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 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak today about the budget implementation act, also known as Bill C-44. Passage of the bill would implement the next chapter of the government's plan to strengthen the economy and grow the middle class. It would allow the government to continue making the necessary targeted investments that would create jobs, grow the economy, and provide more opportunities for Canadians.

A strong and growing middle class is the engine of our economy, and truly it is our highest priority.

When we were elected, we promised Canadians that we would make middle class families our priority and that is what we have done. We began by asking the wealthiest 1% to pay a bit more so that we could give a tax cut to the middle class. We then introduced the new Canada child benefit. This non-taxable benefit is much simpler, more generous, and better targeted to those who need it than the former system, the universal child care benefit.

We then reached a historic agreement with the provinces to help people retire with more dignity, by strengthening the Canada pension plan. We went even further to support Canadian families by investing $6 billion over 10 years for home care and $5 billion over 10 years for support for mental health initiatives. With the passage of Bill C-44, the government would provide funding for the first year for home care and mental health services to provinces and territories that have accepted the federal offer of $11 billion over the next 10 years.

The steps we have taken to date are having a real, positive impact on our economy and on Canadians as a whole.

The steps we would be taking through Bill C-44 would have a positive impact on our parliamentary budget officer, also known as the PBO. Our government is committed to openness and transparency. That is why we have taken steps to strengthen the PBO in ways to make the office truly independent. Bill C-44 would recast the head of the PBO as an officer of Parliament, supported by a team that was separate from the Library of Parliament, with the authority to report directly to Parliament. It would expand the PBO's right to access government information and would give the office a new mandate to provide costing platform proposals during elections so that voters could make informed decisions based on an independent financial analysis.

The government believes that the work of the PBO is fundamental to Parliament's ability to debate and to consider the economic and fiscal considerations of the day. That is why we listened and took action when we heard that more could be done to further strengthen the PBO's independence. The government took action by introducing 12 amendments to Bill C-44 at the House of Commons finance committee that would further strengthen the mandate of the PBO. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the committee, in both this place and on the Senate side, for the work they did and also for the collaboration in improving this legislation. It was through their efforts and those amendments that were brought forward that we found broad support. In fact, The Globe and Mail reported that “The government has placed Canada’s PBO on strong legislative footing.”

I want to turn now to some major elements of Bill C-44, starting with a priority I know members of this House broadly support. One of the best ways we can bring confidence back to the middle class is by investing in public infrastructure to build stronger communities.

These days, governments around the world are facing a challenge. They have to figure out how to finance and build huge public works projects that are efficient, dynamic, affordable, and, most importantly, long-lasting.

This is why the government has laid out a historic plan to invest more than $180 billion in infrastructure over the next 12 years. This investment will be unprecedented in Canadian history and will come at a time when we need it most. However, no level of government can accomplish this ambitious infrastructure goal alone. The Government of Canada will invest in a historic infrastructure plan, so we set our sights on a new kind of partnership, the kind that can leverage the strength of private sector investors and put their skills, talent, and capital to work for Canadians.

Bill C-44 would enact the Canada infrastructure bank act, which would establish the new Canada infrastructure bank as a crown corporation. The bank would amplify federal investments by bridging private sector and institutional investors at the table. Through this new bank, we would work with our partners to build world-class infrastructure that would transform communities, create good jobs, and build a stronger and greener economy. By establishing a new organization capable of working with the private sector where it makes sense, public dollars would go further and be used in a smarter, more targeted manner, transforming communities with projects that would not otherwise be built without the bank. To this end, the bank would only make investments in infrastructure projects that were in the public interest. I have to underline that. The bank would work with partners to determine whether projects were suitable candidates, including whether project sponsors were willing to consider robust revenue models and partnering with private investors in a new way. As a result, we would see more innovative approaches for large and transformational types of projects, and we would build more of them.

The bank would also have strong governance protocols for accountability and risk management. The bank would be structured as an arm's-length corporation.

Despite being at arm's length, the Canada infrastructure bank will be accountable to the government and Parliament through an appropriate minister. The bank will be required to seek government approval for its business plan every year and submit its annual report to Parliament. It will also be accountable to the Auditor General and a private sector auditor, which is the highest accountability standard applicable to crown corporations.

In addition, the minister responsible and Parliament will undertake a five-year review of the bank's enabling legislation and its implementation.

The government would be responsible for setting the overall policy direction and high-level investment priorities. In addition, the bank would work with all orders of government as well as investors to identify the pipeline of potential projects and potential investment opportunities.

With the Canada infrastructure bank, Canadians will enjoy the advantage of transformational infrastructures built to meet their needs and that help their communities thrive.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Senate for its thorough prestudy of Bill C-44, which the government followed with close interest, particularly as it pertained to the Canada infrastructure bank. I would like to thank Senator Harder and the government representatives in the Senate, as well as Senator Woo, the independent senator sponsoring this legislation. They have done tremendous work.

The scrutiny and the in-depth study that the Senate applied to Bill C-44 has been an important element in our parliamentary process. Their work has informed our deliberation by providing us with the benefits of independent legislative review during the course of the House proceedings. Senators, including independents and Senate Liberals and Conservatives, raised issues that the government has, as a result, given additional consideration and careful consideration.

In the case of infrastructure bank, the Minister of Finance was pleased to appear on May 31 to answer questions from the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. I would like to recognize the work of this committee, and its members as well, who went above and beyond to study this legislation. Once again, it was a job very well done.

Again, I would like to thank the Senate for the benefit of its prestudy, and note for the record that this scrutiny has informed the government's deliberation in advance of Bill C-44's passage.

Beyond all of the bricks and mortar, people really are at the heart of our plan. Last year, the government held broad-based consultations on how to improve the labour market transfer agreements, including the labour market development agreements.

One of the main messages we heard during the consultation is that these agreements have to be more flexible and do a better job of taking into account the diverse needs of employers and Canadians.

That is why we are planning to reform these agreements together with the provinces and territories.

This reform will ensure that more Canadians get the assistance they need to find and keep good jobs in the new economy, and build better lives for themselves and their families. We want to help Canadians get the training they need so that their first job is a great job, and their next job is an even better one. That is why we are taking steps to help working parents, who must balance the demands of raising a family while managing their own career needs in this time of transition.

Bill C-44 would allow parents to choose to receive El parental benefits over an extended period of time, up to 18 months, at a lower benefit rate of 33% of the average weekly earnings. It also proposes to do more to provide greater flexibility to pregnant working women, giving them the option of claiming El maternity benefits up to 12 weeks before their due date, expanded from the current standard of eight weeks, if they choose to do so.

Budget 2017 also takes action to support those who have put their lives on the line to make Canada a safe and secure place to live. Our women and men in uniform deserve a successful transition to civilian life.

First, we will create a new education and training benefit. This benefit will provide more money for veterans to go to college, university, or take a technical course at a technical school after they complete their service. Under the program, as of April 2018, veterans with six years of eligible service would be entitled to up to $40,000 of benefits, while veterans with more than 12 years of eligible service would be entitled to up to $80,000 of benefits. That is tremendous. This legislation will also facilitate the redesign of the career transition services program.

This program will equip veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members, survivors, and veterans' spouses and common-law partners with the tools they need to successfully navigate and transition to the civilian workforce. The services offered would be expanded to include coaching and job placement, starting in April 2018, all of which would be provided through a national contractor.

Finally, Bill C-44 will provide very generous assistance to family caregivers in recognition of the essential role they play in helping ill and injured veterans. This tax-free monthly benefit will replace the existing family caregiver relief benefit and will be paid directly to family caregivers.

I want to stress that we understand that the job is not yet done and more needs to be done.

Veterans and stakeholders have told us that the existing suite of programs is complex and difficult to navigate, and that is simply not good enough. We intend to take additional action to streamline and simplify the system of financial support programs currently offered to veterans over the coming months. This is certainly a priority for this government. That will include fulfilling our commitment to re-establishing lifelong pensions as an option for injured veterans, so that veterans and their families can decide for themselves which form of compensation works best for them.

Also, recognizing that all families, military or not, must sometimes become caregivers to their relatives, the government has announced a new Canada caregiver credit program. Bill C-44 proposes to simplify the existing tax support for caregivers by replacing three credits with a single new credit.

This new non-refundable tax credit will provide better support to those who need it. It will go to family caregivers regardless of whether they live with the family member they care for, and it will help families with caregiving duties.

The new Canada caregiver credit will provide tax relief of an amount of $6,883 in 2017 in respect of care of dependent relatives with infirmities, including persons with disabilities, which includes parents, brothers, sisters, adult children, and any other specific relative. It will be $2,150 in 2017 in respect of care of a dependent spouse or common-law partner or minor child with an infirmity, including those with a disability. Families will be able to take advantage of the new Canada caregiver credit as soon as the 2017 tax year.

To conclude, the bill before us has concrete measures to move Canada forward, grow our economy, and create good jobs.

However, we can do more, and we will do more to help the middle class and those working hard to join it. We will ensure that economic growth helps all Canadians, not just the wealthy, and we will help families build a brighter future for their children and grandchildren.

I urge all members to support this bill and to work with us on those portions of it that could benefit from our own views and ideas, so that at the end of the day we meet the high standards and expectations that Canadians have put on us.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Mr. Speaker, on page 252 of the 2017 budget, the personal income tax is projected to grow by about 7% in 2018. However, if the government is taxing Canadians less, why is the projection of personal income tax growing by such a big margin, to 7%, in 2018? I would like to have clarification on this if possible.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, our government was elected on a promise to help middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join it. The first thing that our government actioned when we formed government was lowering taxes for middle-class Canadians. We also increased taxes for the wealthiest 1%. We put in place a very generous Canada child benefit program to make sure we could help Canadian families in need, such as those families who need help to support their kids. This is exactly what we have done. We have also put some very important measures in place with respect to helping our senior population.

All of these measures put together have been put in place to ensure we can help Canadian families succeed, which is exactly what we have been doing and what we will continue to do.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

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

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that the Liberals roundly criticized the Conservatives when they introduced omnibus bills that contained many bills in one. On top of that, the Liberals have imposed a second time allocation motion to cut the debate short. My Bloc Québécois colleague pointed out again this morning how appalling it is that so few members have an opportunity to speak. Only one NPD member will be allowed to speak today on the most important bill of the session, Bill C-44 on the budget. This is completely undemocratic. The Liberals used to scream till they were blue in the face about how undemocratic this is.

Here is my question. The member said that this bill will help the middle class. In addition to the 30 acts that it will amend, this bill also creates an infrastructure privatization bank. Municipalities like the ones in my riding of Salaberry—Suroît, municipalities like Rivière-Beaudette, Elgin, and Ormstown, will not be able to afford infrastructure projects worth $100,000 or more and will therefore not have access to this privatization bank. Projects that are supposed to be for communities, for the middle class, but are funded by private companies that want to turn a profit will never be within their reach.

How can the hon. member say that this is for the middle class, that it is good for everyone, and that it is democratic?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, again, I thank my colleague for the question and its sub-questions.

I want to address the question of the omnibus bill. First, in our campaign platform, in 2015, we were clear that we would not use omnibus bills excessively. All the measures included in Bill C-44 are tax measures, measures that are very important for Canadians. We in no way took advantage of the bill to hide other bills that we wanted to introduce. That is my answer to the first question.

Second, the infrastructure bank will help Canadians across the country. Many communities will be able to use it for transformative projects. As far as the smaller municipalities are concerned, they will have access to money that is invested, that is set aside for these projects.

Again, the previous government under-invested in infrastructure for a decade. We are making historic investments to secure these projects, an investment of over $180 million over 12 years.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed. The budget implementation act is a key piece of legislation. I was hoping to speak to it today. I noticed last night that we spent a lot of time talking about two bills that basically correct some issues that the Prime Minister himself created, instead of having an opportunity to debate this bill.

Having said that, I have both a large and a small concern that I would like to address. The larger concern is the dismissal of the election promise in terms of a balanced budget. Because of that, the Liberals are having to nickel and dime Canadians. It is a hot day today, and many Canadians will arrive home perhaps wanting to have a beer after a day of work. What the Liberals put in this bill is completely unprincipled, and I see it as a foreshadowing of the automatic tax increases that are to come. That is a small issue, but when people get home and have that beer on a Friday night, they will know that year after year the price will continue to increase, with no transparency. It is unheard of.

Can the minister share with the people across Canada why the government would do something that is so undemocratic?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, our government has put a plan in place to help middle-class Canadians and to grow the economy, and that is exactly what we have been doing. The good news is that more numbers have come out today, and we have seen the creation of a quarter of a million new full-time jobs over the past six months, the best six months we have seen in over 15 years. That is fantastic news. We are seeing more Canadians at work. We are seeing a Prime Minister working for Canadians. We are there to help middle-class Canadians and those who are working hard to join it.

Once again, we are making some strategic investments to make sure that these programs work. We will continue to move forward with our plan, because the evidence is clear that our plan is working and the economy is growing.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the parliamentary secretary talking about the Canadian economy and how great it is. Maybe she should visit my riding and ask how it is working for the ask the people there.

The government always claims that its most important relationship is with Canada's indigenous people. How is that working in my riding?

The Huu-ay-aht won a special claims travel decision for $13.8 million. The government appealed it. It said it was not going to fight indigenous people in court, yet it keeps doing that.

The Nuu-Chah-Nulth won its court case 10 years ago for their right to catch and sell fish. The government appealed the decision in the Supreme Court. It was thrown out not once but twice. The Liberal government is still dragging it out, while people are living in poverty, overcrowded housing, and have serious mental health needs. Suicide is real in those communities in my riding. This is how the government treats its most important relationship?

How much money does the government have in its budget to fight Canada's indigenous people? They want to know why they are not a priority.

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June 9th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his passion and concern for aboriginal people. They are certainly a priority for our government. There is no more important relationship than the one we have with our indigenous people.

When I look at budgets 2016 and 2017, we have made historic investments to those communities, and we will continue to do even more. We have done much more than the previous government did in its 10 years in power.

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June 9th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her hard work on the budget.

There is so much goods in this budget for Manitoba compared to previous budgets. The new budget shows an overall increase of $148 million from 2016. As we speak, $58 million are being spent on new water treatment plants for first nations and indigenous communities, including $20 million for Freedom Road, for which which we are grateful.

Could the hon. parliamentary secretary comment on the important relationship between our government and indigenous peoples in Manitoba and in Canada as a whole?

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June 9th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the hard work that he does in his riding.

Once again, there is no more important relationship than the one with aboriginal communities. We will continue to make the historic investments that are needed.

We recognize that every Canadian should have access to clean water. We will work hard to enure that all the boiled water orders are lifted with the investments that will be made.

We recognize that more can be done, and more will be done, but we are very proud of the historic investments we have made over the past two years.

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June 9th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance for her speech. I am not sure that people in her riding of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe are happy with the budget. Contrary to what she claims, this budget does not do anything for the ordinary Canadians who work hard every day and keep this country going. This budget helps the interest groups that make up the Liberal Party of Canada's electoral base.

I find it ironic that the parliamentary secretary thanked the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance for its hard work in analyzing the 2017 budget implementation bill, since it is quite likely that the other place will ask that the infrastructure bank provisions be removed from this omnibus bill. We have many questions and concerns about the infrastructure bank, questions that have gone unanswered during question period and in committee.

The infrastructure bank protects the investments of private investors to the detriment of Canadian taxpayers. That is ironic since private companies pride themselves on taking risks. Entrepreneurs are the ones who have the moxie to take risks. They have the expertise, the ideas, the innovate spirit, and the courage needed to do things that way. Canadians are already paying taxes to keep the country running. It is not their responsibility to protect private sector investments. That is one of the things that we find worrisome about this bill.

What is more, the government has taken $15 billion away from community infrastructure projects to fund this new bank, a measure that my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent has decried before. He has said that the communities in Quebec's regions will not get any support from the infrastructure bank because it deals only with projects worth over $100 million. Rimouski or Baie-Comeau cannot afford a $100-million arena.

In reality, this bank will serve only the interests of big cities and those that have been especially selected on the basis of the votes for the Liberal Party in 2015. That was my opening statement.

The parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Finance had the audacity to say that it was a budget for people, for Canadians, when it is the complete opposite. Bill C-44, like the 2016 budget, targets Liberal interest groups, “post-national” interest groups that have very specific goals and that resort to the Supreme Court to argue their political positions instead of going through the House. This time, they certainly have the government’s ear, and their political demands are being heard loud and clear, because this budget does nothing but meet their needs.

There is something else that makes me extremely uncomfortable. The title of the budget is “Building a Strong Middle Class”. What it should have been is “building a strong country for everyone”.

Of course we want a strong middle class; I understand that, but I put myself in the shoes of millions of Canadians who are going to look at their pay and wonder whether they belong to the middle class. It is an open secret in Canadian politics that the Liberal government always talks about the middle class because most people want to be able to feel that the middle class includes them, even if they may not really be part of it, based on their income. It is a trick, a catch-all, but people subconsciously hear that the Liberals are working for the members of one class only, and not for all Canadians.

In my opinion, Bill C-44, which would implement budget 2017, does not really reflect Canada’s structural needs, both current and future. It is a bill that amends certain measures and sprinkles money here and there. There is really no overarching vision when it comes to the direction the country is going in. It is really an ideological, vote-seeking budget plan. What it actually offers is deficits and highly targeted expenditures to please a few interest groups. I will name some of them. I note in passing that these interest groups have all the right in the world to exist, but they should be not be the priority in a budget. The priority should be all Canadians in general.

This budget focuses on NGOs, groups that generate media interest, various civil society groups, and academic elites—the number of research chairs has grown. All universities are receiving incredible amounts of money. That is fine for research, but here again, that is not what helps average Canadians.

Next are the urban and financial elites, the environmentalists, the “post-nationalists”, who pretend that there is no culture or common ground in Canada, that French Canadians do not exist, and that they are just one group among many.

Then there are the civil liberties groups. The groups of litigants who have been going to the Supreme Court since 1982 to get preferential rights, to circumvent the House, to get faster decisions that change the course of Canadian politics in their favour. There are the anti-globalists, the social engineers who think that by changing social policy they will be able to make things better. They are doing it for purely ideological reasons without really stopping to think about the potential consequences of their actions, which are based on a world view rather than on rational facts and most importantly on a desire to help all Canadians.

What I am essentially saying is that Bill C-44 does not meet Canada’s continental challenges, the North American challenges we face on the economic, military, and social fronts. The bill also fails to meet the international economic, military, social, and even environmental challenges we are facing.

Since the end of the 1990s, we have been living in a highly competitive world. More than ever, the west, including Canada, is slowing down. We are seeing the emergence of new world powers, the BRICS we all know about, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. There is also Nigeria, with the largest population in Africa and an economy that is increasingly important in Africa and the world.

With their economic growth, their increasing military importance, and their now enormous populations—the countries I named easily represent half of the world’s population—these emerging countries want energy resources. In spite of what they may say in their speeches at the United Nations, they want cars, they want to be consumers, they want oil, they want to be mobile, and they want a western lifestyle. For the last 20 years, and this is certainly a good thing, we have seen a growing transfer of wealth from north to south. This is undoubtedly a consequence of the decolonization of the 1950s and 1960s. It is to be expected and it is a good thing.

However, we need a government like the previous Conservative government that understands international geopolitics and understands the major economic challenges that lie ahead. The economic crisis of 2007-08 was undeniably terrible and was perhaps the harbinger of other things to come.

There is a certain impoverishment happening in Canada, perhaps not so much for people, but in terms of infrastructure. For example, our icebreakers are completely obsolete, our highways in the Maritimes need repair, and our ports and airports should be updated, particularly Beauport 2020 in Quebec City, which really needs investments.

Sometimes I get the impression that Canada does not realize that it is losing ground in terms of its international role as an economic and diplomatic driver.

There is also the North American context. The United States is suffering from the emergence of the BRICS countries. That is one of the reasons why the current president was elected. Americans are extremely worried because 20 million people are unemployed in the U.S. Isolationism is taking hold again. The media talks about this as though it were a new phenomenon, but on the contrary, isolationism re-emerges in the U.S. roughly every 50 years.

In this isolationist context, there will be major tax cuts in the United States for businesses and individuals. This political context is reactionary on economic, social, military, and diplomatic levels. It is not up to us to decide whether this is good or bad. The Americans will develop their economic isolationism.

I see that in Bill C-44, which would implement budget 2017, the Liberal government does not seem to explain how we are going to deal with this new North American reality or how we are going to make sure that Canadian companies are competitive in the face of American isolationism and a less porous border that allows for less trade. Trade between Canada and the United States is worth $2 billion a day, so that is pretty significant. These isolationist American reactions, which will last at least three years and a few months, are going to have very significant effects on Canada, but we are not hearing the Liberals talk about this.

We are also seeing a Canadian context taking shape before our eyes. The economic health of the federation has been going downhill for two years. For example, we are astonished to see that the Liberals never talk about the significant loss of economic growth in Alberta and the major job losses for Albertans. They also do not talk about the employment problems in the Atlantic provinces. They do not talk about the importance of Montreal and Quebec City. Simply put, we are not hearing them really talk about the role of each province in our country’s economic unity.

For example, we have been telling them for several months now that it is incomprehensible that there is no free trade between the provinces in Canada, when it is right there in the Constitution. That is why we have asked them to make a reference to the Supreme Court to have the judges interpret the Constitution as it is written, and give us a definitive judgment that sets out, in black and white, that we should have free trade among the provinces. That would certainly help our businesses everywhere in Canada.

There is a real need to complete major projects for the next 100 years. Once again, this budget tell us about building a strong middle class, but it does not contain any major projects that will ensure there will be even more wealth creation in 50 years. All the interest groups that the Liberals favour in their platform and their budget are systematically opposed to any long-term major projects.

I always like to take the example of the premier of Quebec, Mr. Bourassa, who created gigantic hydro-electric projects in the 1970s, dams such as had never been seen in the history of humanity. Recently, the record was topped by a dam in China, but until very recently, we had the biggest dams in the world in Quebec. That means that today, we in Canada and Quebec are the ones who pay the lowest prices for electricity. That is one of the few things that we pay the lowest prices for, but because of that, we have a healthy welfare state in Quebec and services that are overall quite adequate.

What is there in Canada at present, however, that guarantees that in 50 years—I will still be here if I am lucky—our children and grandchildren will enjoy rising wealth? There is nothing in this bill that guarantees us that, because it focuses only on the present moment and aims simply to please vote-getting groups that make up the Liberal voting base, which is slowly but surely crumbling.

According to my own and my Conservative colleagues’ analysis, Bill C-44 shows that the Liberals are working for the financial elite of the infrastructure bank of Canada and the social elites who want to make major policy changes, not to create jobs, but to suit their own world view. There is nothing there for working people, however. That is why the Conservative opposition has a moral and political obligation to be the voice of taxpayers in the House.

As I said in the House yesterday, we might be better off talking about the responsibilities of citizenship, the Canadian Armed Forces, and how we can serve our country. Instead, we have no choice but to talk about the importance of lowering taxes and creating jobs because those two things are in peril under this government.

Taxes keep going up. This year alone, Canadians' tax burden is going up by nearly $5 billion. That includes taxes on public transit, carpooling, beer and wine, also known as the Friday and Saturday night tax, medication, child care, small business owners, oil and gas companies, which represent millions of jobs in Canada, and tourism. That is a very long list of taxes, and the government is breaking one promise after another.

Worse still is the $29-billion deficit, which has nothing to do with economic conditions. Unlike the deficit at the time of the 2007-08 economic crisis, this deficit has nothing to do with a need to stimulate the economy and create jobs. This deficit exists because the government wanted its budget to cater to the needs of the interest groups I mentioned at the beginning of my speech. Plus, these deficits have no end date.

This is the first time that we have a Canadian finance minister who is incapable of answering a simple question: when does he plan to eliminate Canada's fiscal deficit? Will it be in 2017, 2018, 2020, 2030, or 2040? He has no idea. He does not take the economy as seriously as he should.

It is important to remind Canadians that the deficit has exploded over the past two years. Through words and actions alike, the Liberal government is creating budgets to take money away from taxpayers and spread it around to certain special interest groups, rather than all Canadians. The government is trying to divide Canadians by saying that it is working for the middle class, and not for everyone else. It has no overall vision for Canada, particularly when it comes to continental and international challenges. In addition, it keeps introducing outdated bills in the House, like the one to raise the salary of ministers of state.

They should be focusing on more important matters. I am sure you are also concerned about this, Mr. Speaker, but you can rest assured. Until 2019, we will continue to stand up for Canadian taxpayers every day, until midnight if necessary, and we will make sure that this government does not win another term, so that 60 years from now, Canada will not reflect this terrible mismanagement.

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June 9th, 2017 / 10:55 a.m.
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NDP

Erin Weir NDP Regina—Lewvan, SK

Mr. Speaker, the member for Beauport—Limoilou is the Conservative critic for Public Services and Procurement Canada. He was previously the Conservative critic for veterans affairs. The government has recently announced major new expenditures related to both of those areas that were not in the federal budget. In the past couple of weeks, we saw another $140 million to try to fix the Phoenix pay system, which is fast becoming a billion-dollar boondoggle. We also saw billions of additional dollars for national defence, possibly in response to pressure from President Trump.

Could my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou comment on the fact that these expenditures were not in the budget, and what implications that has for the credibility of the legislation that we are debating today?

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June 9th, 2017 / 10:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is interesting because it is very hard to understand what exactly the spending in the budget is. I am not the only one saying that. It is not just the opposition saying that. The media, analysts, and economists have been saying that. It is a very complex omnibus bill with different avenues and spending going all over the place. One thing is for sure though. It is that the money goes to interest groups, not to Canadians. They take money from Canadians to give to interest groups.

Concerning veterans, there were some interesting measures put in place, but again, the new charter for veterans that was put in place by the government in 2006, just before the arrival of the new Conservative government, was the wrong paradigm. We should replace the charter with lifelong pensions. That is what the Liberals promised in the last election and that is what they should put in place, not these small measures. They should bring back the lifelong pension. That was one of their major promises and I hope they will not break it.

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June 9th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to the government's implementation bill at third reading. I will try to explain what we think is deficient in the government's budget proposal. There are a number of things, but I will start with some of the topics that are near and dear to my heart. I would like to try to explain what is inadequate about the government's budget implementation legislation and also try to give a sense of how the government might have proceeded in a way that was appropriate.

If we consider housing, for instance--

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

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

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

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June 9th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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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—

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

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

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

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

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

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

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

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Elmwood—Transcona for speaking to Bill C-44. Unfortunately he is the only NDP member who will have the opportunity to speak to the Liberals’ budget implementation bill.

They had promised not to misuse omnibus bills, but then they gave us a 300-page bill that amends 30 pieces of legislation and limited debate on it twice. This makes it an antidemocratic bill in its form and in the way it is debated. It is despicable.

The member showed us in his speech that the health negotiations, pension plans, and improvements to the employment insurance program are broken Liberal promises.

The Liberals also focussed on young people to get elected, but what are they doing for them? By 2030, just over 10 years from now, 40% of jobs are going to be automated. What do the Liberals have to say about precarious employment? They are telling young people to get used to it.

They promised to give a tax credit to small businesses that were going to hire young people, but is that in the budget? Not at all. Are jobs with benefits being created for young people? No. There is no old age pension for young people either. It is all just hot air.

This budget does not provide any compensation to farmers. On top of featuring none of many things that were promised and dangled in front of us, the budget only contains measures for the rich and does nothing for the middle class.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks about Bill C-44, which reminds us of all the things we will not get and shows that the Liberals break their promises.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

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

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and raising the fact that this is an omnibus bill. It does include a lot. There is a lot that we would like to see in the budget, but that does not mean that we want all of it to be in one bill. By way of example, we would prefer it if the national housing strategy legislation were not introduced as part of an omnibus bill.

I thank my colleague for allowing me the opportunity to address this point.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

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

Mary Ng Liberal Markham—Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I will be sharing my time with the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook.

As the member of Parliament for Markham—Thornhill, I am honoured to stand in this House today to speak in support of the budget bill, Bill C-44, which, if passed, would see important measures for helping the government meet the commitments it has made to Canadians.

First I would like to talk about some of those commitments we have already delivered on, commitments that are making a real difference in the lives of families across the country, like lowering taxes on middle-class Canadians by increasing taxes on the wealthiest 1%.

We also introduced the Canada child benefit, which is essential for helping families with the high cost of raising children.

I am enormously proud that our government is represented by a gender-balanced cabinet.

Budget 2017 is the next step in our long-term plan. Over the last couple of months, I have talked to and met with thousands of families in Markham—Thornhill, and I have heard their concerns and aspirations for our community. They talked to me about how hard it is to commute for hours a day and how they want to see a transit plan that meets the needs of families. They told me about the balance and the expense of caring for their young children while at the same time caring for their elderly parents, and making sure that our seniors have what they need to lead a good quality of life.

I also heard about my constituents' ambitions, the ones that have propelled Markham ahead to making it one of the most diverse, dynamic, and fastest-growing communities in Canada. The riding of Markham—Thornhill is a leader in innovation, with GM's new autonomous and connected car centre, or IBM's Innovation Space – Markham Convergence Centre that is helping businesses take their new technologies to global markets. There are also Canadian companies, like ICON Digital Production's state-of-the-art visual production facility, and Pond Technologies' commercialization of its research to fight climate change. These multinational Canadian headquarters and SMEs stand to serve as an example of the potential and ambition in Markham—Thornhill.

Now, at a time when changes in the economy, both here at home and around the world, present incredible opportunities for the middle class and those working hard to join it, with its strong focus on innovation, skills, and partnerships, budget 2017 takes the next steps to supporting Canadians as they acquire the knowledge and skills to build a more prosperous future for Canada. One of those steps is making big bets on sectors of the economy in which Canada can be a world leader. This includes areas where Canada already has world-leading expertise, like artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence is an emerging and promising sector with huge potential to transform technologies.

The Government of Canada's advisory council on economic growth identified artificial intelligence as a platform technology that will impact almost all sectors of the economy. Thanks to the investments by the federal government and to the pioneering work done by outstanding Canadian researchers, Canada is a global leader in AI research and development. However, we are not alone. Other countries also recognize the strategic importance of AI technology and are investing in research and innovation in this area. As a result, Canadian talent and ideas are in demand around the world. In order to fully harness the benefits of AI, we need to ensure that activity remains here in Canada. That is why, through budget 2017, we have dedicated $125 million to launch a pan-Canadian artificial intelligence strategy.

In addition to AI, our government is showing strong support for business-led innovation, with an investment of $950 million over five years in superclusters. In key sectors such as digital and clean tech, superclusters have enormous potential to accelerate economic growth. Our new strategic innovation fund would attract, support, and grow Canadian businesses in dynamic and emerging sectors through an investment of $1.26 billion over five years. In the face of national opportunity and growing global competition, this is a strategic, focused, and bold investment in the future of our economy.

Our government is also working hard to make significant unprecedented investments in infrastructure. We have more than doubled our infrastructure commitments to meet Canada's most urgent needs.

Our infrastructure plan provides for investments in projects that will transform communities for the 21st century. We are aware of the risks and costs associated with underfunding of infrastructure. Those risks and costs are significant. That is why our budget is the next step in our plan to make wise investments that will promote the growth of our economy and strengthen the middle class.

We believe that decisions made at the local level are very important and we want to support municipalities so they can meet their infrastructure priorities.

Beyond investments in infrastructure, one of the issues raised most frequently by residents in my riding is public transit. We know that public transit is the lifeblood of a thriving city. Whether it is widening the GO train from Milliken to Union Station, or taking the Viva, or connecting to the TTC from Markham transit, fast, efficient, and reliable public transit is essential. That is why budget 2017 would provide an investment of $20.1 billion for public transit projects over the next 11 years. This is real change that would make a difference in the lives of the people in Markham—Thornhill and across our country.

I am also very proud to be a part of a government that believes in the necessity of effective and high-quality care for Canadian seniors. We recognize the need to address the issues of seniors, and have taken action to improve the quality of life for our seniors. Budget 2017 includes important investments in supports for an aging population to help our seniors and to give them the respect they deserve. I know how important this is for my riding and for the people in Markham—Thornhill. That is why we are improving access to home care by investing $6 billion over 10 years so that Canadians can stay in their homes well into their retirement.

We are also investing $2.3 billion over two years to provide more affordable housing options. This investment will improve housing conditions for seniors, especially senior women living alone. This builds on the work already done by our government to increase the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit to boost support for our most vulnerable seniors.

In addition, this budget would also help improve the lives of new Canadians. Many of our new immigrants are highly skilled and highly educated. They want to put their talents to use and to contribute to building our great country. However, many times highly skilled and educated immigrants face barriers that limit their employment opportunities once they arrive in Canada. Our government recognizes these barriers as a problem. With this budget, we are doing something about it.

This budget proposes to allocate $27.5 million over five years starting this year, and $5.5 million per year thereafter, to support our targeted employment strategy for newcomers. Our plan would improve pre-arrival supports for newcomers so that the process to recognize their foreign credentials can begin before they arrive in Canada. This ambitious program would break down the barriers that bright new immigrants face in fully contributing to our economy.

Finally, our government has shown that it recognizes the importance of young Canadians. With this in mind, I look forward to forming a youth council to bring together the diverse and talented youth in Markham—Thornhill. Our government understands that the path to a brighter future begins by giving all Canadians the tools they need to learn, retrain, discover, and embrace the future.

Budget 2017 supports the facets of our country that make us unique and strong. The investments in innovation, infrastructure, transit, and seniors provide the tools for our country to be successful in the future. This is a forward-looking budget, one that I think we could all get behind. I am proud to support it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was very interested to listen to my hon. colleague's speech. I thought, given her past experience as the director of appointments for the Liberal Party of Canada, she would have spoken to some of the aspects facing the current Liberal government, the ethics appointment process and the funding related to that process. She did not do so.

Canadians, I think are rightly concerned that five of the eight oversight bodies for Parliament right now, including the Ethics Commissioner, the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Information Commissioner, the Chief Electoral Officer, and the Commissioner of Official Languages are all sitting vacant right now. Over 50% of those positions are now vacant. There does not appear to be a process, and furthermore there does not appear to be anybody even interested in applying for these jobs, given the botched way that the electoral reform was handled, the botched way that the appointment of Madeleine Meilleur was handled.

My question for my hon. colleague is, how much is in the budget for the Liberal patronage appointment class and those Liberals working hard to join it?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Mary Ng Liberal Markham—Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the government has an open, new, transparent, merit-based appointment process, but what we are here to talk about today, what I am here to talk about today, is the budget.

I am in support of the budget and I am thrilled that the budget is going to make the kinds of investments that I have heard about from many of my constituents in Markham—Thornhill. I have heard from thousands of families about what they need for transit, what they need for infrastructure, what they need for support for seniors. In this budget we are going to deliver for Canadians. We are going to deliver jobs for Canadians, those living in Markham—Thornhill and those across the country. I am incredibly proud to support budget 2017.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about growing the economy and being innovative, and I appreciate those comments.

In their budget last year, the Liberals removed a 25% tariff to build ferries in Canada that even the Harper government would not remove. They removed it because they knew how important it was, as a marine nation, to build ferries here in Canada. The government decided to remove that barrier because the Canadian Ferry Association promised that it would lower rates for ferry users here in Canada.

That was $118 million in tariffs that went into government coffers that could have been invested in communities like Port Alberni and communities in coastal British Columbia where there is high unemployment. It could have been invested to build capacity to build boats in Canada.

The government claimed that shipyards were at capacity, supporting the Canadian Ferry Association concern, but the truth of the matter is that Canadian shipyards are not at capacity. In fact, there are tons of capacity in coastal communities looking for work.

The Liberals removed the 25% tariff in last year's budget and $118 million was taken from Canadian taxpayers, but ferry rates did not go down. In fact, in British Columbia, that did not get passed on to consumers. It went into the pockets of the contractors who had the contracts to build our boats in Poland and in Turkey. That is where those jobs are too. When we have the highest unemployment in southwestern British Columbia, the government failed British Columbians, failed coastal people, and failed the shipbuilding industry here in Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Mary Ng Liberal Markham—Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are here today to talk about the budget, and I am really proud to support this budget. If passed, it will begin to work for Canadians. We are committed to historic investments in infrastructure that will create great jobs for middle-class Canadians and those who are seeking to join it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about jobs. Just today, another 77,000 jobs were announced, and that tells me that what we are doing is working. The economy has grown by over a quarter of a million jobs in the last eight months. I wonder if the member opposite could expand on what we are doing that is helping to promote that job growth.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Mary Ng Liberal Markham—Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, budget 2017 is our government's ambitious plan to make smart investments that will create jobs, grow our economy, and provide more opportunities for the middle class and those working hard to join it. We are going to put Canada's skilled, talented, and creative people right at the heart of a more innovative future economy, and that is going to create jobs for today and for the future. I am proud of this budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 9th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-44, our budget's implementation act.

The best way to draw a nice picture is that this a continuation of last year's budget 2016, where we are seeing a focus again on the middle class and those working hard to join it. It is impressive to see the new jobs as the economy continues to grow. It was announced just this morning that there were another 50,000-plus new good-paying jobs for middle-class Canadians. That is extremely impressive.

I would also like to say that many Canadians will benefit from budget 2017. I know that across Nova Scotia and my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, the youth, seniors, veterans, tradesmen, and new Canadians will benefit. Canadians all across this country will benefit.

I want to talk about budget 2016 and the two things that were essential and will continue to benefit Canadians. The first one is the child care benefit—

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:20 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

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

moved:

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

That, at the expiry of five hours provided for the consideration of the report stage and fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the third 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 stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, here we are again seeing this government shutting down debate on important pieces of legislation like Bill C-44, the budget implementation act, a bill that has so many pieces that have unanswered questions. I am thinking about specifically the infrastructure bank and the fact that Canadians are going to be on the hook for any losses that might be incurred by investors who want to apparently invest using this infrastructure bank. The bank has not been explained, the risk to Canadians has not been explained, and, if anything, the government is trying to gloss over it by putting it into Bill C-44.

Now we are being told we cannot debate Bill C-44 and ask these important questions. All the while, and this is even more egregious, the government has just introduced and is making us debate two motions, one around the Paris accord, and one tomorrow around foreign affairs issues, both of which are absolutely needless. All the Liberals seem to want is to have someone tell them that they are doing a good job and doing the right thing. They have to use up time in the House of Commons to do that while making us sit here until midnight every single night, though we have no problem with hard work, and using time allocation and shutting down discussion on important things like the infrastructure bank.

This is unbelievable that the Liberals are doing this again and have completely mismanaged this House. How can they defend that?

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:25 p.m.
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Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, a place to start might be to consider the amount of time that Bill C-44 has actually been considered in this House. The total length of debate in hours was 12 hours and 25 minutes. The total length in terms of days was four days. The number of committee meetings was 10, and the total number of witnesses heard was 70.

As we think about the total number of speakers, we have had 54 speakers in this House, and I would like to go through who has had the opportunity to speak. There have been 17 members from the official opposition, eight members from the New Democratic Party, one member from the Bloc Québécois, and, of course, members from our side of the House.

We believe we have had a good amount of time to review this, and we are looking forward to this bill going to committee so that we can scrutinize it further.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:25 p.m.
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NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with my colleague, the opposition House leader, in expressing concern about the limitation that the government is presenting on its signature budget bill. I remind those who may be watching at home that the bill is another omnibus budget bill. We thought those were gone when Mr. Harper left the room, but in fact they continue. It is a bill that includes veterans issues, that would amend the Parliament of Canada Act, and that would create an unprecedented infrastructure bank. Now we are being told that if eight of 44 NDP members have a chance to speak, we should be satisfied by that.

Closing debate on a budget bill is not the same as a widgets bill. This is the lifeblood of our democracy, how the government spends money and how its priorities are reflected in its expenditure decisions.

Would the Minister of Finance please allow us more time to do what Canadians sent us here to do?

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of things in the member's question that I would like to respond to. First and foremost, we made a commitment that we would put in our budget bills things that were related to the budget, to spending, not things that were extraneous or not related in any way. That is exactly what we have done in Bill C-44. That continues to be what we want to do in order to make sure the measures that involve spending in the government are actually in the budget bill. That is the case here.

With respect to what we are trying to do, we know that parliamentarians have a responsibility to properly scrutinize legislation and a duty to vote on different pieces of legislation, and we look forward to this bill going to committee. At that stage, we know it can be studied further and we can hear directly in that way through Canadians and experts in a public forum. That is what we are looking forward to doing.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:25 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are seeing far more uses of time allocation than I ever thought I would see from a new Liberal government, particularly when I read the mandate letters that went to all the ministers that spoke to respect for the members of the opposition parties and respectful debate in this place. I do concede and want to say as an opposition member that I know a tremendous amount of time has been lost lost through motions that were delaying tactics from the Conservatives and the New Democrats. I have seen it for weeks. I understand that is why we are now sitting until midnight every night.

However, I am particularly aggrieved by this use of time allocation, because this is an omnibus bill. There are many separate sections. When they are considered as one bill and we are told we have had plenty of hours for debate, I have to protest and disagree. The infrastructure bank alone deserves proper independent study. The parliamentary budget officer provisions within that section of the bill need time.

I am aware of time, so I will stop there, but an omnibus budget bill should never be rushed through. They should not exist at all.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her comments and for the constructive tone in which she presented them. It is important for us to get our bills through in a way that is productive and that allows us to deliver on the things we promised Canadians we would do.

Our objective remains to have a well-functioning House of Commons where all parties agree to work together and to study legislation in the best interests of Canadians. That is our goal, and we find it is difficult sometimes to achieve that goal with some of the tactics that have been used in the House.

We will continue to work with the opposition to ensure that their views are communicated and a proper amount of debate is held on government legislation. We believe the amount of debate that has been held on this is appropriate. We should now move the bill to committee where it can continue to be scrutinized, so we can move forward on the work we are trying to do in order to improve the long-term health of our economy and the creation of jobs for Canadians.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I love the math skills of the finance minister. There has been twelve and a half hours for debate on Bill C-44. That is a half hour for every billion dollars of deficit in budget 2017. He did not mention the less than two hours in committee to talk about the $35 billion of infrastructure bank money that is coming from of taxpayers. That is not even four minutes for every billion dollars. Is he in such a hurry to spend taxpayer money that he does not want any scrutiny on what is being done?

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we continue to view talking about the measures in the bill to be of importance. We look at it as time to work together so we can actually get things done for Canadians. That is the way we look at it. We know that Canadians expect us in the House to get bills passed, in this case, a budget bill, so that we can make a real difference for Canadians. We are starting to see some real improvements in our economy. We are starting to see big differences in terms of employment. There has been significant growth in employment. We are starting to see very positive results in our economy. We want to move forward to continue those results. That is the work we are here to do. That is the work we are doing through this budget, and I know that everyone in the House agrees with us that getting jobs for Canadians is critically important. Our bill will do just that.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have heard the Minister of Finance say a few times during this debate that he wants to get this bill to committee. I want to make him aware that this bill has been reported back to the House. I was here on Friday when the bill was first debated, and I think we had about an hour. This morning's debate was devoted to going over the Paris accord, which I think the House has already voted on, so that was a lot of time wasted.

In what world can the Minister of Finance possibly justify that the hour we had on Friday, and beginning this debate now, is enough time for members of the opposition to hold the government to account on that bill, all 300 pages? I would say that it is not.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I understand the bill has gone through committee, and I am looking forward to it going back there to be debated. I will repeat the fact that we have had a significant amount of discussion on this bill. The length of the bill, of course, is vastly smaller than bills from the previous government. Everything in the bill is related to what we are trying to do in our economy, and that is critically important.

I will repeat the numbers. The length of debate was 12 hours and 25 minutes, the number of committee meetings was 10, and the total number of witnesses heard was 70. We have had a significant amount of review and scrutiny, and I am confident that members opposite can debate a good measure of that bill in the time allotted.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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Gatineau Québec

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad that the Minister of Finance raised the subject just now of the record growth that Canada has seen for some time now, certainly since the 10 years of inaction on the part of the previous government. I am really very happy that he called our attention to the growth we saw during the first quarter here in Canada, the growth in jobs.

I would like the minister to tell the House why he would like us to act speedily to send this bill to the Senate so that these record investments in infrastructure, indigenous affairs, housing, and so forth can see the light of day.

Why does the Minister of Finance believe we must continue to forge this plan for the middle class in Canada?

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member.

This is a very important question. We know that the investments are very important for the future of our country. We know that we have already assessed how well our plan works, when our unemployment rate is lower than it was before. What that means is that the unemployment rate is now 6.5. It was 7.1 or 7.2 when we started, so that is a major change.

For each case where a person has found a job, there is a family that is in a better situation. That is very important. That is what we want to do for the future with our investments in infrastructure, for example. We know we can reach a more robust economic growth rate, now and in the future, with a higher level of productivity.

We have already had a good measure of success, as the member said, since we achieved 3.7% in the last quarter. We know that we can do better with our investments in the future of Canada.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, we sometimes talk about groundhog day, an expression that brings to mind the famous movie in which history repeats itself day after day. The least we can say is that nearly every three days, the government introduces a motion to limit parliamentarians’ right to speak.

That is unfortunate, particularly when it comes to Bill C-44, an essential, foundational law for our democratic process, since it implements the measures announced when the budget was tabled by the Minister of Finance. Need I point out that this is an omnibus bill that includes many other items that deserve much closer attention than simply introducing a bill that we see every day?

Some of the things this bill addresses are Investment Canada, the mandate of the parliamentary budget officer, and, most importantly, the infrastructure bank, which will be created entirely from scratch. On that point, almost all analysts and politicians agree that this is something that should be taken out of the bill so that it can be properly studied at a later date.

As well, our government has decided to use members' speaking time to table motions that, of course, only serve their interests. This morning, was the motion regarding the environment and the Paris accord tabled by the Prime Minister or the Minister of the Environment? No, much to our surprise, it was tabled by the Minister of Finance.

Does that not prove that the Paris accord means just one thing to this government, namely the Liberal carbon tax?

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that Bill C-44 contains only budgetary measures that affect our economy. That is why we tabled Bill C-44 in the House.

We know that time allocation is the only tool the government has to avoid indefinite delays in passing legislation. We do not take this type of decision lightly. We remain committed to ensuring that members from all sides of the House are given reasonable time to debate bills.

We continue to carry out our plan to improve our economy and have a significant growth rate. That is why Bill C-44 must be passed for Canada and for Canadians.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to make sure that Canadians understand what is happening here today, based on some of the comments that have already been made.

I want to make sure that Canadians understand that when the hon. minister talks about a well-functioning House of Commons, it would have been much more expeditious in having a well-functioning House of Commons if the Liberals had agreed to making parliamentary changes in a collegial fashion and not unilaterally. That would have saved a lot of time. It is misleading a lot of Canadians today. That is why certain tactics had to be employed to protect the health and well-being of a parliamentary process that is facing unprecedented changes.

I also want to make sure that Canadians understand the total number of hours that are being talked about in the debate. This omnibus bill has many unprecedented changes that really deserve scrutiny. On the infrastructure bank we are talking about, you can tell by the quality of the answers to the questions being asked about the infrastructure bank that it is not well understood and that it needs careful scrutiny.

I want to make sure that Canadians understand that as we move forward with this process, there are many pieces that really need that very healthy debate. We are here to do our job. I just hope Canadians understand that time allocation does not do this any justice. It is very concerning, because it keeps being said by the hon. member that this is going to go to committee. This is it. This is the debate right now. We are at report stage. It is going to go to third reading, get voted on, and go to the Senate.

It is very disconcerting to hear the other side talk about it going to committee. That is done. That ship has sailed, and you are the ones that have sailed it.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to repeat that our objective truly is to have a well-functioning House of Commons where all parties agree to work together and study legislation in the best interest of Canadians.

What do we want to make sure we achieve? We want to make sure we achieve outcomes for Canadians that really help them and their families. This is what the program we put in place and our plan is doing. By lowering taxes on Canadians and by putting in the Canada child benefit, we helped families get more disposable income. By the way, this helps our economy as well. What we have seen as a result of those measures and other measures is a reduction in unemployment. It means more people are employed, and that, of course, is what we are really trying to do for Canadians. When we say that we are really proud of what has happened in economic growth, it is not just because of economic growth on its own but because of what it means for job opportunities and for the families of Canada in the future. This is what we are trying to achieve.

We know that putting forward Bill C-44 is going to make a real difference for Canadian families. That is why we are looking forward to moving forward with the kind of measures that will help make sure that this progress scontinues.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, democracy is not a hollow concept. It entails benefits and also obligations for people working in a democratic system. The current government seems to be unaware of that and to have forgotten it.

We have a bill with more than 300 pages that amends numerous laws and we have to settle the matter in a flash, without taking the time to discuss it. The matter of the infrastructure bank alone would require several dozen hours of study. It is an important, major issue. However, at this time, the democratic promises of this government are nowhere in sight. Canadians expect more of their elected officials.

We are in a democracy, we are in a legislative assembly, and we must take the time to discuss and to listen. At this time, with all due respect, this government is offering us a bad comedy act.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we think we have had enough time to examine Bill C-44. We had a debate that lasted 12 hours 25 minutes. It is very important. Moreover, if we measure it in days, the debate lasted 4 days. We had 10 committee meetings, and 70 witnesses appeared. Finally, in the House, 54 members had the opportunity to speak on this issue.

In our opinion, we have therefore had enough time to examine Bill C-44, and we would like to pass the bill in order to make things better for Canadians.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are forgetting that they were elected by a minority of the population and that Bill C-44 is not an ordinary bill. It imposes tax increases on parents whose children take piano or figure skating lessons, on public transport, on Uber, on beer, and on wine. It also imposes more burdens on small and medium-sized businesses.

Above all, this legislation will add a $29.4-billion deficit to the previous $23-billion public debt. That is more than $50 billion and it is a structural deficit that upsets the balanced budget that we had achieved.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Why do the Liberals want to muzzle the House after reneging on their promise and plunging the country into structural deficits?

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, certainly there are significant figures. What I can say in this regard is that we had economic growth of 3.7% in the last quarter. That’s very significant.

In our opinion, the situation and the economic growth rate will improve as a result of the measures contained in Bill C-44. There is another very important figure, and that is the unemployment rate in our country. It is very important to create jobs for Canadians. That is exactly what we have done, with a much lower unemployment rate than before. Moreover, an additional 250,000 jobs have been created over the past seven months. This is very significant, and most of these jobs are full-time.

Time allocation is the only tool the government has to prevent indefinite delays in passing legislation. We do not take this kind of decision lightly, and we remain committed to ensuring that members on all sides of the House are given reasonable time to debate bills. We believe it is time to pass Bill C-44 to create a better future.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

§Mr. Speaker, speaking of reasonable or sufficient time for debate, opposition members have proposed over 100 amendments to this bill. That means that the opposition has many concerns.

Does the Minister of Finance seriously think that five hours are enough to deal with all these concerns, these 100 amendments?

This is not nothing, and we need time to debate it all.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we believe that a good number of people have had the opportunity to speak. Fifty-four members have spoken. Debate is important, but we think that 12 hours and 25 minutes is enough. We must now do what we are here to do in the House, which is improve our economic growth. That is the goal of Bill C-44. That is what we want to do, and the time is now.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the best way to think about this is to think about why the government is here. What happened in the years before we got here was that the level of growth was just not high enough to produce the results Canadians need. We knew that the level of unemployment people were facing when we came into office was unacceptably high. I want to remind the members of this House that when we talk about unemployment levels, they forget that there are actually people we are trying to get jobs for, and that is exactly what our plan has done. We have actually increased the number of jobs in this country.

I know that when the members on the opposite side, just like the members on this side, go back to their home ridings and knock on doors, the people who have jobs who did not have jobs before are going to be happy. I know that they know, like we do, that the level of economic growth is much higher than it was in the last number of years. What we are seeing right now is strong growth. That is going to be really positive for people in the ridings of the members on the opposite side of the House. People are going to be happy, and we are fine if, when the members go to those doors, they actually take a bit of the positive impact themselves, because they are in the House where we are creating this growth.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, those numbers are available. We believe that our responsibility, and what we are absolutely committed to doing, is moving forward continuously on a program to grow the economy and to create more jobs. The good news is that it is working, and it is working across the country. It is a situation we need to remain focused on so that we can ensure that we are having results all across the country. I can assure the member that when we have economic growth that is 3.7% in the first quarter, when we see parts of our country that had a pretty big challenge last year, like Alberta, that are going to have higher growth this year, we start to realize that there are going to be opportunities for people across the country, and that is positive. We are going to stay on it. In this bill, Bill C-44, the good news is that when the members opposite decide to vote for this, what will happen is better job opportunities in their ridings.

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

June 5th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am flabbergasted that the Minister of Finance is imposing yet another time allocation motion. Debate is being cut short. The finance minister has the nerve to congratulate himself on letting 54 members speak. We are 338 members in this House. What about democracy?

This is one of the most important bills we can study. It amends 30 pieces of legislation. It is 300 pages long.

We are granted only five hours to debate such a bill? How generous. One hundred amendments have been tabled. How can we go in depth in five hours with less than one-sixth of members being allowed to take part in the debate?

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Repentigny concerning an amendment presented in committee to Bill C-44, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017, and other measures.

The member raises two key points in this question of privilege: the first relates to the admissibility of the amendment she presented in committee, which she has resubmitted at report stage; the second issue she raised has to do with her status as a member from a non-represented caucus in committee proceedings. In so doing she is asking the Chair to select her report stage motion, Motion No. 87, for consideration during the report stage debate of Bill C-44.

The member argues that the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance wrongly ruled that her committee amendment was inadmissible because it required a royal recommendation. The member stated that her amendment altered the qualifying weeks needed to claim maternity leave benefits for newly or suddenly unemployed mothers of newborns. She maintained that it did not represent a new or extended charge against the consolidated revenue fund, which would require a royal recommendation. The member simultaneously argued that the employment insurance fund was separate, and that, therefore, additional payments from the EI fund could not be seen as a new charge against the CRF.

On that specific point, I would like to direct the House's attention to a ruling by Speaker Milliken on November 10, 2006, at page 5027 of the Debates. He said:

Although contributions to the employment insurance program are indeed made by employers and employees, appropriations for the program are taken from the consolidated revenue fund and any increase in such spending would require a royal recommendation.

Accordingly, I cannot agree with the member’s view that a royal recommendation is not required. The ruling by the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance was procedurally sound and appropriate. Without a royal recommendation forthcoming for Motion No. 87, I cannot acquiesce in her request that the motion be considered during the report stage of Bill C-44. The Assistant Deputy Speaker indicated on June 2, 2017, that the motion would not be selected as it required a royal recommendation, and I see no reason to go back on that finding.

The member also argued that, because of her status as a member of a non-represented caucus, she did not have the ability to appeal the decision of the chair with respect to the admissibility of the amendment she presented in committee, as permanent members of the committee could.

The member is correct in her assertion that she is not able to participate in precisely the same way as permanent committee members, specifically in this case because committees’ practice is clear that only permanent members can appeal the ruling of a chair. That is not to say, however, that the member for Repentigny has been excluded in all ways from participating in the proceedings on this bill.

My predecessor, in a ruling on a similar question of privilege on June 6, 2013, at pages 17795 to 17798 of the Debates stated:

Turning to the issue of the rights of independent members, the Chair can only observe that the decision of the finance committee permitted them to do something they could not do before: namely, to have their amendments considered in the committee and, indeed, to be granted, pursuant to Standing Order 119, an opportunity to speak in committee. This is something that was not open to them before. In that sense, they succeeded in obtaining a form of participation in committee proceedings, as imperfect as it may have been in their eyes.

In the matter currently before us today, the member may not have been able to participate exactly as other members, but the process did afford her the ability to participate. In fact, she has had the opportunity at report stage to present her case as to why her amendment should have been admissible and the Chair has delivered its findings on that matter. Based on the substance of the member’s complaint, I cannot conclude that she has been impeded in the performance of her duties nor can I find, accordingly, that the Standing Orders or practices of the House have been breached.

I would like to thank all hon. members for their attention on this matter.

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Vancouver East, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; the hon. member for Brandon—Souris, Taxation; and the hon. member for Montcalm, Air Transportation.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 2nd, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

moved:

Motion No. 7

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 42.

Motion No. 8

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 43.

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 44.

Motion No. 10

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 49.

Motion No.11

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 50.

Motion No.12

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 64.

Motion No.13

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 65.

Motion No.14

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 113.

Motion No. 15

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 114.

Motion No. 16

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 122.

Motion No. 17

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 123.

Motion No. 18

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 124.

Motion No. 19

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 125.

Motion No. 20

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 126.

Motion No. 21

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 127.

Motion No. 22

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 128.

Motion No. 23

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 129.

Motion No. 24

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 130.

Motion No. 25

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 131.

Motion No. 26

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 132.

Motion No. 27

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 133.

Motion No. 28

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 134.

Motion No. 29

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 135.

Motion No. 30

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 136.

Motion No. 31

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 137.

Motion No. 32

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 138.

Motion No. 33

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 139.

Motion No. 34

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 140.

Motion No. 35

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 141.

Motion No. 36

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 142.

Motion No. 37

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 143.

Motion No. 38

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 144.

Motion No. 39

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 145.

Motion No. 40

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 146.

Motion No. 41

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 147.

Motion No. 42

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 148.

Motion No. 43

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 149.

Motion No. 44

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 150.

Motion No. 45

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 151.

Motion No. 46

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 152.

Motion No. 47

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 153.

Motion No. 48

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 154.

Motion No. 49

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 155.

Motion No. 50

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 156.

Motion No. 51

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 157.

Motion No. 52

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 158.

Motion No. 53

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 159.

Motion No. 54

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 160.

Motion No. 55

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 161.

Motion No. 56

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 162.

Motion No. 57

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 163.

Motion No. 58

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 164.

Motion No. 59

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 165.

Motion No. 60

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 166.

Motion No. 61

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 167.

Motion No. 62

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 168.

Motion No. 63

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 169.

Motion No. 64

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 170.

Motion No. 65

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 171.

Motion No. 66

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 172.

Motion No. 67

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 173.

Motion No. 68

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 174.

Motion No. 69

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 175.

Motion No. 70

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 176.

Motion No. 71

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 177.

Motion No. 72

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 178.

Motion No. 73

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 179.

Motion No. 74

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 180.

Motion No. 75

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 181.

Motion No. 76

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 182.

Motion No. 77

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 183.

Motion No. 78

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 184.

Motion No. 79

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 185.

Motion No. 80

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 186.

Motion No. 81

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 187.

Motion No. 82

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 188.

Motion No. 83

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 189.

Motion No. 84

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 190.

Motion No. 85

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 191.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 2nd, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

moved:

Motion No. 88

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 312.

Motion No. 89

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 313.

Motion No. 90

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 314.

Motion No. 91

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 315.

Motion No. 92

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 316.

Motion No. 93

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 317.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 2nd, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

moved:

Motion No. 98

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 442.

Motion No. 99

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 443.

Motion No. 100

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 444.

Motion No. 101

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 445.

Motion No. 102

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 446.

Motion No. 103

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 447.

Motion No. 104

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 448.

Motion No. 105

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 449.

Motion No. 106

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 450.

Motion No. 107

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 451.

Motion No. 108

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 452.

Motion No. 109

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 453.

Motion No. 110

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 454.

Motion No. 111

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 455.

Motion No. 112

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 456.

Motion No. 113

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting Clause 457.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 2nd, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
See context

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend you for reading that long list of amendments.

The situation is critical. Bill C-44 is a mammoth bill, an omnibus bill. It is 308 pages long, amends 47 existing federal laws, and creates five new ones. It covers a whole host of areas. The governing party promised to bring an end to the use of mammoth or omnibus bills, but here we are again. It does not make any sense. Improving legislation takes a lot of debate and a lot of work so that any changes do not infringe on other jurisdictions. This is not the way that things should be done, and I find it very unfortunate.

Clause 18 of Bill C-44 creates the Canada infrastructure bank, which is also being called the infrastructure privatization bank because that is what it does. We are against the creation of this bank.

As proposed, the infrastructure bank or infrastructure privatization bank is completely at odds with the Liberals' election promise. They said that they were going to create an infrastructure bank that would give municipalities a line of credit so that they could build public infrastructure for less. The Liberals changed their minds. They said that this line of credit or assistance would be for private companies and the financial sector, starting with Bay Street.

There is an incestuous relationship between the government and the Bay Street financial lobby. I think that is deplorable. We have seen it in a whole raft of bills and decisions.

Last fall, in Bill C-29, the Liberals tried to make Bay Street exempt from the Quebec Consumer Protection Act. That measure was hidden away in a mammoth bill. We managed to get the government to back down on that, but it did so only at the last minute.

What is happening now with Bill C-44 is even worse. I would need a lot of time to cover everything in this bill that should be changed. The situation being critical, I will concentrate on the main problem, a game-changing move that gives private investors on Bay Street and even from abroad an incredible, impossible advantage: the power to circumvent provincial laws, Quebec laws, and municipal regulations.

As it stands, with Bill C-44, we are no longer masters in our own house. This is unbelievable. This cannot be happening. Why? Because, in Bill C-44, the government is giving agent of the crown status to the infrastructure privatization bank along with all of the projects it handles, even the ones that are entirely private. That is no small thing. It means that private investment will enjoy all the privileges and immunities of government and be able to circumvent Quebec's laws and municipal regulations. This makes no sense. This part of the bill must be removed, and that is the subject of my speech this morning.

More specifically, in subsection 5(4) of the future Canada infrastructure bank act, this is stated in legal terms that seem fine at first glance:

The Bank is not an agent of Her Majesty in right of Canada, except when

(a) giving advice about investments in infrastructure projects to ministers of Her Majesty in right of Canada, to departments, boards, commissions and agencies of the Government of Canada and to Crown corporations as defined in subsection 83(1) of the Financial Administration Act;

(b) collecting and disseminating data in accordance with paragraph 7(1)?(g); (c) acting on behalf of the government of Canada in the provision of services or programs, and the delivery of financial assistance, specified in paragraph 18(h); and

This is already confusing, but it gets works in paragraph (d), which states:

(d) carrying out any activity conducive to the carrying out of its purpose that the Governor in Council may, by order, specify.

That is really quite something. This means that, by order in council, the government can give the infrastructure privatization bank the status of agent of the crown, thereby allowing it to operate outside of provincial laws and municipal bylaws. That must be removed from the bill, because it makes no sense whatsoever.

Worse still, according to paragraph 18(c), the privileges granted to the bank can be extended to completely private projects that go through it. That paragraph gives the bank the power to:

...acquire and deal with as its own any investment made by another person.

The privileges of the crown, which allow the government to be above everyone else, would be given to the infrastructure privatization bank, which could then use those privileges to give priority to any project it wants. As a result, foreign investors such as BlackRock, Asian investment firms, or Toronto banks could decide to build a bridge, a water system, or an oil pipeline, and those projects would not be subject to our laws. That is what the bill does. It is a major power grab. For the first time, elected members of Parliament are going to delegate to the government the power to grant crown agent status to the projects that it wants. We would be giving projects a power that we have here. That is unacceptable and must not happen.

Yesterday, constitutional expert Patrick Taillon gave a wonderful presentation in this regard before the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. We consulted five legal experts, four of whom are constitutional experts, and they all agree. They say that the wording of that part of Bill C-44 raises serious concerns. One constitutional expert even said that the wording was making investors uncomfortable because they think that the legislation might be deemed unconstitutional and challenged in court. Investors would therefore be reluctant to invest in the bank with the wording as it now stands. Of course, if that were to happen, it would be fine with us, since we are against this infrastructure privatization bank. In short, this bill is poorly written and must be clarified.

In the past, the courts have deemed that Quebec laws were not applicable to federal projects, or at least that they applied as long as they had no effect. For example, in the case of energy east, Quebec laws have no bearing on the route, but they can affect the colour of the pipeline. That makes no sense.

When it comes to installing cell towers, we see that there is no compliance with municipal regulations. As for Canada Post and its mailboxes, we saw Denis Coderre, the mayor of Montreal and a former Liberal MP, take a jackhammer to the base on which the mailboxes were to be installed. However, officially, we have no power over that.

Federal infrastructure currently represents only 2% of Canada's infrastructure. However, this infrastructure bank could change things because private funding has a leverage effect. As for crown agent status, it makes no sense. We remember the expropriation of 40,000 hectares for Mirabel and Forillon National Park, among others. This must change.

A number of Quebec laws will go out the window because of Bill C-44. One of those laws is the Environment Quality Act. This means that the BAPE will no longer be able to hold public consultations. Another is the Act respecting the Preservation of Agricultural Land and Agricultural Activities. Quebec is large in terms of land mass but has relatively little arable land. Land use plans, urbanization plans, zoning regulations, and basically all of the infrastructure financed by the infrastructure bank would be exempt from these laws. We will no longer be masters in our own house.

At the Senate committee, the Minister of Finance said there was no link between the government and the infrastructure bank. He clarified that by saying that the bank would operate at arm's length from the government. That is what he said, but according to the constitutional experts we consulted, that is not what is written here. That is why the minister must clarify his intention and state it clearly in the act so that this bill does not end up before the Supreme Court for years, casting the whole thing into legal limbo.

The same goes for PMO spokesperson Olivier Duchesneau, who wrote this to Michel Girard of the Journal de Montréal:

Projects in which the bank invests will be subject to provincial and municipal laws and regulations. Projects financed by the bank will certainly not be exempt from zoning regulations or provincial environmental reviews such as the BAPE.

If that is indeed the government's intention, it must amend the bill now because that is not how it reads. We are going to run into problems. This is a major power grab.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 2nd, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my Bloc colleague for his comment.

When it comes to this bill, I think that two things are very clear. First, this is indeed an omnibus bill. The bill is over 300 pages long and amends 30 laws of our Parliament with a single vote. It is unbelievable. It is the very definition of an omnibus bill.

I would like to quote what the Liberals said during the election campaign. It was very clear.

We will not resort to legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny.... We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.

On this undemocratic practice, this omnibus bill, the Liberals promised on a stack of Bibles in the last election that they would not do what the Harper government had done in burying important pieces of legislation inside of budgets.

What is one of the pieces of legislation buried here? It is a $35-billion privatization bank whose associated risks are not understood. Even the Senate is giving more scrutiny to it than the Liberals are allowing in the House of Commons. Even the Senate has suggested amendments. Even the Senate has said that the bill needs to be broken up so that it has proper scrutiny, because it is a $35-billion investment that is going to last generations.

Liberal members are going to vote for it without any clue as to what it is going to mean for our communities.

I have a very specific question. People in Quebec and in other provinces are concerned about the fact that this bill will make changes to laws governing critical infrastructure, such as water and roads. Will this law cause constitutional problems for the future of our country?

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 2nd, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent comments. I appreciate his question.

Our party denounces the fact that this is an omnibus bill. Since the Bloc is not a recognized party, we have to do a lot of work and research. The Liberals are not keeping their election promises, and that is fuelling cynicism. We have found two instances where they are trying to give their Bay Street friends improper gifts. That needs to change.

The Minister of Finance said that he had no intention of passing bills that would circumvent Quebec laws and municipal regulations, but that is exactly what this bill does. However, we have not heard what the Minister of Justice thinks about this.

I call on the Minister of Justice. I would like to know her opinion and her interpretation of Bill C-44, since the infrastructure bank and the projects that will go through it may be given crown agent status by order of the government.

Does she agree with the Minister of Finance, or does she agree with the five legal experts, including four constitutional experts, that we consulted?

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 2nd, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member for Joliette as he spoke mainly about the infrastructure bank.

If I could put it simply, I would say the member sees a mountain where there is really only a molehill. The outrageous comments the member made about how this infrastructure bank would affect his province, municipalities, and other institutions in a province are just absolutely and purely wrong. It is simply wrong.

What is the infrastructure bank? This bill would establish the Canada infrastructure bank as a federal crown corporation and set out its powers, governance framework, and financial management and control. That is the same as other crown corporations that operate in this country.

As for the $35 billion and making an opportunity for so-called friends, that is purely wrong as well. What this infrastructure bank would do is bring Canada up to the 21st century by providing the opportunity for private investors to partner with public investors to build the infrastructure that our children and grandchildren will need in the future. That is what this bank would do.

This is an opportunity for Canadians to set the foundation for our infrastructure going forward into the next decades. That is what it would really do.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 2nd, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I take great offence to the insults my colleague just levelled against me.

It is ridiculous to say that we are making a mountain out of molehill. I would remind the member of a unanimous motion passed in the National Assembly that supports my argument. It reads:

That the National Assembly affirm the application of all Quebec laws to any future projects supported by the Canada Infrastructure Bank and, in order to clearly reflect this legal obligation, that it call for amendments to Bill C-44, currently being studied by the House of Commons, to ensure that the Canada Infrastructure Bank is subject to the laws of Quebec.

We have the support of five legal experts and four constitutional experts, including Mr. Taillon, who gave an excellent speech yesterday. We also have the support of Michel Girard, who is very highly regarded.

It is not just me that the member is insulting, but rather all Quebeckers. I take great offence to what he said. This must be changed. If that is the government's intention, it needs to change it, because it is too vague. It is not clear.

If this is what it means to be an MP in the 21st century, it reminds me of Ireland's Home Rule movement. As members will recall, Ireland did win its independence in the end.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 2nd, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to the amendments we have moved, because we are trying to help the Liberal government again. We are trying to help Liberals keep a promise they made to Canadians. It was a solemn promise that they would not abuse the legislative process and use trickery to hide important pieces of legislation and changes to what Canadians would expect to happen.

One of the tactics governments sometimes resort to is omnibus bills. Canadians became quite familiar with them during the last government and with governments before that, when they started piling a bunch of changes to different laws into one bill, calling it a budget bill, and passing all the changes at once.

This bill is over 300 pages long and amends 30 different pieces of legislation all in one act. My goodness, the Liberals are grimacing across the way at the idea of 30 pieces of law being amended in one bill. The Liberals promised in the last election they would never do something like that. They said, “We will not resort to legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny.” They said, “We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.” So said the current Prime Minister , hand on heart. Well, this bill has 300 and some pages, and 30 different Canadian laws are to be changed in one stroke of the pen.

One might ask what is in here. There is a lot.

They are breaking a promise to our veterans. No, Liberals would not do something like that. They said they would provide lifelong pensions to injured vets. Well, there are changes to the veterans' pension act in this bill, but not that change. That is weird. One would think they could have gotten around to that somewhere in 300-odd pages.

What else is in here? They want to change the parliamentary budget officer, one of the watchdogs of Parliament, a key watchdog who provides oversight and scrutiny of how public money is spent. The Liberals said we have to strengthen the PBO. What did they do in the omnibus bill? They said the Speaker of the House and the Speaker of the Senate should review anything the PBO does, any plans the PBO has, and approve those plans beforehand.

They also said that individual members of Parliament should not be allowed to ask the parliamentary budget officer to do investigations into government spending. That is where some of the best ideas have come from, when individual members of Parliament, in seeking to answer questions on behalf of the people we represent, used the watchdog, the parliamentary budget officer, to go after government spending and find out what was really happening. Liberals do not want to continue that practice.

Then there is the privatization bank. They want to pop in $35 billion. They say they want to de-risk investment for the largest pensions and hedge funds around the world.

We know what risk is like. Imagine someone going to Las Vegas and saying they would like someone to de-risk their trip. They would like to go, have a lot of fun, make investments, gamble, and bet on things, but they want to do it without any risk. Liberals say, “No problem. You can come in with all these multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investments and we will de-risk it for you.” Who will pick up the risk? The public will be happy to pick up the risk. That is what the Liberals have said.

I cannot believe I am saying this, but the Senate of Canada is providing more scrutiny over this bank than the Liberals are providing in the House of Commons. The Liberal finance committee rammed the bill through with less than two hours of study. The $35 billion will last generations. It is going to impact our communities and municipalities as they seek to find the resources and make decisions.

Now the Liberals have opened up a can of worms. From public testimony, it appears that they are changing the way investments are done around key infrastructure like highways and water, which are entirely provincial jurisdiction. The centralized Ottawa infrastructure privatization bank would be making those decisions. Provinces like Quebec are now raising the alarm, saying those decisions have to be made as close to the ground as possible, as locally as possible, not by Ottawa. Enough of that happens already.

Our private investor friends, BlackRock and the like, even helped design this bank. Talk about the fox watching the henhouse. They actually held the pen with the finance department in designing this infrastructure bank. That is going to work out just great for the Canadian taxpayer, because BlackRock and hedge fund companies are very interested in protecting the public purse, right?

By the way, all those sell-offs—privatizing the ports, the railway stations, the airports—will have toll fees, because they will need revenue on all these infrastructure investments. What are these private companies going to want? They are going to want profit. They are going to want a return on investment. Where could they possibly generate revenue if they bought an airport? It would be through tolls. Who pays tolls? The public pays tolls.

The government, in the future, is going to say it is not the one raising tolls at ports for exporters. It is not the one raising fees to fly through Canadian airports. It is some private hedge fund no one has ever even heard of, because they are not public anymore. They are not public airports. They are not public ports. They belong to someone else, and someone else is making those decisions. The government will say that it footed the bill, that it put up the cash for it and took the risk, as outlined in the bill, but it is going to be someone else who gets the profits. Only in a Liberal world view would that make any sense at all.

The idea that the government would cram all these things into a massive bill and ram it through the committee process in the House of Commons, when even the Senate is taking more time for scrutiny, is deplorable. It goes directly against the promise of hope and hard work. What happened to all the hope? What happened to all the hard work by my Liberal colleagues? If it wants to make such a significant change to the way Canada is built, how we build our infrastructure, then allow us the scrutiny and take this piece out of the budget omnibus bill. It is far too important to us, to future generations, and to taxpayers.

Bill C-44—Notice of time allocation motionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

June 2nd, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
See context

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise that agreements could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the report stage and third reading stage of Bill C-44, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017, and other measures.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stages of the aforementioned bill.

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

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

moved:

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

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

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

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

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

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

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

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

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

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

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

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

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

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

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

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

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

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

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

Conservative

Dianne Lynn Watts Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

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

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

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

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

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

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

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

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

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

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

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

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

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

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

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

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

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

Kyle Peterson Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

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

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

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

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

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

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

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

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

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

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

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, with respect to these debates about time allocation, I would have wished we could ask questions of the Government House Leader, because decisions about the way the government is proceeding and the increased use of time allocation is the House leader's area. The breakdown in relations between the House leaders of the largest three parties in this place is leading to an increased use of what I would call Harper tactics.

Although this is not an omnibus budget bill with the weight of the egregious misuse of power we saw in Bill C-38 and Bill C-45 in 2012, this is nonetheless an omnibus budget bill, and unfortunately so. While there is a connection to the parliamentary budget officer, because “budget” is in the title, the creation of a stand-alone parliamentary budget officer as an independent officer of Parliament, as promised in the Liberal platform, is a subject of such importance that it would have been preferable to have that discussion separate from the passage of budgetary measures.

Time allocation at this point has the effect of disadvantaging those members of Parliament who belong to parties with fewer than 12 members. Our constituents are equal. Our rights, in theory, are equal. It is disproportionately disadvantageous to members of smaller parties or independents when time allocation is used. In my view, it should be used extremely rarely. To say, as the Liberals now do, that they are using it less than Harper did is no excuse for adopting bad tactics and majority rule in a way that hurts the healthy functioning of this place.

I would urge the government to reconsider and not apply time allocation. The Minister of Finance will tell us that it must be done, but it must not be done.

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, there were a few questions or comments in what she said. To start, we have talked about the fact that we believe it is time to move this bill to committee. We think that is an effective way for us to move forward to make sure that we can make a difference for Canadians.

With respect to the parliamentary budget officer, we have also said that we believe our overriding goal is clear: we want this office to be effective and independent. We have also said that we are open to amendments, so as we move forward in committee, we are going to listen and hear potential improvements. That is something that we are open-minded to and will consider as we move forward.

With respect to the size of the budget bill, we want to be clear that the measures in the bill are related to the budget. We are not trying to sneak things into the bill that are unrelated to the budget. We are not trying to do something that perhaps has been done in the past to get things through without due consideration. The budget bill in fact includes only measures that are related to the budget. We believe that is appropriate. That is what we committed to doing in our election campaign and that is exactly what we are delivering with this budget bill.

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Madam Speaker, I know that the minister does not excel at math, so I will do a little math for him. He said 39 members have spoken on this particular bill. When we subtract 39 from 338, it means 299 members of this House have not had a chance to speak on this particular bill.

I also sit as the vice-chairman of the finance committee, so I would like to ask the minister if the government can assure us it will not bring closure to the finance committee as it did in the last budget. If it is going to bring closure to the House on the budget bill, let the finance committee do the work that the finance committee, as the minister says, does so well. Will he stand in this House today and assure the House that the government will not bring closure to the finance committee's work?

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, if the hon. member chooses, I would happily go into a math competition with him at the time of his choosing, if that is in fact what he is challenging me on. I have no problems with that. I would suggest that maybe we could do more than addition and subtraction; we might want to use even more complicated tactics than that.

With respect to his question, we have made it pretty clear that we are working on behalf of Canadians. We know it is important that members have the opportunity in this House to speak on their point of view. We have heard from 39 members. We do believe that moving the bill to committee is important. As the hon. member knows, I am not responsible for the finance committee, so I am not in any way able to dictate the terms under which that committee works. That is not my responsibility.

What I can say is that we respect the importance of the finance committee. We know, as I have mentioned, that there have been some comments in particular with respect to the parliamentary budget officer. I have said clearly that we are open to amendments. If there are constructive ways in which we can improve on our goal of making sure that the parliamentary budget officer is effective and independent, that is something that we will be able to listen to. I look forward to that. With respect to the workings of the finance committee, I will leave that to the finance committee.

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, someone who is wiser than I once said, “Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.”

Bill C-44 is not just any bill. It is a bill that clips the wings of the parliamentary budget officer, makes it easier for foreigners to acquire Canadian companies, and creates an infrastructure bank that will cost taxpayers a lot of money, while making a big profit for the finance minister's friends on Bay Street.

This bill also eliminates the public transit tax credits that helped ordinary Canadians. It raises taxes for wine producers and microbreweries.

I cannot understand how the Minister of Finance can say that a day and a half of debate is enough for parliamentarians to do their work on a bill that amends no less than 30 laws. The Liberal government has a lot of nerve saying that.

Why does the finance minister have such disdain and contempt for the rights of parliamentarians?

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, as I said, we think it is very important to consider the items included in our budget. We have already heard from 39 members, which is a significant number.

As the member said, we think that the budget contains important things for Canadians, things that will help to improve our situation and our economic growth. That is why we want to continue moving forward so that we can accomplish the things we want to accomplish.

We think that it is time for the committee to examine the bill. That is the next step, and it is an important one. We think that now is the time to do that.

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Madam Speaker, on almost every one of his answers, the Minister of Finance has commented that they want to move the matter into the finance committee so these matters can be properly studied. The difficulty is that the finance committee has sent off letters to four, possibly five, committees asking them to review the issues pertaining to their particular committees.

In the immigration committee, for example, there are a number of issues in the budget implementation bill that affect immigration. The immigration committee, through the majority of the Liberal voters, has said it does not want to study it, so the matter is not going to be studied in the immigration committee, and I do not believe it is going to be studied in the finance committee. Therefore, my question for the finance minister is this: why is the PMO, or whoever is giving instructions to the committees, saying that the committees will not review these matters?

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, this morning we have had the opportunity to ask the same question on numerous occasions about the process that we are going through. We have heard from 39 members. We have heard 13 from the Conservative Party and five from the New Democratic Party. We know that there are going to be considerations at the finance committee level. We believe it will have the input to make those recommendations back to us. We believe it is time to move forward on this matter. We recognize that what we need to do in terms of our overall goal is to move forward on things that can make a real difference for our economy. That is our government's record. The record so far has shown that the things we have done are having the positive impact on our economy that we had hoped. It is clear.

For those people who are not paying attention to the numbers, unemployment has gone down. We have gone from 7.1% to 6.5%. Growth has gone up. That is what we are seeing as the positive outcomes. We are looking forward to continuing to have that opportunity.

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, could the Minister of Finance provide a brief comment with regard to the tax that has been applied to Uber? I want to bring it up because in Winnipeg the taxi industry has provided so much. They are great ambassadors for our city. There are all sorts of things they have to do as small businesses, one being to pay taxes. Perhaps he could provide some comment on why it was necessary to put on that particular tax.

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

May 9th, 2017 / 10:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, in the case of ride-sharing services, it is important to have an even playing field. We want to make sure that when someone decides to get into a taxi or some sort of ride-sharing situation, they are on an equal playing field. Putting the GST in place for ride-sharing services was the right thing to do from a fairness standpoint. It keeps intact the integrity of our tax system and makes sure we have an appropriate way of dealing with the new economy.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, my riding had the honour of a visit from the Prime Minister for a highly anticipated announcement about day cares.

About one month ago, my riding had the pleasure of welcoming the Prime Minister for a long-awaited announcement on child care. The purpose of the visit was to draw attention to our long-term funding commitment to child care. The $7 billion 10-year time frame will support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across our great country.

Over the next three years, these investments will increase the number of child care spaces for low and modest income families by supporting up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces. This is incredibly important for Manitoba, the province I represent, because more than 14,000 children are on waiting lists for licensed child care spaces.

Parents who want to return to work need to have quality, affordable, safe day care options.

While creating child care spaces is incredibly important, we need to ensure we have long-term funding, which is equally important. Our government has committed to be a long-term partner, with the provinces, by providing 10-year funding for the spaces created by our initial investment. This is a stable, responsible, and long-term investment by our government for middle-class families.

I would also remind the House that early childhood was one of the priorities identified by official language minority communities during the Standing Committee on Official Languages' study.

It is also a priority for indigenous communities across the country.

I would also like to talk about the historic health care agreements reached between Ottawa and the provinces and territories, with the exception of Manitoba.

Just as there are changes occurring in the workplace, the demands for our health care system are changing. Our government has clearly indicated a willingness to partner with the provinces to bring about transformational changes to meet the health care needs of Canadians.

Our priority should always be the well-being of Canadians and making sure that the care available is equitable and universal.

The question is how best to invest in the future.

Across the country, governments are trying to find ways to adapt to our population's needs for today and tomorrow. Research has shown that receiving better in-home care provides greater benefit to one's overall well-being. That is why our government is investing in better home care and better mental health initiatives that will help families that need it most. There are $6 billion of new money over 10 years for better home care and $5 billion of new money over 10 years to support mental health initiatives. This is over and above a 3% annual increase for the provinces and territories that sign on for better medical services. These targeted investments will strengthen Canada's publicly funded universal health care system and address key health care priorities over the long term. It is what we have heard from Canadians.

The final point I want to highlight is the very important measures we are taking to advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples. This is an issue of particular importance in Manitoba. I am extremely proud of the progress our government has made since the election. For example, as I speak, $58 million are currently being invested in 24 first nations in Manitoba to prevent and address long-term drinking water advisories and improve the capacity and reliability of water and waste water systems. Of these 24 projects currently occurring in Manitoba, one is in the feasibility stage, 10 are in the design stage, and 13 are at the construction stage. These are critical investments toward our goal of ending all long-term drinking water advisories in first nation communities across our country.

In addition, budget 2017 builds on last year's historic investments for indigenous communities. We are investing over $3.4 billion over the next five years in first nations, Inuit, and Métis health infrastructure to strengthen indigenous communities, education and training, and measures to promote language and cultural revitalization.

As a proud Métis, I am particularly happy to see that the Métis National Council and its five provincial federations, including the Manitoba Metis Federation, will receive $85 million over five years to help build governance capacity.

As a proud Métis, I am very pleased with the $85 million in funding over five years for the Métis National Council and the five provincial federations, including the Manitoba Metis Federation, to support and strengthen their governance capacity.

This is another important recognition of the Métis nation in Canada and another step toward reconciliation.

That is a brief recap of budget 2017. It responds to many of the top issues we have heard, which have been raised by my constituents during many meetings over many months. However, there is much more I can go on about.

There are $90 million over five years to enhance and preserve indigenous languages. There are infrastructure dollars. There are $16 billion over four years to support clean tech, as well as dollars for Lake Winnipeg.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Madam Speaker, my colleague is from the Prairies, and one of the changes in the budget was the elimination of grain tickets. In the farming industry, the availability of that type of program for expenses and revenue over two years in agriculture is a very temperamental thing with Mother Nature, as farmers found out again this winter. It was a great tool for farmers to use, but this budget would remove it. Although the government says farmers can consult, it gave a rationale for taking it out. It says farmers can consult, but the government has already given its rationale that the Canadian Wheat Board does not exist any more. When I talk to farmers, they say this has nothing to with marketing their grain and averaging their income and expenses.

The hon. member may want to respond, as he is from the Prairies, on the grain ticket issue in the budget.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

I can tell you, Madam Speaker, that the agricultural industry is incredibly important for Manitoba and Canada. That is why we believe it is equally important to innovate, modernize, and do things in a better way. We have budgeted over $1 billion over four years to support clean technology in agriculture to address the very issues that the hon. member speaks of. In agriculture, energy, mining, forestry, and fishing, we are committed to modernize, look at innovations, and improve our systems in budget 2017.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:30 a.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, in budget 2017, the government promised greater access to mental health, wellness, and suicide prevention services for indigenous young people. It did this without designating the actual program investments that are desperately needed in their communities. These are encouraging words to read in a federal budget, but they are meaningless for the young people who are without the community supports that are only possible with actual program investments.

Where will the funding come from for mental health counselling for youth, traditional healing programs, culture, recreation, and language programs? Important for the people in my riding of Courtenay—Alberni, when will these investments find their way to remote and isolated communities? I know the member cares deeply about this issue. I know that this is a high priority for the Nuu-chah-nulth people in my riding.

Perhaps the member could speak to how this will get to communities. This is urgent and a high priority for the people in my riding.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Madam Speaker, I agree with the hon. member. There is nothing more important than our relationship with indigenous peoples. Mental health is clearly a priority in the budget. We have tabled extra dollars, new dollars, not repurposed dollars, for mental health with the provinces that sign on. No government in recent memory has invested in indigenous communities the way this government has over the last two years. That is simply a fact. There were $9 billion in new money last year, over $5 billion in new money this year, and that is over and above what is in the line items in the departments. It is not a sleight of hand that governments often do, calling it new money but taking it from somewhere else. These are new dollars.

In my province, there are $58 million being spent, as I speak, on water treatment systems and clean water for indigenous communities, and that is not enough. We know there is more work to do. We have to do a better job, and we are committed to doing it.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, on March 22, our government delivered its second budget and today I rise to talk about the ways in which budget 2017 is meeting the needs of my riding of Sudbury and, indeed, all of northern Ontario.

Budget 2017 continues on our government's plan to strengthen the middle class, the heart of Canada's and Sudbury's economies, and makes responsible investments. These will provide Canadians and Sudburians with good, well-paying jobs and opportunities in our new innovative economy. Budget 2017 makes smart investments to help adult workers retrain and upgrade their skills, adapt to changes in the new economy, and help young people get the skills and work experience they need to start their careers.

Budget 2017 invests in seniors and in youth.

We are investing in social housing, as well as making investments to support our veterans and first nations. These kinds of investments are needed for communities like Sudbury, which has achieved some measure of success.

For starters, budget 2017 provides a further $25 million in core funding for FedNor, the federal economic development agency for northern Ontario, over the next five years. The increase will boost FedNor's base budget to $46 million a year, reversing years of budget cuts.

Last fall, I worked with my colleague, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North, to draft a growth strategy for northern Ontario. One of the things we heard loud and clear was that northerners want a budget increase for FedNor. They want to reverse years of Conservative government cutbacks. The recommendation to increase FedNor's budget was also supported by our northern Ontario caucus.

I was very pleased to see that our recommendation was taken into account in the budget and that our growth plan for northern Ontario is moving forward.

This is just the start of the good news, because there is a lot more for northern Ontario.

We are very pleased that budget 2017 is advancing Canada's efforts to build a clean economy. It is investing almost $22 billion in green infrastructure, including initiatives that will support the implementation of a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. Sudburians understand that a strong economy and a clean environment go hand in hand.

As I have said in this chamber many times before, my riding of Sudbury is an established global leader in the innovation of mining and of mining technology.

Sudbury has built quite a reputation. We are leaders in the mining sector. Our methods are more effective and proven than those anywhere else in the world.

Sudbury companies have been providing clean tech solutions to mining challenges for a generation, and now we are marketing these clean tech solutions all over the world. Today, Sudbury's mining and clean tech cluster consists of more than 300 companies. They employ almost 14,000 skilled workers and experts. Sudbury alone generates approximately $4 billion in revenue each year.

Increasingly, these mining supply and services companies are testing international waters. They are making inroads in the United States, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Russia. The Sudbury companies behind these projects are using innovation to drive economic and environmental benefits. They are using innovation to create jobs and help strengthen this vital economic engine for Canada. They strengthen Canada's middle class in the process.

I want to share something that makes me even prouder: our government believes in the potential and power of green technologies, which create jobs and fuel innovation.

The global market for clean technologies is already more than $1 trillion per year and it is growing. It is creating well-paying, secure jobs for Canadians. Clean technology has contributed to the fight against climate change and it makes our economy more sustainable. I am proud that our government understands this potential.

This is why our recent budget makes significant investments in clean technology, including $200 million in support of clean technology research in Canada's natural resources sector, $12 million for a clean growth hub that will improve access to federal resources in labs for Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators, and more than $14 million to track our progress so we can report to Canadians. Canadian companies are capturing their share of the emerging global market for mining innovation in clean technology, and we support their efforts. We support them from waste management to biofuels to greener solutions for the oil and gas industry.

This is just the beginning of what budget 2017 means for Sudbury and northern Ontario.

Almost 10% of Sudbury's population is indigenous. There are several dozen first nations communities in northern Ontario, including some of the most remote communities in Canada. Budget 2017 includes a $4-billion investment into on-reserve infrastructure. This much needed investment will provide housing, health centres, and water treatment systems to communities that need them the most. As well, first nations people living off reserve will have access to a $225-million investment over the next 11 years. These investments will go toward needed repairs, renewals, rental subsidies, and new construction. These are important investments being made in first nations communities across northern Ontario.

Already this year, I have had the privilege of announcing $10 million for seniors' health and children's welfare for first nations people in northern Ontario. On top of that, on behalf of the Minister of Health, I was pleased to announced a $1-million investment to support the work of two top researchers in the Health Sciences North Research Institute at Laurentian University.

Their work will focus on finding new ways to address two serious challenges, specifically aging and dementia in first nations, Inuit, and Métis populations.

As well, I was proud to stand with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to announce an investment of more than $9 million to help first nations in northern Ontario raise their children in healthy and safe environments.

Our government will invest more than $11 billion under its new national housing strategy. These investments cover initiatives designed to build, renew, and repair Canada's stock of affordable housing. They will ensure that Canadians have adequate and affordable housing to meet their needs. This includes $225 million to improve housing conditions for indigenous peoples, as I have just said.

Through budget 2017, our government is advancing reconciliation as well with the indigenous peoples. It is advancing reconciliation through investments in infrastructure and first nations and Inuit health, through actions to strengthen indigenous communities, funding to support education and training, and measures to promote language and culture.

What I heard most often when I was going door to door before the 2015 election is that Sudburians wanted their federal government to start investing in social housing again. Our government heard that message. Our government has taken the necessary steps and is showing leadership on this.

In fact, housing is the largest single commitment in budget 2017. Our government's commitment is to rebuild, renew, and repair Canada's stock of affordable housing, and we will do that. Those initiatives include responses to indigenous housing crises on and off reserve. It is also promising more money for the provinces and municipal partners to spend on their own housing priorities.

Our government will create a new pooled investment fund that would pool resources among many housing partners, including the private sector. The fund would also expand an existing lending facility for municipalities and for the construction of new affordable housing.

One of the first things I did as an MP was to meet a number of housing service providers in Sudbury. I was shocked to learn that the Greater Sudbury Housing Corporation alone has a backlog of deferred maintenance of more than $10 million. The corporation also has an ambitious energy management plan. The plan would retrofit most of the properties to make them more sustainable, energy efficient, and comfortable. A $3-million investment would pay itself back in 20 years. These are exactly the kinds of projects our government needs to be investing in, and I want to help get these off the ground in Sudbury.

There is so much more in budget 2017 to support middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join the middle class.

There is help for unemployed people to access the training and employment support they need. Budget 2017 boosts the federal support by almost $3 billion over the next six years.

For the people of Sudbury looking for work, this means more chances to update their skills, gain experience, or get help to start their businesses. It also means more support, such as job counselling, for planning their career.

In addition, we are identifying skills gaps with employers and exploring new and innovative approaches to skills development with the provinces. Adult students can face challenges in pursuing learning. Part-time students from Sudbury, as well as adult students with dependent children, will be eligible for Canada student grants. This means more non-repayable assistance for adult learners and workers. It will help them manage the high cost of post-secondary education. It will help them in balancing the financial pressures of raising a family.

As a tax lawyer, I understand the importance of a fair and equitable tax system. Our government has committed to undertake a wide-ranging review of tax expenditures. The review's objective is to eliminate poorly targeted and inefficient tax measures. The review will allow our government to identify opportunities to reduce tax benefits that unfairly benefit the wealthiest Canadians.

Under budget 2017, we are making changes to simplify the tax system by making existing tax relief for individuals and families more effective and accessible. For example, since our new Canada child benefit was implemented, more than 7,400 families in Sudbury alone have benefited from increased payments.

It is quite the investment for families in Sudbury.

The other side of the taxation coin is collections. When some choose not to pay their fair share of taxes, it places an unfair burden on the tax system, and on other Canadians.

Those are only some of the measures that are in the budget. I will take any questions on it, because I am so proud of the budget, which is investing in Sudburians and Canadians across Canada.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Dianne Lynn Watts Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Madam Speaker, my colleague mentioned many times how proud he is of the budget.

He mentioned child care. While there were billions announced in the budget, 70% of the new money will not be spent until after 2022. There is only $10 million for the entire country this year for affordable housing. Also, nearly $4 billion of the $5 billion is not going to be spent until after 2022. In fact, there is no new funding in 2017-18 for early learning and child care, homelessness, home care, housing, research, northern housing, and indigenous programs.

I wonder if he could explain why he is so proud of the budget.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, what I am very proud of is these are long-term investments. This is not short term. We are not looking at the next few years. We are looking over 10 years. These are long-term investments that families need. When we invest in housing, we cannot just do it over a number of years. It takes a long time to implement, to make sure the money gets on the ground, and it is done well.

With respect to families, I have been hearing from them at the doors, right now, that the child tax benefit is life-changing for them.

That is why I am so proud of these investments. Again, these are not short term. They are long-term investments in Canadians.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:45 a.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, the member talked about first nations and investments in indigenous peoples. The government said that the most important relationship is working nation-to-nation with indigenous people. It also promised to stop fighting indigenous people in court.

The member said that he is getting funding in his riding, and I appreciate hearing that. I will tell the House what it is like in my riding. The Huu-ay-aht were awarded $13.8 million through the special claims tribunal decision for breaches of duty Canada committed between 1948 to 1969. Instead of going with the decision made by the special claims tribunal, the government decided to appeal that decision. The Nuu-chah-nulth have been fighting in the courts for a decade over their right to catch and sell fish, a right that we already know they have. The government has lost repeatedly. The case was thrown out by the Supreme Court twice.

The Conservatives' strategy was that of appeal and delay. The Liberal government is taking that same approach in dealing with indigenous peoples. Is this the reconciliation the member is talking about?

Maybe the member could talk about how much the government has budgeted to fight indigenous people in court, because I would like to know what those costs are.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, talking about reconciliation, we have invested record amounts with our first nations. It is a long-term relationship that we need to build back. There is no doubt that our past relationship is not something to be proud of, but it is important for us to build the relationship back again. It will not happen overnight. It is a long-term investment. It is a strong change that we need to make happen together. That is why in northern Ontario we have received investments first-hand. These investments are a start not an end. They are a start to reconciliation.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Salma Zahid Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, housing is a pressing issue in my riding of Scarborough Centre. Affordable housing is increasingly limited and in poor shape. It is our job to make sure we do not pass this infrastructure debt on to our future generations.

Could the hon. member tell me how budget 2017 will help to resolve this issue?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, one of the first things I did when I was elected in 2015 was to take stock of where we were with respect to the housing issue in Sudbury and northern Ontario. This issue is across the board. It is not just a northern Ontario thing, not just a Toronto thing. It is an issue across Canada. That is why I was so proud to see, in the last budget, historic investments in housing. However, again, it cannot happen overnight. It is just not a one-time hit. We need to invest over a long period of time, say over the next 10 years. People need to be assured that there is stable funding for housing to make a difference in the middle class and those working hard to join it.

I hear my colleague loud and clear. These investments are important. They will make a big difference in my riding and across Canada.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Madam Speaker, I really do appreciate the opportunity to participate today. I consider myself fortunate because I am going to be one of probably some 50 members of this House who are going to be able to stand and speak to the budget, because of the government invoking closure. That means that some 289 members are not going to get a chance to speak on behalf of their constituents on this budget. We certainly feel in the opposition that it is unfair. After the Liberals campaigned on openness, transparency, not using closure, and not bringing forward omnibus bills, we see where all of those promises have gotten us.

I want to take a few minutes to address a few of the issues in the budget. After the Minister of Finance delivered the budget, I was asked by the media in Calgary for my comments. I said it was a Seinfeld budget, a budget about nothing. Yesterday, the finance committee had Department of Finance officials before it to start to go through the budget division by division. One of the things that became quickly apparent was that I was wrong. It is not a budget about nothing; it is a budget about tax increases and the removal and rescinding of a number of tax incentives that exist.

I want to focus, on behalf of the constituents of Calgary Signal Hill, on some of the taxation measures in this budget document. I know there are other issues that, if one had more time, one could certainly debate. I know some of my colleagues have already debated the division around removing the independence of the parliamentary budget officer. I know we are going to have a debate around the infrastructure bank, so I will leave those to other speakers.

I want to talk about some tax measures and the removal of a tax credit, which is really unfortunate. First, let me talk about the rescinding of the transit pass credit that the Conservative government brought in a number of years ago. The government likes to talk about the middle class and those who are attempting to join it. If there ever was a tax relief that appealed to either the middle class or those hoping to join the middle class, it was this tax credit on the transit pass. It is only $250 for the average user of a transit pass across the country, but that is not that one per cent on whom the government keeps saying it is increasing the taxes. That is a direct tax on Canada's working people and those who use public transit. I know that the bureaucrats have told the minister that this is just a nuisance for them to administer. We have to assume that the government is going to take the advice of the bureaucrats and not listen to working Canadians, who every day try to get to work on our transit systems, and not give them that tax credit. I think it is deplorable, quite frankly.

The second tax measure that is not in this budget bill, but was raised by the minister and is going to be taking place, is the reduction in the petroleum drilling incentives grant that has been in existence for a number of years. I was told yesterday at the finance committee that there will probably be some future consultations and it will appear in the fall budget bill. I would like to be part of those consultations today.

I represent a riding in Alberta that has taken the hit of the downturn in oil prices globally. Recently, with the uptick in oil prices, we have had an opportunity for a number of companies that are in the exploration business to resume drilling activities, which is putting Albertans back to work. With the removal of this drilling incentive, many of those drilling companies are going to do one of two things: they are going to take that drilling rig and park it back in the yard, or they are going to take it across the border and drill in the United States where the incentives and the bottom line are much better.

The government can talk all it wants about creating jobs, but if it wants to create jobs in Alberta, removing this incentive is not a way to do it. If the government is listening and it is not part of the budget bill, I would strongly encourage the government to back off on this initiative before bringing forward its budget bill in the fall.

I know that a number of members have commented on and have raised this issue, having heard from their constituents regarding the increase in what is described as sin tax by governments, the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. It is hard to argue against an increase in sin taxes; however, what the government needs to take into account is the spinoff effect of the increase in alcohol taxes.

The Canadian restaurant association has been very public about saying that it was blindsided by this, and it is going to significantly impact small businesses in this country. Again, I am an Alberta representative, and we have an Alberta government that has been hammering the same industry with increases in sin taxes and minimum wage, and a carbon tax. Now the federal government loads on additional taxes. Small businesses involved in the restaurant industry, not to mention those in the wine and beer industry, are clearly going to feel the impact of this.

During their campaign, the Liberals promised to reduce small business taxes. In fact, they did that to match what the other parties were saying, and then once they formed government, they reneged on that promise. Now they are hitting small businesses with this additional tax.

Those are just three areas, because I have limited time. I want to focus a little on one other chilling aspect of the budget document. In committee yesterday we were going through the budget implementation bill. There is an important division to which I would draw all members' attention: part 4, division 2, under the title “Public Debt”, “Enactment of Borrowing Authority Act”. What this particular division does is allow the government to go out and borrow up to a maximum. This particular bill, and it is right here in the bill, allows the government to borrow up to $1.3 trillion. We are talking trillions here.

That covers the current debt, which is almost $700 billion today. It covers some $275 billion in debt that crown corporations have incurred. Then there is a bunch of provisions in there, the differential of some $300 billion for future debt and also for a contingency fund.

Let us just take a minute and talk about our debt situation. The member for Louis-Saint-Laurent has asked the Minister of Finance on numerous occasions—I think it is up to 25 or 30 times—when we are going to balance the budget. He refuses to answer that question. We have to assume that he is refusing to answer the question because his finance officials were correct when, the day before Christmas, they released a document that said we will not balance the budget until 2055.

What does that mean to Canadians? First of all, it means that we currently pay $25 billion a year in interest payments alone, and that is only going to go up. What does that mean to an individual Canadian? It means that each Canadian owes $17,563, and it means that, in the 10 minutes that I have been speaking, our debt has gone up by another $0.5 million. That is the seriousness of this particular strategy of the federal government.

I could go on for quite some time, but while I am up, I also want to put my stake in the ground, as the member for Bow River has done. Within the budget, the federal government has said it is going to consult on the proposed tax changes for the farming community. If this is the consultation process, let us be on the record to say that, clearly, this is not something that the federal government should be doing. I hope that when it comes forward in the fall, common sense will prevail and this is one that it will back off on, along with the petroleum drilling incentive that it is planning to cancel.

I will sum up with one—

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / noon
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the member talked about jobs in the natural resources industry, and I would like to put a challenge to him. In a year and a half, this government was able to not only put in place a process that would take both the environment and economics into consideration in the development of pipelines, but we were also successful at getting pipelines to tidewater. Something the Harper government failed to do in over 10 years we were able to do in a year and a half.

The member made reference to the small business tax, along with small businesses. I would be interested in his thoughts on that. Liberals and the minister have recognized that small business is the backbone of Canada's economy, and one thing we did through a middle-class tax cut was put hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of Canadians, thereby allowing a higher amount of disposal income. That means more consumer spending in small businesses.

Would he not agree that by putting more money into the pockets of Canadians, we are in fact supporting Canada's small businesses?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / noon
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Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I challenge the member to come to Alberta during the summer break. I will take him to Bruderheim and ask him to show me where those two pipelines actually start. There is no shovel in the ground.

The federal government has given approval, which was already given by the National Energy Board, and it cancelled the one that was ready for construction that the Conservative government had approved, called “northern gateway”.

Be careful what you ask for, Mr. MP.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / noon
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the member comparing this bill to a Seinfeld show. That can also be used to describe the government's legislative agenda for the spring so far. The government said we have had several days to debate this bill and completely ignored the fact that two of those days were a Wednesday and a Friday, for a grand total of an hour and 15 minutes on that one particular day.

I think the government is looking at the fact that we are in May and is getting quite worried, which why we are operating under the yoke of time allocation. This is all by the government's own doing. Liberals played games in the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs by not agreeing with the opposition and their entire legislative agenda for this term has been a train wreck, but it is all their own doing.

Would the member agree with me and maybe provide further illustrations of the Liberals' wrecked legislative agenda?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / noon
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Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more, and it scares me when I agree 100% with the member from the island, but I totally agree.

I think there is one factor at work here. I think the government wants to get this legislation passed and get out of here as quickly as it can, because it knows it is under attack and that the Ethics Commissioner is about to release her report on the Prime Minister's ill-fated Christmas vacation. The government is using closure, and I believe it will use it again in the finance committee, because when the member for Gatineau sat on the finance committee in the last go-round, he put forward a closure motion, so at the next finance committee meeting, I am expecting the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge to bring forward a closure motion.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully and would like the member to perhaps elaborate on the nature of the government's election campaign, in which it promised a one-time stimulatory deficit to fund real infrastructure. It won the election on that promise and on the promise to quickly return to a balanced budget. It completely abandoned these promises and has given us a structural deficit that will last until 2055. It is outrageous.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, what is even more outrageous is that most of those infrastructure dollars that have been budgeted are sitting there. They are not actually being deployed into communities. I cannot name one project in southwest Calgary that has been funded by the government that is under way. What is happening right now is that monies that the Conservative government allocated for things like the ring road are being used and the projects are actually taking place, and the Liberals are taking the credit.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it is my distinct pleasure to rise in this House to speak to budget 2017 and to talk about the positive impacts it will have in my riding of Brampton West.

Before I begin, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Finance for putting forward a budget that continues to help middle-class families and those working hard to join it. It builds on our ambitious last budget, and I have seen first-hand the impacts it has had on families in Brampton West and right across Canada.

One of the first things we did as a government was to lower taxes on our middle class and raise taxes for the top 1%.

Our Canada child benefit has helped thousands of families in my riding of Brampton West. I hear this constantly from my constituents, who have benefited from this policy. It has helped them enrol their children in summer camps or even put food on their table. This is real change.

Budget 2017 is the next step in our government's ambitious plan to make smart investments that will create jobs, grow our economy, and provide more opportunities for middle-class Canadians. I will focus on three aspects of the budget that are very important to my riding of Brampton West: health care, especially mental health and a caregiver tax credit; housing; and, finally, our youth.

I would like to speak about a particular family I met in my constituency office a few months ago, the Dhillon family. They were going through a very pressing time. They were extremely stressed, knowing that Mr. Dhillon's aging mother needed constant care. They told me that Mr. Dhillon had to quit his job so he could provide support to his mother in her deteriorating state. The cost of one income-earner not being able to work was great. We are seeing a similar situation today with families all across Canada.

Providing support to families in this situation is crucial. As a registered nurse and as the member of Parliament for Brampton West, I am proud to be part of a government that recognizes these extremely important challenges and takes action. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $6 billion over 10 years to provide Canadians with improved access to home, community, and palliative care services, as well as more support for caregivers. This means that more people will get the care they need in their homes and that more families will be getting more support from their government.

Right now Canadians who are caring for loved ones face a caregiver credit system that is very complex and difficult for families to navigate, so we have simplified it by introducing the Canada caregiver credit. This new non-refundable credit would provide greater support to those in need and would apply to caregivers whether or not they live with the family member who is receiving the care. This measure will provide $310 million in additional tax relief and will support families struggling to take care of their loved ones. I know how significant this investment is for families like the Dhillon family in my community.

Another reality that is far too true in our community and our country is the lack of support systems for mental health. I had the opportunity to participate on a ride-along with a Peel police officer in Brampton West last summer. During the one-night shift, we did about 15 calls, and 11 of those calls were related to mental health. That is a sad reality in our communities.

While great strides have been made to improve our understanding of mental illness and its impact on people's lives, wait times to see a mental health specialist in certain regions of our country can range up to 18 months. That is just completely unacceptable. That is why I am extremely proud of budget 2017, which will invest $5 billion over 10 years to support mental health initiatives. These investments will have a significant impact in Brampton West and all across Canada. Improved access to mental health supports will result in improved health outcomes and shorter wait times for hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

We know this is just a start, and I would like to thank my colleague, the hon. Minister of Health, for the leadership she has shown on these very important issues.

I would like to now address how budget 2017 will improve access for Canadians to housing that is safe and affordable. It is an issue I hear about almost constantly in my constituency office. The rising cost of housing in Brampton results in many people not having access to adequate housing.

The wait time in order to get access to a subsidized unit within the Region of Peel is currently seven and a half years, which is one of the longest wait times in Ontario. I hear about seniors not being able to afford housing because they live on a fixed income. I hear about low-income families not being able to access social housing because of the long wait times, as I just stated.

I need to reiterate that all Canadians need and deserve housing that is safe and affordable. Without it, Canadians feel less secure, making it harder to accomplish every other goal, from raising healthy children to pursuing education to getting good jobs and opportunities.

Budget 2017 would make a historic investment of $11.2 billion over 11 years to build, renew, and repair Canada's affordable housing and to ensure that all Canadians have their housing needs met. This would include $5 billion that would go toward our new national housing fund to address housing issues in our cities, including co-op housing.

An additional $2.1 billion over the next 11 years would go toward a homelessness prevention strategy, working with communities across the country to combat homelessness and to provide support to mitigate underlying issues that lead to homelessness.

Finally I would like to turn toward an issue that is very close to my heart, our youth.

I am very proud of our Brampton West youth council, which continues to advocate for issues that are important for the youth in my community. One of the issues that it has continued to raise is about uncertainty about the future, about lack of support to pay for college or university and then about finding good, well-paying jobs after their education.

I am also very proud to report that Brampton will be home to a new Ryerson University campus soon. That is why investments in post-secondary education are essential to my community in Brampton West.

Budget 2017 is investing in post-secondary education, making it more accessible and affordable, building the skills for tomorrow, and helping youth gain the work experience that they need to succeed.

We are investing $12.5 million over six years for a pilot project to explore new ways to increase awareness for the Canada learning bond and to reduce barriers to access among low-income families.

We are also investing $59.8 million over four years and $17 million per year ongoing to expand eligibility for Canada student loans and grants for students in part-time studies to help even more students qualify for student financial assistance.

To build the skills of tomorrow, we are committing $10.8 million over five years for hands-on learning experiences to introduce diverse groups of young Canadians to the power and potential of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, as well as investing $50 million over two years for a program to provide coding and digital skills education to more young Canadians.

To help youth gain work experience, there will be an investment of $395 million over three years in the youth employment strategy for additional employment and skills development opportunities for our youth. These investments will ensure that our youth are able to access every opportunity possible now and in the future. I am extremely proud of that.

These are just some of the initiatives in budget 2017 that will have a significant impact in my community of Brampton West. I am very proud of our government, our finance minister, and our Prime Minister, who really listened to Canadians and put forward a budget that has taken steps to address the real challenges and issues that every Canadian faces every day.

I am proud to support this budget on behalf of the constituents of Brampton West and I hope that my hon. colleagues from across the country will do the same.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the member was in the House this morning when the Minister of Finance was giving his rationale as to why the Liberals needed to invoke closure on the budget bill. One of his reasons was that Canadians are becoming impatient and want to see this budget take effect. I would have to say that Canadians are not impatient but are actually extremely apprehensive.

The middle class and those working hard to join it know that they are facing greater debt because of the actions of the current government. They know that their Canada child benefit, which is supposedly more, is actually outweighed now by the loss of tax credits, the increase in taxes on small business, and the increase in fees. They know that the tax break for middle-income Canadians that was done on the backs of the wealthy 1%, which was supposed to be revenue-neutral, is costing taxpayers $1 billion annually. Therefore, they are very concerned about the budget. They are apprehensive, not impatient.

There are the controls on the parliamentary budget officer, concerns about the infrastructure bank, commitments to DND that are now in the air so that we do not see where the money is, and now, $1.3 trillion in borrowing. How will this budget impact the apprehension of Canadians?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Kamal Khera Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague asked many questions. I will try to summarize, as I did in my speech, all the significant steps our government is taking to address the real challenges Canadians are facing every day and how badly we need these changes implemented so that my constituents in Brampton West, and Canadians all across the country, can benefit.

Again, I encourage all members in this House to vote in favour of our budget. That is what Canadians expect of us. That is what Canadians elected us to do. We will continue to work extremely hard for all Canadians.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.

However, I cannot understand why the Liberal government is imposing closure on an omnibus that is full of bad news for Canadians.

I would like someone to explain the Liberals' change in strategy. During the election, they said it was the right time to borrow money to invest in our public infrastructure now that interest rates are so low. However, they never said they were going to use so much private sector money. They are essentially privatizing our infrastructure.

Why are they giving private investors a 7% to 9% return on their investment when we were told they were going to borrow money at a 2% interest rate? It makes no sense.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Kamal Khera Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous government, our goal is to support our municipal and provincial partners to support the infrastructure they need. We have put forward an ambitious plan. More than $180 billion would be invested in our infrastructure. It would include investing in housing, child-care spaces, public transit, and clean infrastructure.

I was very proud to announce, with all my Brampton colleagues, an investment of over $30 million in the city of Brampton a few months ago. It has helped the city get more buses and build more shelters and has tremendously impacted the commuters and residents of Brampton West.

Our government believes that we can do more for our municipal and provincial sectors by engaging the private sector, and that is exactly what we are doing.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am going to address my comments to the unacceptable use of time allocation in this debate and put to her, and hopefully to her caucus, the reality of the consequences. The citizens of my riding have rights equal to those of the citizens of Brampton West. Saanich—Gulf Islands citizens do not entertain second-class status. However, unfortunately, I have been informed that due to time allocation, I will not be allowed to speak to this bill. I will not have an opportunity at this moment to speak to this bill. We heard the Minister of Finance say that a number of Conservatives have spoken and a number of New Democrats have spoken. Can the hon. member find it in her heart to ask the members of her caucus to give up one of their speaking slots so that I might have a chance to comment on this bill?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Kamal Khera Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for all the hard work she does on behalf of her constituents.

I described and discussed the budget in my speech and the significant steps our government is taking to address the real challenges facing Canadians every single day. I encourage members to send this bill to committee. We can then hear from witnesses and let the committee do the important work it is mandated to do. I am not sure about the procedure, but there may be a possibility at third reading of the bill of having the hon. member speak.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to discuss our government's plan to build a stronger middle class through what I see as a three-pillar approach. It is an approach that includes investments in infrastructure, a focus on innovation to ensure that our economy continues to unlock new possibilities, and the final pillar, continuing investments in lifelong learning and skills training for Canadians to help them succeed in an evolving 21st century job market.

Budget 2017 would continue our government's bold vision for a more prosperous Canada and a brighter future for all Canadians, including the residents I have the privilege of serving in the riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge. Bill C-44, the budget implementation bill, would ensure that the plan laid out in budget 2017, a plan to strengthen the middle class and to help those working hard to join it, is fully implemented.

Bill C-44 contains a number of measures I am particularly proud of and represents my core values of compassion, inclusiveness, and a desire to ensure a better future for my children.

Measures in the budget include our government's commitment to provide stable, predictable, and longer-term funding for all provinces for home care and mental health care services over the next 10 years. In my province of Ontario, the home care and mental health care funding component would amount to a $4.2-billion investment over 10 years, which would improve access to home care, home-based palliative care, and community-based care.

In addition, Bill C-44 would introduce a new Canada caregiver credit and would change the employment insurance caregiver benefit. The new Canada caregiver credit would simplify existing tax measures for caregivers by replacing the existing caregiver credit, the infirm dependent credit, and the family caregiver tax credit with a more inclusive and enhanced benefit. This new credit would be better targeted and would extend tax relief to some caregivers who may not have currently qualified due to the income level of their dependents. The fiscal impact of this measure over the next four years would be $310 million to Canadians in this situation.

In addition, Bill C-44 would create a new employment insurance caregiver benefit. Presently, EI benefits are available to eligible caregivers in cases where a loved one is gravely ill and at significant risk of death or where a child is critically ill or injured. However, the existing provisions miss a lot of Canadians who provide informal care for seriously ill family members.

I am very proud to say that budget 2017 would dedicate nearly $700 million over five years to create a new benefit to assist caregivers. This new credit would cover a broader range of situations where adult family members are providing care to an adult family member who requires significant support to recover from critical illness or injury.

I wish to focus a majority of my remaining time and remarks on our government's historic plan for investments in infrastructure. It is a plan that would commit nearly $180 billion-plus in investments over the next 12 years. This significant investment would be guided by a firm principle that investing in Canada and Canadians from coast to coast to coast would create long-term economic growth, build inclusive communities, and support a low-carbon, green economy.

Our government was elected on a platform that committed to making significant investments in infrastructure, a plan that included the development of an infrastructure bank. I am pleased to say that Bill C-44, the budget implementation act, would create the new Canadian infrastructure bank, which would oversee the investment of approximately $15 billion in infrastructure projects.

In my humble view, a view shaped by my nearly 25 years in the global financial services sector, the creation of the Canada infrastructure bank would provide the ability to accelerate and expand investments in infrastructure in Canada from coast to coast to coast by leveraging private capital.

Canada is blessed with a multitude of natural resources, but we are also blessed with significant human capital resources as well as financial institutions that manage literally tens of billions of dollars for Canadian pensioners from coast to coast to coast.

In Ontario, firms such as the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, OPTrust, the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, and OMERS collectively manage hundreds of billions of dollars for pensioners. These are globally respected firms that employ Canadians. They provide ongoing benefits for their retirees, be it teachers, hospital workers, janitors, or engineers, who in turn support our economy with their spending. These institutions would be ideal partners for the infrastructure bank in undertaking strategic investments to help strengthen and grow the Canadian economy.

I cannot understate the importance of the Canada infrastructure bank as a new and innovative financing tool to help public dollars go further and to help build infrastructure projects in Canadian communities.

For Canada and all Canadians to succeed, we must be innovative. We must foster an economy that is flexible and adaptive and that responds to technological change and globalization, an economy that will lift literally millions out of poverty and not leave anyone behind. It is one of Canada's core national values, and our obligation as a government, to ensure that no Canadians are left behind and that they have the skills and tools necessary to thrive in the 21st century. The Canadian infrastructure bank would be a tool that would create good middle-class jobs and ensure a brighter future for all Canadians.

Let me say again that our plan to invest nearly $180 billion in infrastructure over the next 12 years is historic.

I would like to close by outlining some of our commitments contained in Bill C-44 and budget 2017. One is $29 billion for public transit to build new transit networks and service connections to get people to work and home again more quickly in the evenings to their families, or in my case, to my daughters' swimming lessons.

This year, the city of Vaughan and my riding will see the benefits of our government's infrastructure investments with the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension set to begin operation. The TYSSE is already transforming the city of Vaughan with the development of a revitalized city centre that will eventually be home to approximately 30,000 to 40,000 new residents and nearly 20 million square feet of new office, commercial, and residential space.

We would invest $26 billion in green infrastructure to ensure that all Canadians have access to safe water, clean air, and green communities. I am proud to state that we will ensure that all our children, including my two daughters, inherit a country cleaner and greener than we did.

Budget 2017 would deliver a further $25 billion for social infrastructure that would provide safe, adequate, and affordable housing as well as access to high-quality and affordable child care spaces. Our recent historic announcements related to housing would ensure that we would see inclusive growth that would enable all Canadians to step up and contribute to a brighter future for their families.

There would be $10 billion for trade and transportation corridors that would provide safe, sustainable, and efficient transportation systems and allow Canadian companies to access global markets, creating more high-paying jobs for middle-class Canadians.

Finally, our $2-billion investment in rural and northern communities would ensure that these communities would have the necessary resources, including broadband infrastructure, to help them succeed.

I am proud of our government's commitment to invest in infrastructure and the future of this great country. It is the right thing to do.

Bill C-44, the budget implementation bill, is the beginning of the implementation of budget 2017. It is the right legislation to ensure a stronger, more prosperous middle class, to ensure that those who are working hard to join it do so, and to ensure that all of our children, including my daughters, Natalia and Eliana, who are at school today, have a bright future ahead of them.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for talking about the budget implementation bill and in particular for talking about this new infrastructure bank.

Coming from the financial industry, the member should be well versed in how this bank would operate. From the outside looking in, it appears as though this bank would best serve Liberal fundraisers and hedge fund organizers and would really be another opportunity to pad the pockets of Liberal elites.

Why, instead of disbanding the Canada savings bonds program, would the Liberals not have chosen to build on that program, providing ordinary everyday Canadians, the middle class and those working hard to join it, instead of all the Liberal's billionaire friends, with an opportunity to invest their hard-earned dollars in Canada savings bonds, which could have funded this bank?

With interest rates the way they are at the banks today, a Canada savings bond that would generate the kinds of returns their Liberal buddies are going to expect could have served hard-working Canadians very well.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I became a member of Parliament and before I entered into financial services, I worked at McDonald’s as a kid. I worked at a pulp mill growing up in northern British Columbia, and I cleaned fish as a fish filleter in northern British Columbia. I know very well how hard Canadians work day in and day out, and I take great offence at this word “elite”. I am not an elite. I have worked very hard my entire life. My parents came here as immigrants, and we worked, whether it was cleaning or working at a fish plant, or whether it was my mother working as a dietician or my dad working at a pulp mill in northern British Columbia as a carpenter, a sheet metal worker, or a roofer. I take offence to that.

The infrastructure bank would invest in projects from coast to coast to coast. That is the target. We would leverage private capital to ensure that this was done in a way that respected taxpayers' dollars and respected Canadians' rights, and we would do it with institutions in Canada. That would allow us to undertake projects and accelerate investments in infrastructure.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was listening to my Liberal colleague who used the well-known expression “coast to coast to coast”. I would like members to think about the meaning of this expression, because people who live far away do not have the opportunity to speak in the House.

Nevertheless, there is one means available to them, and that is delegation. Canadians elect members to speak for them in the House. The government, however, is saying that it does not want to listen to them. It is imposing closure on perhaps the most important bill that will be passed this year. Not only is the budget implementation bill an omnibus bill—even though we were promised there would be no more of those—but, on top of that, the Liberals are invoking closure.

It is fine for them to say “from coast to coast to coast”, but democracy is important. I will join my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands in asking the government to revisit its position and to listen to parliamentarians. It is not true that after listening to only 39 or 40 members the government can make an informed decision in the interest of Quebeckers and Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-44 undertakes historic investments in health care and mental health care across Canada from coast to coast to coast.

A number of measures in the bill will help Canadians, whether it is the new Canada caregiver tax credit or improvements to EI. These measures will benefit all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Our investment in infrastructure will remain ongoing.

I have the privilege of sitting on the Standing Committee on Finance. We look forward to a healthy list of witnesses coming forward. We will study the bill and we will do so in a prudent manner.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-44, the budget implementation legislation.

It is important to acknowledge that time allocation has been moved by the government on this bill. When the Liberals were in this section of the House of Commons, they screamed from the highest rooftops that this was undemocratic. They are moving closure at a record pace, even more than was done under the Harper administration, and that is unfortunate.

For the practical person who is watching the debate at home, this means some members will not have a chance to talk about how the budget will impact them, their ridings, and the country in general. Time allocation is done for expediency.

Bill C-44 is being called an omnibus bill. The omnibus approach is a lazy style of governing. The government does not have to move legislation through the proper parliamentary process and procedure in order to get it done. In layman's terms, it basically means the government is putting all kinds of things into one giant box and then shoving them out the door versus going through things individually and ensuring legislation is done properly. Over 30 pieces of legislation would be affected by the bill. This is not like setting up a household budget. This is about making strategic decisions with respect to the rules of how legislation goes through the House of Commons.

It is important for people to understand the necessary and proper planning process for certain legislation. Things will end up in the courts and will cost taxpayers more money. Things will not get the necessary review they need. Issues involving businesses, consumers, the environment will all be impacted by Bill C-44, because the Liberals are, quite frankly, lazy, and that is unfortunate.

Since the Liberals took office, their record shows that committees have been underutilized. That is because very little legislation has come to the House. Plenty of people and organizations want to provide input, but this denies them that opportunity to change things.

I want to talk about a couple of things in the budget bill that relates to issues on which I have been working. They are important not only to my constituents but to all taxpayers across the country.

Manufacturing is one of the issues on which I want to focus. Manufacturing in the United States and other countries around the world is seen as a key sector for national interests. An argument has been made for the national security of a nation state to have solid manufacturing in that country.

The Liberal government's approach to manufacturing has not been a healthy one. The Prime Minister went through southern Ontario. He singled out manufacturing in London, saying it was past what should be done and that we needed to find different ways. No one has ever argued against innovation and change. No one has ever argued against adding supplementary elements to our economy. However, we have always had to fight for manufacturing and we have seen great success from that fight. Our national coffers have been filed by the wealth from manufacturing over the last number of decades. To this day, manufacturing is over 10% of our GDP relating to what we can bring in as income.

On top of that, we have revenue from taxation that comes in from employees who work in the manufacturing sector as well as the taxes that come in from benefits in other types of support systems, which help people to have a decent job, to send their kids to college or university, to invest in a small business, or to get additional training for the future.

For nearly a decade, I have fought in this place for the automotive sector to be singled out for a specific manufacturing strategy, which has been done by most industrial states. The automotive sector is losing out in this budget by the mere fact that it is lumped in with other types of manufacturing or other types of initiatives, including agrifood. Both of these sectors deserve their own strategies.

Agrifood is another sector that relates to national security when we look at food safety, food management and economic development by having stability. Agrifood deserves its own separate strategy.

Manufacturing and auto, in particular, is lumped in again as opposed to a separate auto innovation fund designed specifically to meet some of the exciting challenges and opportunities in the automotive industry.

Before NAFTA, Canada was number two in the world in auto assembly and manufacturing. In fact, before we signed onto the free trade agreement with the United States, we had been very successful through a negotiated agreement called the Auto Pact. Assembly and manufacturing in Canada was at unprecedented levels because we tapped into the skill set of employees. We also exported automobiles to many parts of the world, but predominantly to the United States. We created quite a system of wealth, education, training, expertise, industrial development, and innovation that was critical.

With NAFTA, our Auto Pact agreement was challenged, and we lost it. At that time, the Liberals did not even bother to take us to a secondary challenge at the WTO. The government abandoned it. It is quite shocking in the sense that almost every other country will always fight to the end for something. Not only did the Liberals sign an agreement that killed our dominance in that industry, but they simply gave up. We have a historical problem with the Liberal Party.

The budget shifts away from a special $500 million fund. Then the auto parts manufacturing fund is being lumped together with other elements. To be fair, the government has increased the overall amount of money going into that fund, but it is very small compared to our competitors to the south, Mexico and other places in the world. However, it did go up somewhat. The problem is that the types of different qualifications of that fund have been opened up, instead of having a special designated fund with over $500 million for innovation, especially when we look at autonomous vehicles, hybrids and electric vehicles. Canada has not a had a greenfield, a brand new auto plant manufacturing development, in over 15 years, so there are significant challenges to begin with.

With all those things put together, we have abandoned that type of approach. I will still champion and continue to fight for auto manufacturing jobs and benefits, especially right now. Canadians want that. Canadians want to work in a stable employment environment that has decent wages for the amount of effort, education, and training they put into it. They would have benefits so they could live their lives and ensure that if they had health issues, they would be paid. They would have a value-added industry with a connection to personal relationships, the fact that they could take pride in the work they did and contribute to the overall economy. They would have accountability. Last year, so many workers did not come home safely from their job. Some children were left without fathers and mothers because of industrial accidents. In the past, jobs in the auto sector had some accountability and a working relationship to improve those things.

We have lost out on those types of opportunities because of a lack of industrial strategy. Canadians are asking for that. They want to be part of a greater communal effort to improve their quality of life and to raise the quality of life for the middle class. The budget fails in many respects because it has abandoned the strategies necessary to that.

When we look at the watering down that is taking place on this one specific element I have talked about in terms of the auto manufacturing issues, it is a missed opportunity given the industrial development and advances environmentally and economically in the industry, and because of that, I cannot support this budget.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in the recent Ontario economic outlook report that was published in February, pointed out that the major concern for small, medium, and large businesses in Ontario is recruiting staff. The top seven concerns included infrastructure investments and training of the workforce, among other things. We have invested quite a bit of money in innovation, which is going to replace some of the industrial jobs that we have lost in the past, but we will invest more in innovation and advanced manufacturing in this country. What is the member's comment on that?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great example of what has taken place in terms of the challenges we face. The problems of the Ontario Liberal Wynne government and the federal government are quite specific when we look at training. In my area, there is manufacturing and tool and die mould-making. The policies of the Liberals and their lack of support to keep a middle class working and functioning includes the offloading of training and education expenses onto students and young people to such a level that when they go into the workplace or get training, be it college or university, it has resulted in students paying for their education well beyond what their career could gain them once they actually complete their education.

It is a challenge to get workers into tool and die mould-making, which is actually getting a resurgence in my area, because the cost of their education is so high and burdensome that it intimidates them. Employers and the government need to do more to make sure students are not entirely burdened by this landslide of debt and prevented from actually entering the workforce.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, my friend from Windsor West and his party also campaigned on a balanced budget in the last election. I recognize that his riding is much like mine. There are two automotive assembly plants, a medium-sized truck assembly plant, and a lot of suppliers in that whole field in my riding. Very recently, General Motors announced the layoff of 600 people from one of those plants.

As his and my communities suffer under the Ontario Liberals and the high energy costs, I wonder if he, as I have, has wondered about all of the spending that the Liberals are so proud of. They have not talked about where the money is going to come from and which generations are going to end up paying for it. I wonder if he has any of those same concerns as we go forward. We need to take care of people today, but we also need to be concerned about the young people of tomorrow.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no question about the cost of borrowing. One has to look at why one is borrowing and what one is going to get in return. Similar to my constituents, the member's constituents will be very hard pressed to understand why some of these expenditures have taken place and at what cost. There are many policies of the Conservatives and Liberals with regard to manufacturing that I differ with. I believe in a sectoral strategy, which has been done in South Korea's automotive industry. We can look at what has been taking place in Germany, the United States, and Mexico. They have identified auto manufacturing as a specific strategy to actually set targets and numbers. Similarly, to reduce our debt, we have to set the targets, look at the benchmarks, and evaluate them. One of the key elements is to try to make sure there is going to be accountability for those things.

I could go on all day about the infrastructure bank alone and ask for unanimous consent to do so, but the lack of accountability will be its Achilles' heel because we will not be able to see what the value for money will be at the end of the day.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand today to speak in support of budget 2017, specifically in relation to Canada's youth and our young generation.

My riding of Mississauga—Erin Mills contains the renowned University of Toronto Mississauga campus. When we door-knocked and I met with constituents over the past year, one of the recurring themes that kept arising and continues to arise is the concern among our youth about their security in the future, their job prospects, and their career prosects. I am very happy that budget 2017 addresses all of this.

Young Canadians will be the ones who drive the future growth of Canada's economy, yet too many struggle to complete the education they need to succeed now and in the future. Even young Canadians who do well in school can find it difficult to get the practical work experience they need to find and keep good, well-paying jobs after graduation. To help young Canadians succeed, budget 2017 proposes a number of measures that will help create good, well-paying jobs and support young Canadians as they transition into the workforce.

Canadian youth have the talent and the drive to succeed in the labour market. To help them make the transition from school to work and get a strong start in their careers, the government invests in the youth employment strategy, a government-wide initiative to help support Canada's newest workers. Last year, the government announced new investments in the youth employment strategy and the Canada summer jobs program, which help to create short-term job opportunities for students between the ages of 15 and 30. This initiative specifically created hundreds of jobs for students in my riding of Mississauga—Erin Mills.

These investments are supporting the creation of over 5,000 opportunities for young Canadians under the skills link stream, which helps vulnerable youth overcome barriers to employment; nearly 2,500 new green jobs that help young Canadians learn about their natural environment and contribute to economic growth in the environmental sectors; and additional job opportunities for young Canadians to work in the heritage sector through the young Canada works program. To further expand employment opportunities for young Canadians, budget 2017 proposes to provide an additional $395.5 million over three years starting in 2017-18 for the youth employment strategy. Combined with budget 2016 measures, these investments will help more than 33,000 vulnerable youth develop the skills they need to find work or to go back to school; create 15,000 new green jobs for young Canadians; and provide over 1,600 new employment opportunities for youth in the heritage sector.

Budget 2017 presents youth with a new and ambitious approach to work-integrated learning. Co-operative education and work-integrated learning programs such as the ones offered by various universities in Canada are a proven way for students to get the work experience they need to build their resumés and build a network of professional contacts. To create new co-op placements and work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM for short, and business programs, budget 2016 provided $73 million over four years for job-creating partnerships between employers and interested post-secondary institutions. This investment is expected to create up to 8,700 new work-integrated learning placements over the next four years, making more opportunities available to young women and men interested in STEM.

Young Canadians are curious, talented, entrepreneurial, and well educated. These are traits that make them well positioned to deliver the next great breakthrough in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In order to unlock this potential, young Canadians need to have equal access to the formative experiences that can spark new ideas and inspire careers in these important fields. This is especially true for those young Canadians who are traditionally under-represented in the STEM fields, including women and indigenous peoples.

The PromoScience program helps to introduce diverse groups of young Canadians to the power and potential of these exciting fields through hands-on learning experiences such as space camps and conservation projects. To support these efforts, budget 2017 proposes to invest $10.8 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, to allow PromoScience to support more STEM learning activities for Canadian youth, in particular, under-represented groups.

Teachers also play an important role in keeping students engaged in formal STEM learning and in developing the culture of innovation that Canada needs today and in the future. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $1.5 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, to expand the prime minister's awards for teaching excellence, to include 17 new STEM-themed awards. These awards will recognize teaching excellence and allow for broad sharing of teaching practices at the national level.

To help more Canadians learn about and celebrate extraordinary accomplishments in research excellence, budget 2017 also proposes to create a new prime minister's gold medal. This award would recognize scientific excellence and bring greater international acclaim to Canadian scientists and researchers.

To create even more work-integrated learning opportunities for Canadian students, the government announced it would renew and expand federal funding for Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that builds partnerships between industry and educational institutions. Budget 2017 proposes to provide $221 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, to achieve this goal and provide relevant work experience to Canadian students. This investment in Mitacs' work-integrated learning programs would help deliver 10,000 internships per year to post-secondary students.

Meric Gertler, the president of the University of Toronto celebrated this investment and added, “The Government of Canada is to be commended for this investment in Canadian talent through Mitacs. It will provide career-building opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and top-quality expertise for businesses and other organizations. These are key factors in building our country’s capacity for innovation and in driving our long-term prosperity.”

In addition, budget 2017 is set to renew investments in Pathways to Education Canada. Each year, too many young Canadians drop out of high school, often because they do not have access to the basic supports needed to succeed in school. To help these young students, the government provides support to Pathways to Education Canada, a charitable organization that helps youth in low-income communities across Canada complete high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education and employment.

Budget 2017 proposes to renew the government's support for Pathways to Education Canada by providing $38 million over four years, starting in 2018-19. With this renewed funding, Pathways to Education Canada would provide more vulnerable youth with the supports they need to succeed in school, including tutoring, career mentoring, and financial help, such as scholarships and internships.

Furthermore, budget 2017 provides solutions to reducing employment barriers for first nations youth living on reserve. First nations youth on reserve face unique challenges to enter the labour force. It is important that youth have the supports they need to access employment opportunities so they can begin careers that will benefit them over the course of their lifetimes. To help first nations youth acquire better pre-employment skills, access education and training, and overcome barriers to employment, budget 2017 proposes to invest $39.2 million in 2017-18 to provide case management services for youth living on reserve.

Budget 2017 takes the next step in the government's long-term economic plan, understanding that in the face of unprecedented change, a confident Canadian middle class and an empowered youth will always be the beating heart of our country and the engine of our economy.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her interesting and important speech.

My colleague emphasized youth and the young generation. We agree it is important to invest in them. However, we do not share the same attitude of the government because, when it borrows money, the bill will be paid by the next generation. If it cannot pay its bills today, it will be our children and grandchildren, many of whom are not born yet, who will have to pay for its misjudgement. I would like the member on this side to explain how the government can be so concerned about youth when it will be handing them a bill for its bad administration, with huge deficits, three times what was expected. She was elected under the oath of a $10 billion deficit, and now we are talking about $30 billion. She was elected on a zero deficit by 2019, and we are now talking about a zero deficit by 2055. How can she deal with that?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government believes that Canadians are strong, and we need to provide them with the foundation to help continue to build our country. Budget 2017 is an investment into our future. It is an investment into the Canadian people and our middle class. When we empower our youth, when we empower our middle class, we will help our nation prosper.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, through you, I would like to put a question to the member. I appreciate her putting the emphasis on the value of education. However, what is a great disappointment to aboriginal children in this country is that the government has taken the position that it does not have to respond to the directives of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It is astounding that it would take that position. It is greatly disappointing for all of the children in Canada who stood up to say that aboriginal children should have the same right of access to quality education as other children in this country.

The government has decided, yet again in this year's budget, not to ensure the same equal access to services and education for aboriginal children as other children in the country have. What is the member's response to that? Does she agree with her government that it does not have to comply with the determination of the Canadian Human Rights Commission?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government has made it very clear that we stand for the rights of aboriginal people in our country, and we will do what it takes to make sure that equal access is provided. Therefore, budget 2017 makes major investments into aboriginal youth to ensure that their education is preserved and that they are also able to prosper and become part of a working economy here in Canada. We look forward to working with all members in this House to continue to work for all people of Canada, including our aboriginal communities.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like the member to go further into the discussion about the investments that our government is making, the investments in education, investments in STEM, which she mentioned, and the investments in child care and support, which will help get people of all genders working on behalf of Canadians and their own prosperity, as well as the prosperity of our country.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for giving me the opportunity to continue to comment on this important topic.

As the census results came in for 2016, I found that there were approximately 3,000 more women than men in my riding of Mississauga—Erin Mills. Therefore, I am very happy with the great initiatives that this government has taken ensuring further equality in our workforce, making investments with respect to STEM, and ensuring that our diversity of opinion is also reflected in the great work that is done by Canadians in this important field of STEM.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, I am pleased to take this opportunity to thank the voters of my riding for giving me the responsibility to represent their interests in the political affairs of our nation. While my constituents are pleased with the calibre of representation they receive from their federal member of Parliament in Ottawa, their worst fears are being realized by an arrogant Prime Minister who is totally out of touch with the concerns of average, everyday Canadians.

What Parliament has before it today with Bill C-44 is more than 300 pages of out-of-control spending to implement another deficit budget that promises to mortgage the future our children, their children, and the generation after that. For a government that claims to be implementing its election promises, I have yet to be shown where the promise of budget deficits until maybe 2055 was told to voters. The worst parts of this budget are the huge deficit and that it continues to fail veterans. The Liberal Party talked a mean game when it preached to have empathy for veterans.

Unfortunately, the biggest failure of the government, after cutting $12 billion from the defence budget, was not insisting on the resignation of the Minister of National Defence. The minister has disgraced his office, his comrades, and his position. This is a deplorable situation. He lacks the courage to even provide a real explanation for his repeated need to embellish the truth, and he lacks the courage to do the right thing and fall on his sword, which is what honourable soldiers would do if they found themselves in the situation of the Minister of National Defence, which is entirely of his own making.

The Prime Minister has, with his deficit budget, betrayed soldiers and veterans like Warrant Officer Roger Perreault. Unlike the Minister of National Defence, for whom stolen valour was his way to curry favour with his boss Gerald Butts, who is the architect of the Green Energy Act in Ontario and who provides the talking points for the Prime Minister, Warrant Officer Perreault is a Canadian hero. He was critically injured serving his country in Afghanistan.

On February 8, I posed a question to the government on behalf of Warrant Officer Roger Perreault, a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, regarding his eligibility for the critical injury benefit. Unlike the current defence minister who prefers to embellish his service record, Officer Perreault was an Afghanistan veteran who, in the process of serving his country honourably, was critically injured by a roadside bomb. He is being denied the critical injury benefit, being told that at age 46 his injuries are the result of his body wearing out. It is unbelievable. Rejected by the Liberal government for the critical injury benefit in March 2016, he appealed that decision, only to be denied his next appeal.

Veterans are not interested in hearing how many new bureaucrats have been hired or that empty offices are being opened in a government-held riding. Veterans want action. What happened to the election promise to draw, from all circumstances of a veteran's case and all the evidence presented to the government, every reasonable inference in favour of the applicant? Warrant Officer Perreault and other Afghanistan veterans are the real Canadian heroes. Let us start treating them like heroes.

Budget 2016 marked the beginning of a second Liberal era of darkness for Canada's women and men in the Canadian Armed Forces. The decision to relocate or re-profile—which is Liberalspeak for cut—$8.5 billion in defence allocations in budget 2017, in addition to the previous cuts, confirms the worst fears of our women and men in uniform. Canada's veterans are being told that they should just wait, that tomorrow and the next budget will fix everything. It is the tomorrow budget, but tomorrow never comes. It is a false economy to plan on denying veterans benefits with the expectation that the veterans will eventually give up fighting for what they are entitled to receive.

In addition to the treatment of veterans, this budget fails Canadians by what it hides from Canadians. What is not explained to Canadians with this budget, and so much of what the government is doing behind the backs of Canadians, is the real impact of plunging this country into a series of massive deficits in pursuit of agenda 2030: the radical UN climate agenda that is bankrupting individual Canadians and causing massive financial hardship.

Canadians are asking where the line item is in this budget bill to compensate for losses, damages, and the destruction of private property due to environmental policies that have not been properly costed, including a proper cost-benefit analysis.

Canadians are being misinformed that radical environmental policies are necessary to save Canada and the world, with no explanation of cost or whether many of these policies are really necessary or just another tax grab, like the Liberal carbon tax.

Residents in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke are only now finding out about plan 2014, after reading about it from American media sources, which has forced some media in Canada to report about it. Plan 2014 was an agreement signed by the dying Obama U.S. administration after the recent American U.S. election but ratified before the new president had taken office. It was signed on December 8, 2016, the day the lame duck U.S. vice-president, Joe Biden, showed up in Ottawa for a visit shrouded in secrecy and speculation as to the true nature of his trip.

Plan 2014 was never brought before Parliament. There was no discussion or debate regarding the cost, including who would pay for the losses. The plan contains no promises or built-in provisions for more federal or state aid to deal with problems it might cause. This treatment is quite different from the treatment given by the Liberal government and the finance minister to nations in Africa, who are given billions of Canadian dollars, taxpayers' dollars, to fight climate change in their countries. The official readout for Biden's Ottawa visit stated “combating global climate change” and other things.

The plan 2014 agreement changes a regulating system that had been in place on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River since 1958. Plan 2014, which is designed to more closely mimic the lakes' natural ups and down, adds muskrats, fish, and other wildlife to the list of interests regulators must now consider when they decide how much water to release.

The new regulation blocks the flow of water through the Moses-Saunders dam located on the St. Lawrence River between Cornwall, Ontario, and Massena, New York. By blocking the flow of the St. Lawrence, the entire Great Lakes watershed has now backed up. One of its many goals is to create 64,000 acres of wetland to fight climate change. Another goal is to increase hydroelectric power.

The mismanagement of the electricity sector in Ontario is well documented. The Province of Ontario has been politically interfering with the water dams that produce electricity to pay for its failed energy policy by holding back too much water in the reservoirs. With too much water in the reservoirs, there was no place to accumulate the winter melt and any additional rains from the late spring. This is backed up in the Ottawa River watershed and into the St. Lawrence, flooding Montreal as well as the Ottawa Valley and the Great Lakes.

The combination of Ontario's failed electrical policies and the decision by the government of the Ottawa Liberals to change a 59-year-old water agreement between Canada and the U.S. has created a manmade crisis. We had a late spring, and we have the perfect storm of incompetence.

Climate change gets blamed for everything these days, including the deficit budget. The Liberal government in Ottawa has adopted the practice of the Liberal Party in Toronto in blaming every bad policy as necessary to fight manmade global warming. Taxpayers have every right to be skeptical.

Flooding in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke is beyond crisis, as residents watch their front yards turned into wetlands. On behalf of the flooded residents, I contacted the Minister of National Defence, who was too busy sandbagging calls for his resignation to respond to the cries for help to fill sandbags to hold back the rising waters. There is no doubt that, had the Liberals responded to my call for help back on April 21 with a flooding crisis, the damage and destruction could have been reduced.

The bill to the federal and provincial Liberal governments, who share blame for this crisis, will be substantial. Will municipalities be expected to borrow from the Liberals' infrastructure bank, which is referred to in this legislation, to rebuild the destruction of the infrastructure, taxpayers borrowing their own tax-paid dollars and then paying $9 billion in interest payments?

Bill C-44 is filled with distorted incentive, blame avoidance, credit taking, ideological policy, finger pointing, and the competitive and duplicative provision of programs in popular spending areas. It is time to send budget 2017 back to the drawing board.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am always intrigued when the member opposite delivers a speech. I reflect on the days when she was in government and had to criticize something, so she criticized the provincial government because it was Liberal. If it is not Conservative, it is bad, bad, bad. I think that is the message the member gets across better than any Conservative, New Democrat, or Bloc member. If there is a dark side to anything in life, the member has a way of pulling it out.

I have a challenge for the member. I have listened to many of her speeches. Is there anything at all that she believes is remotely positive in this budget from her perspective? Canadians as a whole understand, appreciate, and support this government's budget, but it seems she may be the only one in the country who might not have a positive thing to say about the budget or maybe even life in general. I wonder if she could say something positive about it.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have to thank the member opposite, my biggest fan in the House, for his elocution. In any case, I always look forward to his being in the audience to make sure I can draw further attention to the important points that I make.

With respect to the provincial government, that was a warning to the people who were about to go to Ottawa, because the actual architect of the green energy act is now the key adviser to the Prime Minister, and he is driving this country into the hole just the same way he drove Ontario into the hole.

This is not just my opinion on this budget. I talked to constituents and asked for feedback. They gave me the five worst things about the budget. Number one is it betrays veterans. Number two is electronic T4s, because they do not have any faith in the government's being able to stop hacking. Next was student loans for non-citizens, then raising the takeover review threshold, and then the infrastructure bank, where we pay interest on borrowing dollars that taxpayers already put into that bank.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are many sawmills in my riding. We are talking about the budget, but, unfortunately, I will not have the opportunity to speak about it because the government moved a time allocation motion.

A very important issue was not addressed in the budget, even though we have been asking the government to prepare for it for over a year and a half. The sawmills in my riding are on the verge of a crisis. They may even have to shut down because of the surtax, the countervailing duties, currently being imposed. This will have a negative impact on workers. The government keeps boasting that it is working for the well-being of the middle class, but what are we supposed to tell these people when the government did not include anything in the budget in preparation for this crisis?

There is a major crisis with regard to supercalendered paper, for example, which is very heavily taxed. Two plants, one in Dolbeau-Mistassini and one in Kénogami, will have to close their doors in the coming year. This is a federal tax and, if the federal government does not assume its responsibilities, then thousands of people in my community are going to lose their jobs.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks about the government's inaction in this budget.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it was apparent that there was not going to be a deal in time and that the countervailing duties were about to come down, my office received a call saying we would get help for all our unemployed forestry workers. That is not the answer we wanted.

In eastern Ontario, parts of Quebec, and parts of northern Ontario, our chief production is white pine and red cedar. Those products should never have been put into the softwood lumber agreement in the first place. Softwood lumber was for construction lumber. White pine and eastern red cedar are specialty woods. They were thrown into the agreement, and now here we are, asking again to have exclusions for these species.

I want to thank the hon. member for providing me with the opportunity to talk about this important industry. At the end of the day, the Province of Ontario keeps on shrinking the footprint of areas where forestry workers can actually harvest forests. We have the model of sustainable forestry for the world—for every one tree harvested, three are planted in return—but the federal government is not interested. It said from the outset that it wanted to change from being a resource economy to a Google economy.

In any case, the Liberals do not care about forestry workers, and that is the bottom line.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is always a privilege and an honour to rise in this House, especially when we get an opportunity to speak to budget 2017, Building a Strong Middle Class.

Our government has been hard at work ensuring that Canadians in the middle class and those working hard to join it have the policies that put Canadians first, but today I want to speak about things that in a changing economy can have a real impact on the lives of Canadians and how our budget is going to help Canadians thrive over the long term. Our success as a country will be determined by our ability to prepare for and adapt to these changes to grow and strengthen the middle class and those working hard to join it.

As a large country that relies on trade for its economic success, Canada needs to ensure that people and products can move quickly and safely, whether from home to work or from harvest to warehouse. The success of many companies depends on high-quality transportation infrastructure to get goods to market.

Here are some names in the agrifood sector in Brampton that members may recognize: the Coca-Cola bottling group, Maple Lodge Farms, Loblaws Companies, Italpasta, Sun Rich Fresh Foods, Maple Leaf Canada, Bacardi Canada, and Frito-Lay Canada.

As announced in the 2016 fall economic update, this government will invest $10.1 billion over 11 years in trade and transportation products. This investment will build stronger and more efficient transportation corridors to international markets and help Canadian businesses to compete, grow, and create more jobs for Canada's middle class. As part of the $10.1-billion investment, we will launch a new national trade corridors fund to prioritize investments that address congestion and bottlenecks along vital corridors and around transportation hubs and ports that provide access to world markets. Building on Transport Canada's gateways model, this fund is expected to target congestion and inefficiencies at marine ports as well as along the busiest rail and highway corridors to ensure that small- and medium-sized businesses in Brampton can produce in Brampton but have access to markets all around the world.

An additional $5 billion or more would be provided through the Canada infrastructure bank to address trade and transportation priorities. In addition to identifying priority investments that would help streamline transportation along Canada's major trade corridors, the fund would look for ways to improve the flow of supplies to northern communities, which is important, and unlock economic development in Canada's three territories and create more well-paying middle-class jobs.

As elsewhere in this country, there are countless people in Brampton who drive trucks to and from our southern neighbour to support their families. Their livelihoods depend on a transportation sector, a booming economy, and a strong trade relationship with the U.S.

Expanding Canada's trade links requires an important discussion around our economic success. Strong trade relationships create more opportunities for middle-class Canadians to succeed and prosper. According to the Brampton Board of Trade, Brampton sees roughly $6.7 billion in goods sold to the U.S. Over 420 Brampton companies export to the U.S. and consider the U.S. to be their most important trading market, responsible for over 34% of their sales. That is why the government is engaging with the United States, with which we share one of the most successful economic relationships in the world, highlighting the fact that our strong interconnected trade relationship is balanced and beneficial to millions of middle-class families on both sides of the border.

We are also prioritizing trade and investment with key markets in fast-growing areas such as Asia, including with China, India, and Japan, to deepen Canada's ties with this continent and create jobs here at home. Succeeding in the global economy of tomorrow requires openness to the world and strategic partnerships. A key example is the March 22 announcement by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank that it has accepted Canada's application for membership.

Membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will help enable high-quality infrastructure and other development projects that would have benefits for people in the region, as well as for Canadians, by supporting inclusive sustainable economic growth in Asia and beyond. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $256 million over five years to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

When it comes to the engines that power our economy in Canada, Canada's agriculture and agrifood sector accounts for more than 6% of Canada's GDP and employs one out of every eight Canadian. The industry is strong, and in recent years farm revenues, annual exports, and farm incomes have reached record highs, but there is room for improvement, driven in part by the innovative potential of value-added products as the middle class grows in Asia and demand for food rises. Budget 2017 introduces a series of measures to help our agricultural producers and processors excel.

For over 15 years, federal, provincial, and territorial governments have relied on agricultural policy frameworks to promote a collaborative approach to agricultural programming that encourages investment, adaptation, and sustainable growth in the sector. These frameworks have provided the foundation for government agricultural programs and services.

The current agricultural policy framework is set to expire in March 2018. We are committed to working with provinces and territories to develop a new policy framework that supports sustainable growth, innovation, and competitiveness, and helps the sector to adapt to a technology-driven reality.

As part of the development of the next framework, which will be launched in 2018, we will consider the ways in which innovation in agriculture can help strengthen the sector as a whole and create more well-paying jobs for middle-class Canadians.

Brampton is part of the Ontario food cluster, the second-largest food processing cluster in North America. Ontario is home to more than half of Canada's food processing companies. Just a short drive from my neck of the woods, the Ontario food terminal is the largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution centre in Canada and the third-largest in North America, distributing an average of 5.4 million pounds per day.

As part of the innovation corridor, companies in Brampton, like Embassy Flavours, Zadi Foods, Hans Dairy, and KFI lncorporated would have the ability to rely on an innovative agrifood sector, a strong trade relationship, and dependable transit infrastructure. They rely on their governments for this.

That is why our government is taking a multi-faceted approach in budget 2017 to harness change for our benefit. When the middle class is strong and when people feel optimistic and confident about the future, Canadians can and will succeed. When middle-class Canadians believe their hard work can translate to a better life for themselves and their children and grandchildren, they become an unstoppable force.

We know that better is possible and we know the best way to deliver more prosperity to the greatest number of middle-class Canadians is by making smart investments in people and in the economy. The tools that are needed to help Canadians succeed and prosper over the long term are included in budget 2017.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Dianne Lynn Watts Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned the Asian infrastructure bank. Interestingly enough, the Obama administration and the former Conservative governments decided not to join the bank because it was not in the best interests of taxpayers. It is $1.3 billion that taxpayers are on the hook for, when direct funding through CETA guarantees Canadian involvement.

I am wondering, with $35 billion for the latest Liberal infrastructure bank and with the taxpayers at risk, why does he think this is a good idea?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague started off by saying that the previous Harper government decided not to join the Asia infrastructure bank. However, as she knows, on October 19, 2015, there was an election, and Canadians across the country overwhelmingly voted for change. What real change brought, as opposed to the last 10 years of the lowest growth in the country and lowest job growth in the country, was the highest increase in jobs. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the last eight years because of our investments in the economy.

The Canada child benefit that we implemented has been game-changing for families in Brampton East and all across the country, so we are going to continue to invest in middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join it. Our infrastructure investments are paying off by reducing the unemployment rate in our country, which is at 6.5%. We will continue to work hard to ensure that all Canadians looking for a job have a great one to go to.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has a lot to say about the infrastructure bank. In my riding, the Bagotville airport needs to be renovated and expanded because we want to bring in more tourists.

We want UNESCO designation for the fjord, and we hope the committee will support that. That designation is a global seal of approval. Expanding the Bagotville airport is critical to developing our tourism industry.

In the last election, the government campaigned hard on the infrastructure bank idea and went on and on about a huge infrastructure boom, but sadly that will not help Promotion Saguenay, nor will it get the Bagotville airport expanded. We will not be getting any help from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions either.

What does my colleague have to say to Promotion Saguenay about the fact that it will not be getting any help from the government or from the federal government program because there is no such help for it?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government has made record investments in infrastructure. The Canada investment bank will make a further investment of $35 billion over 11 years.

The NDP's rhetoric has always been about helping Canadians to prosper, about helping middle-class families get jobs that provide food on the table and clothes on their backs. The member opposite talked about infrastructure funding for her airport. I would encourage the member and her party to support our budget, because it invests in infrastructure at a record pace. We will continue to do this. We know that investing in Canadians and in the Canadian economy allows all Canadians to succeed.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech, reflecting the position of cabinet and those working hard to join it.

The member gave a reasonably good speech but better is always possible. It would have been good to hear about why the government supported the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The government can invest in infrastructure without giving the Chinese government complete control over where those dollars go. When it comes to accountability, when it comes to human rights, the way in which a bank based out of Beijing operates will be different. The previous American administration chose not to participate in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank precisely because of these concerns.

Why can the Liberal government not make infrastructure investments that do not involve the Chinese government calling the shots?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I generally do not agree on anything, and that trend continues today. He is a very nice gentleman and I wish him nothing but the best under the future leadership that is about to occur.

When it comes to infrastructure, we will not take lessons from a party that had 10 years in government to help build roads, airports, and transportation hubs in our country. We will ensure we invest in a globalized economy so countries know Canada is ready for their investments, that Canada is willing to ensure Canadians and hard-working small businesses have access to world markets.

When it comes to infrastructure, it is so important for us to ensure that the small manufacturers in Brampton have an opportunity to get access to world markets. That happens with sound, fiscally responsible infrastructure investment.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by saying that it is not in my nature to admit defeat at the outset, but this sure feels like an impossible task. I have 10 minutes to do an in-depth, detailed analysis of Bill C-44.

I will start with the title: an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017—so far, so good—and other measures. Obviously, those measures are not listed. I think a list of the measures that are not mentioned would be three or four pages long. This bill is 290 pages long and amends 30 separate acts.

Let no one think this is an omnibus bill. That was how the Conservatives did things. The Liberals will probably come up with some other name for it, but it is all the same thing.

Worse yet, if we in the NDP wanted to pool our resources together and tackle this budgetary measure, Bill C-44, together as a team, we would not be able to. Time allocation has been invoked, which means that many members of the House, who were elected to be the voice of their constituents in Ottawa, will not be heard yet again because apparently the Liberals have heard enough from us.

I am sorry, but we are light years away from a democratic measure and a democratic discussion or exchange worthy of this place. I will have to pick and choose from the items in this budget that I want to address.

When my speaking time is up, then I will give the floor to one of the few people who will have a chance to speak in the few hours remaining in this debate.

This bill contains not a single tax measure that would restore some semblance of balance among the citizens of this country. There has been a lot of talk about the middle class. The Liberals mention it in practically every paragraph. Strangely enough, those who are part of it are the ones who will be most affected. I have an example that illustrates my point quite well. I could go off on a long diatribe about how there is nothing in this budget to help people who, unfortunately, by a quirk of fate, lose their jobs at some point in their career and must relocate. The budget does absolutely nothing to establish fairer eligibility standards.

Over on this side of the House, we have often advocated for a single eligibility threshold of 360 hours. There is nothing on this in the budget. At present, six out of ten workers who pay premiums are not eligible for benefits when they need them. Let me remind the House that the government is not putting one red cent into EI.

The Liberals are very skilled at window dressing, and there really is something in the budget for employment insurance, in particular parental benefits. It is a well-intentioned measure that, in the end, does not amount to much. To create a better work-life balance, I suppose, and to allow parents who choose to do so to stay home longer after their children are born, they are now being told that parental leave will be flexible and can be extended. However, the amount of benefits they will get will not increase.

A parent can use their credit, if I can call it that, for up to 18 months and receive benefits equal to 33% of their salary. The parent can also choose to take 12 months off and receive 55% of their salary. Obviously, living on 55% of their income already requires substantial changes to their lifestyle in order to make ends meet every month. However, it is for a good cause, namely having a new child in the family and spending the first months, even the first year, with their child. That is important. That person is also prepared to make a certain number of sacrifices and adapt to the situation.

However, can middle-class people really afford to take 18 months of leave with 33% of their income? Once again, the government will claim over and over to have helped the middle class when the only ones who will actually be in a position to benefit from the measure are those who are wealthy enough to live off 33% of their income. This measure sounds good in theory, but in practice it is aimed at a completely different group.

I would like to draw members' attention to something else: the budget watchdog. It may not be the nicest expression, but it is definitely an accurate one. I am talking about the parliamentary budget officer. If there is one resource that is absolutely essential for all members of the House in order to fully grasp the measures that are put before us and to introduce effective checks and balances, it is the work of the parliamentary budget officer, who, in theory, is completely independent.

The parliamentary budget officer will now have to have his work plan approved by the Speaker of the Senate or the Speaker of the House. In theory, both are independent, but in reality, that is certainly debatable. According to the parliamentary budget officer's research, in the 17 countries with such an office, no such approval is required and political interference is not allowed. Once again, the Liberals have come up with a proposal that is novel, but not noteworthy.

The Liberals want to prevent the parliamentary budget officer from being a watchdog, as I mentioned earlier. For example, if this bill had already been passed, we would not have known that the Liberals' tax plan benefits the wealthy, nor would we have uncovered the real cost of the F-35s. Furthermore, individual members will no longer be able to ask the parliamentary budget officer to conduct research, which I feel is a disaster. As we know, sometimes there are important items that concern a riding or a very specific region, but not all of Canada, and which require study as though they were of general interest. I have some examples from my own riding, but I will not expand on them because my time is quickly running out.

To conclude on this point, I would like to quote Jean-Denis Fréchette, the parliamentary budget officer, who said: “I think this bill is problematic. I think it is weaker than the existing legislation.” He is more polite than I am, but that is understandable, given his position.

Regarding prior approval for the parliamentary budget officer's work plan, he said that he:

...can easily imagine that a Speaker might not approve a future parliamentary budget officer's decision to assess the fiscal impact of a controversial spending initiative because it would affect the Speaker's party's chances of getting elected.

Those are the parliamentary budget officer's words, not mine. He added that it was difficult to understand how the measure could really work in the interest of greater transparency and get us the results we need.

In the short time I have left I would like to talk about the cuts to international aid. We know that Canada is probably on track to achieve its worst record in international aid. The Minister of Finance announced not too long ago that organizations working in this area would just have to learn to do more with less. That is an old refrain that we have been hearing for ages, and apparently, it will not stop under this Liberal administration.

With respect to tax credits, there is an absolute abyss between what is in here for the middle class and what is in here for the wealthy. Instead of keeping the public transit tax credit, which helps everyone, the Liberals are getting rid of it, but big corporate CEOs get to keep their tax breaks. On the one hand, we have a legal loophole worth about $800 million per year, and on the other, we have a tax credit that truly is for middle-class people because they use public transit a whole lot more than CEOs do.

They are getting rid of a tax credit that cost about $200 million. If that is not a double standard, I do not know what it is.

Here is what Mark Hancock had to say about Bill C-44: “If you’re an infrastructure bankroller or a billionaire tax dodger, today is a good day. For working Canadians, not so much.”

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to listen to New Democrats talk about this issue. They say there should be more of a tax on Canada's wealthiest, but the facts speak differently. When the Government of Canada said it believed in Canada's middle class and was going to give Canada's middle class a tax break, the NDP voted no. When it came to putting a special tax on Canada's wealthiest, the NDP said no. That is the reality. That is black and white. That is in legislation and in the budget. Now the member talks about why Canada's wealthiest should be given special treatment.

Can the member explain to the House today why the NDP voted against the tax put on Canada's wealthiest one per cent?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, when I heard the first part of my hon. colleague's question, I was moved because it seemed like the Liberals were listening to the NDP. It finally dawned on me, however, that they are willing to hear our proposals, but not really listen. There is a difference between hearing and listening and I would love for that gap to narrow.

The measure to increase taxes on the wealthy was supposed to offset the tax cut for the middle class and those wishing to join it. Since its introduction, however, this measure alone has been costing us over $1 billion a year.

In other words, the government took a few dollars from the rich, but not enough for them to notice, in order to give that money to the middle class and charge the deficit to their children's credit card.

I think it is pretty clear why we voted the way we did. Let us not forget that the budget included a host of measures, not just one.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague referred to listening and hearing. My spouse reminds me often of that same listening and hearing skill.

This morning the minister talked about less than 12% of members having spoken to this bill, but he also suggested that Liberals had listened to some of the ideas from some of the members. With only that small percentage that he heard from, if we had longer to speak on it, not closure, there would have been more ideas to listen to, if we had the opportunity. What is the member's response to the closure motion and some of the good ideas that the minister said he had already listened to, and other members not having a chance to suggest more good ideas?

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I do not know his wife, but she seems like a wise woman. Unfortunately, like us and my colleague, she will not have the opportunity to be heard in the House.

I thought that no one would ever manage to beat the Conservatives' record for the number of time allocation motions moved during the previous Parliament, but the way things are going, I think that the Liberals may once again outdo the Conservatives and prove to be even more disgraceful than the Harper government.

Second ReadingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Don Rusnak Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in this House today and highlight the many positive investments budget 2017 makes in northern Ontario and how these investments would benefit the people who live, work, and play in Thunder Bay—Rainy River.

Our government is committed to moving forward on its plan to make a meaningful impact in the lives of northern Ontarians, and budget 2017 does just that. Under the previous government, significant cuts were made to FedNor, causing economic hardship across the region. With budget 2017, FedNor will receive a $25 million increase over five years to promote job creation and economic growth in northern Ontario.

Along with my colleagues in the northern Ontario caucus, I am pleased with the dedication to strengthening our economy and recognizing the key role our region plays in Canada's economy as a whole.

The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development also launched the prosperity and growth strategy for northern Ontario, a targeted approach to economic development through innovation. This strategy will focus on ways to build on the unique strengths and competitive advantages that northern Ontario has in mining, resources, and agriculture, among other sectors. The strategy will identify ways for these sectors to seize new opportunities in emerging industries, such as clean technology, and develop new businesses that will create the well-paying jobs of today and tomorrow for northern Ontarians.

This regional strategy for northern Ontario is part of the Government of Canada's innovation and skills plan, an ambitious effort to make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation that will create more well-paying jobs and grow the middle class. The goal of this plan is to encourage innovation and attract global investment in every region of the country. It will provide Canadians with the support they need, wherever they live and work, to continuously learn, enhance their skill set, and be equipped for the jobs of the future.

On top of this, budget 2017 invests $2 billion into infrastructure projects in rural and remote communities. This will have a real impact on families in Ontario's north. No longer will FedNor serve as a catch-all for projects in Ontario's north. This shift will free up important FedNor dollars that can then be invested in innovation and economic development, which is why FedNor was initially created. This is an important change in how our government addresses the needs in northern Ontario.

Growing our economy in northern Ontario also means investing in our people and making smart investments. Budget 2017 is assisting in transforming northern Ontario into a world-leading centre for innovation, creating more good, well-paying careers that will help strengthen and grow the middle class.

We are taking measures to ensure that our forestry industry is innovating and growing new opportunities for expansion, such as the partnership between Resolute Forest Products, FPInnovations, and Lakehead University at Resolute's facility in Thunder Bay.

Our government is also supporting early-stage mineral exploration through the extension of the mineral exploration tax credit. Budget 2017 will also create a new strategic innovation fund to attract, support, and grow Canadian businesses in areas such as agrifood, digital, clean tech, and advanced manufacturing.

Northern Ontarians also know the importance of having access to reliable, fast Internet. Our government is working hard to ensure people in Thunder Bay—Rainy River and across the country have access to high-speed Internet. Through budget 2017 we are supporting the affordable access program for low-income families, and the expansion of high-speed broadband for rural communities.

This is in addition to budget 2016's $500 million to support expansion of high-speed broadband for rural communities. This means that in the future families, individuals, and small business owners in Murillo, Kakabeka Falls, Barwick, Mine Centre, and across the riding will be able to enjoy the benefits of reliable and fast service that broadband provides.

When I was knocking on doors in Thunder Bay—Rainy River, many community members also expressed concern over access to health care services. Through health funding agreements with Ontario, we are providing additional support so families can get the mental health care and home care they need. We are also improving access to pharmaceuticals to help lower the cost of prescription medication and make sure people in Thunder Bay—Rainy River can afford medications.

Thanks to budget 2017, northern Ontarians will have better access to the health services they deserve. We are also working to create good, well-paying middle-class jobs.

Budget 2017 helps Canadians to get the skills they need through employment insurance without the fear of losing benefits.

We are also supporting greater career flexibility for parents of young children with the creation of up to 40,000 new early learning and child care spaces over the next three years. These investments are about growing the economy in northern Ontario, supporting families, and investing in our future.

I cannot speak to the positive benefits that budget 2017 has on my riding of Thunder Bay—Rainy River without noting the continued commitment this government has to renewing the relationship with Canada's indigenous peoples. Budget 2017 builds on the historic $8.4 billion investment in indigenous communities made by our government in budget 2016. We are improving access to primary care, mental health services, and home and palliative care, and providing greater support for maternal and child health for first nations and Inuit through an investment of $828.2 million over five years.

Budget 2017 also invests in protecting, preserving, and revitalizing indigenous languages and culture. I am especially proud of the investments budget 2017 makes in improving access to post-secondary education for indigenous learners. Our government has committed $90 million to improving the programs, which would provide more indigenous learners with the resources necessary to achieve their academic goals.

However, we did not stop there. Budget 2017 invested an additional $25 million over five years in Indspire, with an additional leveraging from the private sector of $15 million. Indspire is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to more than 12,000 indigenous learners, many of whom are ineligible to receive funding through other programs.

We have also invested in the aboriginal skills and employment training strategy, ASETS, to help them meet the growing demand from indigenous peoples for skills development and job training. Budget 2017 also renews support for Pathways to Education, which helps vulnerable youth in Ontario complete high school and successfully transition to post-secondary education and employment.

Not only do these investments in education mean more indigenous students will be attaining post-secondary success, but they also mean that our educational institutes in northern Ontario, such as Lakehead University, Confederation College, and Seven Generations Education Institute, will have more students to serve and our region will see more skilled workers enter the workforce. These investments demonstrate our government's commitment to closing the inexcusable educational gap that exists for indigenous Canadians and will mean a better future for all Canadians.

The well-being of our veterans is also a very important issue in my riding. I have heard from a number of vets in my riding about the positive impact the reopening of our Veterans Affairs office has had on their lives since the previous government closed the office. The government is committed to ensuring that we deliver the programs and services our veterans need as they transition from military to civilian life. However, there is still more work to be done.

Budget 2017 continues that work with support to ensure veterans receive the skills, training, and education they need to succeed; better support for the families of ill and injured veterans; and investments in mental health support for veterans at risk. This includes the creation of a centre of excellence for PTSD and related mental health conditions that disproportionately affect veterans and their families.

These are just some of the ways in which budget 2017 is addressing the needs of people in Thunder Bay—Rainy River, and I am proud to be part of a government that is focused on building a better Canada for all Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:25 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Animal Farm, which is an allegory for dictatorship, George Orwell said that all of the animals were equal but that some were more equal than others. It is the same thing in the House of Commons. All Canadians and the members who represent them are equal, but some of them are more equal than others.

I therefore find myself relegated to 34th place in the speaking order with only 10 minutes to speak about a mammoth bill that is 308 pages long. This will be the only opportunity the Bloc Québécois has to speak since the government has imposed a gag order. My colleague from the Green Party wanted to speak, but she will not be allowed to do so. All of this is because the rules were designed to serve a two-party system that has not existed for a long time. Under the circumstances, I will not be able to address all the issues.

As always, before the budget was tabled, the Bloc Québécois held consultations to identify Quebec's needs. I met with about 50 groups, including unions, students, municipal officials, environmental groups, community organizations, and people from the business community in both urban and rural areas. We clearly identified Quebec's expectations.

I informed the minister and his parliamentary secretary of these expectations two months ago today. As always, they were very pleased and interested, and as always they did not take any of this into account. Under the Liberals, consultations do not accomplish much. We saw this with electoral reform as well. When we moved from the Conservatives to the Liberals, we traded “shut up” for “keep talking”.

Just look at the health and education transfers. If there is one thing that everyone agreed on during our tour it was that we must preserve our public services. With the aging population, health care costs are rising and Quebec is under pressure. Starting this year, the transfers will no longer track the rising costs. In the end, it is clear that this will no longer balance. We are heading for permanent austerity where our most essential health or education services will be at risk of imploding.

However, the government chose not to listen. Quebec's health network currently costs roughly $90 million a day. Bill C-44 provides $69 million in funding for that network, or less than the cost of one day of operation. We are on our own for the rest of the year. Lucky thing it is not a leap year. Obviously we will not be voting in favour of this bill.

In addition, when it comes to infrastructure, the government pats itself on the back and announces huge amounts. In its “sunny” press releases, life is beautiful and the future is bright. In real life, things are not as much fun.

The federal government owns only 2% of public infrastructure. It is no expert at this. Cities, municipalities, and the government of Quebec are the experts. The only federal infrastructure program that might be effective is a program that transfers the money to the ones who are the experts and know how to manage it. The gas tax model works well that way. However, that is not what the government is doing.

Last year, the government announced more than $13 billion. It wrote lovely press releases and smiley face tweets. Life is beautiful. Earlier this year, however, the cat was let out of the bag. The parliamentary budget officer, the same one the government has muzzled with Bill C-44, informed us that only a third of the money had been spent.

Since Ottawa wants to stick its nose in everywhere and approve the projects one by one, everything has been frozen. Two-thirds of the money has stayed in Ottawa, and things are twice as bad and twice as slow in Quebec as elsewhere. Quebec has received only 12% of the money. What point is there in announcing amounts like that? That is half of what we were entitled to.

I would have expected the budget this year to resolve this situation, but no. With Bill C-44, the government is continuing its ineffective approach, and, even worse, it is adding fuel to the fire with its infrastructure privatization bank. That is another good reason to vote against this bill.

In their platform, the Liberals said that the government was going to offer municipalities its line of credit so they could borrow money at better rates. There is a little catch, however: their financial guarantee is being offered to the bankers. Bill C-44 is nothing but a tool for privatizing infrastructure. It is a goldmine for the Toronto financiers.

If the infrastructure projects show a loss, they are going to be able to draw on the guarantee of $80 billion of public funds. If they make a profit, they are the ones who will pocket it. In every case, whether we are talking about money from taxes paid by taxpayers, money that comes from tolls, or both, the money will land on Bay Street.

Bill C-44 socializes losses and privatizes profits and sends them to Toronto. When the government takes from the poor and gives to the financiers of Bay Street, we are not talking about Robin Hood; we are talking about the sheriff of Nottingham. No, we will not vote for that.

Bill C-44 disappoints me, particularly because there is so much about Quebec that is attractive. We are at the forefront of the green economy. The technological engine of Canada is in Quebec. We embody creativity. We represent the future.

Ottawa is holding us back. As recently as yesterday, this is what the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal had to say: “When it comes to the major strategic and economic issues, who is the voice of Quebec in Ottawa? For the moment, no one”. That was not the Bloc Québécois speaking; it was the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.

We will not vote for that. In fact, I wonder how the 40 Liberal members from Quebec, the 40 ghosts, will be able to justify their decision to support it. I doubt that a sunny press release and a smiley face will suffice this time.

Let us talk about the green economy for a moment. What does the budget offer in this regard? The government is cutting the $2 billion announced last year for “decarbonizing” the economy, including $750 million of it this year. What does the carbon tax in Bill C-44 look like? It is just as absent as the 40 Liberal members from Quebec.

When the government does something, it is to prevent Quebec from benefiting from its competitive advantages. An example is Muskrat Falls, which is now competing with us, and is a monumental $10-billion fiasco. It is a joke that is not even remotely funny, in addition to being very expensive.

When I say that Quebec is the technological engine of Canada, I am not exaggerating. Depending on the year, between 40% and 45% of Canada’s technology exports come from Quebec. At the forefront, of course, is the aeronautics industry. With the C Series, Quebec has joined the very select club of airliner manufacturers. This is a large project that is so ambitious that the development costs almost put the company into bankruptcy. When we needed Ottawa, it was missing in action. When it decided to do something, it came up with a pittance, and, even worse, it found a way to put two-thirds of its money into a project for Toronto. When Quebec is good at something, Ottawa tries to develop the same thing somewhere else in Canada, with our money.

In 1995, in the middle of the referendum campaign, Bombardier CEO Laurent Beaudoin wrote to his employees to tell them to vote no to Quebec independence. At the time, he said that Quebec was too small and a world-class company like Bombardier needed Canada’s support to expand. Times have changed considerably. We built the C Series ourselves, with no federal government help. In Ottawa, Quebec simply no longer exists. We therefore got to work and we succeeded, when we had only half a government to count on. Imagine what we could do with a real one.

However, there is not just aerospace. Canada has an economy of American subsidiaries. It is no surprise to see Bill C-44 raise the threshold for foreign investment review to $1 billion, since it wants more subsidiaries. Protecting head offices is not a Canadian priority. There is little innovation done by subsidiaries.

Whereas Canada has one of the least innovative economies in the OECD, Quebec innovates, invents, develops and creates. Our R and D intensity is almost twice that of the rest of Canada. There are lots of start-ups, with 2,500 young technology companies operating on the island of Montréal alone. Video games, information technology—there is plenty of creativity in Quebec. One might call it our modern version of the Mr. Fixit spirit.

There is also the whole field of artificial intelligence. The greatest genius in the Americas in this field is located in Montréal. Since he has trained many young people, a whole ecosystem of innovation is developing in this sector of the future. The big players like Google and Microsoft have realized that things are happening in Quebec, and so have opened offices there.

We are preparing to join the major leagues. We are close to being able to compete with Silicon Valley, so what does Ottawa do? It announces a pan-Canadian strategy to ensure that artificial intelligence develops elsewhere in Canada.

When the Ontario automotive industry was in need of a huge hand up in 2009, Ottawa did not develop a pan-Canadian super-strategy to bring back the industry in Quebec. It sent all the money to Ontario. However, when it comes to Quebec, things are done differently. When we want to develop our industries, Ottawa treats us like crybabies and talks to us about equalization. We do not want charity, we just want development.

The industries of the future are in Quebec, not in oil or in subsidiaries that do not innovate. For us, the future is in Quebec, not in Bill C-44. In fact, I am more convinced than ever that our future quite simply is not in Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I am saddened by the member's speech. As someone whose family heritage originates in the province of Quebec, I believe Canadians, as a whole, love the province of Quebec and treat it as an equal among the different provinces.

The province of Quebec has so much to offer our country. The member made reference to the aerospace industry. Manitoba also has an aerospace industry. I have talked to people in Quebec about health care. The Minister of Health has been able to achieve a health care accord, working with the province of Quebec. Canadians want that. Whether they are in Manitoba, B.C., Quebec, or Atlantic Canada, they want a national health care program.

Does the member recognize the value of a national health care program? I believe everyone across Canada supports that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his intervention, his comment, and his question.

Let me be clear that Quebec loves the rest of Canada. There is no question of animosity; it is just that Canada makes its policies, Quebec makes its own, and they are never in step with each other. As people sometimes say, the gears grind. They do not work. Policies created there are defeated here, and we need a hand up because all the flexibility is here and we do not get the money.

My colleague was talking about health. I recall the Quebec minister of health and social services saying that the Canadian health minister had a predatory approach and the same was true for the accord.

As for the additional transfers for this year, they do not even pay for a single day. At 4 p.m. on January 1, they were exhausted. That is not enough, and we are most disappointed with all that. The government was supposed to reverse the Conservatives’ budget cuts.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech. He rightly pointed out that Quebec has received only 12% of the infrastructure money. However, the level of expectation is high, for the government continues to promise billions and billions of dollars. Today we again heard the $180-billion figure.

I represent a riding where the largest city is the 18th largest in Quebec, and the 19th largest has 10 times fewer inhabitants. These rural municipalities will never see that federal infrastructure money, especially with an infrastructure bank designed to be profitable.

I would like to hear what my colleague thinks of these 1,000 Quebec municipalities that will never see a trace of the federal money.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and her intervention. We are in agreement; the municipalities will have a hard time seeing any of that money.

The party now in power was critical at the time of the slowness of the previous government’s negotiations with Quebec and the municipalities regarding the transfer of money. It said that it would use the gas tax model, a model that works, to transfer the money that the government must return to Quebec and the municipalities to finance infrastructure.

Once it came to power, that did not happen. The parliamentary budget officer, who will be muzzled under the current bill, says that two-thirds of the funds have not been provided. What is more, the infrastructure bank, which was supposed to help the municipalities, has now been turned into a gift for the government’s friends and the big corporations. This is the worst of scenarios in the worst of all possible worlds.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Joliette. I will try to keep my questions very brief.

I have a question about the Board of Internal Economy. In the bill, for the first time, there is an amendment to make its meetings open to the public.

As my colleague has said, however, we are members who have rights. I am in total agreement with the effort to open the meetings, since we are in the same position as the members of the public.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my Green Party colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands for her question and her intervention.

I am in complete agreement with her. It makes no sense. Ours is essentially a two-party system, even though there are several parties in the House. Consequently third parties are at a disadvantage. This has to change. I hope that the members across the way are listening to us on this subject.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I am delighted to speak for Yukon and to the budget bill.

When the government came into power, we changed the northern strategy, the Arctic strategy, to put the emphasis on people. We believe that if there are strong, healthy people in the north, we will have strong sovereignty in the north, good resource development, and environmental protection. I was delighted that the budgets of 2016 and 2017 reflected this emphasis on the people.

I will just talk about some of the items in those budgets that made northerners very happy.

First, the large increase in the northern allowance in the 2016 budget helped to cover the high cost of living in the north. Sometimes a jug of milk in the high Arctic can cost three, four, or five times what it does down south, as an example. All sorts of things cost more, so this big increase in the northern allowance was very welcome to help keep talented people in the north and to help people who have lived there for generations afford a good lifestyle, raise their families, and provide good clothing and food for their children.

What helped with that immensely, of course, was the Canada child benefit. There was a big increase, especially for low-income families with children. We can imagine the incredible task of a single mother in the north, with these high costs, trying to raise her children. This non-taxable child benefit has gone a long way and has been a big help in the north.

It is the same for all categories of people. There is the OAS supplement, which helps the poorest of seniors. There is the increase in student grants for low-income students and the doubling of student jobs for the summer. These measures all help people, especially people who need it the most, in the north.

In my riding of Yukon, the two biggest private sectors are mining and tourism. Mining, of course, has been the biggest contributor to our gross domestic product since the great Klondike gold rush, the greatest gold rush in the world. It is very important.

In recent years, mineral exploration has been very important to our economy. We worked hard to encourage the Minister of Natural Resources, who was a very strong advocate, to extend the mineral exploration tax credit for another year. This is a 15% tax credit. A lot of the mining activity in the Yukon at the moment is exploration, and probably a vast majority of it would not occur without this tax credit. This is instrumental and a huge help to the people of the Yukon.

The second-biggest sector is tourism. Sometimes it is the biggest employer, for the number of people in the Yukon. It is a bigger part of our gross domestic product than it is in any other province or territory. When there were cuts in recent years, it hurt us more than anyone else.

We were delighted to hear the recent announcement of $2 million for marketing and television ads for Yukon tourism as well as $1 million for the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association, because a lot of people who come to the north really want the authentic experience of first nations tourism products and services. The Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, in budget 2017, would be given $8.6 million for indigenous tourism activities.

The prime marketing agency for Canada, Destination Canada, got an increase last year, a desperately needed increase after many years of cuts, of $37.5 million to help market Canada around the world. We are delighted that this increase would be made permanent in budget 2017.

We have a curious situation in the Yukon, where we have jobs available without people, and we have people without jobs. The reason is that people need training. There are jobs available, but people are not trained to take some of those jobs. We were very happy to see that budget 2017 included $14.7 million for the three territories for basic adult education. Whenever a person gets out of high school or college and needs more education to get into the trades or the professions, this money is instrumental. We are delighted that it has been carried on.

There would also be $90 million to help indigenous students in post-secondary education and $50 million more for the ASETS program, which is skills development for first nation people across Canada.

Another item that is instrumental in the north and in my riding is housing. I was an early member of the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition. For years, affordable housing has been one of our highest priorities, so we are very delighted that budget 2017 would have $11.2 billion for a national housing strategy. On top of that, Yukon specifically would get $24 million.

Also important to the workforce, particularly to get women into the workforce, are more child care spaces, and we are very happy with the $7 billion nationally to help create more child care spaces.

Like everywhere else, we have had a number of Canada 150 projects going on this year, which are very exciting. I have also announced a number of seniors projects, which were very well received.

There would be $25.6 million for the territorial health investment fund to help us with the unique challenges of health in the north, and $89.9 million for indigenous languages, which, again, are very important in my riding. There would also be extra money for mental health for indigenous people.

I just made an announcement about indigenous youth and sport and the aboriginal games.

The Yukon government also gets a transfer from the federal government, and this would be the biggest transfer in history, with a $24.9-million increase over last year. There would be an increase of $.8 million in the Canada health transfer and of $.3 million in the Canada social transfer over last year.

We are also delighted to get the new judge we asked for. We have only two federal Supreme Court judges. One is taken up with a major murder case. The other has the routine proceedings every week. A lot of civil cases were backlogged, so we are delighted that this is in the budget.

The increases for Parks Canada are also very important in my riding. Green technology support is very important across the country to help the transition to renewables.

I was in Washington a few weeks ago with the leader speaking at a conference of northern leaders from across North America, Alaska, the three Canadian territories, and Greenland. The two things needed for development were more infrastructure and more affordable energy.

The municipalities and territorial governments were delighted about the large transfers for infrastructure. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time left to go through it all in detail. There is the trade and transportation corridor, $10 billion for the building Canada fund, all sorts of projects for water, waste water, recreation, roads, bridges, and transit. We already have some buses from the transit fund.

There is social infrastructure, green infrastructure, and Internet infrastructure. Northern and rural infrastructure would get $2 billion. I cannot remember a time in history when any government has put that much emphasis on Canada's rural north and come up with a fund of $2 billion for infrastructure. The north is eligible for all these other infrastructure funds. It is on a plus basis, not on a per capita basis, where we get almost nothing. We are delighted that we get a base amount.

There is money for first nations to get infrastructure to protect them from climate change. It is very forward thinking.

The other area I mentioned from the conference is affordable energy for the north. We are delighted that there would be $21.4 million to get northern indigenous communities off diesel, as many of them are on diesel, and $400 million for an Arctic energy fund.

All these items are great for the economy of the north, the environment of the north, and most importantly, the people of the north, because when there are strong, healthy, engaged people who have their culture supported, we are going to have a strong northern part of Canada, which is important for all of us.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, when I look at the 2017-18 budget, I see it as a continuation of our first budget, which delivered so much to Canadians. The first things that come to mind are the increases in the GIS and the Canada child benefit. Many of those programs are from last year, and now we have constituents receiving the benefits this year, as we are speaking today.

Infrastructure is a big one. We believe in building Canada through our infrastructure. What are my colleague's thoughts on just how important it is that we continue to invest in Canada's infrastructure?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, investing in infrastructure is particularly important for the north, but also for all Canadians. I think members can imagine, if they have not had the personal experience, what it is like to be without a job. They go home and tell their kids that they have to move, because they cannot pay the rent, or they have to sell the house. The kids say, “Where are we going to live?” The parents say, “We don't know.” Perhaps the other kids are going on a skating trip or to a swimming pool, and the parents cannot afford to give them the money, or it is Kraft Dinner again tonight. There cannot be much in life that is harder than not having a job to support one's family.

Economists have explained that one of the best government investments to create jobs is through infrastructure, in the north in particular. Where southern Canada has had infrastructure for over a century, such as ports and roads, in the north, a lot of our communities have no access by road. People can imagine the cost of food if it has to go in by boat and air. It is incredibly costly. That is why the trade corridor is so important. Our wealth of resources cannot get out if there are no roads or infrastructure, so it is very important.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, we are debating Bill C-44, and I am very curious. When the Conservatives were in power, they introduced undemocratic omnibus bills that lacked the respect of Parliament. The NDP and the Liberals, when in opposition, strongly criticized the previous government for this. Does the member not find it odd that now that his party is in power, he is supporting this type of thing right here in this chamber?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I am delighted that the member has asked that question, because it gives me a chance to explain what Canadians may have heard but do not understand. We promised that we would stop the abuse of omnibus bills, of putting in a whole bunch of things that had very little or no relation to the budget, such as the dramatic changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, as an example of what was done. Of course, any budget implementation bill, as members can see from the study done by the Library of Parliament, has to refer to a number of other bills, because obviously, the budget refers to different laws, different departments, and different agencies. The budget implementation bill naturally has to refer to those. The abuse we want to avoid, and I am sure the member wants to avoid, because we are onside on this, is using omnibus bills inappropriately to do things that are not related to the budget to get those items through Parliament without the scrutiny that would normally come with a bill that addressed something independently.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to quote the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons who said last Monday:

...it is with regret that I inform my colleagues that under these circumstances, the government will need to use time allocation more often to implement the ambitious agenda we were elected to deliver. This will be done every time with full transparency.

Today we have the first gag order since the government's new transparent approach. The government has a monopoly on the truth, and we all we can do is sit down and shut up. The Liberals' new way of seeing things more or less amounts to that.

My colleague who just finished his speech chairs a very important committee and has watched as his own government has tried to muzzle the opposition and take away its traditional rights, including the right to hold the government to account on behalf of Canadians. Our role as opposition members is to find the little chinks in the Liberals' armour. It is very easy, because there are so many of them.

We are here today to talk about Bill C-44, which is supposed to implement the measures in the Liberal government’s budget. I would like to thank my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, who is working very hard to hold the Liberal government and the Minister of Finance accountable to Parliament. That is his role, and that is what we do every day with every good intention. Most importantly, it is our duty to meet that enormous challenge.

This government has promised a lot of things and, for the most part, has done the opposite. The promise that everyone is going to remember, not just next year or in five or ten years but also in 40 years, is the promise of small deficits. This government got elected by promising to run very small deficits and to return to balanced budgets in 2019. However, instead of very small deficits, what we have are enormous deficits. That is what our children are going to remember: the enormous deficits bequeathed to them by the Liberal Party and the colleagues of the Minister of Finance who approve of this trend of putting our children into debt.

This government promised twice to be transparent. Then it tried, on at least two occasions, to change the procedures for its benefit. In addition, it promised not to introduce mammoth bills or omnibus bills, when the one we are discussing today, Bill C-44, is truly one. Lastly, it promised not to politicize the public service. However, the parliamentary budget officer himself says that the Liberal government is doing the opposite by trying precisely to politicize his office.

Welcome to the era of transparency and sunny ways. Unfortunately, that is not what is happening. What does this government, in its infinite arrogance, take Canadians for?

Bill C-44, which we are debating today, is supposed to implement the budget measures introduced in Parliament on March 22. In fact, it is a mammoth bill that amends some 30 statutes.

If it is passed in its present form, this budget is going to cost taxpayers dearly. The Liberal government will be dipping even deeper into the pockets of Canadians; it is going to eliminate existing measures to control user fees for federal services, as well as tax credits; it is going to tax ride sharing services; and it is going to tax Canadians’ leisure activities even more by putting a new tax on alcohol and tobacco.

Another thing, which is not in the budget but has not been denied, is that they want to sell the airports to pay the enormous interest charges on the government’s credit cards.

What then are the government’s real priorities? At a time when the job situation is deteriorating, full-time jobs are being replaced by part-time jobs. In addition, they want to enact legislation to legalize marijuana.

The government is standing still instead of standing up to the U.S. administration, which is attacking our forestry industry and our farmers. The provinces are clamouring for judicial appointments, but is there anything in Bill C-44 that meets their needs? Quebec has asked for 14 judges. Just recently, it got four. Hurrah! Now they are just 10 short.

Dannick Lessard is a constituent of mine who was a victim of the shortage of judges in Quebec. He recently published an open letter in the papers. He says that he is not only a victim of crime, but also a victim of the justice system and the Jordan decision. Let me quickly review the facts.

In October 2012, Mr. Lessard was shot by a man armed with two 10 mm pistols. He was hit nine times, suffering irreversible physical and psychological injury. In his letter, he wrote, “That act of unspeakable violence turned my life upside down”.

On Friday, April 21, 2017, a stay of proceedings was ordered under the Jordan decision for the trial that was to be held in September 2017 of a man charged with the first degree murder of Pierre-Paul Fortier as well as the attempted murder of Mr. Lessard. This ruling is part of a new trend in the wake of the Jordan decision. He said, “This ruling effectively ends any chance that my case will be heard and that justice will be served.”

He asks the following:

Is it reasonable that my alleged attacker does not have to face justice for such a violent and gratuitous crime? Is it reasonable for me to live the rest of my days with the scars from my attack?

He adds, “As a consequence of the Jordan decision, victims and the public have lost confidence in the Canadian justice system.”

What was in Bill C-44 to provide for the additional judges needed in Quebec to ensure that the Jordan decision is not overused? Absolutely nothing.

There are numerous important issues in this bill. One of them concerns the parliamentary budget officer. Last week, at a news briefing, Mr. Fréchette stated, “Last week, an information session at the Privy Council was requested. I left the meeting feeling furious and sceptical.” Meanwhile, the Liberals are trying to make us believe that they want to give the parliamentary budget officer greater autonomy. What they want is better control over him.

The parliamentary budget officer will have to submit his work plan to the speakers of both chambers, the House of Commons and the Senate. Does allowing the Speaker of the House to approve a parliamentary budget officer’s work plan not amount to politicizing the Speaker’s role? How is this process going to be possible? Will the Speaker of the House have to make political decisions? Bill C-44 is really a backdoor way for the Liberals to take control of the House, in spite of everything they say. I will conclude by saying that implementing this provision runs the risk of reducing the independence and perceived political impartiality of the office of the parliamentary budget officer.

When a budget is implemented, whether in Quebec or British Columbia or the Atlantic provinces, we rightly expect that the budget will contain measures to help our constituents. When it comes to my own riding, Lac-Mégantic, I have unfortunately seen nothing in either the last budget or Bill C 44 concerning the bypass track in Lac-Mégantic.

I have seen nothing on the use of mine tailings. Are we going to allow the cities of Thedford Mines and Asbestos to stay alive and to exploit the immense potential of the tailings? Are we finally going to see concrete measures to give all municipalities high-speed Internet access and wireless communication?

For all these reasons, I am obviously going to urge my colleagues to vote against Bill C-44, which simply exacerbates the Liberals’ strong tendency to bequeath enormous deficits to Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the member is fairly consistent with his critique of government budgets, both past and current. The Conservative Party consistently talks about their concern over deficits. The member knows very well what I am talking about. Conservative after Conservative will stand up and talk about that.

I would like to remind members across the way that when Stephen Harper inherited government, he inherited a multi-billion-dollar surplus. The member across the way knows that as well as I do. He then turned that multi-billion-dollar surplus into a deficit, even prior to the recession getting under way. Stephen Harper never did achieve a balanced budget. The Conservatives might like to believe otherwise, but we know that he did not.

My question is very simple. Why should this government take advice on deficits when Stephen Harper had an accumulated debt of over $150 billion and was never really able to prove that he had a balanced budget?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, my esteemed colleague is used to parliamentary sparring and theatrics. He is trying to change the subject.

He has referred to deficits. Canada got through the last global crisis in better shape than the other G7 countries. We managed to do that while preserving jobs. What we were focused on, during all those years when we saved the Canadian economy, was getting back to balanced budgets. Mr. Harper left behind a balanced budget. In the Liberals’ minds, it seems, there are no difficult situations and there are no problems. With the Liberals, we can have perpetual deficits. That is what we are criticizing them for.

When will we see a return to balanced budgets, so that our children are able to enjoy life, too, instead of paying the Liberals’ debts?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. Like him, I will be voting against the bill.

My colleague is right in describing this bill as an omnibus bill because it amends 30 laws. Almost one-third of the bill refers to things that were not even mentioned in the budget.

The infrastructure bank warrants its own legislation and debate in the House, as does the issue of the parliamentary budget officer. In our democracy, the parliamentary budget officer plays a vital role, and his jurisdiction depends on him being neutral and independent.

Does my colleague agree with me that the changes the Liberal government is making to the position of the parliamentary budget officer will reduce our ability, as parliamentarians, to hold the government to account?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague that the government is once again trying to sneakily get out of its obligation to be accountable to Canadians and to members of Parliament, particularly in the case of the parliamentary budget officer.

What the Liberals are doing is quite simple. The parliamentary budget officer will have to submit a work plan. He will no longer be able to accommodate the requests of parliamentarians when a crisis arises or when there are things we want to know, for example, the cost of a war. The parliamentary budget officer will no longer be able to respond to parliamentarians' requests. He will have to follow the work plan that he had to submit to the speakers of both chambers. That means that we are losing half of our independence to the Senate and the other half to the Speaker of the House, who will now play a political role. That is unacceptable.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

Madam Speaker, I am very happy to represent my riding and have a voice for the people of Labrador in the House of Commons.

Every weekend, I travel back to my riding. It is a very large geographic region of 295,000 square kilometres, which is hard to imagine. Getting around my riding on a weekend is no small task. No matter where I go within my riding, people will say that they are seeing the improvements they have not seen for a very long time. Those improvements are not just in their communities, but in their families and the regions of which they are a part. Those changes are helping to build and strengthen the communities in rural and remote northern regions across Canada. My area just happens to be one of those regions.

When I look at budget 2017, the things that really pop out to me are those that directly affect ordinary Canadians who have long waited for programs and investment. I want to talk about a few of those today.

With respect to the national housing strategy, budget 2017 will invest more than $11 billion in a range of initiatives designed to help build, renew, and repair Canada's affordable housing and meet the needs that have been inadequately met and have been unaffordable for many Canadians for a long time. This is being done simply because Canadians have been asking for it.

Why would the members not support this initiative? For years and years, those who have needed affordable and accessible housing, both in our cities and rural areas, on reserve and off, have not been able to get the investments they wanted. Why would anyone want to vote against that today? They have been waiting for a very long time.

In my riding last year, we invested in Inuit-specific housing in the northern region. It was the first time ever in history that any government recognized the real need for Inuit housing across the north. We invested in those communities and ensured that the investment went to the Inuit housing corporations so they could manage their own affairs, as was the case in my riding with the Nunatsiavut government. Those are the kinds of new, innovative ways the government is doing things.

The other thing we did in this budget, which many have been requesting for a long time, is extend employment insurance to allow for a caregiver benefit. Many caregivers will be eligible for up to 15 weeks of employment insurance when they have to temporarily take time off of work to care for critically ill or injured family members. That is so important.

I remember when a lady from my riding came to me when her child was sick. Her child had to go from Labrador to the hospital in St. John's. The lady had to leave her job, which did not offer her medical benefits and no income once she left. She needed to be with her child for that 10 to 12 weeks, but there was no income program for her

. This will allow parents who have sick children and need to leave their jobs, without any medical insurance, or benefits or any other income, to tap into the employment insurance program during that period. That has been critical for many Canadians, and they have asked for this.

The other thing is medical care. Issues about medical care are raised quite often in the House, particularly mental health services.

This year our government negotiated with all the provinces and territories to look at a new health accord that would include, and give priority to, mental health services and elderly care. As a result of that, the government is investing over $800 million in the next five years just to improve mental health services in first nation and Inuit communities. This is a new investment of money in communities that need it the most.

Why members would not support these investments for mental health services going into first nation and Inuit communities that need it so desperately does not make any sense. They are the same people who, every day, stand in the House and say that we should invest more in mental health services for first nations. That is exactly what we are doing, and we are asking for the support of the House to ensure those investments get to the people who need them the most.

I also want to talk about filling employment gaps across the country. The federal government is able to provide for skilled and advanced training, as well as on-the-job work initiatives for many Canadians trying to enter the workforce, trying to find employment. This year we gave a very significant boost in federal support to the provinces and territories by investing $2.7 billion over the next six years to help unemployed and underemployed Canadians access training and employment opportunities so they could get good jobs.

There are major initiatives in my riding, like the Muskrat Falls energy development project, mining operations in Voisey's Bay and the expansion of Voisey's Bay, and the expansion of the Iron Ore Company of Canada in Labrador west. All these companies need skilled individuals to work in their operations. In order for them to get the skills, the Government of Canada is prepared to ensure training dollars are available for them to access, that we will help them find the employment they need, and ensure they get the training and skills they need for those jobs. That is what we should be doing as a government and because of that, I hope people in ridings like mine will take advantage of these opportunities to get the training and skills they need to get long-term, sustainable employment in these resource sectors or any sector in which they might choose to engage.

The other program we announced in this budget is, again, a program that Canadians have requested for a long time. Their voices have been ignored to date because it is a difficult issue, but we have taken it on as a government. This year we propose to invest $6 billion over the next 10 years to improve home, community, and palliative care services for Canadians, as well as more support for informal caregivers. This means more people who want to stay at home can get the care and support they need. It means more families will have more support when it comes to family members who need palliative care or that kind of assistance. This government understands and is listening to people across the country and in ridings like mine in Labrador when we make those kinds of investments.

There are so many things I could talk about today, but I want to highlight a couple.

First, our government invested in infrastructure projects across Canada. One of those projects was in my riding in Labrador, the completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway. Last year we partnered with the provincial government to invest over $60 million in the Trans-Labrador Highway, and we will continue with our commitment in that project.

We will also continue with our commitment to other infrastructure projects across Canada, including Labrador, like small craft harbours, women's shelters and centres, cultural centres for people in communities, and clean water for communities that need it. We are a government that is not only consulting with Canadians, but we are listening to them as well.

When we look at the budget before the House of Commons today, it reflects the needs of Canadians in the middle class, lower class, and others across the country. It is meeting the needs of what we need to grow, be healthy, and strong as a country.

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May 9th, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Erin Weir NDP Regina—Lewvan, SK

Madam Speaker, the member talked about $11 billion for affordable housing in the budget. In fact, the budget shows only about $10 million for affordable housing in this current fiscal year, 2017-18. Indeed, almost all of the promised $11 billion is after 2019—in other words, after the next election. The government cannot even really commit to what might happen at that point in the future.

If affordable housing is really such a priority for the government, why is it not investing in affordable housing now while it has the opportunity and the authority to do so?

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May 9th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Madam Speaker, I want to clarify that the investments we are making right now in communities to serve those who need proper housing is being done out of pure need, need that had been neglected for a long time.

Our housing is reaching all sectors of society. We are looking at urban housing initiatives that we know are needed in many of our cities across the country. We are looking at the rural housing needs, especially across the northern region. We are looking at housing needs on reserves. As a result of this, the government is launching a national housing strategy. Over the life of that strategy, $11 billion will be invested in a range of initiatives. Some of it will go into renewing older properties and making them affordable. A lot of it will be going into building new properties to ensure Canadians have adequate and affordable housing no matter where they live in the country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, as we are talking about housing, in Vancouver, the homelessness rate has increased 30% since the last homelessness count. The City of Vancouver has advised us that the money the Liberal government committed to and announced for 2016 has yet to flow into the community for real projects. Consequently, all the promises in the world have resulted in no housing on the ground.

I have a constituent who makes $30,000 a year and is fighting for child support. She has applied for low-income housing in British Columbia. She has been on a wait list forever, literally waiting and waiting, and there is no housing available. Her child turned 18 in April. As a result of that, she has lost her $450 child tax credit, which, according to her, is not “play money”. It is essential money. Her child is still in high school.

What can the parliamentary secretary and her government do to help my constituent? Should her child, who is still in high school, not be eligible to continue to receive that $450 child tax credit?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Madam Speaker, I do not know the specific case or circumstances of which my colleague speaks, but I do know this. We have invested substantially in our children. Under our new child tax benefit, we have been able to lift many children out of poverty. We have been able to ensure that families have the kind of supports they need to ensure their children do not go to school hungry, but with all their needs fulfilled. We are making tremendous efforts toward that.

As a government, we have done more to invest in affordable housing than any government over the last decade. That money may not have flowed as quickly as we would have all liked to see it flow, but that money is targeted. It is going to affordable housing. It is going to help the people who need it most. The sooner we can get it there, the better we will all be.

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May 9th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-44, the first budget implementation bill. There are a number of measures in the bill that will affect my constituents, in some cases dramatically, so I am glad to have a chance to represent the views of the great people of Souris—Moose Mountain.

Most of my colleagues here today returned to Ottawa just a week ago after spending two weeks in their constituencies. I always appreciate and cherish the time I get to spend in my riding, speaking to my constituents and getting their feedback on how they think things are going in Ottawa. Unfortunately, my constituents were less than impressed with the Liberals' 2017 budget, which does nothing to help rural Canadians and could end up hurting them in the long run.

It is not breaking news that the Liberals are completely out of touch with the wants and needs of rural Canadians. Just two weeks ago, the Prime Minister was in a small corner of my riding, touring a farm and talking about the carbon tax. My constituents do not want a carbon tax, and they are sick and tired of hearing platitudes and buzzwords from the Liberals. We all know that the Prime Minister's visit to my riding was nothing but a photo op, and that becomes clear when we look at the content of Bill C-44. If the Liberals truly care about western Canada, and specifically those who reside outside of urban centres, they would actually take action and make it a priority to help those who need it.

As I have said before in the House, there are a lot of farms in my riding. They vary in size, and there is a wide variety of produce that is grown down in the southeast corner of Saskatchewan. Something the Liberals seem to forget is that farmers are small business owners. They employ locals. With the drop in oil and gas prices over the last couple of years, these jobs are badly needed. Farmers need to know that their government is supporting them, yet budget 2017 contained almost nothing for them.

What Bill C-44 does contain is a provision that would scrap the income tax exemption for insurers of farming and fishing property. This would likely result in higher insurance premiums for my constituents and would decrease interest in private insurance plans.

This is the last thing that farmers in my riding need. They have enough to manage as it is, given that farming can be a fickle and delicate business when it comes to dealing with weather, pests, and other unpredictable variables. Now their insurance premiums could increase, taking money away from areas where it could be better utilized within the business, not to mention the threat of a carbon tax.

Not only does the Liberal budget increase the costs for farmers, it also does nothing to support them. There were no details regarding the next agricultural policy framework, so Canadian farmers have been left in the dark. Our farmers feed Canada and the world, and they expect their government to support them, not just show up for a photo op in front of a combine or play with a GPS, thinking it is a video game.

While I could likely stand here and talk about the importance of farmers and agriculture all day, I would also like to touch on what the budget contains with respect to veterans.

As some may know, I hold the title of vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. It is a role I am proud to have, and over my time on this committee, I have learned a lot about the challenges our veterans face.

The very first study the committee undertook, right after the election of 2015, was on service delivery to veterans. During that study, the committee heard from a wide range of witnesses from all over the veterans community. Many of these witnesses were veterans themselves, and I appreciate their willingness to appear in front of a bunch of politicians to talk about difficult issues relating to their service to Canada.

One of the recurring themes we heard from veterans, medical professionals, bureaucrats, caregivers, and others was the difficulty in transitioning from military to civilian life upon discharge. When a soldier is discharged, and especially those who are medically released, they lose the identity they had for so many years. They were used to being part of a family and having that unfailing support available to them at all times, and suddenly, upon discharge, that family is gone.

This is not just the case for the veterans themselves, but also for their family members, who have established a community of support with other military spouses, children, etc. It is a life-altering change, and while the Liberals have made many promises to help our veterans and their families, the 2017 budget does nothing to help these people today.

Another issue that came up time and time again in the veterans affairs committee was that we commission and train our soldiers to go into battle, but we do not decommission them upon their leaving the Canadian Armed Forces. While Bill C-44 does take steps to create a new education and training benefit for veterans, this does not help them with the loss of identity and purpose that many experience once they return from deployment and are discharged.

Soldiers in the Canadian Forces do not need to make doctor or dentist appointments. That is provided for them. They do not need to fill out paperwork or forms or parse through a convoluted list of benefits that they may not be entitled to, as that is done by someone else on the base. All of this ends once a soldier is discharged and his or her care is moved from DND to Veterans Affairs. An education and training benefit is all well and good, but that is something that is of use further down the road, once a veteran has established himself or herself into civilian life.

Furthermore, there should be no time limit for veterans to figure out whether they wish to use the benefit. Often illnesses like PTSD do not fully manifest until years after veterans are released from the Canadian Forces, and the veterans should have the option to take as much time as they need to pursue education and training following their release from the military.

What our veterans need are solid, available, and effective transition services. This is something that was suggested by the defence ombudsman, yet Bill C-44 would do nothing to enact these recommendations.

For example, one recommendation was that the Canadian Armed Forces retain medically releasing members until such time as all benefits and services from the Canadian Armed Forces, Veterans Affairs Canada, and the Service Income Security Insurance Plan, or SISIP, have been confirmed and put in place. Another recommendation from the ombudsman was that the Canadian Armed Forces establish a concierge service for all medically releasing members that would provide a single point of contact to assist members and their families in all administrative matters regarding the member's transition. These are common sense measures that the Liberals chose not to implement.

Given the size of this omnibus bill, it is shameful that they could not do more to ensure that our veterans and their families have the services and benefits that they need and deserve.

The Conservative Party has always stood up for our veterans, and we on this side of the House believe that our veterans deserve programs and benefits designed to meet their ever-evolving needs, both in the immediate future and sustained over the long term. The Liberals need to do more and they need to do better.

Canadians, including those in rural Canada, are counting on their government to provide them with the support they need in order to thrive here in this wonderful country. Instead, they are getting nickelled and dimed at every possible turn.

The Liberals' spending is reckless and out of control. With a $25.8 billion deficit, the budget will not be balanced until 2055. I do not want my children, my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren to be paying the price of the current government's callousness when it comes to managing public funds. The 2017 budget and Bill C-44 would not grow the economy or create jobs, but they would hike taxes on beer and wine, child care, and small business owners.

The Liberals need to wake up and realize that Canadians deserve better than this. Canadians need their government to recognize the priorities of ordinary hard-working Canadians and their families, and not just the elite. The Conservative Party will continue to stand up for these Canadians, be the voice of the taxpayer, and hold the Liberals to account for their reckless spending and their lack of touch with reality.

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May 9th, 2017 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, I will not spend too much time addressing the rather spurious statement from my friend across the way about the Conservatives' support for veterans, given the massive lack of investment and reduction in services for veterans by the previous government of the past decade.

I want to go back to earlier in the member's speech, when he talked about rural issues. I think this budget would help rural areas. I am from a rural riding about half the size of his, and the biggest issue we have in our riding is Internet access. I wonder if the member has similar problems in his riding. Our government has already put in $2.5 billion for Internet through the $500-million connect to innovate program and a $2-billion rural infrastructure program, which has Internet as an eligible component. I think it is really important that the Internet has been called “infrastructure” for the first time.

I wonder if the member has any comments on that in particular?

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May 9th, 2017 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Madam Speaker, I have had the pleasure of working with my hon. colleague on the veterans affairs committee and I am sad to see he is gone, but I know he has a new role and I wish him well in that new role.

One of the things in this budget with regard to rural Canada is we hear all this talk about rural transit. Rural transit would do nothing for my constituents. If my constituent in Maryfield, Saskatchewan, needs to get to downtown Regina, he or she needs to know and have access to all the aspects. While people may not have transportation, they do have access to the Internet, but that does not help them get to see their doctors. It does not help them get to that doctor in Weyburn and it does not help them get to see that oncologist in Regina.

The present government is promising to put money into green infrastructure. The Liberals are not going to put a green infrastructure transit line from Maryfield, Saskatchewan, to downtown Regina.

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May 9th, 2017 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, I particularly appreciated the member's comments around veterans.

In that same vein, a number of retirees have raised issues with me. With this set of omnibus bills, we do not see the government bringing in legislation that would improve financial security for those retirees, something that the Liberals promised, but they are doing quite the opposite with Bill C-27. This bill would allow crown corporations and federal private sector employers to back out of defined benefit pension commitments. This is impacting a lot of people in a negative way.

One of my constituents asked me to voice his concern and his outrage and his disbelief at the government tabling Bill C-27. Forced into retirement because of declining health, he paid into a defined benefit pension for 34 years, but he is going to see a penalty as a result of the Liberal government's actions.

Does the member think it is right for the Liberals to promise retirees that they would enhance their financial security, yet do exactly the very opposite when they formed government?

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May 9th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Madam Speaker, there are a number of things that I have found with the Liberal government and its promises, particularly when we talk about the Canada pension plan and that aspect of protecting Canadians.

The Liberals promised that they would be giving Canadians security with this Canada pension plan, but it will not benefit Canadians. It is going to cost them more money, thereby adding to their expenses. We are going to end up losing jobs because of this, which is not going to help the economy. I contributed to that program for many years in my previous career as a chiropractor. I had to put double the amount of money in. Even with making a significantly good income, I will not max out on the amount that was promised.

I do not see how the promises that the present government is offering are going to work, either on your issue or on other issues.

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May 9th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, the world is changing. Climate change poses serious environmental challenges. A growing number of Canadians, particularly our youth, fear they will never be able to enter the housing market. Growing concerns over the job market have Canadians anxious. These uncertainties mean new challenges for Canadians, but they also represent a source of opportunity to showcase Canadian creativity and innovation, economically, socially, and environmentally.

This is why I rise today in support of the government's proposed budget 2017, because this budget will prepare Canadians for the future, addressing economic, environmental, and social development for our country.

This budget looks to secure and improve upon the gains made in budget 2016, “Growing the Middle Class”. Canada has an economy that is strong, flexible, and full of potential. Canadians reflect this as entrepreneurs and as innovators who can adapt to changing markets as people concerned for our natural heritage and through our concern for each other.

This budget puts Canada on track to build a strong, innovative, and green economy, and improve our social support networks focusing on mental health and housing.

Budget 2017 provides Canadians and Canadian businesses with the tools necessary to continue the economic growth we are experiencing under our government. After many years of flat economic results, last year our economy grew by 1.4%. This year the OECD is predicting growth of 2.4%.

Accurate labour market data is essential in order to continue our growth trajectory. Budget 2017 commits $225 million over four years, and $75 million per year afterward, to support improved labour market information, skills development programs, and measurement of results in Canada. Knowing where our business is experiencing shortages and filling those gaps is essential as our economy grows and as people are now retiring from the workforce in greater numbers.

Knowing exactly what skills are in demand allows us to target the gaps in our economy. This also means addressing the needs of those struggling to join the middle class.

As it stands, Canadians on EI cannot access training programs. Preventing unemployed Canadians from accessing training programs is simply unacceptable. This is why the government is not only reversing this backward policy, but is investing an additional $900 million in training over six years. We need to prevent Canadians from needing EI in the first place, which is why we must address the serious problem of youth unemployment. Budget 2017 builds on budget 2016 to allow part-time students to apply for Canada student loan grants. This has increased grants by 50%. To further expand employment opportunities for young Canadians, budget 2017 also proposes an additional $395 million over three years for the youth employment strategy.

Investing in Canadians is a crucial step to building the economy of the 21st century, but governments must also strategically invest in industries where we can be a global leader. Clusters are dense areas of business activity that contain large and small companies, post-secondary institutions, and specialized talent and infrastructure. Budget 2017 commits to strategic investments in agricultural innovation, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, biosciences, and digital technology.

These actions will grow the economy and promote the livelihood of middle-class Canadians. Guelph can and will play a major role in these areas. This budget is almost written for Guelphites.

The environment is also a cornerstone of this budget. As this government has repeated many times, the economy and the environment go hand in hand. This is why budget 2017 proposes establishing centres for climate services. These centres will improve access to climate science and regional climate resilience centres. The centres will work with local, provincial, territorial, and indigenous partners. This will make it easier for governments, communities, and decision-makers, businesses and organizations to access data and information on climate science.

Investing in green public transit is also crucial. Budget 2017 commits $17 million to develop and implement heavy-duty vehicle retrofits. This plan also includes a carbon pricing program to incentivize innovation and efficiency. This move will reward creative and innovative businesses and raise much needed revenue for the provinces to spend. These investments will help Canada reach its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and ensure a safer, cleaner world for all Canadians.

This budget addresses systemic social problems which have often been ignored. Since forming government, we have lifted 18 long-term drinking water advisories in first nations in our first year. We are committed to eliminating all boil water advisories, working on solutions with our indigenous communities, researchers, training providers, and businesses. The benefit of our approach is that it is based on long-term planning initiated by first nations leaders, which is why budget 2017 follows through on the promises made in budget 2016 to commit $1.8 billion over five years. Of this, $275 million in targeted funding has already been allocated and 201 projects have already begun.

First nations communities are leading the development of these initiatives, informing the government and partners of what their communities need and want. We will get this done, and we will get it done right. The will is there, the capacity is growing, and people are truly committed to finding long-term solutions based on a new trust.

Addressing the mental health crisis among indigenous groups is also a priority for this government. The effects of depression and suicide, as well as other systemic health issues in indigenous communities, are widespread and unacceptable. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $828 million over the next five years to address the immediate health priorities of first nations and Inuit peoples.

Two areas of social concern addressed in this budget are health care and affordable housing. We are also investing $7 billion over 10 years to create 40,000 child care spaces. Mental health is an increasing concern for all Canadians and budget 2017 proposes to invest $11 billion over 10 years to support better home care and mental health initiatives. Budget 2017 also proposes to create a centre of excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions. The government has committed $17.5 million over four years and $9.2 million every year after. As the health minister has said, there is no health without mental health. Addressing the unique nature of mental health issues is long overdue.

Adequate and affordable housing is a general concern for all Canadians. That is why we are investing $11 billion in the national housing strategy, to develop a stock of affordable rental housing and other housing to improve the quality of life for Canadian residents. The CMHC will make upfront contributions to providers of affordable housing.

Budget 2017 offers genuine and innovative solutions to the challenges that face Canadians. Through strategic investments in the economy, the environment, and social programs, this budget follows through on the ambitious mandate Canadians gave the government in 2015.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Madam Speaker, one of the concerns I have is the infrastructure piece with respect to water for indigenous communities. I looked at the infrastructure piece and talked about it for two or three years and throughout the campaign. With respect to the budget, it is one thing to build infrastructure but there is a critical piece that I am looking for. Coming from a municipal background, I can say that it may be easy to build those things, but it is the 24-7 trained staff that we have to have in place. If we did not have them in the municipalities, we got into trouble. That is where many smaller municipalities are.

I cannot see that piece here, the education and training for people in those rural communities to maintain some $200 million of infrastructure. If we do not have it, it will just be gone in a few years. Maybe the member could respond to that critical piece of training and good jobs.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member from out west has made an astute observation. I flew up to Dryden, Ontario, in January of this year to look at the training centre that is being established there. We know there is no point in spending money on infrastructure if there is nobody there to operate it, and operate it effectively. Part of our budget is focused on skills development and training within the first nations, as well as infrastructure investment. Hand in hand, those two investments will help us get to the clean water that our first nations brothers and sisters deserve.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, the member talked about the importance of housing. There is no question about that, as in every community there is a great need. The government has talked a lot about it, but on the ground we have yet to see action. I know that in the city of Vancouver, the money has not flowed, even from the 2016 announcement. We have a crisis on our hands, with people who are in dire need of affordable housing. We have co-ops that need assistance as well. Units have already been lost because of the government's lack of action in this regard. That is affordable housing that we cannot afford to lose.

With respect to this national affordable housing program that the government likes to brag about, when will the money actually be spent on the ground to build real units, real affordable housing, for the people who need it now?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her passion and commitment to helping people get into affordable housing.

As the federal government, when we are working to establish housing priorities and housing trajectories, we are also working across Canada with the provinces and territories to get housing investments into their budgets. In our first year of being in government, we worked with the provinces and territories to get their budgets to match money coming from the federal government. We are now at that stage and starting to roll out projects, which have to go through a bidding process and a municipal approval process. We are working with all three orders of government. It does take time, but we are on the right track, and we will see progress.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalMinister of Families

Madam Speaker, may I first congratulate my colleague from Guelph for his excellent speech. I would also mention that I have seen the work he has done in his riding in previous months, and I know how committed he is to working toward the development of his community and how dedicated he is to working for the welfare of his constituents. I would like to invite him to give more examples of how the investments that our government is making in communities, families, and workers will make a difference in the lives of the families and communities in his riding.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to answer the minister. We are looking at the social impacts through the Canada child benefit, which was introduced last time, which was one of the most significant steps a government has ever taken in Canada. Now we are following up with $11 billion, which has not been invested since the 1970s, to get us on track to create affordable housing projects in our communities, thanks to the leadership and vision of the minister and the people who work with him.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Madam Speaker, it is another year, another budget, and another set of broken promises rolled up into Bill C-44, the budget implementation act.

There is, I suppose, a certain irony that the government, which claims to be opposed to omnibus bills, would bring in this massive document that touches on so many areas, rather than separate legislation for its new ventures, such as the infrastructure bank. The government hopes that by burying the legislation in these hundreds of pages, it can avoid any detailed scrutiny.

We have to give the Liberals credit for one thing. They are treating Canadians equally, raising everyone's taxes. That is not surprising when we consider the reckless spending by the government. In the 2015 election, the Liberals made a promise to Canadians that they would run a small or modest deficit, perhaps about $10 billion a year in the first year, and then they should be able to balance the budget after their first term. We know now that those were empty promises. I leave it to Canadian people to decide if they were lies or just incompetence.

Once again, the Minister of Finance has let Canadians down. There is nothing small or modest about the deficit he is running. He has no plan to balance the budget by the end of this Parliament, or maybe ever again. The previous Conservative budget suggested balanced budget legislation that would include pay cuts for cabinet ministers while the government was running a deficit. Somehow I do not think we are going to see this government take that sort of principled stand.

Anyone who has ever run a business knows that borrowed money has to be repaid. The Minister of Finance is sinking Canada further into debt, making future generations pay for his spending spree. It is wrong to mortgage Canada's future this way. Politicians should be setting an example, not behaving as if money grows on trees.

The government will tell us it is doing great things with this spending spree. “Look at us”, they say, “Are we not great? We know how to spend money”. Of course, that is the pride the government has shown people so far. Any child can delight in spending money that does not belong to them. Fiscal responsibility is a lot tougher to accomplish, and the government does not seem to want to work hard enough to do so.

What are the great things the government is doing? There are tax increases for 1.8 million Canadian public transit users, for those who drink beer and wine, and for those who donate medicines to worthy causes. There are more tax hikes on child care, on small business owners, such as farmers, fishers, doctors, lawyers, and accountants, on oil and gas companies, and on tourism. The Liberals' motto seems to be “If it breathes, tax it”.

Where spending is needed, they instead cut back. We are looking at major cuts to defence spending, despite demands from the U.S. that other NATO members spend at least 2% of GDP to shoulder a greater amount of the load for our collective security. The government is deferring $8.5 billion in equipment purchases for our military, having already deferred $3.7 billion in the past budget. Our armed forces may be the best trained and bravest fighting force in the world, but the men and women on the front lines cannot do their jobs without proper equipment.

National defence is clearly not a priority for the Liberal government. In an era of reckless Liberal spending, it is appalling that the largest cuts are consistently at the expense of the Canadian Armed Forces. This raises the question of whether or not the Liberals believe that Canada needs the ability to defend itself and our allies. Recent examples—including the Liberals' decision to pull our CF-18s out of the fight against ISIS, their preference for fourth generation fighter jets, their lack of increased support for our Ukrainian allies, and their failure to advance important procurement projects—suggest the Liberals expect other countries to do Canada's share.

They say Canada is back, but only as long as we are not asked to do anything, except look pretty.

The Liberals have repeatedly delayed releasing their defence policy review. Instead of ensuring that our men and women in uniform have the best equipment, training, and support available, it is looking more and more likely that Canada's military will be further scaled back and asked to do more with less.

Since the Liberals took office, 94% of announced infrastructure projects have failed to start construction. It is just big talk, with no walk. This means that jobs are not being created and the economy is not being stimulated. Instead of coming up with a new plan that actually builds infrastructure and creates jobs, now the government wants to double down on the existing infrastructure plan that has been proven not to work. This is how the Liberals define innovation.

We already knew that the Liberals were planning to take billions of dollars away from communities to pay for their infrastructure bank. Now we learn that they are also going to cancel the public transit tax credit, making it more expensive for Canadians to use public transit. The Liberals talk about something, but do something else.

Additionally, by allocating public transit funding based on ridership, the Liberal government is disadvantaging Canada's growing communities in favour of already developed urban centres. It looks as if no new public transit spending will occur in 2017-18. Indeed, the Liberals have decreased the federal share of funding for public transit projects to 40% and failed to include provincial cost sharing requirements. Without matching funding, municipalities may not be able to complete important projects. It is a mistake for the Liberals to continue to allocate public transit funds based primarily on ridership numbers. This formula favours large urban centres that already have developed public transit systems, and it disadvantages growing communities that arguably need these funds more.

Municipalities need good infrastructure, but they also need programs that are easy to access, provide predictable funding, and do not leave small and rural communities behind. They also need money now, not at some point in the far future, in 2050 or in the 22nd century.

We know that $1 billion of lapsed infrastructure funding from 2016 will not be reallocated until 2022-23, and that $15 billion will be taken away from community infrastructure projects in order to finance the Liberals' new infrastructure bank, including $5 billion removed from public transit projects, $5 billion removed from trade and transportation corridor projects, and another $5 billion removed from green infrastructure projects. That is taking away money that costs less, to borrow money that would cost two or three times more.

Bill C-44 includes the Canada infrastructure bank bill, but it is hazy on some details. Will foreign investors get to decide which infrastructure projects it funds? We already know that it will not be operating at arm's length, making it susceptible to Liberal government interference in its decisions.

One last thing I would like to look at is the changes this bill makes to the operation of the parliamentary budget officer. It is important to note that the government did not consult the PBO on these changes but has introduced them unilaterally. The PBO has expressed concerns about this legislation and its impact on his ability to do his job. He feels it will undermine the independence and non-partisanship of the PBO and undercut his office's ability to support Parliament.

This should be a concern for all parliamentarians, regardless of their political affiliation. This act makes changes to the degree of control that the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons will be expected to exercise over the PBO's activities, and it places limits on the PBO's ability to initiate reports and members' ability to request cost estimates of certain proposals.

To involve the PBO in the costing of election platforms, as this act does, seems to me to risk the non-partisan nature of the office. No matter—

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 5 p.m.
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Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Madam Speaker, the member opposite has indicated that he does not feel there is much in the budget that will help everyday Canadians. I would like to remind him of things that are actually in the budget that will be helpful to Canadians: $725 million for veterans, $20 billion into public transit, $11 billion into health care, $11 billion into affordable housing, $950 million into innovation clusters, $10 billion into agriculture, $30 million into the Trans-Canada Trail, $7 billion to create 40,000 child care spaces, $5 billion for water and waste water infrastructure plans, and the list goes on.

Would the member not agree that these are beneficial things: creating child care spaces, taking care of our veterans, creating affordable housing for people, keeping our seniors healthy, happy, and living longer in their homes through home care? I think he would agree that these are good things for everyday Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Madam Speaker, those numbers are great numbers. There is no doubt they are there, but it sounds as if we have no programs, no government, and no country. All of those numbers are what we need on a day-to-day basis, but 70% of the allocation of those numbers in the budget will not be utilized until 2022. That tells us clearly what is happening with job creation, which has really taken a big-time hit in our country. That tells us that the plan the Liberal government is implementing is not really working. They are big numbers, nice numbers, but those numbers mean nothing because they are not going to be utilized immediately. It is going to be years ahead. Speaking of the future, the government is taking a big risk to do so and taking a big risk to work toward it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 5 p.m.
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NDP

Erin Weir NDP Regina—Lewvan, SK

Madam Speaker, I appreciate that the member for Edmonton Manning pointed out that the federal budget skews the allocation of transit funding in favour of existing ridership rather than population. For example, Saskatchewan has 3.2% of Canada's population but will receive only about 1.6% of transit funding from the federal government. Our per capita share of the $20.1 billion of transit funding would be about $640 million. In fact, the federal budget shortchanges Saskatchewan by providing it with only about $320 million in transit funding.

I wonder if the member for Edmonton Manning could elaborate a bit on how this misallocation of transit funding would affect his province of Alberta.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Madam Speaker, basically this is a normal thing we have noticed since the first Liberal budget and going to the second budget and moving forward.

I am looking at the budget and government operations from a business perspective, and nothing seems to make sense and nothing seems to add up. If it is not going to add up for Manitoba or for Saskatchewan, then it is not going to add up for Alberta.

The government seems to be treating some people, as we say, with butter and some people with oil. That is happening here. That is how we are experiencing the government's actions. Unfortunately, the budget is a reflection of the government's incompetence in the way it handles business for Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak in support of budget 2017. Our first budget last year delivered on a number of our election promises, the most significant of which were a middle-class tax cut for nine million Canadians, the new tax-free Canada child benefit, and ensuring that post-secondary education is more affordable.

We are focused on building strong communities with investments in infrastructure to support public transit and green infrastructure. Recently I was thrilled to announce transit funding for my communities of almost $5 million for Oakville and $3.4 million for Burlington. I know the residents of my riding of Oakville—North Burlington have seen the benefits of our investments already.

With budget 2017, we are building on these commitments to allow for more frequent two-way, all-day transit service to help commuters in Oakville and Burlington spend less time travelling to and from work and more time with their families. The Prime Minister recently announced a $1.8 billion investment that will help electrify the Lakeshore West GO line.

As vice-chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, I am extremely proud of the work our committee has done on two key issues: gender-based analysis and violence against young women and girls. I was very pleased to see many of our recommendations included in this budget and to see that this is the first budget that was examined through a gender lens and included a gender statement.

Our committee identified the critical need to use a gender lens for ensuring that spending creates the right conditions for economic growth for Canadians of all genders. The budget's gender statement recognizes that when women and girls are given opportunities to succeed, Canada succeeds.

While we have made progress, more work needs to be done. The gender statement recognized that the gender wage gap has narrowed since 1976 but remains significant. In my riding of Oakville North—Burlington, I heard from stakeholders that young women need to see themselves in a variety of occupations, so in May we will host our first young women in leadership program. The program will allow young women in Oakville North—Burlington to be mentored in a variety of workplaces, from firefighting and community organizations to businesses, policing, and new tech companies.

In the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, we are currently studying the economic security of women, and one issue that has been repeated over and over is the need for early learning and child care. Budget 2017 recognizes the connection between economic security and child care and takes important steps to give Canadian families and children the best start in life. Building on budget 2016's initial investment of $500 million in 2017-18 for early childhood learning and child care, this budget proposes to invest an additional $7 billion over 10 years to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across the country.

The status of women committee has heard from witnesses who called on the government to take a leadership role when it comes to addressing gender-based violence. Budget 2017 includes an investment of $101 million over five years to support a national strategy to address gender-based violence, which would ensure that our government provides the leadership needed on this issue. We also recommended changes to judicial education with regard to sexual assaults, and I am pleased to see that budget 2017 includes funding for the Canadian Judicial Council to support programming on judicial education, ethics, and conduct, ensuring a greater focus on gender and cultural sensitivity training. Already we have heard from the Canadian Judicial Council at committee about its plans to implement expanded training.

In my riding, the Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention Services of Halton work hard to provide free, confidential, and non-judgmental 24-hour support to all survivors of violence, including female-identified, male-identified, and members of the transgendered community. The services advocate against violence in the community at large and promote prevention through community education. Halton Women's Place provides shelter and crisis services for physically, emotionally, financially, and sexually abused women and their dependent children and is dedicated to ending violence against women and their children. This budget would support critical support services and organizations such as these two to further its commitment to ending all forms of violence against women.

Last month I welcomed my colleague, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, to my riding to meet with the Interfaith Council of Halton to discuss our national security. The minister had the opportunity to highlight budget 2017's increased investment in the security infrastructure program, a program that provides places of worship and community organizations with the funds necessary to enhance the security of their facilities.

Rabbi Wise shared with us how his congregation in Oakville had previously taken advantage of funding from this program, and a good discussion was had about the benefits and possibilities of the program at a local level. We all agree that there is no place in Canada for hate-motivated crimes and that Canadians should feel safe where they worship.

I am extremely committed to the public safety committee's call for funding for a national strategy for operational stress injuries in public safety officers and was disappointed that it was not funded in this budget. I will continue to advocate on this issue, but I also recognize that the Minister of Finance had to make some tough choices when drafting the budget. I was pleased to see that we kept our campaign promise to our public safety officers to establish a tax-free community heroes benefit to be implemented in co-operation with the provinces, territories, and municipalities. Budget 2017 committed $80 million over five years to support this benefit.

The budget also recognizes that we need to do more for Canadians living with a disability. The enabling accessibility fund would be expanded to provide funding for projects such as adding ramps, accessible washrooms, and other improvements to the accessibility of community spaces and workplaces.

Our health care system is consistently one of the things that Canadians hold dear. Oakville North—Burlington is home to the new Oakville hospital that opened in 2015 to meet the needs of residents in my community, not just today but well into the future. This state-of-the-art facility is the result of the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario's history. In 2017-18, the government will provide over $37.1 billion to the provinces and territories under the Canada health transfer, an increase of $1.1 billion from last year.

Our Minister of Health has worked tirelessly to implement new agreements with our partners, including my Province of Ontario. I heard from residents in my community about their struggle to juggle caring for aging parents while raising their own families, so I was pleased with our investment of an additional $6 billion over 10 years for home care.

I have also worked with local organizations like the Reach Out Centre for Kids and the Paul Hansell Foundation, which do tremendous work to improve the mental health of our young people. Our government will be providing an additional $5 billion over the next 10 years targeted toward mental health services. In my home province, the Province of Ontario has made a concerted effort to improve mental health services, and this additional investment will build on the work already being done.

My youth council recently met with the youth advisory council of the Positive Space Network, a safe and welcoming community for LGBTQ2 youth to meet, share experiences, and also organize Halton Pride. I welcome our government's investment in an LGBTQ2 secretariat, with funding of $3.6 million over three years.

Canada is taking a leadership role around the world in improving the lives of women and girls. I was pleased to see our government invest $650 million over three years to support sexual and reproductive health. After seeing first-hand the impact that our international development investments can have in areas such as nutrition in the first 1,000 days and the measurable decrease in stunted growth because of these investments, I look forward to the release of our international assistance review, which will outline how Canada will put women and girls at the centre of its development programs.

The budget's commitment to make surplus federal lands and buildings available to housing providers at low or no cost could help groups like Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, a leader in my community, to ensure hard-working families in need have a safe and affordable place to live.

As chair of the Golden Horseshoe caucus, I know that our region depends on the success of our businesses from automotive to steel, wine to peaches, and that small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of our communities. Our educational institutions, such as Sheridan College, are critical to the success of the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, and artists.

Through initiatives like the ones I have mentioned today and our progressive, vital investments in innovation, technology, health care, and education, we are firmly positioning Canada as a leader in the world. I am proud of the work we are doing and look forward to Canada's many successes as we prepare to celebrate our great nation's 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Madam Speaker, what the member had to say was very encouraging, but what she forgot to mention or did not have time for and was missing is how the government is going to promote and empower the private sector to create jobs and roll this economy forward.

We heard of a lot of big-government thinking and government-knows-best spending, but we did not hear anything about the small business tax rate being cut or about expanding ways for people to save. We had the tax-free savings account and the public transit tax credit cut back, but nothing is actually there to help the people and allow the private sector to grow and create jobs and wealth in their communities.

I wonder if the member could enlighten me on how the government is doing this, because I do not see it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, I think we both agree that small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of our economy.

Quite honestly, they are creating jobs. We are seeing growth in the economy. We are seeing tremendous job growth, and it is coming from those small and medium-sized businesses in our communities. I have not had one business in my community ask for the small business tax cut to be made.

What I have seen them ask for are the kinds of things our government is doing around innovation and clean technology. They want consumers to have more money, which our tax cut allows, so they can go out and buy their products, whether they are buying gelato or going out for dinner or spending money in their community.

Those are the things they want. They want residents to have the money and to be able to spend it, so they can grow their businesses in the community.

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May 9th, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Erin Weir NDP Regina—Lewvan, SK

Madam Speaker, the member across the way talked about a tax cut putting money in the pockets of consumers to spend. I wonder if she would agree that the consumers most likely to spend any extra money they receive are those earning less than $45,000 per year, precisely the Canadians who will not receive anything from the so-called middle-class tax cut.

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May 9th, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I noticed in the member's speech that she made the case at length that this bill deals with a number of important issues.

In her speech I did not hear about a couple of those issues that have to do with the establishment of the infrastructure bank. Another, just off the top of my head, would be the changes to the parliamentary budget office.

I wonder, given the complexity of the bill, if the member would agree that the infrastructure bank, for example, which is a significant change in its own right, represents a meaningful change in the way the government is going to deliver on infrastructure projects. If so, should we not be able to study that separately?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, I would say that we certainly agree that infrastructure investment is important. We are having the debate right now, and the debate will be held at committee, about all of the things that are included in the bill.

If we can make more investments in infrastructure, I know that in my community that is really important. We see things like the flooding that is taking place, which happened in Burlington a few years ago, and if we are able to put in place some investments to prevent these kinds of things from happening, that is where we need our infrastructure dollars going. The more we can do, the better.