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

May 3rd, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, from time to time, it is important to know the real facts. I will begin with our investments in infrastructure. We have explained that we would be investing $180 billion over the next 10 years. That is very important.

We have explained that we would be investing $15 billion of the $180 billion in the infrastructure bank. That is far less than 10%. The math is simple.

In addition, we believe that it is very important to do more with our investments. If interest rates are very low, then it is a good idea to include pension funds and institutional funds in our investments. We are sure to find an interest rate that is much lower than those cited by the hon. members. That will be our plan. We will use the $180 billion to make investments. With the $15 billion we will try to find even more money for more investments, so as to help Canadians all across the country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Madam Speaker, with respect to the parental leave adjustment, the same amount of benefit would be taken and spread over 18 months, which means that people would have to live on a third of their salaries. That really is not going to be very helpful.

I am the chair of the status of women committee. We have been hearing about what needs to happen to get more women into the workforce. We have seen models from places like Iceland, where parental leave actually encourages men and women to participate in taking leave and encourages more women into the workforce.

Would the minister consider amending the parental benefit to do something to actually get women into the workforce?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, that is in fact exactly what we are doing. We are recognizing that families come in all different shapes and sizes. In some situations, families will want to have the mother or father take 12 months of parental leave, and that is entirely appropriate for that family. That is the situation that is possible within our current system.

We also recognize that some people might prefer to stretch that out for 18 months, because it might make it easier for them to manage the challenge of their particular family situation.

By creating that flexibility, we are allowing people to manage their situations so that they can actually stay attached to the workforce, even if they want to take more time off work. We believe that we are doing exactly what the member opposite is asking us to do. We know that this will help families better accommodate their individual situations and allow us to have a more effective workforce, because people will stay attached to it for the long term.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, I would just point out that in the last two election campaigns, in 2011 and 2015, the Liberals clearly promised to set a cap on how much can be claimed through the stock option deduction, but they backtracked on that promise once they were in power.

Why did the government decide to renege on its promise to eliminate the tax loophole associated with stock options for CEOs in budget 2017?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, we believe that it is quite important that we have a tax system that is fair, efficient, and less complex than it is at present. That is why we looked at the system and made some important observations in this budget and also some plans for what we can continue to do.

We are working on dealing with tax expenditures that benefit a small proportion of Canadians at the expense of all others. The area where we believe there is the biggest opportunity is in some of the planning mechanisms that go on within private corporations. We saw that some people are actually turning regular income into capital gains income. We saw that some people are putting in passive income and are gaining advantage through that approach within a corporation. We saw that some people are sprinkling dividends among family members, which was not originally intended.

These private corporations have increased dramatically in number in our country, and we know that this is important to look at. We will be releasing a consultation paper in the near future to talk about how we might be able to address this, which will help us ensure that our tax system is fair for all Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 3:55 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, I just want to pay a compliment to the Minister of Finance on behalf of thousands of constituents of mine, whether recipients of the Canada child benefit program or the increase in our guaranteed income supplement. They have really improved the quality of life for many of my constituents. I wonder if the minister could provide some sort of assessment in terms of what impact that has had on our country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I could talk about this for a very long time, because the impacts are pretty huge. I want to take just two approaches. First is the impact on people. This year we will have 300,000 fewer children living in poverty. I think it is worth stopping on that. What we have also seen is that our economy is doing better. We have seen a reduction in unemployment, and we have seen forecasts from organizations like the Bank of Canada that our growth is going to be more than we thought it was going to be even just a few months ago.

The things we are doing are having an impact on the economy, and they are helping Canadians lead better lives.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, it is a great pleasure and honour for me to participate in the debate on Bill C-44, implementing the principal measures of the budget that was tabled a few weeks ago by the Minister of Finance. Unfortunately, we must stand proud and state in no uncertain terms that it is a bad budget. We will have occasion to return to this in greater detail, but I also want to point out that Bill C-44 is an omnibus bill.

This means that, among the measures to implement the budget's financial program, the government has decided to insert, in not so subtle a fashion, measures which have literally nothing to do with the speech made by the finance minister here in the House at 4:15 p.m. on March 22. There was no mention in that speech of the infrastructure bank, Investment Canada or judges’ salaries, along with many other measures to be found in Bill C-44. We will have occasion to get back to this a little later.

To begin, I want to follow up on certain statements made by the minister in the speech he just made. He raised certain points, but forgot the most important ones.

First of all, let us address the much-talked-about tax changes. The government is always passing itself off as a Robin Hood that will take money away from the wealthiest 1% and give it back to the middle class, and so on and so forth.

Thanks to the initiative of Senator Larry Smith, we have managed to get to the facts with the help of the parliamentary budget officer. It appears that 65% of Canadians will see absolutely no change to their income tax, including those who earn $45,000 or less per year, who are the real middle class. Those earning $60,000 a year will get barely two dollars more per week, just enough to buy a weekly coffee at Tim Hortons.

However, those who will really benefit from these changes which will supposedly make Canada a fairer country and help the middle class will be those who earn between $140,000 and $200,000 a year. Are they the middle class? No, they are among the most well off in Canada, and this government, with its budget, prefers to give more to the wealthy rather than help those who earn $45,000 or less, that is, the least fortunate among us. That is what the minister forgot to say.

It is the same thing for the changes to family assistance. Earlier, in response to the question from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, who is always eager to say lots of things in the House and whom I salute and like very much, we were talking about the changes to family assistance. Let us remember that when those changes were introduced, over a year ago now, the Minister of Families forgot one little detail, which was to index those changes. If the government had not run the numbers again, once we pointed out this omission, taxpayers in 2020 would have had less money in their pockets. That was totally unacceptable.

Was that a minor error? Yes, of course. Any accountant in any business who forgets to index prices or the budgets he draws up would be fired on the spot, and yet this government is keeping on the very people responsible for this gross miscalculation. Certain estimates suggest that this could have cost the consolidated revenue fund $20 billion over the years ahead.

The minister began by saying how generous his government was with respect to pension funds. In truth, it was a mistake for the government to bring the age of retirement back to 65. That mistake is highlighted once again in the report on Canadian demographics tabled a little earlier today. According to this report, for the first time, there are going to be more seniors than people in the labour force. The courageous and urgent thing to do was to push the retirement age back to 67. In setting it at 65, the government is playing petty politics.

At another time, when the current finance minister was an accomplished businessman, one held in respect and esteem, he himself authored a book on the subject of retirement management.

What did the current finance minister say when he was free to speak before becoming a Liberal minister? He said that 67 as the retirement age was a good idea. What did he do once he got elected? He brought it back to 65. That was not the thing to do. The demographic data tabled this morning tells us that pushing back the age of retirement to 67 was the necessary and urgent thing to do; perhaps not the most politically expedient move, but ever so helpful for the future of the country.

How is the Canada pension plan going to be funded, then? It will be funded by increases in premiums. Every worker will have to pay $1,000 more, and every business will have to pay $1,000 more for each of its workers. That makes $1,000 on each side. The government will look for $2,000 more to balance the pension plan. Wonderful, terrific, because that will cost Canadians even more. It will mean that much less money in the pockets of taxpayers to keep the economy rolling.

These were the first points I wanted to raise following the speech by the finance minister, for whom, as I said earlier, I have much respect and esteem.

Now let us talk about the budget, which was tabled by the government on March 22 in the House of Commons.

This is a bad budget and the worst-case scenario for our young generation, the youth of Canada. We are talking about debt and deficit. Just this year, the government tabled a budget with a deficit of $28.5 billion. Let me remind members that based on the platform of the Liberal Party in the last election, page 64 talked about a “modest” deficit, a “small” deficit of around $10 billion a year, getting back to a zero deficit in 2019. It is like Alice in Wonderland.

What is the reality? The reality is that last year we had a deficit of $23 billion, to which we shall add the $6 billion cushion that the government had in the budget, which it used to reduce the deficit. Therefore, we are talking about a real deficit of $29 billion, and this year of $28.5 billion. This is what the government is giving the young generation, which is all wrong for the so-called millennials.

Worse than that, where is the plan to get back to a zero deficit? The Liberal Party platform talked about a zero deficit in 2019. Where is the zero deficit plan?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I have trouble seeing what goes on without my glasses. That is why I rely on documents for a bit of help and bring them closer so I can read. It is my fault, Madam Speaker. Actually, I am just kidding; we have to be able to laugh a little.

Let us get back to the reality of the facts. The government was elected on a platform to get back to a zero deficit in 2019. There is no plan for a zero deficit, except the civil servants of the finance ministry in a document tabled on October 10, many months before. When did the government publish this document? On December 23, just before Christmas. The government was so proud of the document it tabled, and then published it just before Christmas. What does this document say? That the government will achieve a zero deficit by not 2019, not 2020, not 2030, not 2040, and not 2050, but by 2055. This is the reality of the government.

This is the gift that it will give to millennials, to the young generation: pay, pay, pay; deficit, deficit, deficit; debt, debt, debt. That is all wrong for Canada, that is all wrong for Canadians, and that is all wrong for young Canadians. That is why this is sincerely a bad budget. However, do we find something about that in Bill C-44? Not at all.

Worse than that, the government will create new taxes. We know what we are talking about. We talked about a pension plan a few months ago. Now it has created new taxes. I would call them the Friday and Saturday night taxes. They taxed alcohol, beer, and wine. That is great for hard-working Canadians, who see half of their salary going in taxes to the government. If they want to enjoy some Friday and Saturday evenings with good friends, they will now have to pay more in new taxes.

The current government proposes to abolish the tax credits our government tabled over the nine years we were in office. Thank God we were in office for nine years, because we gave Canadians, especially Canadian families, the help and tools they needed to help themselves.

We offered tax credits to help families and tax credits for help at school, for textbooks. They have been eliminated by the Liberal government. We created tax credits to help families who enrolled their children in sports activities. They have been eliminated by the Liberal government. We created tax credits for children’s arts activities. They have been eliminated by the Liberal government. Now, as hard as it is to believe, the government has eliminated a tax credit for public transit users. I did not see that one coming at all. Of the 250 or so tax credits that Canadian families may be eligible for, the Liberal government, that constantly boasts about its exploits and constantly preens itself for its lovely great ecological principles, has eliminated the tax credit for people who use public transit. Honestly, if someone had told me this two weeks before the budget was tabled, I would have laughed.

The Liberals decided to cancel and to abolish a tax credit for transit. This government is talking about bringing in policies. It is quite important to protect the heart of our world, and the government shall protect it.

I will remember all my life when the Prime Minister said two months ago that he was here for three great reasons, and then he named his children. He was here to protect and to give his children a better heart.

Look at the result. He cancelled the transit tax credit. It is all wrong, but so typical of the Liberals. They say something, then they reverse it.

What eliminating these tax credits and creating new taxes means, in our view, is that the government is not creating winning conditions for taxpayers to keep more money in their pockets, particularly with the money they have.

What I have shown is that, at the end of the day, the Liberals did a terrible job of administering the support system for families by forgetting to index the numbers, but they are very proud of giving $2 billion more than what we gave when we were in government. Need I point out that this money does not exist? We do not have it. If we had it, we would happily hand it out. The big difference between this government and ours, when it comes to helping families, is that during our last year, we did it with a zero deficit, with a balanced budget, and with a plan for tackling the debt. That was our plan. We were living within our means.

This government is borrowing and running up deficits, and it is no big deal. The deficit will be zero in 2055, life is beautiful, and they are handing out money they do not have. No head of household could manage their budget by using a credit card all the time and always asking the bank to lend them money. At some point, reality catches up. Reality is going to catch up with this government in October 2019; of that we can be sure.

Now I would like to talk about the omnibus nature of this bill. I said earlier that this 308-page-long bill includes not only budgetary measures, but also things that have absolutely nothing to do with the speech delivered by the Minister of Finance on March 22. Among other things, the bill sets out the new mandate of the parliamentary budget officer.

When I was at the National Assembly, I wanted Quebec to have a parliamentary budget officer. To my delight, we have one here in the House of Commons, in Ottawa, in the federal government. How wonderful. For 11 years, that person has been diligently keeping watch over the public purse independently from the House of Commons, from the government and parliamentarians. In this omnibus bill, the parliamentary budget officer is being given a new mandate that makes no sense. Henceforth, the Liberal government would have the parliamentary budget officer submit his game plan for the year. To whom? To you, Madam Speaker. Please do not feel singled out, as he will submit his plan to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Speaker of the Senate as well. It is unheard of.

There are 17 countries that have a parliamentary budget officer and only one of them, Korea, works this way. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if 16 countries believe one thing and only one believes another, perhaps the 16 are right. The government is following Korea's example and requiring the parliamentary budget officer to present its game plan to the House of Commons and the Senate. In our opinion, this does not make sense.

We are not the only ones to think so. In an interview with Le Devoir, among others, the parliamentary budget officer said that he fears that his job will be politicized:

I am more concerned about the Speaker of the Senate than the Speaker of the House of Commons, because the Speaker of the Senate is appointed by the Prime Minister's Office whereas the Speaker of the House is elected by his peers. Without wanting to seem too naive, he is technically neutral. One of them is more closely connected to the Prime Minister's Office than the other.

That was Jean-Denis Fréchette, the current parliamentary budget officer, who said that this is not the right move.

Therefore, let us be prudent, because he is not the only one saying so.

Kevin Page, the former parliamentary budget officer, said in an interview with Bill Curry of The Globe and Mail that the bill appears to take away the power of individual MPs to ask the PBO to provide cost estimates of various government initiatives. He said, “I would worry, under this legislation, based on all the interference we saw from various political actors and bureaucrats. This legislation creates the facade of independence...but on the other hand it completely takes it away.”

It is not a Conservative that said that. It is the former parliamentary budget officer. He said that this measure was just a facade and that it could politicize the work of the parliamentary budget officer or, at worst, make it so that the parliamentary budget officer is no longer able to undertake projects on his own initiative to undertake the analyses of his choice. He would have to set out his game plan and it would have to be approved by the Speaker of the House and the Speaker of the Senate. That is inappropriate. People all across the country are speaking out against the new approach proposed by the Liberals, which is completely unacceptable.

I would like to quote Manon Cornellier from Le Devoir, who is not known for being any more Conservative than the next person. She also used the words “facade of independence”. She said that the parliamentary budget officer “will no longer be able to undertake studies on his own initiative” and that “this marks the end of initiatives to address unforeseen circumstances”.

She went on to say, and I quote, that “the Liberals will only allow committees the right to make these requests, which is very convenient since a majority government controls those committees”.

She ended on a rather scathing note by saying:

Unfortunately, adopting these changes, which will diminish parliamentarians' ability to hold the government to account, is more or less a sure thing, since all budget bills are subject to party discipline.

Unless...[and I will look my colleagues opposite in the eye as I read this part] the Liberal members stand up and pressure their government to remove this reform from the bill and hand it over to parliamentarians. It would be in the Liberals' interest to do so. Otherwise, as soon as they return to the opposition benches [in 2019], it will not only be the PBO whose hands are tied, but theirs will be too.

This Liberal government proposal, within an omnibus bill, which aims to change how the parliamentary budget officer operates, is completely unacceptable. That is why we strongly oppose Bill C-44, a bill that is bad for Canada's economy and one that flies in the face of the Liberals' promise not to introduce omnibus bills, especially when some fundamental things are still missing from its 308 pages. That is why I am seeking the consent of the House to move the following motion, seconded by the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “this House declines 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.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, I enjoyed my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent's speech, but maybe he needs better glasses. He said that the former government lived within its means. We know the Conservatives managed to balance the budget one time because they sold so many government assets that they were able to hide their deficit. The last time the Conservative government balanced a budget was over a century ago. I do not know where people get the idea that the Conservatives are good money managers. That is a total fantasy.

There are deficits in our communities and in society. Personally, I would rather have deficits in the budget than in our communities.

I have a question for my colleague. Why does he think communities are not important? Why should we care only about dollars, not about communities, cities, regions, and the Canadian people?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I will not talk about my glasses; I will talk about the facts.

Need I remind the member and everyone in the House that in 2008, 2009, and 2010, the entire planet was facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of 1929?

Thank God we had a Conservative government under the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, who was very strong, very proud, and very straight in its administration. Thank God we had Jim Flaherty as minister of finance, and Joe Oliver, as well.

While the entire planet was in the whirlwind of the financial economic crisis, Canada, under the Conservatives, was the first G7 country to make it out of the crisis, with the best debt-to-GDP ratio, which is what allows the present government to go on this spending spree. That is unfortunate, because it is directly attacking our government's legacy.

Need I remind the member that we are not opposed to infrastructure investments? Need I point out that under the member for Lac-Saint-Jean, who was the Minister of Infrastructure, we introduced the most ambitious budget ever, a budget of $80 billion over 10 years?

Right away, people on the other side are saying that theirs is $180 billion. You, however, are creating a deficit, while we had a balanced budget—

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his excellent speech. We do not agree on everything, but we do share certain views. I would like to hear his comments on the long list of the Liberal government’s broken promises. It is a very long one, but I would like to focus on two of those promises that are not in the last budget, because I find their absence somewhat surprising.

First, the Liberals had promised to restore lifelong pensions for veterans wounded in combat. We do not see that anywhere. I would like to hear my colleague’s thoughts on the Liberal government’s respect for veterans.

Second, we agree that the biggest job creators are small and medium-sized businesses, whether outside the major urban areas or in metropolitan centres like Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. The Liberals had promised tax relief to lend a hand to small businesses, who remain the lifeblood of our communities despite the hard times they are going through. There are no tax cuts for small businesses.

What does my colleague from Saint-Laurent think about this?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I like to hear from my colleague from Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, not only because he is a former journalist, but also, most importantly, because he hits the nail on the head. I know what I am talking about, since I went up against him in ten debates on RDI during the last election campaign.

Let us recall the facts. The Liberal Party made a commitment to reducing the tax rate from 10.5% to 9% for small and medium-sized businesses. The rate is still the same. The government has not got the job done.

What is even worse is that while this government brought tears to a lot of people’s eyes when it said it wanted to increase our veterans’ pensions, unfortunately, the minister of defence has disgraced his office, his title, and his position. This is a deplorable situation. Yesterday, he did not even have the courage to go and see his brothers in arms to apologise. He prefers to apologise here, in the lobby of the House of Commons, by reading a statement prepared by the Prime Minister's Office, rather than meeting his counterparts, his friends, and his brothers in arms and looking them in the eye, as any honourable man would do, to apologize for his mistake.

That is what the Liberal government does. It does not honour its promises or veterans.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Madam Speaker, let us do a reality check. The Conservatives were in very good shape to withstand what happened in 2008-09, and members know where I am going on this, because they were left a pretty healthy balance sheet by successive surpluses. That is okay. In addition, the problem is that Mr. Harper had us in deficit before the crash. Not only did he plunge us into deficit, but he added $156 billion to the national debt. How did he do this? I will ask the member for reflections on this, but first, he defunded the government. Everybody loved those cuts in the GST, but that was $14 billion. It was difficult for him, then, to have the means to react, and instead, he put us back into a deeper deficit.

Does the member not agree that the whole issue of running up deficits represents where we are today because of some very poor strategy, not necessarily mismanagement, but very poor strategy? Does the member not agree that it would have been better to not defund the government when Mr. Harper chose to do so?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, did the member announce today that in the next budget the GST will get back to 7%? Is that what the member wishes? I hope not.

Let us talk about the good old days. For sure, I am very proud as a Canadian of what the Right Hon. Paul Martin did when he was minister of finance. He was a great minister of finance; I recognize that. I am thankful that we had this man to challenge the economy with reality and to address the big challenges we had with a huge deficit. However, that is not the reality of today. Unfortunately, the successor to the Right Hon. Paul Martin tabled a deficit more than expected, three times what was expected. That is the reality, but are we surprised? Not really. Let me remind members of what the current Prime Minister actually said in Ontario a few months before the election.

He said that the budget balances itself.

Is that true? Do budgets balance themselves? What about the deficit? That is not the way to run personal finances, but the Prime Minister is doing that because he has no respect for the millions who will pay for the bad administration and the bad judgment of the current government.