Budget Implementation Act, 2009

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and related fiscal measures

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in December 2009.

Sponsor

Jim Flaherty  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

Part 1 implements income tax measures proposed in the January 27, 2009 Budget. In particular, it

(a) increases by 7.5% above their 2008 levels the basic personal amount and the upper limits for the two lowest personal income tax brackets, thereby also increasing the income levels at which income testing begins for the base benefit under the Canada Child Tax Credit and the National Child Benefit supplement;

(b) increases by $1,000 the amount on which the Age Credit is calculated;

(c) increases to $25,000 the maximum amount eligible for withdrawal under the Home Buyers’ Plan;

(d) introduces amendments to the rules related to Registered Retirement Savings Plans and Registered Retirement Income Funds to allow for recognition of losses in accounts between the time of the annuitant’s death and final distribution of property from the account;

(e) repeals the interest deductibility constraints in section 18.2 of the Income Tax Act;

(f) extends the mineral exploration tax credit for one year;

(g) increases to $500,000 the annual amount of active business income eligible for the 11% small business income tax rate and makes related amendments;

(h) clarifies rules relating to timing of acquisition of control of a corporation; and

(i) creates cost savings through electronic filing of tax information.

In addition, Part 1 implements income tax measures that were referenced in the January 27, 2009 Budget and that were originally proposed in the February 26, 2008 Budget but not included in the Budget Implementation Act, 2008. In particular, it

(a) clarifies the application of the excess corporate holdings rules for private foundations;

(b) increases the amount that corporations will be able to pay as “eligible dividends”;

(c) enacts several regulatory amendments that complement and complete measures enacted in the Budget Implementation Act, 2008;

(d) introduces minor adjustments to the Tax-Free Savings Account rules and the scientific research and experimental development investment tax credit rules included in the Budget Implementation Act, 2008;

(e) implements rules in respect of donations of medicines; and

(f) reduces the paper burden on businesses by allowing a larger number of government entities to share Business Number-related information in connection with government programs and services.

Part 1 also implements other income tax measures referred to in the January 27, 2009 Budget that either were themselves previously announced or flow directly from previously announced measures. In particular, it

(a) implements technical changes relating to specified investment flow-through trusts and partnerships and new tax rules to facilitate the conversion of these entities into corporations;

(b) contains amendments to take into account financial institution accounting changes;

(c) extends the general treatment of capital gains and losses on an acquisition of control of a corporation to gains and losses that result from fluctuations in foreign exchange rates in respect of debt denominated in foreign currency;

(d) enhances the carry-forward for investment tax credits;

(e) implements amendments relating to the computation of income, gains and losses of a foreign affiliate;

(f) implements amendments to the functional currency tax reporting rules;

(g) implements minor tax amendments relating to interprovincial allocation of corporate taxable income, the Wage Earner Protection Program and the Canada-United States tax treaty’s rules for cross-border pensions;

(h) provides for an extension of time for income tax assessments that are consequential to provincial reassessments;

(i) ensures the appropriate application of the Income Tax Act’s trust rules to certain arrangements and institutions under Quebec civil law;

(j) enacts regulatory amendments relating to prescribed amounts for automobile expenses and benefits, eligible medical expenses, and the tax treatment of foreign affiliate active business income earned in a jurisdiction with which Canada has concluded a tax information exchange agreement;

(k) introduces rules to reduce the required minimum amount that must be withdrawn from a Registered Retirement Income Fund or from a variable benefit money purchase pension plan by 25% for 2008, and allows related re-contributions;

(l) extends the deadline for Registered Disability Savings Plan contributions; and

(m) modifies the provisions relating to amateur athletic trusts.

Part 2 amends the Excise Act, 2001 and the Excise Tax Act to implement measures to reduce the paper burden on businesses by allowing a larger number of government entities to share Business Number-related information in connection with government programs and services.

Part 3 amends the Customs Tariff to implement measures announced in the January 27, 2009 Budget to

(a) reduce Most-Favoured-Nation rates of duty and, if applicable, rates of duty under other tariff treatments on a number of tariff items relating to machinery and equipment imported on or after January 28, 2009;

(b) divide tariff item 9801.10.00 into two separate tariff items pertaining to conveyances and containers, respectively, and make two technical corrections, effective January 28, 2009; and

(c) modify the tariff treatment of milk protein substances, effective September 8, 2008.

Part 4 amends the Employment Insurance Act until September 11, 2010 to extend regular benefit entitlements by five weeks. It also provides that a pilot project ceases to have effect. In addition, it amends that Act to provide that the cost of benefit enhancement measures under that Act, provided for in the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009, are not to be charged to the Employment Insurance Account. Finally, it sets the premium rate provided for under that Act for the years 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2010.

Division 1 of Part 5 amends the Financial Administration Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to take, subject to certain conditions, a number of measures intended to promote the stability or maintain the efficiency of the financial system, including financial markets, in Canada.

Division 2 of Part 5 amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act to provide the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation with greater flexibility to enhance its ability to safeguard financial stability in Canada. The Division also adds Tax-Free Saving Accounts as a distinct category for the purposes of deposit insurance. It also makes consequential amendments to other acts.

Division 3 of Part 5 amends the Export Development Act to, among other things, expand the Export Development Corporation’s mandate to include the support and development of domestic trade and business opportunities for a period of two years. The period may be extended by the Governor in Council. Division 3 also increases the Corporation’s authorized capital.

Division 4 of Part 5 amends the Business Development Bank of Canada Act to increase the maximum amount of the paid-in capital of the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Division 5 of Part 5 amends the Canada Small Business Financing Act to increase the maximum outstanding loan amount in relation to a borrower. It also increases individual lenders’ cap on claims. These amendments will apply to new loans made after March 31, 2009.

Division 6 of Part 5 amends a number of Acts governing federal financial institutions to improve access to credit and strengthen the financial system in Canada, including amendments that will

(a) provide new authority for further safeguards to promote the stability of the financial system;

(b) enhance consumer protection by establishing new measures to help consumers of financial products; and

(c) implement other technical measures to strengthen the financial sector framework in Canada.

Division 7 of Part 5 provides for payments to be made to provinces and territories, provides authority to the Minister of Finance to enter into agreements respecting securities regulation with provinces and territories and enacts the Canadian Securities Regulation Regime Transition Office Act.

Part 6 authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for various purposes, including infrastructure and housing.

Part 7 amends Part I of the Navigable Waters Protection Act to create a tiered approval process for works in order to streamline the approval process and to exclude certain classes of works and works on certain classes of navigable waters from the approval process. This Part further amends Part I of the Act to clarify the scope of the application of that Part to works owned or previously owned by the Crown, to provide for the application of the Act to bridges over the St. Lawrence River and to add certain regulation-making powers.

Part 7 also amends the Act to clarify the provisions related to obstacles and obstructions to navigation. The Act is also amended by adding administration and enforcement powers, consolidating all offence provisions, increasing fines and requiring a review of the Act within five years of the amendments coming into force.

Division 1 of Part 8 amends the Wage Earner Protection Program Act and the Wage Earner Protection Program Regulations to provide that unpaid wages for which an individual may receive payment under the Wage Earner Protection Program include unpaid severance pay and termination pay.

Division 2 of Part 8 amends the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act to, among other things,

(a) require the Chief Actuary of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to report on financial assistance provided under that Act; and

(b) authorize the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to suspend or deny financial assistance to all those who are qualifying students in respect of a designated educational institution.

Division 2 of Part 8 also amends both the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act and the Canada Student Loans Act to, among other things,

(a) terminate all obligations of a borrower with respect to risk-shared loans and guaranteed loans if the borrower dies;

(b) authorize the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to require any person who has received financial assistance or a guaranteed student loan to provide that Minister with documents or information for the purpose of verifying compliance with those Acts; and

(c) authorize that Minister to terminate or deny financial assistance in certain circumstances.

Division 3 of Part 8 amends the Financial Administration Act to provide express authority for agent Crown corporations to lease their property, restrict the appointment of employees of a Crown corporation to its board of directors, require Crown corporations to hold annual public meetings, clarify Treasury Board’s duties to indemnify Crown corporation directors and officers, permit more flexibility in the frequency of special examinations of Crown corporations, and require the reports of special examinations to be submitted to the appropriate Minister and Treasury Board and made public. This Division also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 9 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to set out the amount of the fiscal equalization payments to the provinces for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2009 and amends the method by which fiscal equalization payments will be calculated for subsequent fiscal years. It also amends the method by which the Canada Health Transfer is calculated for each fiscal year in the period beginning on April 1, 2009 and ending on March 31, 2014.

Part 10 enacts the Expenditure Restraint Act. The purpose of that Act is to put in place a reasonable and an affordable approach to compensation across the federal public sector in support of responsible fiscal management in a difficult economic environment.

It sets out rules governing economic increases to the rates of pay of unionized and non-unionized employees for periods that begin during the period that begins on April 1, 2006 and ends on March 31, 2011. It also continues certain other terms and conditions at their current levels. It preserves the right of collective bargaining with regard to other matters and it does not affect the right to strike.

The Act does not preclude the continued development of workplace improvements by employers and employees’ bargaining agents through the National Joint Council or other bodies that they may agree on. It also permits bargaining agents and employers to agree to the amendment of certain terms and conditions of collective agreements or arbitral awards.

Part 11 enacts the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act and makes consequential amendments to other Acts. The purpose of the Act is to ensure that proactive measures are taken to provide employees in female predominant job groups with equitable compensation.

It requires public sector employers that have non-unionized employees to determine periodically whether any equitable compensation matters exist in the workplace and, if so, to prepare a plan to resolve them. With respect to public sector employers that have unionized employees, the employers and the bargaining agents are to resolve those matters through the collective bargaining process.

It sets out the procedure for informing employees as to whether an equitable compensation assessment was required to be conducted and, if so, how it was conducted, and how any equitable compensation matters were resolved. It also establishes a recourse process for employees if the Act is not complied with.

Finally, since the Act puts in place a comprehensive equitable compensation scheme for public sector employees, this Part amends the Canadian Human Rights Act so that the provisions of that Act dealing with gender-based wage discrimination no longer apply to public sector employers. It extends the mandate of the Public Service Labour Relations Board to allow it to hear equitable compensation complaints and to provide other services related to equitable compensation in the public sector.

Part 12 amends the Competition Act. The amendments include

(a) introducing a dual-track approach to agreements between competitors, with a limited criminal anti-cartel provision and a civil provision to address other agreements that substantially lessen or prevent competition;

(b) providing that bid-rigging includes agreements or arrangements to withdraw bids or tenders;

(c) repealing the provisions dealing with price discrimination and predatory pricing, replacing the criminal resale price maintenance provision with a new civil provision to address price maintenance practices that have an adverse effect on competition, and repealing all provisions dealing specifically with the airline industry;

(d) introducing an administrative monetary penalty for cases of abuse of dominant position, increasing the maximum amount of administrative monetary penalties for deceptive marketing cases, and increasing the maximum fines or terms of imprisonment, or both, for agreements or arrangements between competitors, bid-rigging, criminal false or misleading representations, deceptive telemarketing, deceptive notice of winning a prize, obstruction of Competition Bureau investigations and failure to comply with prohibition orders or production orders;

(e) clarifying that, in proceedings under section 52, 74.01 or 74.02, it is not necessary to establish that false or misleading representations are made to the public in Canada or are made in a place to which the public has access, and clarifying that the “general impression test” applies to all deceptive marketing practices in sections 74.01 and 74.02;

(f) providing that the court may make an order in respect of cases of false or misleading representations to require the person who engaged in the conduct to compensate persons affected by the conduct, and may issue an interim injunction to freeze assets if the Commissioner of Competition intends to ask for such a compensation order; and

(g) introducing a two-stage merger review process for notifiable transactions, increased merger pre-notification thresholds and a reduced merger review limitation period.

Part 13 amends the Investment Canada Act so that the review of an investment will be applied only to the more significant investments. It also amends the Act to allow more information to be made public. This Part also provides for the review of foreign investments in Canada that could threaten national security and allows the Governor in Council to take any measures that the Governor in Council considers advisable to protect national security, such as prohibiting a non-Canadian from implementing an investment.

Part 14 amends the Canada Transportation Act to provide the Governor in Council with flexibility to increase the foreign ownership limit from the existing levels to a maximum of 49%.

Part 15 amends the Air Canada Public Participation Act in relation to the mandatory provisions in the articles of Air Canada regarding constraints imposed on the issue, transfer and ownership of shares. It provides for the repeal of the provisions requiring that the articles of Air Canada contain provisions imposing limits on non-resident share ownership and the repeal of the provisions requiring that the articles of Air Canada contain provisions respecting the enforcement of these constraints.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

March 4, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
March 4, 2009 Passed That this question be now put.
March 3, 2009 Passed That Bill C-10, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and related fiscal measures, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 394.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 383.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 358.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 317.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 445.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 295.
March 3, 2009 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 6.
Feb. 12, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
Feb. 12, 2009 Passed That this question be now put.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, while we are on the rather broad topic of Liberal Party hypocrisy, can the hon. member tell us his how he felt when he heard a member from the Liberal Party of Canada rise during question period this afternoon and speak out against the softwood lumber agreement, which was after all supported, signed and upheld by that same Liberal Party?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the question asked by the hon. member for Outremont regarding softwood lumber. It is a very important one.

Two years ago, we indicated the impact this agreement would have. We were the only party to read the agreement. The Conservative members said they supported the agreement, but they did not even read it. The Liberal members said they would vote to support the agreement, because it looked fine. I cannot help but think of the members from northern Ontario who no longer sit in this House, because the people of that region said no to the Liberal Party during the most recent election, partly because of the Liberal Party's decision to support the softwood lumber agreement. Now I know my friends in the Bloc Québécois also understand that their party made a monumental mistake in supporting an agreement that was not good for Quebec, that cost thousands of jobs, that took away Quebec's autonomy in how it managed the forestry industry, which is, after all, a matter of provincial jurisdiction.

So it is very clear and very obvious. Now that the other parties see that the NDP was right, we hope they might listen to us from the beginning next time, to prevent the kind of crisis that arises when people do not fully understand the consequences of their actions.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, given the Conservatives faced a coalition that would have thrown them out of office just two months ago, why would they put add-ons in the budget when all opposition parties would find them objectionable? Why would they do that given they almost lost the government a couple of months ago?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. My only answer is the Conservatives thought the Liberals would simply roll over. There is no principle that governs Liberal Party members. They are willing, at all costs, to give up any principle they support if they do not think their electoral chances are particularly good.

I think the Conservatives simply thought they could do anything they wanted. They knew the Liberals would not stand up to them. They now have a functional majority, a coalition government, Liberal-Conservative, or Conservative-Liberal-Alliance party, or CLAP, in the House of Commons. It is very unfortunate for Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:25 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by pointing out that my NDP colleague, with whom I sit on the Standing Committee on International Trade, is an expert on softwood lumber and a staunch defender of the softwood lumber industry in his region. He is also an authority on shipbuilding in his region.

In this case, my colleague has great respect for the people of his riding and his province, and he is fulfilling their expectations by trying to remove this sector from the free trade agreement. However, he still refuses to accept that the Bloc had serious reservations about the softwood lumber agreement. He should bear in mind that we, too, responded to the needs of softwood lumber stakeholders in Quebec. We responded to the needs of Quebeckers, just as he responded to the needs of shipbuilding stakeholders in British Columbia.

Now, once and for all—we have covered this dozens of times already—given that he is dealing with the same situation when it comes to shipbuilding as we did with softwood lumber, I would like to hear him say that the work we did was just as much about responsibility as the work he thinks he is doing now.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I did not say anything bad about the Bloc Québécois. I even congratulated the Bloc Québécois on recognizing that it made a mistake by voting for the softwood lumber agreement.

All I have to go on are the facts. Thousands of people in Quebec lost their jobs after the softwood lumber agreement came into force on October 2, 2007. Since then, thousands of jobs have been lost in Quebec. Last week, a decision was made that will cost Quebeckers tens of millions of dollars. Even if it were to be distributed according to the formula proposed by the Bloc, the result would be the same: Quebeckers will have to pay tens of millions of dollars.

It is clear that the effect on Quebec will be just as the NDP predicted a few years ago. We were right when we said that the agreement should not be signed. They should have waited for the final court decision, which ruled in Canada's favour.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, our colleague from Burnaby—New Westminster keeps playing his softwood lumber tape.

There was an election campaign last September and October. The NDP had candidates in all Quebec ridings, including those where forestry is the main industry. That was their message during the election campaign and they came in dead last.

Two-thirds of Quebec MPs are members of the Bloc. This truly reflects what my colleague from Sherbrooke just said: we expressed the wishes of our citizens. We are not retreating from the decision we made. On the contrary, we will continue to represent the opinions and wishes of our constituents.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to elaborate for our Bloc Québécois colleague. We have to say that it is becoming increasingly evident to everyone in Quebec that it was a bad agreement. Last week's decision will unfortunately be reinforced by another to be given in a few weeks, one that will go against Quebec, as we said. The next time, we will campaign in all Quebec ridings and the result will be different because you made the wrong decision whereas we made the right one.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Chambly—Borduas. Ordinarily, members say it is a pleasure to speak to a bill, but in this case, it is more my duty to the people in my riding and everyone in Quebec. Like my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I will vote against this bill.

Quebec is the big loser in the government's recovery plan. We know that the plan includes roughly $4 billion to help Ontario. We understand that this is important to the automotive industry and all that, but Quebec is getting nothing but crumbs. The forest and manufacturing industries are very important, but the recovery plan provides only $170 million for research and development for the entire country.

Last week, Guy Chevrette, president and CEO of the Quebec Forest Industry Council, appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance and again impressed on us that the forest industry in Quebec is in deep trouble. Companies could close in the near future and need loan guarantees like the ones the automotive industry got in the recent recovery plan. Loan guarantees would also enable forest companies to take part in research and development programs and at least survive the current financial crisis.

Mr. Chevrette mentioned that the forest industry currently accounts for 825,000 direct jobs in Canada, compared to 500,000 jobs in auto manufacturing. He talked about the forest industry's strategic and economic importance to Canada. But the budget contains no support for the forest industry in Quebec, which is why it is turning to the Government of Quebec for loan guarantees that the industry was hoping the federal government would provide but that have not been forthcoming. As members are aware, the Government of Quebec is not in a very easy economic situation at present.

I would like to talk about the immediate action on the economy that we were expecting from this recovery plan, such as the guaranteed income supplement and employment insurance. With regard to these sorts of measures, if you increase the amounts people are receiving, that money will be invested directly into the economy. People will not be able to take a trip or buy stock in a company with the extra money. This is therefore the best stimulant, especially since the government took so long to introduce a real recovery plan. That would have had a direct, immediate impact on the economy.

The budget has not yet been officially passed. It may be tonight when the bill is passed at third reading and after it goes to the Senate. If only the industry could benefit from certain measures without delay, the stimulus plan would be more effective.

The guaranteed income supplement is one of those measures. Last year, I had the opportunity to introduce a bill to improve the guaranteed income supplement. I should point out that people receiving the supplement because they do not have enough income are now below the low-income threshold, which was once called the poverty line. It is therefore unacceptable for a government not to take advantage of the fact that it has to invest in the economy to give them at least enough income to reach the low-income threshold, particularly since these are people who already need help from the government.

We also asked for automatic enrolment in the guaranteed income supplement program. Once again, the government is playing hide and seek with seniors, who, in many cases, do not know which forms to fill out. In Quebec alone, an estimated 40,000 people who are eligible for the guaranteed income supplement are not receiving it because they did not apply.

Throughout Canada, 135,000 people are entitled to it. Last year, the Conservative government said that the program would cost too much. All told, we estimate the cost of implementing the program to be $2 billion, but the government thought that that was too much money.

The government should make the most of this year's stimulus plan. Since it wants to invest, it could invest that money directly and, by the same token, give these people a reasonable income so that they can live with dignity.

The same goes for employment insurance. The government adopted a measure to extend the benefit period by five weeks. The maximum benefit period will increase from 45 to 50 weeks. However, as we have pointed out numerous times, only some 10% of people receiving employment insurance benefits will collect the extra five weeks' worth of benefits. Most of them are resourceful and find new jobs. Also, fewer than half of the people who contribute to employment insurance actually collect benefits. For various reasons, many do not work enough hours. So fewer than 50% collect benefits, and of those, barely 10% reach the end of the benefit period. These are the people the government wants to help with its stimulus plan.

We in the Bloc Québécois had called for the elimination of the waiting period. Under the current employment insurance system, people who lose their jobs have to cover the first two weeks. Doing away with the waiting period would have meant a direct, immediate investment. It would have meant that, as soon as they lost their jobs, people could have counted on a reduced income, but at least some income during what is a critical time for them. Here again, the government is not looking after these people. Despite the need to stimulate the economy, these people are being ignored. The government is not going to suddenly think of these people when times get better.

I wanted to talk about social housing. Quebec alone is estimated to need 52,000 social housing units. I live in Laval, and my riding is in the eastern part of Laval. More than 1,000 people in Laval alone are waiting for social housing, because there is not enough. The current government's position seems to be that families and people in need who cannot find decent housing at market prices should be left to fend for themselves.

Yet the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has a surplus of about $8 billion. We have no idea what this surplus is used for. The Auditor General has said that a $2 billion surplus would be more than enough to respond to an emergency.

My riding has a federal penitentiary, the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul penitentiary. An old part of this institution, the Old Pen, has been unoccupied since 1989. The building has been abandoned since then. It has been shown that the building needs about $1 million in repairs to remain in good condition. I have not yet had a satisfactory answer from the minister about whether the government is going ahead with this project. A conversion project is under consideration, and that project could include social housing. But the government is turning a deaf ear. Here again, even though there is a cost involved, this would have been a perfect opportunity to build social housing.

I would have liked to talk about pay equity, which was mentioned earlier. That has been a real scandal. The dynamic men and women in my riding are very concerned about this issue. To them, pay equity is a right, not something they have to negotiate. It is truly unfortunate that the government is proceeding in this way and forgetting all about the current pay equity provisions of legislation. Not only is the government not meeting Quebec's needs, but it is also penalizing Quebec by changing the equalization formula, which will cost Quebec $1 billion.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on his speech in which he made his opposition clear. I would also like to point out that we are currently asking for money. I am responsible for the social housing file, and there is most likely a possibility that non-residential buildings will be converted into residential units.

I would like him to tell us to what point, in his riding, this project would answer the needs of those who are not necessarily the poorest of the poor, but who have modest incomes. I would like him to talk about that project.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. I did not know about the project he mentioned. However, it is clear that we need many social and affordable housing projects. Currently, low-income families with two, three or four children cannot find housing at an affordable price. Any projects that can help these people would be appreciated.

There is a need in my riding. That is why I was questioning the government about a building it owns. It is the government's responsibility to convert it into housing units for the public.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, given that the Prime Minister nearly lost his government in December and we would think that he would not want to antagonize the opposition, especially not the Liberals, why does the member think he would add on all these measures that have absolutely nothing to do with the budget? Why would he want to do that if he is hoping for their support to continue his government?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. NDP colleague for his question. Clearly, it would be overly optimistic to hope that any adjustments or amendments might be made, considering the current Liberal-Conservative coalition. The Liberals are supporting this budget, which offers nothing worthwhile.

I deplore that. I am particularly concerned that the 10 Conservative members and the 14 Liberals members from Quebec are supporting this budget, which does nothing to help their own region, Quebec.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate my hon. colleague from Alfred-Pellan for his excellent speech and his valuable contribution to the Standing Committee on Finance.

He did not have the opportunity to address the question of equalization and the fact that, in this budget the government is reneging on its own commitment to the provinces. For Quebec, this means a shortfall of about $1 billion. Can he share his thoughts on that?

Budget Implementation Act, 2009Government Orders

March 4th, 2009 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Chambly—Borduas for his question. Indeed, I ran out of time and was not able to talk about equalization. In addition to failing to introduce effective economic stimulus measures, the government will undermine the effectiveness and integrity of Quebec by its frankly unilateral changes to equalization payments, despite a unanimous motion by the Quebec National Assembly calling on the government not to change the formula for calculating equalization without allowing some time to discuss it and explore other solutions. The federal government simply decided to deprive Quebec of $1 billion in the next budget. This will automatically lead to a deficit in Quebec, since the provincial government was counting on that money. That is what is appalling.

Furthermore, the Government of Canada decided that revenues from electricity distribution in Ontario by Hydro One would be considered corporate revenue and would therefore not be factored into the equalization calculation, although the same calculation method does not apply to Hydro-Québec. Quebec will lose another $250 million in equalization because of this decision, which is unfair to Quebec.