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

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

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

June 12, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
June 6, 2017 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2017 Failed Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 5, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
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.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech, and I particularly want to thank him for mentioning the importance of coastal waterways here in Canada and the regions in this country that feel left out, despite the government's promise that it would recognize and represent all areas of our country.

When the Liberals announced their ocean protection plan rollout, we eagerly anticipated seeing the details. Recently they announced $75 million for a coastal restoration fund that would support habitat restoration and address threats to marine species. We welcomed these announcements, but when they identified 11 priority areas for coastal restoration, they forgot one area on the west coast of British Columbia, the west coast of Vancouver Island, despite a low return of sockeye that were expected in our region. It is a critical stage. DFO has announced that we will get about 170 million returning sockeye instead of the average of 750 million. This is identified as critical. We also have a marine debris problem that is hitting our coastal beaches.

The Liberals said they would make every part of this country count. The people in my community do not know why they do not count in this government's agenda. What can the people of the west coast of Vancouver Island do to raise their voices so they can be heard?

This is a place where the Prime Minister goes on holiday and walks the beach but forgets to go into those communities to find out how it is impacting them when they are not able to fish because it is closed. We do not invest in restoration, we do not invest in protecting our habitat, and we do not invest in cleaning up marine debris. It is impacting our communities, and the government is forgetting us.

Maybe the member could talk about what it feels like in his community when the government forgets it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, I am from Quebec City, and all our major projects are left out. The member that responded said that all over the province of Quebec, mayors are crying, because they are asking for projects. They will be crying for a long time, because the infrastructure bank will not be able to pay for small projects in municipalities.

Concerning the protection of the coasts, we cannot protect the coasts without ships. We in the Conservative government put contracts in place with Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver to build 10 new ships for the Coast Guard and for research projects. Those ships have major delays. We have not heard from the government concerning that.

I would say that the most terrible thing about this budget is that it does not speak to all Canadians. It speaks to a particular group of interests. It speaks to one single class, the middle class. The Liberals call it a feminist budget. That is unbelievable. Why is it not a Canadian budget?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to what my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou had to say. We Conservatives are very careful about managing public funds; we are always referring to the heads of families. Good heads of families live within their means. Without getting into personal details, the member for Beauport—Limoilou is a dad for the second time.

As a father, would he manage his personal budget the way the Prime Minister is managing the government’s budget?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, the answer to my colleague is “certainly not”. To pick up where my colleague left off, tomorrow I will be moving into my first home. For the first time in my life, I took out a mortgage. My banker looked at how I conduct my finances and said, “my goodness, you really are a Conservative!”

After being a military student, I became a member of Parliament in 2015. I have not spent lavishly and I put money aside to buy a house. I was able to make a down payment. It is true that we are paid very well, and I have nothing to complain about, but I managed to do it because I was disciplined and reasonable. As well, I have arranged it so that two years from now, if ever I am not a member of Parliament, I will still be able to live reasonably. I made arrangements in order to make it through.

Any responsible government should secure its finances and not put itself at risk if the economy were to get worse.

I will conclude by saying that they have ended security—

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, I congratulate you on your temporary role.

I would like to thank my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou for his speech.

At the end of his speech he said that his party is a good manager of taxpayer dollars.

I find this is not entirely accurate. During the 10 years that the Conservatives were in office, we had $150-billion deficits. We also have deficits, this is true. We will get back to that a little later.

What did we get for all that?

Nothing. Under the Conservatives, economic growth ranged from 1% to 1.5%. With the Liberals, economic growth was stronger in 18 months than it was during the 10 years the Conservatives were in power.

If we look at the deficits from a historical standpoint, for over a century, the Conservatives have never been able to get out of deficit, although they inherited surpluses from the Liberals twice, namely in 1912 and in 2006.

The Conservatives have never been able to balance the budget without selling off government assets.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, I do not agree.

First, there is the historical context. In 2007, 2008 and 2009, we ran controlled, reasonable, and responsible deficits in response to the biggest economic crisis since the depression of the 1930s.

Interestingly, we had fantastic results because in 2011, 2012, and 2013 we posted the best outcomes in the OECD: over 1.2 million jobs created, the best GDP, and the best economic growth of OECD countries.

As well, in November 2015, we left a $3-billion surplus, which was confirmed by Department of Finance officials.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, when the member across the way talks about deficit, I am sure he knows the reality of the situation. When Stephen Harper became prime minister, there was a multi-billion dollar surplus, which he turned into a multi-billion dollar deficit. He never really had a surplus.

Why should this government take any advice from a Conservative Party that has been an absolute total disaster? In fact, it added over $160 billion of total debt to our nation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, I do not want him to take advice from the party, but from the Canadian people.

We are the voice of the taxpayers, and they are saying that enough is enough. If the Liberals are increasing the deficit, they should do it for a good reason and let Canadians know when it is going to end. That is not the case right now.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to highlight some of the NDP's objections to Bill C-44 at third reading.

As we analyzed the bill, it became clear that we do not oppose the actions of government because it is made up of Liberals, but we oppose the Liberals because of their actions. The legislation is rife with things that would not take the country in the right direction and it fails to live up to the very commitments made not by us in the last election campaign but by the Liberals themselves.

I want to highlight some of those problems and also suggest other ways that the government might have proceeded that would have helped to attain the goals it says it wants to attain.

Let me start with housing. No money was allocated in the budget proper for a national housing strategy this year, and that is unfortunate. There is some money promised for down the road, but this is unfortunate because for all the words that come from a government, statements on positions and everything else, it is really where a government spends its money that we learn its priorities and we see what it is serious about. It was not a promising sign to see no money right away.

We in the NDP support the idea of the development of a national housing strategy but it would have been nice to see in the budget implementation bill some legislation that would create ongoing statutory funding for housing. That is because reliable, stable funding, year over year, is the basis for a well-functioning and reliable national housing strategy that could put a meaningful dent in the dearth of affordable housing and social housing that we currently have in Canada.

Putting money in the budget would have been one way the government could have signalled its seriousness about a national housing plan. Instead it is left to the ad hoc decision-making of government year over year.

The NDP has proposed in the past, through private member's bills, legislation for a meaningful and permanent national housing strategy, including provisions for how to consult and develop that plan so that decisions would not just be made at the cabinet table. Everyday Canadians would have the opportunity on an ongoing basis to feed information from their own lived experiences and those of their friends, neighbours, and family, into that ongoing strategy that would have reliable, multi-year funding going forward.

I raise that as an example of how the government in the legislation could have signalled and solidified its commitment to a national housing strategy. It was disappointing not to see that. Instead, we have the word of the Liberals that the money will come.

We have their word on a lot of issues. It is hard to believe that the Liberals will be able to achieve all of their goals given the current state of the country's finances and the choices that they have made in terms of not seriously going after, for instance, large tax offenders and in terms of not raising the corporate tax rate. I will have more to say on that later.

The other thing in the bill that is an important priority for me and for the NDP is the health care funding. What was promised in the election campaign by the Liberals and by the Prime Minister was promised on the basis of a criticism of the previous government and Stephen Harper's plan for health care funding that would cut the regular increases by the federal government for health spending from 6% to 3%. That was roundly criticized by Liberals in the last campaign and there was a clear promise in their platform and by the Prime Minister that not only would he not adopt the Stephen Harper funding model but that he would change the way the funding model was decided. The Prime Minister said he would convene a meeting of premiers to talk about a new national health accord.

After the election the premiers took the Prime Minister at his word and asked to have that meeting. On a number of occasions they held joint press conferences calling on the Prime Minister to convene a national meeting of premiers to discuss a new national health accord, but they never had that meeting. The legislation is the outcome of that broken promise by the Prime Minister to convene that meeting and to meaningfully include premiers in deciding the structure and the framework of health funding in Canada going forward.

Instead, the Liberals adopted a divide-and-conquer strategy where they went to each province separately and made side deals, the gist of which in all cases was to get provinces to sign on to the very same Harper model of funding health care that they had opposed during the election. That is what is represented in the bill.

On the additional money the Liberals promised during the election for home care and mental health, instead of flowing to the provinces out of the commitment made by the Prime Minister and Liberals in the last campaign, it became a condition of their signing on to the Stephen Harper model. This money was used instead as a threat and as a coercive tool to get provinces to sign on to a funding model that they had roundly criticized and that the federal Liberals had roundly criticized.

Therefore, it was a serious switch of priority and strategy by the federal government, and I think a serious broken promise on one of the most important issues of public policy in Canada. That is what the bill represents in its current form. I think that is shameful, and I cannot but draw attention to the fact that now, frankly, we do not really have a national health accord, because 10 side deals, and we are not even at 10 yet but nine out of 10, do not a health accord make.

This was the opportunity. After the Harper government reneged on the idea or passed up the opportunity to create a new national health accord after the health accord of 2004 expired in 2014, there was a moment to bring the provinces together to negotiate a new health accord in the way that former prime minister Paul Martin did in 2004. There was a moment to be able to do that again, and it certainly seemed like the federal Liberals were posturing to fill that role, which would have been good. They ought to have done that, but they passed it up and adopted the Harper ultimatum, although they gave themselves a bigger stick with the promises of home care and mental health money.

Now it is an open question as to when we are going to get that opportunity again. It is on the current Prime Minister's shoulders that we may lose the opportunity to have a meaningful national health accord for a generation. I think that is seriously shameful and something that I hope Liberals across the way who ran on the idea of having a new national health accord appreciate that they are complicit in, having Canadians miss out for a generation on a meaningful national health accord, because that is not what the funding arrangement in the legislation before us represents.

This includes not having a national pharmacare plan, for instance. It would be wonderful if in this budget implementation act we saw the legal provisions necessary to institute a national pharmacare plan. A national pharmacare plan would allow us to provide more equitable drug coverage to Canadians across the country so that it would not matter where one lived in Canada, one would get good access to the prescription medication one needed. It would allow Canadians to do this at a lower out-of-pocket price for the portion they would be responsible for. It would also allow governments to provide better service at a cheaper rate, and there have been all sorts of estimates. If we triangulate the lowball estimates and the higher estimates, it is quite reasonable to think that we could be saving Canadian taxpayers in the neighbourhood of $7 billion annually if we had a national pharmacare plan.

This was something the Liberals promised in 1993, if members can believe it, and here we are today. However, as we did prior to 1993, consistently after 1993, and are doing today, the NDP will continue to advocate for a national pharmacare plan until we have one.

I think it is shameful to think that after all those years, 25 years after Jean Chrétien got elected with a compelling majority and a clear promise to have a national pharmacare plan, we still have to be here talking about it. We are not talking about the details of it, whether it is working well, or how it could save Canadians more money if we modified the plan this way or that. We are still talking about establishing one at all, which I think is a great shame.

We had promises from the Liberals as well to restore lifetime pensions for veterans, but that is not anywhere in the act. When we talk about commitments made and how those get followed through on where it really counts, which is where the money gets spent, we see another promise coming up empty.

We still hear repeated promises from the Minister of Veterans Affairs and that we should just wait, that it is coming. However, the government has continued with the court case it promised to stop against Equitas and Canadian veterans. It is saying that there is no sacred covenant between Canada and its veterans. It has money to spend on that, money that would be better spent on veterans who, through their service, have earned our respect and deserve to live with dignity. The government should be doing that with the money.

It is the same when it comes to first nations. The government is continuing to spend money it promised it would not, fighting first nations in court. It could be flowing the money, money that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and many other bodies have said is owing to first nations people as an important piece of the reconciliation process. It would help get first nations people in Canada back on their feet and address the endemic problems in their communities, so they could become full participants in all the wealth, resources, and quality of life that Canada has to offer. They have been excluded from that for far too long. Nothing in the legislation addresses that.

On my point about veterans, they have said clearly that lifetime pensions have to be restored. The Liberals clearly said that as well. The New Democrats have been advocating for that. One would assume there would be wide support. There certainly would be support on the NDP benches for restoring lifetime pensions, yet it is nowhere in the legislation.

The Liberals talk big about spending priorities, but the recent release of the defence review is a very good indication of what it means to be a Liberal spending priority. It means money announced for 2026, 2027, 2028. By the time our grandkids are adults, they will start spending money on this serious priority.

It is frustrating to see large numbers being thrown about, including on infrastructure, knowing that many years and a number of elections will have to occur before the time arrives to spend that money.

This means we are not having a serious debate in Parliament about our priorities. Instead, we are playing a game of make belief with Monopoly money. The Liberals can announce all sorts of money for 2035, but they will never have to deliver it. The circumstances will have changed so many times and in so many ways, in ways we cannot predict. When the time comes to spend that money, it will have been re-budgeted, reallocated, and changed many times over. It is convenient for the government to talk now about what it wants to do in 2027, 2030, 2040, or 2050. I think 2055 is when the government says it might balance the books.

This is not a real debate. It does a disservice to this place and Canadians for a government to pretend that by announcing money 10 years into the future, it is doing a real thing. This is really indicative of its priorities. People in this place deserve better and the people we represent deserve better. Therefore, I make no apologies for focusing on the next few years and what the government announced in spending, because the rest has yet to come.

On my point about housing, if the Liberals were serious about long-term funding, they would have included it in the legislation. It is the case sometimes that five-year or 10-year plans are required to address something, which is certainly true when addressing the shortage of affordable and social housing. However, the bill does not include a national housing strategy and funds for that strategy. Statutory funds for that strategy is the way to do it.

At the very least, it appears to be a sign of insincerity when governments talk about the need for a long-term plan, but do not want any accompanying legislation that would mandate the money and lay out the consultation process for that kind of long-term spending. Long-term spending like that ought not be done willy-nilly. If a 10-year plan is required, there should also be a corresponding structure, which is appropriate to lay out in legislation, and provide a legislative guarantee of those funds. We do not see that in the bill.

However, what we see is a guarantee for a structure going forward, not just for 10 years but indefinitely. Canadian taxpayer money is going to be used to pad the pockets of corporate Canada. That is shameful. When we talk about legislating priorities in the budget implementation bill and putting one's money where one's mouth is, the Liberals are doing that.

The Liberals are talking about a $35 billion fund that will be used to privatize infrastructure and make it easy for large corporations, not even large Canadian corporations, but large international corporations, to own Canadian infrastructure and dictate to Canadians what they will pay to use a highway or cross a bridge, so they can make money on that. Then, when it is not making money anymore, if the plan is ill-conceived and it does not generate the 7% to 9% return they thought it would make, they will walk away from the project, and Canadian taxpayers will pay the bill.

We see the Liberal priorities the bill. Unfortunately, they are not the priorities the Liberals espoused during the election campaign.

The government talks about openness and transparency. We have very good reason to doubt the sincerity of that. Yesterday we heard that the Liberals' record on access to information requests, which is a very reasonable measure of openness and transparency, was worse than the Harper government's was in its last year.

The embarrassing appointment process, now the non-appointment process, for Madeleine Meilleur to the position of Commissioner of Official Languages was far from open and transparent. The Prime Minister still will not admit that it was a mistake to think that such an overtly partisan person could be seen as independent enough to occupy the position of an independent officer of Parliament. There is nothing open or transparent about that.

Canadians have every right to worry, with a proposal like the infrastructure bank, that they cannot expect the kind of openness and transparency one would need in order to evaluate whether it was getting value for money.

It may well be true that more things get built as a result of the infrastructure bank, but they are not getting built for free. No one is building it out of charity for Canadians. The Saudi investment authority is not going to come to Canada because of the infrastructure bank and say that it got a letter from the bank, it heard we needed a major bridge, it would build it for us, do it cheaply and it would be a nice quality bridge, and not ask for payment. Canadians are going to pay. If we are building more infrastructure, we are paying more. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

To hear the Liberals on one hand espouse and call on some of their members' experience in business and finance and say they are smart managers, then on the other hand pretend that somehow Canadians ultimately will not pay for every bit of infrastructure that is paid under the bank, and in fact pay more, is farcical. Those investors will demand a higher return than the banks the government could borrow from, which was its promise in the election. It has been an ongoing insult, frankly.

When we talk about getting money to build more infrastructure by borrowing at 2%, the Liberals like to say the NDP was going to balance the budget, so we would not have built any of that stuff.

First, the stuff on the infrastructure bank is stuff for which they are borrowing money and they are borrowing it at a higher rate from other investors. The idea that this is not a deficit that Canadians are incurring is factually wrong. The Liberals can play with the books, put it on the books of the infrastructure bank, or private investors, or whatever, but at the end of the day it is the Canadian taxpayer who will pay for that. The Liberals are not fooling anyone on this side of the House.

The other thing is this. The Liberals are not pursuing revenue streams, or ways of saving money. When I talk about a national pharmacare program, that is a way to save substantial amounts of money. If they were borrowing at 2% to build infrastructure instead of 7% or 9%, they could build a lot of bridges and roads for $7 billion a year.

The Liberals voted for an NDP motion telling the government to take meaningful action on closing tax havens and loopholes. A black and white commitment of the Liberals was that they would close the CEO stock option loophole. They passed that up. That is almost $1 billion a year, and substantially more when we start addressing the issue of tax havens and tax cheats. Some have estimated that to be as high as in the order of $50 billion to $60 billion annually. That is a lot of money. Therefore, the idea that somehow there is no money to be found to advance these important priorities is false. It is a question of political will and a government willing to follow through on its commitments.

When we take all of that into consideration, it is clear that, not only when we talk about the infrastructure bank, for instance, this is not the way to go for Canada. This is not the way to build infrastructure. It is not value for money for Canadians. There are better ways of doing it. I have tried to highlight some of those. Not only is this not the right direction, but it does not even get us in the direction the Liberals promised they would go in the last election. On all counts, Canadians should stand opposed to the bill. I know we will.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member gave a very interesting speech and touched on a lot of key points.

The member called this an omnibus bill and then he went on to talk about all the extra things we should add to our budget. I appreciate the fact that the member underlined all the good things we were doing, for example, infrastructure investment, which is extremely important. He talked about national health care, the national housing strategy, and other interesting things. The member did not mention the CPP, which would have been interesting.

Sitting in opposition and talking about all the good things those members would do is one thing. However, I would like to know where he and his party would have made cuts the that would have been required to accomplish maybe half of what we will accomplish in this budget.

Throughout the election campaign the leader of the opposition said there would be no deficits. With all the good things we are doing, without a deficit, it would only be half of the good things. Could the member expand on that?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I did try to explicitly answer that question in my speech, because it was an obvious one to anticipate.

My answer, essentially, is that Liberal cowardice in the face of corporate Canada and their international corporate friends means that for the Liberals, for some reason, despite election promises, pursuing revenue from the corporate sector, either by raising the corporate tax rate or closing tax loopholes, is not an option.

That is an option for us. We are willing to stand up to corporate Canada and the international corporate elite and let them know they need to pay their fair share. We do not have the same dilemma that the Liberals have, because we are not ideologically blocked from pursuing reasonable revenue options.

On the point about the CPP, I am glad the member mentioned it. In turns out 20 minutes is not very long, and there were some other points I wanted to address.

The Liberal CPP reforms are not in the budget implementation bill, which is why it was not a priority for me to mention it today.

However, in the bill are changes to the EI rules that would allow parents more choice with respect to their parental leave. The problem with the changes, and the reason why it relates to the CPP, is that it just illustrates that when Liberals try to do the right thing, either because they want to look progressive or maybe because they really mean it, they cannot quite get it right. With respect to CPP, they did not carry on with the dropout provisions for women and people living with disabilities. On parental leave, people will make less money over the 18 months than they would if they took the leave over 12 months.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, the previous government had record spending on health care, 6% a year. The health accord was one agreement.

The Liberal government is all about separate and divide. It could not get a health accord agreement, so it divided each and every area, starting first with Nova Scotia and a single agreement. Then it was New Brunswick, Newfoundland, finally getting through the provinces and territories.

However, I do not think the member's province of Manitoba signed on to the health accord. Could he comment on that? That is the only jurisdiction, I believe, that has not been divided or separated by the Liberal government.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is true. Manitoba has not signed on yet. Initially I supported the Manitoba government's efforts to try to bring other provinces together in order to get a better agreement, frankly, just a real agreement. Part of the problem with the divide and conquer strategy is that it causes us to lose the opportunity for a meaningful national health accord over the course of a generation.

Recent events in Manitoba have shown that perhaps the premier of Manitoba's intentions were not so pure, and that he was looking for a scapegoat to be able to blame cuts that he was intending to make to our health system anyway, like the closure of the Concordia ER in my riding, and deny going ahead with a personal care home expansion that had been on the books, was shovel ready, and the permit had been issued last July. That is in spite of a promise by the Manitoba Conservatives to build more personal care home beds.

There is more to the story. The Manitoba government is ruthlessly attacking our health care system, and I think it is holding out on this agreement to try to spread the blame. There is a lot of blame to go around. Canadians and Manitobans deserve a national health accord, and the Liberal government should have done that. However, it does not explain all the cuts that are happening in Manitoba right now either.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, irrespective of the member's perspective, this is an excellent budget for the province of Manitoba, which we both represent. Total transfers are at $3.7 billion, an increase of $150 million over 2016, which is the largest total transfer since 2006.

Because budget 2017 is a continuation of 2016, as we speak, there is $58 million currently being spent in Manitoba on 24 water projects for 24 first nations, including $20 million for freedom road. That is an increase of $10 million over our initial commitment. My question to the hon. member is a yes or no. Do you think that this $58 million for freedom road is a good thing for the province of Manitoba?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
See context

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would say in response to the member that the NDP, both federally and provincially, committed at the outset to have freedom road built, and that is a good thing.

The member mentioned water, for which I would note there is nothing in this budget.

Also, there have been recent announcements that the Coast Guard facilities in Gimli and Kenora are on the closure list. If we still have time for a question and answer, I wonder if any of the Liberals from Manitoba would like to get up and let us know when they were first consulted about that, for how long they knew, and what steps they took to make sure those Coast Guard facilities do not close.