Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1

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

Sponsor

Bill Morneau  Liberal

Status

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

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Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(h) eliminating the public transit tax credit;

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

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

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

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

(m) eliminating the tobacco manufacturers’ surtax;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(f) change the name of the Act.

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

Finally, it makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elsewhere

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

Votes

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

Proposed Canada Infrastructure BankPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

May 10th, 2017 / 5 p.m.
See context

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to seek your ruling on what I believe to be a contempt of this House that constitutes a prima facie question of privilege. Should you rule in my favour, I would be prepared to move the usual appropriate motion. This relates to Bill C-44, the government's omnibus budget implementation act, that is currently making its way through the legislative process of this House and which will be followed by the often lengthy legislative process in the other place.

For Canadians watching at home, last night the House passed Bill C-44 at second reading, which is the second stage of a five-stage process that must be completed even before the bill heads to the Senate for study. The bill still needs to be studied at a House committee, reported back to this House, concurred in at report stage, and then, of course, adopted at third reading.

The summary of Bill C-44 is very informative. I will not read the whole thing, because even the summary of this massive omnibus bill is multiple pages in length, but the portion of the bill that I would like to focus on today is contained in part 4 “Various Measures”. The summary states:

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.

The idea that Canada's public infrastructure should be used as a tool to financially enrich private investors rather than as a way to enrich the lives of middle-class Canadians and those struggling to join it is bad enough, but the government has now gone beyond making bad policy decisions. It is actually discounting the need of this House to pass legislation before it rolls out appointments for this institution.

I would like to read from a Canadian Press news story dated May 8, 2017, with respect to the new infrastructure agency. After noting that it has been decided to locate this agency in Toronto, it states:

The Liberals are also starting a search to find a chair for the agency’s board of directors, the directors themselves and the chief executive officer. Anyone is able to apply for one of the appointments, but there are few people internationally with the expertise and job experience for the positions.

I reviewed the government's appointment website and it advertises these appointments with a closing date of May 23 of this year. The government expects the agency to be up and running by the end of the year.

The enabling legislation has not been passed in this House—

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 5:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, in your presentation, you did a masterful job of highlighting the absurdity of our current situation. I have exactly three minutes to talk about Bill C-44, which the government is ramming down our throats as hard as it possibly can, to shut us up and make sure that we cannot point out the inconsistencies and everything that will happen after this budget implementation bill passes.

The bill makes amendments that will affect 30 departments. I will name a few of them. I will talk about the entire mechanism the Conservatives had put in place, during the previous government, in order to prevent the government in power from increasing fees unreasonably on the backs of Canadians.

The Liberal government will simply eliminate this mechanism and will take more money out of taxpayers' pockets. We are not at all surprised, given that the Liberal government is accumulating deficits. The only way for the government to generate revenue, which it does not have enough of, is to legalize marijuana, which will generate revenue at the expense of our youth and Canadians, and to increase costs by cancelling the public transit credit. That is absurd coming from a government that calls itself green.

In the last budget, the government eliminated tax credits for families whose children play sports or participate in cultural activities. Even worse, when tired Canadians go home on Friday and want to relax, the beer they open or the wine they pour will come with another tax on alcohol.

What we are seeing is completely ridiculous. I am not even talking about the infrastructure bank, which will be established at the expense of Canadians. The $35 billion should be used to help all municipalities across Canada, but will grease the palms of private investors who are controlling the government agenda.

Given all of that, we do not understand the purpose of this budget. The government says that it wants to support the middle class, but it is currently doing exactly the opposite.

The government gave us three days to discuss the budget. Really, it gave us only two days, not three, because last Friday, we had only an hour and fifteen minutes to discuss it. Today, I have only three minutes to tell my constituents about the aberration we are dealing with today.

What the government is doing does not make any sense. It is racking up debt for future generations, going forward with spending, and leading people to believe that it is lowering their taxes. It does not make any sense. As an MP who represents his constituents, I am extremely frustrated with this situation.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the three wonderful minutes you gave me to speak.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-44, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity today to speak to Bill C-44, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures.

I will begin by talking about the part “and other measures”.

Bill C-44 before us is an omnibus bill, as were the budget implementation bills that we became used to seeing for many years. If it passes, this bill will amend more than 30 existing laws even though a third of these amendments were not even included in the budget presented on March 22.

What is strange, or maybe not, ultimately, is that it seems to me that I did hear the Liberals criticizing the previous government many times for the excessive use of omnibus bills. In fact, they promised to abolish this practice, which they deemed to be undemocratic.

I would like to read from page 30 of the Liberal Party of Canada's election platform:

Stephen Harper has also used omnibus bills to prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating his proposals. We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.

Those are the very same Standing Orders that the Liberal Party of Canada is trying to change in an undemocratic way, but that is another issue.

The platform is not the only place where the Liberals have called omnibus bills undemocratic. On June 9, 2015, the member for Kings—Hants, who is now President of the Treasury Board, said this in the House:

For years, the Conservatives have crossed the line in what is acceptable in a functioning democracy as a government in the of respect for Parliament. It is not only how they have now normalized the use of massive omnibus bills, they regularly shut down debate in the House....

Nevertheless, here we are debating the budget implementation bill under time allocation.

Here is another empty promise made in the House:

Liberals will end the abuse of omnibus bills which result in poorly reviewed laws.

Who said that? The Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, the member for Vancouver Quadra.

The member for Bourassa had to remind her of the following:

I must tell my colleague that we are against omnibus bills. A few years ago the current government claimed that it was against these bills, which at the time might have had 20 or 30 pages. Now we have a bill with more than 175 pages.

I just wanted to point out to my Montreal colleague what he said in the House because his government's budget implementation bill is essentially an omnibus bill, even though it is not quite 290 pages long. He should be pretty ashamed, but do I look surprised? No.

It is part of the DNA of the Liberal Party of Canada to say one thing and do the opposite, the best example, of course, being electoral reform, a promise they broke, plain and simple, despite the fact that they solemnly promised that the 2015 election would be the last election under the current voting system. Shortly after that, they tried to force changes to the Standing Orders of the House of Commons down our throats, changes that are likely to affect our members' privileges, saying that they had promised to do so. Talk about hypocrisy.

During the election, and again today, the Liberals and the Prime Minister talked ad nauseam about “the middle class and those working hard to join it”, and yet those working hard to join it are by no means the people who are given priority in this bill.

In fact, while they eliminated the public transit tax credit that middle-class Canadians actually used, the Liberals are also making it easier for their rich friends to purchase our public infrastructure, the kind of people who can afford to pay $1,500 to have access to the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister, by creating the Canada infrastructure bank.

I want to emphasize that this is not about the middle class and those working hard to join it.

This bill also severely limits the parliamentary budget officer's role, which is to conduct independent studies and produce reports that he believes are in the interest of Canadians. This changes the role of the PBO, who would now have to submit a work report for the approval of the Speaker of the House and the Speaker of the Senate, as well as the chair of the finance committee, who is an elected member of the governing party. He would be the only officer of Parliament whose work plan must be approved.

In addition, research requests to estimate the costs of measures that fall within Parliament's jurisdiction would now be reserved for committees, whereas at the present time all MPs and senators can make such requests.

Incidentally, it is the research of the parliamentary budget officer, made at a member’s request, that showed us that the Liberals’ tax breaks benefited only the wealthiest, and not the middle class and those working hard to join it.

It is clear that this bill seeks to limit the ability of parliamentarians to hold the government to account and demand that it take responsibility for its actions.

I have spoken enough about what this omnibus bill contains. Now I want to talk about what it does not contain.

The 2017-18 budget provided substantial long-term funding for social and affordable housing. Following the government’s announcement, we were expecting to move on to consultations in preparation for the establishment of a real national housing strategy, for which the NDP has been calling for many years. We also thought they had finally acknowledged the ongoing housing crisis in Canada. It would seem, however, that they are in no rush to allocate the necessary resources immediately, in this budget and associated implementation bill. In fact, the government has decided to hold off on releasing over 90% of the budget announced for housing until after the next election.

However, the needs exist right now. More and more Canadian families are finding it hard to find adequate and affordable housing. The 2011 national household survey showed that 40% of Canadian tenant families were spending more than 30% of their income on housing, 19% were paying over 50%, and 9.5% of families were spending over 80% of their income on housing. There are many reasons to believe that these figures are no better today.

At the present time, the waiting lists for low-income families in need of social housing have hit record highs in our country's cities. For example, in Edmonton, 5,800 households are waiting for housing. In Montreal there are said to be 24,000, and in Toronto, 90,000. Ageing social housing infrastructure is in need of major renovations, and with the lack of funding, many housing projects have simply closed down. Property prices in major Canadian cities are skyrocketing because of speculation, to the point that fears of a real estate bubble are growing. For too many Canadian families, access to property is virtually impossible.

I have not mentioned the housing conditions and shortages in indigenous communities. However, in response to immediate and urgent request, the government has announced several billion dollars over 11 years, but has injected only a meagre $20 million in new money this year under the 2017-18 budget, $8 million of which will go to research on housing. Considering the immediate needs, $12 million more is not going to house a lot of people.

Last week I went to the national convention of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, the largest national association of housing stakeholders.

While people were generally happy with the investments announced in the last budget, many concerns came up regularly. Since we are already drafting omnibus budgets that include non-budgetary measures, I will cite a few of the measures that were suggested at the convention.

The association would like the housing strategy to formally recognize the right to appropriate and affordable housing, and would like the government to speed up the funding announced for housing in order to meet immediate needs, because the longer we wait, the worse the situation becomes; to take concrete steps to counter real estate speculation; to announce the construction of new social and community housing units; to establish a special strategy for the immediate and glaring housing needs in indigenous communities; and to include in its budget incentives for renovation and energy-efficient construction, which would be a smart investment.

I would add that the government should provide funds that are specifically dedicated to social and community housing, instead of including that funding more generally in the category of affordable housing.

Although I know that the government is going to remind me that I voted against certain measures it put forward in its budget, I will be obliged to vote against this bill, both for what it contains and above all for what it does not contain.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

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 / 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.

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 / 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 / 3:25 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.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

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 p.m.
See context

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 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

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 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

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 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

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.