been snatched away from them and that is disgraceful.

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

Independent

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1994 the Liberals introduced a budget implementation act which was overly large and a bit of an omnibus bill. At that time, one of the members got up and said, “Mr. Speaker, I would argue that the subject matter of the bill is so diverse that a single vote on the content would put members in conflict with their own principles”. He went on to say, “Second, in the interest of democracy I ask: How can members represent their constituents on these various areas when they are forced to vote in a block on such legislation and on such concerns?" Then he said, “I would ask that you give consideration to this, Mr. Speaker. I would also ask the government members, particularly those who have spoken on precisely this question in the previous Parliament with precisely the same concerns, to give serious consideration to this issue of democracy and the functionality of this Parliament now.”

That person was the hon. member for Calgary West in 1994 and he is our Prime Minister now. How does the hon. member feels about the hypocrisy of this minister?

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:05 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I tend to put faith in the words I hear coming from various members on both sides of this House. I will not pass judgment on the words that were spoken previously by this individual. However, I will say that this individual ran an election campaign where his party did not tell Canadians what it was going to do. The Conservatives have a very slim majority of 39.9%. They would make changes at a level that would affect our grandchildren for years to come. The tragedy is they do not allow us to do due diligence on this and look at it appropriately. We have people sitting in this House whose own families would be impacted in a way that I doubt they understand. We have not done due diligence. We have not been allowed to. And worse, the Conservatives did not tell Canadians that is what they would do. From touring the country, talking to people on EI and on old age security, I can tell members that the Conservatives would not have gotten their majority had they told people the truth, and clearly that is why they did not.

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:10 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek for his speech. I really liked his comments about the democratic problem with Bill C-38.

We are basically telling a majority of Canadians, millions and millions of Canadians, that they have exercised their right to vote, but that their representatives do not have the right to represent them; that they cannot represent them. They are being denied their right to speak and their right to vote.

Could the hon. member expand on this democratic deficit?

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:10 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

One of the sad things we saw in the last election campaign, and I am not assessing blame on whoever was guilty of this, was the attempt to suppress the legitimate right of Canadians to vote. Somebody did this. However, because of the approach of the government of the day relative to the operations of the day, it has taken away the incentive for Canadians to send us here, and that is a tragedy.

Report Stage
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

8:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the chance to rise today in Parliament against opposition attempts to delay and defeat Bill C-38, the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act.

Today's act includes significant and critical measures that form economic action plan 2012 to support Canada's economy and help fuel job creation, a budget that has been public and in debate since March, for over four months. Since March, today's act has received numerous and record-breaking amounts of debate, including the longest amount of debate at second reading and the most amount of time for committee consideration in over two decades when compared to other budget implementation bills.

Clearly, economic action plan 2012 is an extremely important document, and Bill C-38 is equally important. It is vital to the continued strength of the Canadian economy. I would really hope that opposition members would be less concerned about partisan procedural games to delay and defeat Bill C-38. Instead, I call on them to join our Conservative government and focus on helping create jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. That is what matters to Canadians and their families. I am happy to report that we are getting real results to improve Canada's economy and job market.

Canada has the longest record of job growth in the entire G7 in recent years, with nearly 760,000 net new jobs created since July 2009, 90% full time and more than 80% in the private sector.

However, we cannot be complacent. The global economy remains extremely fragile and challenges remain, as we see in ongoing events in places like Greece and Spain. Such global challenges can ultimately impact Canada as we are not immune. For that reason, we are committed to the rapid implementation of economic action plan 2012. Our Conservative government, like many people across this country, is deeply disappointed with the NDP and other opposition parties that are trying to delay and defeat such key measures to support Canada's economy.

I want to read from a recent Toronto Sun editorial to illustrate that point, and I will quote at length as my colleague did earlier:

As Europe stands poised on the brink of a disastrous economic wildfire that could blacken the world, NDP leader's...self-obsession is in full flame.... vowing to delay the passing of that very same budget...by playing silly bugger with amendments and procedure.... This is nothing but grandstanding.... This is a budget designed to create jobs and inspire economic growth, and it comes to the House of Commons at a moment that can only be described as the 11th hour of a global economic conflagration.... Right now, there is only one enemy in our fight to protect Canada from the repercussions of Europe's burning. And it's [the NDP leader].... This is inarguable.

I completely agree.

By focusing on growth and job creation, the new measures in economic action plan 2012 will also solidify, strengthen and draw upon the role of entrepreneurs as the driving force behind Canada's economy. For example, the government is committed to ensuring that Canadians fully benefit from the economic opportunities associated with our natural resources, while protecting the environment.

We know that the existing system needs comprehensive reform. Today, Canadian businesses in the resource sector must navigate a maze of overlapping and complex regulatory requirements. This can discourage potential new investors and undermine the economic viability of major projects while providing no additional benefit to the environment.

This is wrong, which is why we have worked since 2006 to streamline and improve regulatory processes. However, more needs to be done. Economic action plan 2012 responds to this need by introducing system-wide legislative improvements to streamline the review process for major economic projects.

We will reform the regulatory system so that reviews are conducted in a timely and transparent manner while safeguarding the environment. Today's bill includes a number of initiatives to meet this objective. For example, today's legislation would establish a new federal environmental assessment regime that would consolidate responsibility for assessments from more than 40 departments and agencies to 3 responsible authorities, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Energy Board.

The legislation would also set timelines for environmental assessments and provide for greater co-operation between jurisdictions. For example, the bill would amend the National Energy Board Act to establish time limits for regulatory reviews under the act and would enhance the powers of the chair and the responsible minister to ensure that those reviews are conducted in a timely manner.

The government's position on the environment is very clear. We can achieve our economic priorities while continuing to protect the environment. For example, economic action plan 2012 proposes $13.5 million over two years to the National Energy Board to increase the number of inspections of oil and gas pipelines from about 100 to 150 inspections per year and double from 3 to 6 the number of annual comprehensive audits to identify issues before incidents occur. We must be vigilant in guarding our spectacular natural treasures and we must preserve them so we can pass them down to future generations. That is why protecting Canada's environment and the health of Canadians will remain a key government priority.

Other key measures in today's act deal with the housing market, amendments to improve oversight of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, or CMHC. As we work toward getting our own government house in order, we continue to be mindful of other parts of the economy in need of careful stewardship. There is no doubt that housing has been top of mind for many Canadian families, and just as the government's management must be done with long-term objectives in mind, so too must the housing market be approached with a responsible, measured and long-term view so that it remains strong and stable over time.

In order to protect our housing market from excesses seen in other economies and to support the long-term stability of our housing market, our government has acted three times to adjust the rules for government-backed insured mortgages. These adjustments include requiring a minimum down payment of 5% for owner-occupied properties and 20% on speculative properties, reducing the maximum amortization period to 30 years from 35 years for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of more than 80% and lowering the maximum amount Canadians can borrow in refinancing a mortgage to 85% from 95% of the value of their homes. We also withdrew government insurance from backing home equity lines of credit. In short, we discouraged some Canadians from using their homes as automatic bank machines and encouraged them to use their homes as saving vehicles.

Today's proposed legislation amendments are part of the government's continuous effort to strengthen the housing finance system. These amendments would strengthen the governance and oversight of CMHC and ensure that the corporation's commercial activities are managed in a manner that promotes the stability of the financial system. These enhancements include the additional objectives for CMHC to ensure its commercial activities promote and contribute to the stability of the financial system, including the housing market; legislative and regulatory authorities for the Minister of Finance in respect to CMHC's securitization programs; authorities for the superintendent to review and monitor the safety and soundness of CMHC's commercial activities and report to CMHC's board of directors and to the ministers of finance and HRSDC; and the addition of the deputy minister of human resources and skills development and the deputy minister of finance to CMHC's board of directors as ex officio members.

We will continue to act when necessary to support the long-term stability of Canada's housing markets and encourage savings through home ownership. For all these reasons, I encourage Canadians and the opposition to support Bill C-38 and help us get this bill passed today.