Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures

Sponsor

Bill Morneau  Liberal

Status

In committee (House), as of May 9, 2017

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Summary

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

Part 1 implements certain income tax measures proposed in the March 22, 2017 budget by

(a) eliminating the investment tax credit for child care spaces;

(b) eliminating the deduction for eligible home relocation loans;

(c) ensuring that amounts received on account of the caregiver recognition benefit under the Veterans Well-being Act are exempt from income tax;

(d) eliminating tax exemptions of allowances for members of legislative assemblies and certain municipal officers;

(e) eliminating the tax exemption for insurers of farming and fishing property;

(f) eliminating the additional deduction for gifts of medicine;

(g) replacing the existing caregiver credit, infirm dependant credit and family caregiver tax credit with the new Canada caregiver credit;

(h) eliminating the public transit tax credit;

(i) ensuring certain costs related to the use of reproductive technologies qualify for the medical expense tax credit;

(j) extending the list of medical practitioners that can certify eligibility for the disability tax credit to include nurse practitioners;

(k) extending eligibility for the tuition tax credit to fees paid for occupational skills courses at post-secondary institutions and taking into account such courses in determining whether an individual is a qualifying student under the Income Tax Act;

(l) extending, for one year, the mineral exploration tax credit for flow-through share investors;

(m) eliminating the tobacco manufacturers’ surtax;

(n) permitting employers to distribute T4 information slips electronically provided certain conditions are met; and

(o) delaying the repeal of the provisions related to the National Child Benefit supplement in the Income Tax Act.

Part 2 implements certain goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) measures proposed in the March 22, 2017 budget by

(a) adding naloxone and its salts to the list of GST/HST zero-rated non-prescription drugs that are used to treat life-threatening conditions;

(b) amending the definition of “taxi business” to require, in certain circumstances, providers of ride-sharing services to register for the GST/HST and charge GST/HST in the same manner as taxi operators; and

(c) repealing the GST/HST rebate available to non-residents for the GST/HST that is payable in respect of the accommodation portion of eligible tour packages.

Part 3 implements certain excise measures proposed in the March 22, 2017 budget by

(a) adjusting excise duty rates on tobacco products to account for the elimination of the tobacco manufacturers’ surtax; and

(b) increasing the excise duty rates on alcohol products by 2% and automatically adjusting those rates annually by the Consumer Price Index starting in April 2018.

Part 4 enacts and amends several Acts in order to implement various measures.

Division 1 of Part 4 amends the Special Import Measures Act to provide for binding and appealable rulings as to whether a particular good falls within the scope of a trade remedy measure, authorities to investigate and address the circumvention of trade remedy measures, consideration of whether a particular market situation is rendering selling prices in an exporting country unreliable for the purposes of determining normal values and the termination of a trade remedy investigation in respect of an exporter found to have an insignificant margin of dumping or amount of subsidy.

Division 2 of Part 4 enacts the Borrowing Authority Act, which allows the Minister of Finance to borrow money on behalf of Her Majesty in right of Canada with the authorization of the Governor in Council and provides for the maximum amount of certain borrowings. The Division amends the Financial Administration Act and the Hibernia Development Project Act to provide that the applicable rate of currency exchange quoted by the Bank of Canada is its daily average rate. It also amends the Financial Administration Act to allow that Minister to choose a rate of currency exchange other than one quoted by the Bank of Canada. Finally, it makes a consequential amendment to the Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1.

Division 3 of Part 4 amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act and the Bank Act to

(a) specify that one of the objects of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation is to act as the resolution authority for its member institutions;

(b) require Canada’s domestic systemically important banks to develop, submit and maintain resolution plans to that Corporation; and

(c) provide the Superintendent of Financial Institutions greater flexibility in setting the requirement for domestic systemically important banks to maintain a minimum capacity to absorb losses.

Division 4 of Part 4 amends the Shared Services Canada Act in order to permit the Minister responsible for Shared Services Canada to do the following, subject to any terms and conditions that that Minister specifies:

(a) delegate certain powers given to that Minister under that Act to an “appropriate Minister”, as defined in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act; and

(b) authorize in exceptional circumstances a department to obtain a particular service other than from that Minister through Shared Services Canada, including by meeting its requirement for that service internally.

Division 5 of Part 4 authorizes a payment to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research to support a pan-Canadian artificial intelligence strategy.

Division 6 of Part 4 amends the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act to expand eligibility for student financial assistance under that Act to include persons registered as Indians under the Indian Act, whether or not they are Canadian citizens, permanent residents or protected persons. It also amends the Canada Education Savings Act to permit the primary caregiver’s cohabiting spouse or common-law partner to designate a trust to which is to be paid a Canada Learning Bond or an additional amount of a Canada Education Savings grant and to apply to the Minister for the waiver of certain requirements of that Act or the regulations to avoid undue hardship. It also amends that Act to provide rules for the payment of an additional amount of a Canada Education Savings grant in situations where more than one trust has been designated.

Division 7 of Part 4 amends the Parliament of Canada Act to provide for the Parliamentary Budget Officer to report directly to Parliament and to be supported by an office that is separate from the Library of Parliament and to provide for the appointment and tenure of the Parliamentary Budget Officer to be that of an officer of Parliament. It expands the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s right of access to government information, clarifies the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s mandate with respect to the provision of research, analysis and costings and establishes a new mandate with respect to the costing of platform proposals during election periods. It also makes consequential amendments to certain Acts.

This Division also amends the Parliament of Canada Act to provide that the meetings of the Board of Internal Economy of the House of Commons are open, with certain exceptions, to the public.

Division 8 of Part 4 amends the Investment Canada Act to provide for an immediate increase to $1 billion of the review threshold amount for certain investments by WTO investors that are not state-owned enterprises. In addition, it requires that the report of the Director of Investments on the administration of that Act also include Part IV.‍1.

Division 9 of Part 4 provides funding to provinces for home care services and mental health services for the fiscal year 2017–2018.

Division 10 of Part 4 amends the Judges Act to implement the Response of the Government of Canada to the Report of the 2015 Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission. It provides for the continued statutory indexation of judicial salaries, an increase to the salaries of Federal Court prothonotaries to 80% of that of a Federal Court judge, an annual allowance for prothonotaries and reimbursement of legal costs incurred during their participation in the compensation review process. It also makes changes to the compensation of certain current and former chief justices to appropriately compensate them for their service and it makes technical amendments to ensure the correct division of annuities and enforcement of financial support orders, where necessary. Finally, it increases the number of judges of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and the Yukon Supreme Court and increases the number of judicial salaries that may be paid under paragraph 24(3)‍(a) of that Act from thirteen to sixteen and under paragraph 24(3)‍(b) from fifty to sixty-two.

Division 11 of Part 4 amends the Employment Insurance Act to, among other things, allow for the payment of parental benefits over a longer period at a lower benefit rate, allow maternity benefits to be paid as early as the 12th week before the expected week of birth, create a benefit for family members to care for a critically ill adult and allow for benefits to care for a critically ill child to be payable to family members.

This Division also amends the Canada Labour Code to, among other things, increase the maximum length of parental leave to 63 weeks, extend the period prior to the estimated date of birth when the maternity leave may begin to 13 weeks, create a leave for a family member to care for a critically ill adult and allow for the leave related to the critical illness of a child to be taken by a family member.

Division 12 of Part 4 amends the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act to, among other things,

(a) specify to whom career transition services may be provided under Part 1 of the Act and authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting those services;

(b) create a new education and training benefit that will provide a veteran with up to $80,000 for a course of study at an educational institution or for other education or training that is approved by the Minister of Veterans Affairs;

(c) end the family caregiver relief benefit and replace it with a caregiver recognition benefit that is payable to a person designated by a veteran;

(d) authorize the Minister of Veterans Affairs to waive the requirement for an application for compensation, services or assistance under the Act in certain cases;

(e) set out to whom any amount payable under the Act is to be paid if the person who is entitled to that amount dies before receiving it; and

(f) change the name of the Act.

The Division also amends the Pension Act and the Department of Veterans Affairs Act to remove references to hospitals under the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs as there are no longer any such hospitals.

Finally, it makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Division 13 of Part 4 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to

(a) provide that a foreign national who is a member of a certain portion of the class of foreign nationals who are nominated by a province or territory for the purposes of that Act may be issued an invitation to make an application for permanent residence only in respect of that class;

(b) provide that a foreign national who declines an invitation to make an application in relation to an expression of interest remains eligible to be invited to make an application in relation to the same expression of interest;

(c) authorize the Minister to give a single ministerial instruction that sets out the rank, in respect of different classes, that an eligible foreign national must occupy to be invited to make an application;

(d) provide that a ministerial instruction respecting the criteria that a foreign national must meet to be eligible to be invited to make an application applies in respect of an expression of interest that is submitted before the day on which the instruction takes effect;

(e) authorize the Minister, for the purpose of facilitating the selection of a foreign national as a member of a class or a temporary resident, to disclose personal information in relation to the foreign national that is provided to the Minister by a third party or created by the Minister;

(f) set out the circumstances in which an officer under that Act may issue documents in respect of an application to foreign nationals who do not meet certain criteria or do not have the qualifications they had when they were issued an invitation to make an application; and

(g) provide that the Service Fees Act does not apply to fees for the acquisition of permanent residence status or to certain fees for services provided under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Division 14 of Part 4 amends the Employment Insurance Act to broaden the definition of “insured participant”, in Part II of that Act, as well as the support measures that may be established by the Canada Employment Insurance Commission. It also repeals certain provisions of that Act.

Division 15 of Part 4 amends the Aeronautics Act, the Navigation Protection Act, the Railway Safety Act and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to provide the Minister of Transport with the authority to enter into agreements respecting any matter for which a charge or fee could be prescribed under those Acts and to make related amendments.

Division 16 of Part 4 amends the Food and Drugs Act to give the Minister of Health the authority to fix user fees for services, use of facilities, regulatory processes and approvals, products, rights and privileges that are related to drugs, medical devices, food and cosmetics. It also gives that Minister the authority to remit those fees, to adjust them and to withhold or withdraw services for the non-payment of them. Finally, it exempts those fees from the Service Fees Act.

Division 17 of Part 4 amends the Canada Labour Code to, among other things,

(a) transfer to the Canada Industrial Relations Board the powers, duties and functions of appeals officers under Part II of that Act and of referees and adjudicators under Part III of that Act;

(b) provide a complaint mechanism under Part III of that Act for employer reprisals;

(c) permit the Minister of Labour to order an employer to determine, following an internal audit, whether it is in compliance with a provision of Part III of that Act and to provide the Minister with a corresponding report;

(d) permit inspectors to order an employer to cease the contravention of a provision of Part III of that Act;

(e) extend the period with respect to which a payment order to recover unpaid wages or other amounts may be issued;

(f) impose administrative fees on employers to whom payment orders are issued; and

(g) establish an administrative monetary penalty scheme to supplement existing enforcement measures under Parts II and III of that Act.

This Division also amends the Wage Earner Protection Program Act to transfer to the Canada Industrial Relations Board the powers, duties and functions of adjudicators under that Act and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Division 18 of Part 4 enacts the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act, which establishes the Canada Infrastructure Bank as a Crown corporation. The Bank’s purpose is to invest in, and seek to attract private sector and institutional investment to, revenue-generating infrastructure projects. The Act also provides for, among other things, the powers and functions of the Bank, its governance framework and its financial management and control, allows for the appointment of a designated Minister, and provides that the Minister of Finance may pay to the Bank up to $35 billion and approve loan guarantees. Finally, this Division makes consequential amendments to the Access to Information Act, the Financial Administration Act and the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act.

Division 19 of Part 4 amends the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to, among other things, expand the list of disclosure recipients to include the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces and to include beneficial ownership information as “designated information” that can be disclosed by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada. It also makes several technical amendments to ensure that the legislation functions as intended and to clarify certain provisions, including the definition of “client” and the application of that Act to trust companies.

Division 20 of Part 4 enacts the Invest in Canada Act. It also makes consequential and related amendments to other Acts.

Division 21 of Part 4 enacts the Service Fees Act. The Act requires responsible authorities, before certain fees are fixed, to develop fee proposals for consultation and to table them in Parliament. It also requires that performance standards be established in relation to certain fees and that responsible authorities remit those fees when the standards are not met. It adjusts certain fees on an annual basis in accordance with the Consumer Price Index. Furthermore, it requires responsible authorities and the President of the Treasury Board to report on fees. This Division also makes a related amendment to the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 and terminological amendments to other Acts and repeals the User Fees Act.

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

May 9, 2017 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
May 9, 2017 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, since the Bill, in addition to increasing taxes and making it more difficult for struggling families to make ends meet, is an omnibus bill that fails to address the government's promise not to use them.”.
May 9, 2017 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

moved:

That in relation to Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the said bill; and

That fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, here we go again with another important debate being shut down. Members of Parliament who should be speaking on behalf of their constituents are being silenced by the Liberals. It is extremely frustrating, but it is also wrong.

We have a budget implementation bill before us that is chock full of things that are going to cause a lot of problems for Canadians, never mind the increased fees for Canadians. We see that this infrastructure bank, which we should really call a Liberal bank, is going to be giving favours to billionaire friends of the Liberals, with no accountability. The taxpayer is going to be on the hook for this infrastructure bank. We also have the issue around the parliamentary budget officer being silenced.

These are really important issues that our members of Parliament on this side would still like to speak to, and one day is not enough time. I ask the government if it would reconsider. We need more time to speak to this bill. The debate should not be shut down. This begs the question: Where is the openness? Where is the willingness to work together with opposition parties that the Liberals promised? We are not seeing it all.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Madam Speaker, we do know that this bill has already had 39 members speak up and give their point of view. We know that includes 13 members from the Conservative Party and five New Democrats.

We do know that members on the opposite side have brought up points that they would like us to continue to look at, points that require further study. In our view, that is something we should do. That is why we would like to get the bill to committee. We believe doing that affords us the opportunity to have those discussions in a way that will allow the bill to progress forward and make sure we can get on with the work of making sure our economy works for Canadians.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Madam Speaker, I think I have the numbers straight. This is an omnibus bill, which consists of more than 300 pages. This is a bill for which we have had three days of debate, the government will say. However, it will not say that one of those days was a Wednesday, when of course we do not begin until later in the afternoon, and one was a Friday, when we had a grand total of one hour and 15 minutes of debate.

This is the budget implementation bill. My hon. friend from the Conservatives has already pointed out that issues like the parliamentary budget officer, the infrastructure bank, and others are at issue, but so are myriad other issues, many of which have nothing to do with the budget.

I wonder if the government could reconsider and allow us, as the opposition, to do our job for Canadians.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, again, for the member opposite, I appreciate and understand his comments. I would say that we have had 39 members in this House already speak about this bill. We do recognize that there is an important opportunity for us to continue discussions, if we can get this bill to committee.

As mentioned, we know that there are very important things that we are trying to achieve through this budget bill, which would make a real difference for our economy. Moving forward on this will be important for Canadians. We are already seeing the impact of budget 2016 on our economy, with positive impacts on employment, positive impacts on our economy broadly.

We want to continue to move forward with our plan to make a real difference. That is why we recognize that there has been debate already. We believe moving this bill to committee is the right thing to do at this stage, so we can hear further discussions and make sure we get this done in a way that is positive for Canadians.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Dianne Lynn Watts Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Madam Speaker, I too would like to raise my concerns about the limited time we have to discuss the bill. It is 300 pages. There are some significant issues about the parliamentary budget officer, the infrastructure bank, and myriad other issues that need to be brought up. Only 39 members have spoken to the bill. It is absolutely outrageous to think that this is enough.

There are 338 members in the House representing the ridings across this country, and it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to represent our constituents in a way that is relevant, that is transparent, and that holds the government to account. Shutting down debate on more than 300 pages of the bill is absolutely unbelievable. Canadians deserve better than that.

I would like to ask the minister to please reconsider shutting down debate, because there are many Canadians who would really like to understand the content of the bill and the implications, because there are implications for each and every Canadian across the country. It is going to affect Canadians and their families. A lot of the money is back-ended. Things are not flowing. Infrastructure is not flowing, and I would like the minister to address this.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I recognize that it is important that we hear from members in the House. We have had some discussion already. We have had some comments about things that require further study. We believe that sending the bill to committee is the way to get at those discussions. The measures in the bill are entirely related to our budget. They are focused on how we can make an important difference for Canadians.

We believe that moving forward to get the bill to committee will allow us to get to that work. We know that the things we have done already in our term of office have started to have a real impact. We know that Canadians are impatient to see that continued positive impact on them and their families, the kind of things we are already seeing in terms of the positive impacts on employment, which are critically important, and the positive outcome in terms of what we are seeing in our economic growth possibilities.

We know that 39 members have already spoken about this. We know that moving this to committee will allow us to consider the issues that have been brought up in a way that is constructive. We are anxious to get to that, because we want to work on behalf of Canadians.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Madam Speaker, I would hope that the Minister of Finance is good at math, but I will simply point out to him that 39 members is 10% of the number of MPs who sit in the House.

He was not here during the previous Parliament, but if he had been, I have to wonder how he would have reacted to the Harper government, which did exactly the same thing that he is doing, that is, limiting debate on a 300-page budget bill that amends about 30 pieces of legislation.

How would he have reacted to the Conservative government doing exactly what he is doing right now?

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for her question.

I know that having the opportunity to study our budget measures is very important. I also know that we have already heard from 39 members, as my colleague pointed out. I know that what matters now is having an opportunity to examine the points that have been identified. That is why we believe it is time to study these important matters at committee. That way, we can achieve our objective of improving the lives of Canadians as soon as possible.

That is our goal. We think that enough time has been taken and it is now time for the committee to take over the study we have begun.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Kyle Peterson Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Madam Speaker, this budget clearly expands on our government's ambitious plan. It continues help for the middle class, it has great support for veterans, and it strengthens our health care system. What I find particularly important is the increased family leave and the flexible benefits for parents. Being a father of two young children myself, the importance of this measure speaks volumes about where this government is heading and the compassion this government has for families and the middle class.

I wonder if the Minister of Finance can comment on why it is important to get these measures, and the other key features in the implementation act, before a committee so we can make this the law of the land and families can benefit from the measures in Bill C-44 that will actually help Canadians.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his question and speak to the comments he made. In the first instance, of course, there is an important role for the government to be empathetic to families and to recognize different family situations. However, I would like to also take this from an economic perspective.

We see that one of the greatest challenges in our country is demographic change. We know that demographic change means that we will have challenges in terms of the percentage of the workforce that is actually working and creating the opportunity for our economy to be successful. As a result of that, we need to think about how we can get a higher level of workforce participation for segments of the population that may not be as engaged in the workforce. Therefore, we have taken measures in this budget to make sure that we have a high level of workforce participation in places where it is not as high as it could be. In fact, it has been a continuing theme of our government.

A good example, and the one identified by the member, is women, in particular women between the ages of 25 and 54 . We have seen a flattening of workforce participation in that group. We know that by creating the kind of flexibility families need, we can help women to be more engaged in the workforce. That is an important effort in this budget. It will make a difference for families. It will make a difference for the long-term economy of our country. We need to move forward on this, because we know it is the right thing to do, and we know it will help our economy in the long run.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, just 39 members, or 12% of members, have had the chance to speak in the House to this important bill. That means that 88% of members will be muzzled by the current government and will not be able to speak to such an important bill. It makes no sense.

Let us not forget that this is the party that promised to do away with omnibus bills. This bill is nearly 300 pages. It implements certain measures in the budget, but it also affects 30 statutes and creates two brand spanking new entities, two completely unacceptable things that have nothing to do with the budget.

Judging by the answers we got yesterday, the Canada infrastructure bank is going to be just one more thing to please Liberal Party cronies. What is more, the government now wants to control the parliamentary budget officer. That is the worst thing that could happen. The Speaker of the Senate, who is appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada, will now have veto power over the annual work plan of the parliamentary budget officer. It is not right.

I want to take advantage of the Minister of Finance's presence to ask him directly the questions I twice asked the government House leader, who answered on his behalf, unfortunately.

How can such a dignified, honourable, and upstanding man stoop to doing such despicable things? This makes me think of the very popular song, Say it isn't so.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I believe that the member asked at least three questions. I will try to answer them all.

First, as I said, we believe that it is now time to debate our budget measures in committee. Thirty-nine people have had the opportunity to speak and I believe that we have heard some important comments. However, it is now time to study the measures in committee.

Second, the infrastructure bank is very important to us. It will allow us to do more for Canadians and build more infrastructure across the country. As the government, it is important to be able to make very significant investments. Accordingly, we have decided to invest $180 billion in infrastructure over the next 10 years.

Of this amount, $15 billion will be used as seed money for our infrastructure bank, which will allow us to attract investors and make more and bigger investments. That is very important. With more investment, we will create more job opportunities and a more efficient economy in the future.

Lastly, the issue of the parliamentary budget officer is also very important. We want this office to be more effective and more independent, and that is the goal of our proposal.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, the finance minister says he wishes the parliamentary budget officer to become more independent. I would say that the only continuing theme of the government is breaking election promises. I would remind the Liberals of what they said during the campaign. They said, “We will not interfere with the work of government watchdogs.... We will ensure that all the officers are properly funded and accountable only to Parliament, not the government of the day.” They also said they would ensure that the PBO “is truly independent, properly funded, and answerable only—and directly—to Parliament”.

Among these 30 bills amended by this budget implementation bill is the shackling of the parliamentary budget officer.

I would remind the government that it is not just the opposition that holds the government accountable with regard to spending. Every elected member is responsible for holding the government accountable.

It was agreed in our committee some years back to make the parliamentary budget office reportable to Parliament, which the Liberals supported. It was a key measure to enable us to hold the government of the day accountable.

Why is the government deciding now to break its word on its election promise? Why is it shacking the parliamentary budget officer?

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, our goal is to make the parliamentary budget officer more effective and independent. We would like to strengthen the office so that it actually has the ability to do the work it needs to do.

We have heard comments in this House. We are open to hearing those comments. That is the way we would like to move forward. We will take these comments into account as we move forward to committee. That is the way it should work.

Our overriding intent is to make the parliamentary budget officer more effective and more independent. That is the reason we put the measures into the bill. To the extent that there are comments and ideas on how we can go further in that regard, we are open to listening to them. That is something we expect will happen at committee. That would be in line with how we would like to move forward.