Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2

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

Sponsor

Bill Morneau  Liberal

Status

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

Summary

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

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

(a) removing the classification of the costs of drilling a discovery well as “Canadian exploration expenses”;

(b) eliminating the ability for small oil and gas companies to reclassify up to $1 million of “Canadian development expenses” as “Canadian exploration expenses”;

(c) revising the anti-avoidance rules for registered education savings plans and registered disability savings plans;

(d) eliminating the use of billed-basis accounting by designated professionals;

(e) providing enhanced tax treatment for eligible geothermal energy equipment;

(f) extending the base erosion rules to foreign branches of Canadian insurers;

(g) clarifying who has factual control of a corporation for income tax purposes;

(h) introducing an election that would allow taxpayers to mark to market their eligible derivatives;

(i) introducing a specific anti-avoidance rule that targets straddle transactions;

(j) allowing tax-deferred mergers of switch corporations into multiple mutual fund trusts and allowing tax-deferred mergers of segregated funds; and

(k) enhancing the protection of ecologically sensitive land donated to conservation charities and broadening the types of donations permitted.

It also implements other income tax measures by

(a) closing loopholes surrounding the capital gains exemption on the sale of a principal residence;

(b) providing additional authority for certain tax purposes to nurse practitioners;

(c) ensuring that qualifying farmers and fishers selling to agricultural and fisheries cooperatives are eligible for the small business deduction;

(d) extending the types of reverse takeover transactions to which the corporate acquisition of control rules apply;

(e) improving the consistency of rules applicable for expenditures in respect of scientific research and experimental development;

(f) ensuring that the taxable income of federal credit unions is allocated among provinces and territories using the same allocation formula as applicable to the taxable income of banks;

(g) ensuring the appropriate application of Canada’s international tax rules; and

(h) improving the accuracy and consistency of the income tax legislation and regulations.

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

(a) introducing clarifications and technical improvements to the GST/HST rules applicable to certain pension plans and financial institutions;

(b) revising the GST/HST rules applicable to pension plans so that they apply to pension plans that use master trusts or master corporations;

(c) revising and modernizing the GST/HST drop shipment rules to enhance the effectiveness of these rules and introduce technical improvements;

(d) clarifying the application of the GST/HST to supplies of municipal transit services to accommodate the modern ways in which those services are provided and paid for; and

(e) introducing housekeeping amendments to improve the accuracy and consistency of the GST/HST legislation.

It also implements a GST/HST measure announced on September 8, 2017 by revising the timing requirements for GST/HST rebate applications by public service bodies.

Part 3 amends the Excise Act to ensure that beer made from concentrate on the premises where it is consumed is taxed in a manner that is consistent with other beer products.

Part 4 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to allow the Minister of Finance on behalf of the Government of Canada, with the approval of the Governor in Council, to enter into coordinated cannabis taxation agreements with provincial governments. It also amends that Act to make related amendments.

Part 5 enacts and amends several Acts in order to implement various measures.

Division 1 of Part 5 amends the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act to update and clarify certain powers of the Minister of Finance in relation to the Bretton Woods institutions.

Division 2 of Part 5 enacts the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Agreement Act which provides the required authority for Canada to become a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Division 3 of Part 5 provides for the transfer from the Minister of Finance to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the responsibility for three international development financing agreements entered into between Her Majesty in Right of Canada and the International Finance Corporation.

Division 4 of Part 5 amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act to clarify the treatment of, and protections for, eligible financial contracts in a bank resolution process. It also makes consequential amendments to the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act.

Division 5 of Part 5 amends the Bank of Canada Act to specify that the Bank of Canada may make loans or advances to members of the Canadian Payments Association that are secured by real property or immovables situated in Canada and to allow such loans and advances to be secured by way of an assignment or transfer of a right, title or interest in real property or immovables situated in Canada. It also amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act to specify that the Bank of Canada and the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation are exempt from stays even where obligations are secured by real property or immovables.

Division 6 of Part 5 amends the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act in order to expand and enhance the oversight powers of the Bank of Canada by further strengthening the Bank’s ability to identify and respond to risks to financial market infrastructures in a proactive and timely manner.

Division 7 of Part 5 amends the Northern Pipeline Act to permit the Northern Pipeline Agency to annually recover from any company with a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued under that Act an amount equal to the costs incurred by that Agency with respect to that company.

Division 8 of Part 5 amends the Canada Labour Code in order to, among other things,

(a) provide employees with a right to request flexible work arrangements from their employers;

(b) provide employees with a family responsibility leave for a maximum of three days, a leave for victims of family violence for a maximum of ten days and a leave for traditional Aboriginal practices for a maximum of five days; and

(c) modify certain provisions related to work schedules, overtime, annual vacation, general holidays and bereavement leave, in order to provide greater flexibility in work arrangements.

Division 9 of Part 5 amends the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 to repeal the paragraph 167(1.‍2)‍(b) of the Canada Labour Code that it enacts, and to amend the related regulation-making provisions accordingly.

Division 10 of Part 5 approves and implements the Canadian Free Trade Agreement entered into by the Government of Canada and the governments of each province and territory to reduce or eliminate barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services and investments. It also makes related amendments to the Energy Efficiency Act in order to facilitate, with respect to energy-using products or classes of energy-using products, the harmonization of requirements set out in regulations with those of a jurisdiction. Finally, it makes consequential amendments to the Financial Administration Act, the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act and the Procurement Ombudsman Regulations and it repeals the Timber Marking Act and the Agreement on Internal Trade Implementation Act.

Division 11 of Part 5 amends the Judges Act

(a) to allow for the payment of annuities, in certain circumstances, to judges and their survivors and children, other than by way of grant of the Governor in Council;

(b) to authorize the payment of salaries to the new Associate Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta; and

(c) to change the title of “senior judge” to “chief justice” for the superior trial courts of the territories.

It also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Division 12 of Part 5 amends the Business Development Bank of Canada Act to increase the maximum amount of the paid-in capital of the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Division 13 of Part 5 amends the Financial Administration Act to authorize, in an increased number of cases, the entering into of contracts or other arrangements that provide for a payment if there is a sufficient balance to discharge any debt that will be due under them during the fiscal year in which they are entered into.

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

Dec. 4, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Dec. 4, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Dec. 4, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Dec. 4, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Dec. 4, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Nov. 28, 2017 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Nov. 28, 2017 Failed Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
Nov. 28, 2017 Failed Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures (report stage amendment)
Nov. 28, 2017 Passed Tme allocation for Bill ,
Nov. 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Nov. 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Nov. 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Nov. 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures
Nov. 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his passion. In the Liberals' bill, I see no investments at all for indigenous children. There has been a lot of talk about Jordan's principle and about the welfare of indigenous children and the need to keep them out of court.

In this 330-page bill, about which we have just been muzzled, because the Liberals are yet again trying to speed up the process and pass a bill that we do not even get time to debate, there are no measures to make sure indigenous children receive more, higher-quality services, that they have the means to access these services, or that we have the means to offer them.

How can a government that says nation-to-nation relationships are the most important and claims to want to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission introduce a budget, in 2017, that contains no mention of any investments for indigenous children?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. I am pleased to elaborate on that. When I hear the government say that the most important relationship is that with the indigenous peoples, I wonder what the problem is. The important relationship is the one with all Canadians. Indigenous peoples are Canadians. I am a Canadian. Everyone here is Canadian. I find that truly absurd.

I would also say that the issue of indigenous peoples and reserves is very complex. It is truly unfortunate to see everything that is going on. To think that there are still reserves that do not have running water is beyond me. I agree with you.

That being said, what bothers me the most is that one of the first pieces of legislation from this government withdrew provisions on transparency on the reserves. That policy was very important because one of the fundamental problems on the reserves is that the native elite are the ones who pocket the money, who benefit the most from it without taking good care of their people. That is a serious problem on the reserves. We legislated on transparency in a very important piece of legislation that indigenous peoples appreciated. Without the transparency provisions indigenous peoples are now unable to hold their chiefs accountable. Once again, this government is working for interest groups and not for Canadians, and especially not for indigenous peoples, other than to issue an apology of course.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Ken McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this afternoon to speak to Bill C-63, a budget implementation bill, and all the great investments that budget 2017 will make for people, communities, and industries from coast to coast to coast.

Bill C-63 is just another step forward in meeting the commitments we made to Canadians back in 2015: strengthening and protecting our middle class, growing our economy, and helping those Canadians who need it most. Since the campaign, we have held strong to those values, and we saw in the fall economic update that it is working.

Since 2015, we have created over 500,000 jobs in Canada, most of which are full-time. Unemployment in Canada is down to 6.3%, which is the lowest this country has seen in many years. Canada is now the fastest growing economy in the G7, and it is because our government is investing in the Canadian people and our communities. It is because of this positive approach that we as a government are able to continue investing in middle-class families, in hard-working Canadians, and in small businesses.

The finance minister announced in October that, because of this growth, our government is going to reinvest in our Canada child benefit two years ahead of schedule by making annual cost-of-living increases to the CCB starting in July next year. For all the families in my riding of Avalon, the Canada child benefit gives them the extra money they need to ensure that raising their children is a little easier. For these families, knowing that they will receive an increase in their monthly benefit will mean that they will have the comfort they need to grow and thrive.

As of July 2017, the Canada child benefit monthly payments in my riding have totalled over $3.8 million, helping over 13,000 kids and their families. This is the type of investment that truly matters to Canadians, especially to the constituents in my riding of Avalon.

Along with strengthening the CCB, we are also enhancing the working income tax benefit by investing an additional $500 million per year, starting in 2019, and cutting the small business tax down to 9%. We know that, by helping our small businesses and hard-working Canadians, our communities and their associated industries will continue to thrive and push our economy in the right direction. The actions that our government has taken this year to support regions like mine and the people within them have been well received by my constituents.

In budget 2017, our government committed to strengthening the employment insurance program by extending the program to caregivers, which would now give them up to 15 weeks of benefits when they need to take time off to care for loved ones. We have invested $92 million to meet the increased demands in claim processing and given more flexibility for parents who use the program for maternity leave. We have also reduced waiting periods of EI benefits from two weeks to one week.

In my region, seasonal workers, fishermen, processors, and many more depend on this program when work is not available. I am pleased that our government has continued to recognize the important role that this program plays in keeping our small communities alive and giving workers the security they need when times are tough.

Our most recent budget is proof that our government knows what matters to Canadians, and not just in my region but across the entire country. Back home in my province of Newfoundland and Labrador, I see people every day who benefit from these strategic and important investments in local infrastructure, in social programs, and in growth.

Thanks to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, all levels of government in Newfoundland and Labrador have been able to come together to support communities so that they can grow well into the future. ACOA has been a huge driver in my riding, which is a rural riding with small, vibrant towns that benefit greatly from the funding that ACOA allows to flow into their municipalities. It is companies like Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises whose pride in its community and confidence in its people make it a local economic driver. With funding from ACOA, this company can employ local people and keep jobs in Harbour Grace, all while stimulating the local rural economy.

Our government knows that regional-specific programs and investments work. It is why programs like ACOA address the regional challenges that we have and work with proponents to use them to our advantage.

This leads me to the incredible investments that our government, specifically our Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, has made into the Atlantic fisheries fund and the oceans protection plan. In my region, investing in our oceans, in our fisheries, and in our coastal communities is crucial. They are the backbone of our towns and an integral part of our history.

I am proud to be part of a government that recognizes the importance of preserving our resources and our coastlines while investing in smart, clean, and sustainable technology and practices, so that our people can continue to do what they love while preserving our resources and coastlines for future generations to come.

It is no surprise that in a province like mine, fisheries still hold strong as economic drivers in many coastal communities. Since being elected I, and I am sure many of my Newfoundland and Labrador colleagues, have seen how important small craft harbours are in communities across our province.

That is why an investment of $5 million in small craft harbours in budget 2017 combined with the $149-million investment in budget 2016 has helped ensure that our facilities in Avalon are safe and accessible. This is just another way our government is recognizing our regional needs and supporting the fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.

We are now two years into our mandate, and the change I have seen in my riding is astounding, with a record number of investments, including infrastructure funding, funding for social programs and for tourism, and investing in growing businesses, just to name a few.

We are spending strategically and smartly. We are listening to Canadians when they tell us what they need and what would make their lives better, and Canadians are recognizing that as well.

Our government, since 2015, committed to taking a new approach. We committed to doing what was best for everyday, middle-class Canadians. We also made a commitment to better relationships with our provincial and territorial governments to really do what was best for all of our people. We committed to growing the economy while supporting the middle class. It is because of these investments that today we see incredible economic and social prosperity in this country. It is because of these commitments that we can continue to invest in all of the great programs and services that I have outlined today.

It was my pleasure to stand and support Bill C-63. I, along with my colleagues on this side of the House, look forward to continuing to invest and do what is best for our people and our communities well into the future.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. The only things missing were the unicorns and rainbows. Really, everything is just wonderful.

I was especially touched by the part of his speech about employment insurance. Obviously, we will not oppose reducing the waiting period by a week. Nor will we oppose the fact that family caregivers may have access to the system. However, right now, nothing has changed with respect to eligibility to EI. There are still fewer than four out of 10 workers who contributed to the plan who manage to get benefits when they need them. If someone does not have access to the plan, the fact that there is one week less to wait does not change much, since he or she will have to get through 52 weeks without income.

Why is the Liberal government not getting to the root of the problem with the employment insurance reform by ensuring that more people are eligible?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Ken McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, if the member is waiting to hear about unicorns, he will have to go to sleep and start dreaming.

When it comes to the employment insurance changes that we made, we have done great things. As my colleague mentioned, we lowered the waiting period to one week. People are not qualifying for the minimum number of required hours but that minimum number changes from economic region to region and it also changes the number of qualifying weeks.

I do not see a lot of problems with the EI system. Would I like to see it enhanced even further? Yes, I would.

I will work with this government to make sure that people are looked after when it comes to employment insurance.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to some of the discussion in the House earlier today when the official opposition and the NDP were raising questions about the finance minister's unwillingness to answer questions arising from his being found in violation of the Conflict of Interest Act, his willingness to accept guilt by paying a fine the Ethics Commissioner levied, and in returning to charity some of the ill-gotten gains he received from trades made during the past two years.

I would like to ask him this. Do his constituents have confidence in his ethical behaviour, performance, and ability as minister to continue with the presentation of bills, such as Bill C-63, which involve so critically the finances of the country and the hard-earned tax dollars returned to the government every year by hard-working Canadians?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Ken McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the finance minister and the fine that was levied, I think the record will show that the fine was levied because of an administrative error. I know that the opposition members keep trying to personally attack the finance minister by asking who owns what shares in what numbered company, what money he made in Morneau Shepell, and why the shares were not in a blind trust. If those shares had been in a blind trust, the profits would still have been made. The minister has stated that he will dispose of his shares. It is his decision to donate any gains he has made since becoming Minister of Finance to charity, which I think would amount to much help for a lot of charities across this country.

He operated under the same system that everyone in this House operates under. He met with the Ethics Commissioner and divulged all of his assets, what he owned and what he did not own, and the Ethics Commissioner agreed with this so-called screen that was put in place. When the members opposite were in government, they used the same system. I have every confidence in the finance minister, and I believe the constituents of the riding of Avalon have the same confidence.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to again engage in debate on the budget implementation act. As we know, the budget implementation act comes out of the budget process. Every year, the government tables a budget, and that budget tells Canadians where the government wants to go, where it wants to land; the taxpayers' money it is going to spend; where it will be spent; and how it will be spent. The budget implementation act, of course, is effectively the master plan going forward. It is the government's plan to implement the budget.

I would like to focus my remarks on one of the most important drivers of economic prosperity in the country, which is trade. Members will have noticed that in the budget implementation act, the government proposes to spend $10.1 billion in trade and transportation projects. The Liberal government believes there is $10 billion worth of taxpayers' money that should be spent on promoting Canada's trade and transportation interests at home and around the world.

I believe Canadians have the right to ask whether the Liberal government can be trusted to actually negotiate trade agreements in Canada's best interests, and whether the government has the competence to get these agreements right. I am going to digress and talk about three different trade negotiations that are presently ongoing that should give Canadians great concern in terms of the ability of the Prime Minister to negotiate agreements that serve Canada's interests.

First is the softwood lumber agreement. As we know, back in 2006 the softwood lumber dispute had escalated to a point where there was tremendous fear within our softwood lumber industry that we were going to lose companies, opportunities to drive economic growth, and hundreds and hundreds of jobs across Canada because the government of the day, the Chrétien government, just could not resolve that dispute with the United States.

It was at that time that our Conservative government, under Stephen Harper, appointed David Emerson to be the trade minister. His number one responsibility was to negotiate an end to the softwood lumber dispute. Guess what? Mr. Emerson got the job done. He negotiated an agreement that served Canadian interests well, and returned to Canada billions and billions of dollars that the Americans had levied against our softwood lumber exports.

The agreement that we entered into with the United States, under the leadership of David Emerson and Stephen Harper, was a seven-year agreement. Seven years of peace in our woods. Again, it served Canadians well. When that seven-year period expired, there was a provision in the agreement for another two-year renewal. That required the consent of both the United States and Canada, and guess what, we had a great relationship with the American government and were able to persuade it that a two-year extension was in its interest and our interest, and so the agreement was renewed. Now we had a total of nine years of peace in the woods.

It just so happens that on the approximate date the new Liberal government was elected back in 2015, the standstill agreement, the softwood lumber agreement, expired. Canadian forestry companies were left faced impending duties, which have indeed now been imposed by the Americans.

We have had a new trade minister and new foreign affairs minister as of 2015, and they set to work to get this agreement resolved and put to bed. In fact, there was a meeting in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., where our Prime Minister and President Obama got together and said they had established a framework for resolving the softwood lumber dispute and that within 90 days they wanted get the framework in place and resolve it. Here we are two years later and there is no resolution to the softwood lumber dispute in sight. Whether it is incompetence or a failure to understand the softwood lumber agreement, we know that the Liberal government has failed on that front.

The second is the North American Free Trade Agreement. I know the media has been paying a lot of attention to the renegotiation of that agreement. That agreement is now subject to renegotiation because our Prime Minister, when asked by the Americans to renegotiate it, simply said he would gladly renegotiate it, and yet the issues that Donald Trump, the president of the United States, had were with Mexico, not Canada. The Prime Minister has made the fateful decision of aligning Canada's interests with Mexico's, when in fact those interests are not aligned at all.

Members may recall that the first comprehensive trade agreement in the world was actually between Canada and the United States, and Mexico was added in years later. Today, the United States and Canada have a perfectly balanced trade relationship. Canada exports as much to the United States as they do to Canada. Therefore, the president of the United States, if truth be known, does not have a big beef with Canada on trade. He certainly does with Mexico. To entwine our interests with those of Mexico, I believe, is a strategic mistake.

NAFTA negotiations are going nowhere. In fact, most pundits are looking at what has happened in the last few rounds, where the Americans have put demands on the table that are completely unacceptable to us as Canadians, somehow expecting us to surrender or cave in on these negotiations and give the United States everything it wants. Why do they get away with that? It is because we have a government in place that does not have the spine to say absolutely not. We have a government that embarks upon trade negotiations in a manner that does not serve Canada's interests.

The last trade negotiation I want to deal with is the trans-Pacific partnership. That negotiation commenced under the Conservative government. It was completed in Atlanta in November of 2015. Then the United States left the TPP, and now the remaining 11 partners are trying to negotiate a deal among themselves. One of those partners happens to be Japan, one of the largest economies in the world, which we would have a trade agreement with if the TPP actually comes into force.

What happened in Vietnam when the Prime Minister was at the APEC summit? All of the 11 parties to the TPP agreed that the basic essentials of that agreement were now in place and had gathered in a room, where they were going to make the announcement. Where was Canada? It was missing in action. The Prime Minister was nowhere to be seen, a national embarrassment on the international stage. This is what we get from the Liberal government. There is no understanding of what it means to build trusted relationships with some of our most trusted trade allies, like Australia, New Zealand, or Japan. Not to show up at a meeting when it was agreed ahead of time that there was a consensus on the basic elements of a trade agreement is unconscionable. That is not good trade negotiation.

Canadians have a right to ask whether the Liberal government can be trusted to negotiate trade agreements in Canada's best interests as an economic driver for prosperity in Canada? The resounding answer has to be no.

There are many Canadians across Canada who have heard that the Prime Minister now wants to run pell-mell to China to negotiate a trade agreement with that country. They are thinking that he is not getting any of the other deals done. He is juggling them and he cannot put them to bed. How will he ever negotiate an agreement with what he called the “basic dictatorship” that is China?

In summary, when it comes to promoting our economic prosperity, economic growth in Canada through trade, the government so far has been an absolute disaster.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I have a great relationship. We sit on the environment committee and I have a great amount of respect for him. However, I am troubled about the last 10 minutes and his discussion regarding the trade relationships and the agreements we are building. Being someone who was in that portfolio not that long ago, I know he is aware of how complex those trade agreements can be and how we really cannot negotiate them in public.

However, we have seen this government successfully complete the CETA. In fact, if I remember correctly, after we ratified that, the member for Abbotsford crossed the aisle and embraced the then minister of trade as a sign of congratulations and good work that was done between both parties, because it did start with the Conservative Party.

Does the member not at least accept that as a sign that the minister responsible at the time and the government knew a little about trade, that they knew what they were doing, and that they had been successful and can continue to be successful into the future?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, CETA is the free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. It was an agreement that was negotiated under our former Conservative government. When the Liberals got their hands on that agreement, they made a big error in judgment. They agreed with the EU to reopen the agreement. Once they did that, there was a big problem when some of the European states wanted to renegotiate the agreement the previous Conservative government had negotiated.

Again, getting back to the spine, the backbone, when we are negotiating trade agreements, we have to be tough. The Liberal government is not tough. In fact, the member is wrong. When CETA was signed, it was the foreign affairs/trade minister who walked across the floor and embraced me for the work our Conservative government had done. That is a correction on the record. I think he would agree that this is actually what happened.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will have to check the tape on that one, who initiated the embrace, was the embrace reciprocal, was it a caring embrace. More important, while trade relations certainly affect the economy, what also affects the economy and how Canadians feel about it is the confidence they do or do not have in their government. It is the trust they do or do not have in the finance minister, who plays an incredibly powerful role. I would argue that outside of the Prime Minister, it is the most powerful role in the country's finances. He not only has decisions over a massive federal budget, but also decisions about the rules that govern the economy, not interest rates, but just about everything else outside of that policy.

We saw an interaction with the finance minister earlier today about the government moving to close down debate on certain issues. We tried to express, as opposition, that there had been concerns raised about how much trust we could have in the finance minister, not only in previously stating that his affairs had been put into a blind trust, which would have avoided the current controversy ironically enough, but about his current decisions being affected by the fact that he still had four or five numbered companies about which the contents of them we knew nothing. We do not know if he is in a conflict of interest. We do not know what decisions he is making and how his personal affairs are affecting those decisions rather than serving the public.

Could my friend, having served in cabinet, reflect upon the need for trust and confidence in someone who holds such a vital role and the impact that can have on the lives of Canadians?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, although the member and I occasionally will disagree on trade policy, one thing we do agree on is that Canadians have lost trust and confidence in the Liberal government. More particular, they have lost trust in the finance minister, who has the most senior role in the Liberal government, a finance minister who just will not come clean on whether he put his assets into a blind trust the way he said he would do. It turns out he did not. The finance minister was fined $200 by the Ethics Commissioner for not disclosing a company that owned a villa in France.

Canadians are watching this. They are saying that he is a senior minister in the government and they cannot trust what he says. Now there is some speculation about stock trades that took place. We do not know yet if they were made by him. He will not tell us. He was asked 21 times yesterday in question period if he was the person who undertook the trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and 21 times he would not say yes or no. That should be embarrassing. This is why the Liberal government has struck fear in the hearts of Canadians. They do not trust the government anymore, and certainly not on trade policy.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, those who watch French-language television have probably seen the commercial for the 6/49 lottery where unusual things happen to people, who then feel the need to go out and buy a lottery ticket, thinking that this is their lucky day. That is exactly how I feel today, since I have the opportunity to express my thoughts about Bill C-63. I am one of those rare fortunate ones in the House who will not be cut off by a Liberal time allocation motion.

That we are once again being subjected to a time allocation motion is ridiculous in a House where 338 members have been elected to share the comments, opinions, and visions of the people they represent.

I would have thought it impossible, but it appears that we are going to set an absolutely extraordinary record. After two years in power, the Liberals have managed to put forward 25% more time allocation motions than the Conservatives did over the same time. I find it unbelievable, but it is true.

I will stop here, because I only have 10 minutes, and there are probably only nine left. There are so many subjects I would like to address, that I tried to find a quote to open with that would summarize everything I would like to say, since I will not have the time to say it all. David Macdonald, from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said, and I quote, “Economic growth is meaningless if it’s enjoyed only by a lucky few. The measures in today’s budget will do little to address the big issues facing Canadians [and Quebecers]”. I admit that I added “and Quebecers” to be sure to remain faithful to Mr. Macdonald’s intent.

I will throw out a few numbers to show that this economic growth, this wealth we are creating, appears to be benefiting the wealthiest Canadians, not the middle class that we have been hearing so much about in the past two years. I should mention that the notion was never defined, other than indirectly, by the tax breaks they were given, among other things. To be eligible for these tax breaks, you need to earn at least $45,000 a year, while the median salary in a riding like mine is around $31,000. It is obvious that the Liberals’ notion of the middle class is not rooted in reality. Either that, or this is just more window dressing from an image-obsessed government.

Over the past 30 years, workers have helped grow our economy by more than 50%, and yet, their wages have stagnated, and raises are so negligible as to barely cover the increase in the cost of living. At the same time, these workers’ pension plans are becoming less and less secure. Consider the most recent case of Sears, where, once again, the preferred creditors are certainly not the workers, many of whom devoted several years or even decades of their lives to the company. As they retire or look for other employment, these workers will not be collecting the benefits they were hoping for.

Not to mention the Liberals’ plan to modify defined benefit pension plans, where workers know exactly what they will be getting when they retire so that they can make the best choices. Workers can plan, choose their fields and decide when they want to retire. No, these defined benefit pension plans are quietly being replaced by target benefit pension plans, where corporations on Bay Street say they will try to secure a certain return for your retirement. Imagine the insecurity experienced by people who are preparing for their retirement or, worse yet, who are on the verge of retiring.

Here is another interesting statistic. The gap between the wealthiest and the majority is growing wider and faster in Canada than in other developed countries. As an example, the total income of the wealthiest 100 Canadians is equivalent to the total income of the 10 million most disadvantaged Canadians.

With such a clear picture, there is something wrong if people cannot fully comprehend the growing gap between the rich and the poor, or the fact that the key measures put forward by the Liberal government do nothing to help close that gap.

I mentioned EI benefits earlier in my questions and I have a bit more I want to say on that. Despite nine years under the Conservatives and two years under the Liberals, still today, fewer than four out of 10 workers who pay premiums end up being eligible when misfortune strikes and they lose their jobs. This is a disaster. I would remind the House that only employers and employees contribute to the plan, since the government pulled out several years ago, except to reap the benefits.

The Liberal government did propose a few measures that we cannot argue with. No one is going to oppose the measure to reduce the wait time by one week. No one is going to oppose the measure to expand EI benefits to caregivers. Accessibility to EI continues to be the main problem. How is it that the government still has not introduced a measure to make this plan more accessible to the workers and employers who pay into it themselves?

The government is telling workers it will deduct money from their paycheques to fund an insurance program for them. However, that insurance money goes back into the consolidated revenue fund instead of going to workers when they need it. We must fight this travesty with all our might.

With statistics like these, how can we stay positive when addressing Bill C-63? How can we keep things in perspective and square them with the Liberals' promise to cap wealthy CEOs' stock options, among other things? The Liberals said they would close this loophole that helped the richest get even richer, widening the gap. At the same time, absolutely nothing is being done for people at the other end of the spectrum, if only to ensure that minimum-wage workers get a decent wage that goes up to $15 an hour, either immediately or over the coming years. Once again, we see that many of the measures put forward by the Liberals are not intended to help the middle class, but rather to help the well-off and the extremely well-off.

What about our motion on tax havens? The Liberals voted in favour of it. It is false to say that tax havens are such a massive and complicated problem that Canada cannot do anything about them unless it is part of a vast international community of like-minded countries. There are simple measures that we can start taking now. It is true that being part of an international coalition would help us go much further, but why wait until a coalition is formed? Why not take the lead?

This motion, which the Liberals voted for but did nothing about, included strong measures to tackle tax havens, such as tightening tax rules for shell companies. Instead, the Liberals attacked SMEs. There was also the proposed renegotiation of tax agreements that allowed corporations to repatriate profits from tax havens to Canada without paying tax. Instead, new tax havens were created under the Liberals. There was a proposal to put an end to penalty-free amnesty deals for individuals suspected of tax evasion. Those are simple measures that can be implemented here that produce results, perhaps not the next day, but in the short term. These measures would put money into the government's coffers that it could use to support the middle class that they always talk about, but have not defined.

What can we say about all this window dressing? Amending the Labour Code to provide a certain number of days of leave in cases of domestic violence, among others, makes the Liberals look good. This is unpaid leave, however. How can a victim of domestic violence take three days off if she cannot afford to do so? How can she take time off without raising suspicions and when she is already in a very delicate situation? This move looks good, but it will never solve the problem.

The same could be said of changes with respect to the environment. We welcome the geothermal credit, but an average family with a single-family home does not really have the means to invest in geothermal. That family might, however, appreciate incentives to help change their windows or upgrade their home's insulation. There are no accessible programs for middle-class people in this budget. The government has thrown some ideas at the wall, but none of them really stick.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member across the way made reference to tax evasion. Something about the New Democrats is that they have a tough time recognizing when the government has done good things. It has done so many good things. I do not have time to go through the list. I want to focus on the issue of tax evasion. In its first and second budgets, the Government of Canada has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to deal with that issue. It is close to a billion dollars in total to hire the accountants to do all the work.

We are seeing results. We are working toward billions of dollars coming back in revenue. What would the NDP have done differently?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I was kind of picturing a stopwatch to see how many seconds it would take him to mention the $1 billion we have been hearing about for months. What the NDP would have done, what the NDP will do, is set out in the motion the Liberals themselves supported.

One simple thing Quebeckers and Canadians want the government to do is crack down on KPMG-type schemes that enable people to walk off scot-free without having to pay any penalty whatsoever.

How come big firms that cheat the system can get off scot-free, but the CRA wastes no time making ordinary citizens who unintentionally make mistakes on their tax returns pay what they owe, naturally, plus interest?

Why the double standard? Why is there one set of tax rules for ordinary people and another for big businesses?